About Turtle Island Marine Park
The Turtle Island Park which lies 40km north of Sandakan in the Sulu Sea, comprises of thee small islands of which Selingan, is the main island of visit for tourists. It is a safe haven for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles as they come ashore to lay their eggs almost every night. Hatcheries and conservation are done on all three islands. Hence,you can learn about the conservation activities of the local turtles, witness them coming ashore to lay their eggs, observe the collection of eggs, tagging of mother turtles and releasing of baby turtles back into the sea.
Sea Turtles are not the only attraction of the islands. The clear turquoise coloured sea and coral reefs are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. When the fruit trees are in season, the islands have another interesting visitor – the Island Flying Fox. The islands was gazetted as a marine park in 1977 and currently, staff are residing on all three islands to safeguard the park and to carry out the conservation works.
About Selingan Island
Selingan Island (Pulau Selingan in malay) is the second largest of the three islands with an area of 8 hectares and is also the first turtle hatchery in Malaysia. Many mother turtles return to this island to lay their eggs and you can be certain to witness them every night of the year. The number of visitors who can stay overnight on Selingan Island is restricted to 38 persons per night to protect the turtles. Selingan Turtle Island houses the park’s headquarters, a turtle hatchery, tourist accommodation with basic facilities and a visitor and interpretative centre.
Best Season to Visit
The driest months and the calmest seas are between March and July. The peak season for turtles laying eggs is July to October. The seas can get rough between October and February but nonetheless, visitors still continue to come from all over the world to Selingan Turtle Island to witness this magical moment of joy throughout the year.
Both Green and Hawksbill Turtles come to shore throughout the year to lay their eggs. However, the peak season for the Greens turtles is between July to October while the peak season for the Hawksbill turtles is between February to April. Turtles lay eggs during the night time and a bright light on or near their nesting beach will deter them from coming ashore entirely.
The female turtle drags herself up the beach to a site above the high water mark. Using her rear flippers, she excavates an egg chamber after which she proceeds to lay her eggs. Salt glands behind the eyes allow them to eliminate salt taken in while they are at sea.
The salty mucus gives the impression of tears as the turtle lays her eggs. The clutch size varies between 40 – 200 eggs but batches of 50 – 80 are most common. When all eggs have been laid, she covers them with sand and laboriously fills the body pit to conceal the site of the nest.
All new turtles that come to shore at the Park are tagged by the rangers, the tag reading “ Return to Turtles Island Park, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.” Tagging and measuring turtles enable the Park to keep a data base to gain a clearer picture of the turtle’s growth, distribution and population. The exhausted turtle struggles back to the sea leaving behind the tracks in the sand. The egg laying process can take about 1-2 hours to complete.
Hatcheries exist on all three islands. They protect the eggs from natural predators such as monitor lizards, birds and snakes. They also protect nests from being dug up by other nesting turtles and from soil erosion. Freshly laid eggs are excavated and transported promptly to the hatchery. The eggs are placed by hand into 75 cm deep pits, covered in sand and surrounded by plastic wire mesh. Each nest has an information plate displaying a nest serial number, date of collection and number of eggs transplanted.
Environmental factors determine the sex of the turtles. The temperature of the sand in which the eggs are incubated plays a critical role. The temperature is influenced by the depth of the nest, the characteristics of the sand, and the weather. Higher sand temperatures result in more females. A difference of only 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit can make the difference between a nest that is wholly female or one that is all male. To ensure certain nests are cooler than others, some areas of the hatcheries are shaded.
After 50-60 days the hatchlings will emerge, mainly at night, which they deduce by the cooler temperatures of the sand. The hatchlings are released at various points on the island immediately after they hatch. More than 2.6 million hatchlings were released between 1977 and 1988. The hatchlings are most vulnerable and only a few will survive to adulthood.
Hatchling Release Programme
The main attraction of the Turtle Islands Park is the turtle, watching turtle egg laying and hatchling release programme is the highlight of the visit; this, however, only occurs during the night. Thus, only overnight visitors to the islands have opportunity to experience the occasion. At the same time, visitors could learn and understood how the conservation process executed by parks employees.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Among the main recreation activities in Turtle Islands Park is scuba diving and snorkeling. Areas which this activities were allowed were divided into zones. Please refer to park manager/officer in-charge.
How to make a booking?
- Fill in the Booking Enquiry Form and click the Submit button.
- You will receive our availability confirmation by email.
- We will send our sales quotation, once we received your confirmation to book.
- To secure your booking, please pay either by credit or debit card via PayPal or cash transfer or cash deposit – learn more
Package Price – Year 2017
- Rate Per Person.
- All rates are quoted in Ringgit Malaysia (MYR) and are inclusive of 6% Goods & Service Tax (GST).
Child Policy for Turtle Island Accommodation
- Infant Below 2 Years Old : FOC
- Child 2 – 10 Years Old : Pay 75% Of Adult Rates When Sharing Room With 2 Paying Adults
- Maximum of 1 Child Sharing A Room With 2 Adults
- An Extra Mattress will be provided for the Child
- Above 10 Years Old Are Considered As Adult
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|Child Traveller |
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- Selingan Turtle Island
- Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
|Sandakan/ Selingan Turtle Island
Your pick up awaits at the Airport Arrival Hall once you touchdown on Sandakan, or from your Hotel Lobby. Depart for the Sandakan Seafront Jetty.
0930hrs: A speedboat will whisk you off to Selingan Turtle Island. Take in the bright brilliant blues on your 1 hour journey to the oldest turtle hatcheries in the world, also one of South East Asia's most important nesting beach and breeding ground for the Green Turtle and Hawksbill Turtle… just 40km north of Sandakan, poised on the Sulu Sea.
Check in to your basic but clean accommodation. The rest of the day you are free to stretch out by the beach or jump right into the sea for a snorkel round the nearby reefs. Dinner will be served on the Island.
A Park Ranger will give a few knocks on your chalet door to alert you when a Sea Turtle is seen to be coming ashore to lay eggs. You can also take part in the release of baby turtle hatchlings, where baby hatchling are brought by the buckets by Park Rangers to be release by the sea shore. Witness hundreds of baby sea turtles make a dash towards salty waters where they will spend the rest of their lives in.
Overnight at the Island Chalet.
|Sepilok Orang Utan Rehab Centre
After breakfast, check out. Fuzzy Orang Utans await at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. A half hour journey ushers you into the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve where rehabilitating Orang Utans roam free in a natural habitat. A short video screening at the Nature Education Centre will then enlighten you on what goes on within the reserve. Proceed to the boardwalk amidst a lush lowland rainforest leading you to a viewing point of the feeding platform. It will be an easy 10minite track, well worth it as soon as you see the Orang Utans show up to grab some food.
After tour, transfer to Sandakan airport or your respective hotel. Tour ends at 13:00hrs.
Tour Inclusions & Exclusions
Meals : 01 Breakfast, 01 Lunch, 01 Dinner
Includes : Meals as Stated, All Entrance Fees, Land Transportation (Seat-In-Coach), Return Boat Transfer, English Speaking Guide, 01 Night Accommodation, Turtle Island Conservancy Fee
Accommodation : 01 Night Turtle Island Chalet
Excludes : Domestic Airfares (BKI>SDK>BKI), Camera and Video Fees, Personal Expenses, Alcoholic & Carbonated Drinks, Personal Travel Insurance, Any Items Not Mentioned
Things You Should Bring
- Good walking shoes
- Light raincoat
- Insect repellent
- Sun block
- Sun hat
- Personal toiletries
Things You Should Know
- Island Chalet accommodation is basic but clean and comfortable with attached bathroom.
- Departure time varies from different hotels, please reconfirm with our staffs.
- If you are arriving at Sandakan Airport on the day of your tour, our friendly guide will greet and pick you up from the airport with a placard bearing your good name.
- We do not guarantee wildlife sightings.
- We reserve the right to alter routes, timetables, itineraries and accommodation reserved should conditions beyond our control render it necessary.
- Departure time is approximate and varies from different hotels due to traffic conditions, please reconfirm with our staffs. Should the transport be delayed, please call the relevant telephone number as stated on the voucher before making alternative arrangements.
- We reserves the right to alter routes, timetables, itineraries and accommodation reserved should conditions beyond our control render it necessary.
Sandakan – Selingan Turtle Island Escape
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