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“Basic accommodation on beautiful island”

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Selingan Turtle Island
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pulau Selingan
Reviewed 31 January 2014

This is simple accommodation, not Monte Carlo.The only thing we did not expect that we will be running out of hot water due to water heater malfunction.Dining room basically looking,food was average.Turtles are the purpose of this trip and it was great to see mother laying eggs at the beach and releasing babies to the see.The beach and the water is amazing to snorkeling and swimming.
Be aware of very bumpy ride to the island by speedboat for 1h. In case of seasickness better to seat at the back of the boat.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank magdalena c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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65 - 71 of 149 reviews

Reviewed 27 January 2014

First off, this is an expensive night away. But as they have an excellent record of turtle sightings, I thought it was worth it. It is much better to be organised and try and book direct or through a Malaysian agent, rather than pay pretty much double the price in UK agents.

Good sea journey to the island.
Yes, accommodation is basic but it was perfectly adequate. There were no complaints whatsoever from us. We were only in the room to sleep and shower anyway.

Spent the day on the beach - did try snorkelling. There were quite a lot of fish, but the coral was dead and the water was cloudy. I went for a walk round the island and was lucky enough to see a couple of baby turtles emerge from the sand and head down to the sea. I made sure they got in the sea ok as there was a monitor lizard lurking. It was nice to wander round the island and see all the places and tracks from the turtles nesting.

The food was ok - buffet style. Not brilliant but perfectly adequate and they are more than likely constrained by their location in the middle of the ocean. There is a small shop that sells a couple of souvenirs, but not many. They really could make money from the addition of a few more souvenirs.

There were a lot of rules at night but that is perfectly understandable.
The whole turtle experience was fantastic. Luckily the first turtle arrived at about 10 so we had a relatively early night. Nice to see them in their natural habitat and the guides tried to ensure there was minimal disturbance to the turtle. Unfortunately there was one muppet who kept on doing flash photography. Idiot!

Be warned - you were constantly asked to rotate between standing and sitting on the sand for pics when the turtle is laying or when they release the babies. I would suggest you forego the slightly better view for photography by standing all the time, as despite wearing trousers and socks, my legs were COVERED in sandfly bites the next day - these got infected and I ended up having to have several trips to the pharmacy when back on the mainland. As the only one kneeling in my group, I was the only one with bites.

When we got up the next morning, we went for a walk before breakfast on the beach and we were lucky enough to see a late turtle on the beach. Unfortunately, without the guides around, several TOTAL IDIOT tourists thought it would be acceptable to touch and stroke the turtle whilst she was laying her eggs. I asked them to stop, but they carried on regardless. The turtle then got scared by the contact, stopped laying eggs and headed back to the sea. A guide came and told us that she had been scared off as she hadnt really covered her nest. This experience really upset me and I was so angry that these stupid people potentially stopped the successful hatching of lots of baby turtles.

To be honest, I would rather have basic accommodation and have the money I pay go to the conservation of the turtles than be paying lots of money for the accommodation and little going to the turtles. So I have no complaints and was happy to pay extra to take photos etc.

Great experience! I would actually really love to work there. Would definitely return.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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8  Thank wheretonext1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 December 2013

I am giving this a terrible review because of the facilities built by humans. It should have an excellent review because seeing the Turtles is a wonderful experience and that is what you need to focus on. We had tried several times before to see turtles come up the beach but failed - this place does not fail on that score, including letting baby turtles scrabble to the sea.
Be prepared this is a basic facility beyond what you could expect in this day & age. The rooms are not clean, they are small, the food is awful - thank goodness there is a shop selling Pringles/nuts and drinks. The beach is lovely but be careful of the sand flies.
One night to see what we saw was terrific but this could be so much better with a little more care and attention.

Room Tip: Seek a room that has been refurbished
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank beats21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2013

In short, go only if you don't mind spending a tidy sum for ONLY the experience of seeing the turtles (which they don't guarantee). Frankly, there is no other highlight to the island experience- snorkelling is mediocre at best, the food is terrible, accommodation is very basic, and there are some hidden costs.
Undeniably, the experience of watching the mother turtle lay her eggs and then releasing the baby turtles into the ocean is wonderful, but in my opinion, there are many other places in the world where this can be done at a fraction of a cost and probably better arrangements.

Room Tip: You don't get a choice
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Insiyah V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2013

Turtle Island was great for having the whole turtle experience from the turtle laying her eggs on the beach, to the ranger burying those eggs in the hatchery, to watching turtles hatch and then releasing them into the ocean. We had a smooth trip out to the island (1 hour boat ride on a covered 35 foot boat). (November to January the water can be so rough it takes 3 - 4 hours to get to the island - or the trip could be cancelled altogether.) As others have stated, very basic accommodation (at least the rooms have A/C). Pack an overnight bag and leave the rest of your bags in Sandakan. There is a no shoe policy in the dining hall and the floor is pebbled concrete - very painful to walk on (I kept a pair of hotel slippers handy to slip on). Bring a beach towel and hang out on the beach or swim/snorkel during the day. Dinner was at 7:30 pm and then you stayed in the dining hall until you were called for "turtle time", so bring something to keep you occupied. Group 1 had their "turtle time" from 9 to 10 pm and group 2 from 10 to 11 pm. Breakfast is at 6:30 am and we left the island at 7 am.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
1  Thank Lori C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2013

My boyfriend and I travelled to Selingan recently as part of a tour in Borneo and we are amazed at the mixed reviews of this wonderful island! We won't go into too much detail about the turtle watching as it has been accurately covered in many other reviews. The island itself is beautiful- a white sand, turquoise water, deserted paradise.

Walking around during the day being able to snorkel, visit the hatchery and sunbathe on the gorgeous beach is truly amazing. This is before you even get to the main attraction which is of course witnessing the turtles laying and releasing baby turtles into the sea. It's all done really well with an informative documentary, a small museum and knowledgable rangers on hand!

Yes, the chalets aren't the Ritz, nor is the food Michelin starred. However, they are comfortable, clean and air-conditioned and the food is tasty and filling. We couldn't recommend the experience highly enough and would go back tomorrow!

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
4  Thank BeccaLouise89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2013

Seeing the turtles was an amazing experience. We saw the turtle at 9.15pm she laid 70 eggs in 10 minutes ! We then watched them being buried before they will hatch in 60 days. We saw babies being released into the sea to start their new life. Yes the accommodation is basic but for what you pay & the amazing experience it is well worth it. Fantastic a must if travelling to Borneo.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
3  Thank 2013sue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Selingan Turtle Island

Address: Pulau Selingan, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan Division > Pulau Selingan
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pulau Selingan
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Selingan Turtle Island 2.5*
Number of rooms: 337
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Also Known As:
Selingan Island Hotel Pulau Selingan

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