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“A highlight of our trip”
Review of Turtle Island Park

Turtle Island Park
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2-Day Small-Group Tour: Sandakan City and...
Reviewed 4 May 2014

There is an element of uncertainty about a visit here as no one know when the turtles will arrive to lay. We were lucky as we were summonded to see this about 10.00pm. Releasing baby turtles newly hatched from eggs laid earlier was brilliant. Snorkelling on the reef during the day was good too. Even though the lagoon is very shallow there was a lot to see

1  Thank 8spliced
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"crystal quest"
in 85 reviews
in 230 reviews
"mother turtle"
in 59 reviews
"boat ride"
in 41 reviews
"turtle island"
in 130 reviews
"egg laying"
in 24 reviews
"one night"
in 34 reviews
"turtle laying"
in 18 reviews
"beach mats"
in 14 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 29 reviews
"next morning"
in 27 reviews
"amazing experience"
in 32 reviews
"rooms are basic"
in 14 reviews
"spent the afternoon"
in 8 reviews
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in 17 reviews
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in 13 reviews
"green turtles"
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274 - 278 of 608 reviews

Reviewed 3 May 2014

You arrive at Selingan Is after approx 45 min in a speed boat. You're given a run down of how the day will unfold and shown to your rooms. The facilities are basic, but clean. Sometimes there isn't any hot water for showers and it's a bit salty. The purpose of my visit wasn't about the accommodation though, so i was happy enough.

After being shown to your rooms you have free time until lunch. We enjoyed a swim and relax on the beach. You can also hire snorkels and fins etc. There is a limited area for swimming and lifeguards are on patrol.

All meals are provided and are a buffet style (there was one vegetarian in our group who was well catered for - in fact said it was the best vegetarian food she'd had all trip!). You can buy drinks & ice-cream at the shop there.

After lunch you get free time until about 6pm.

"Turtle time" for us was about 8 pm we had 39 in our group, so it was 39 people around one laying turtle (they don't split the groups until they get to 40) which was a bit difficult to see, but our guide did a great job of getting us good viewing positions. While it'd be great to be able to split in to much smaller groups we have to keep in mind that this is a conservation effort, so disrupting more turtles would defeat the point.

After seeing a turtle lay, we then went to the hatchery to implant her eggs. After that we were taken back down to the beach to release about 50 baby turtles. It felt quite touristy to me, but it was great to experience it all the same.

The highlight of my trip was finding a baby turtle who hadn't been released with the others in his group, so we were able to take him down to the beach with the assistance of our guide. That was an experience and a half! The next morning we were also lucky enough to witness some more babies making their way out of the sand. :)

Volunteers work all night releasing the other babies and often only get to bed moments before we woke. We were told that peak period is August to October.

You can book the trip directly through Crystal Quest tours, however I found having a guide a huge benefit (I went through Borneo trails).

Thank i_am_julesaswell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2014

First of all I cannot understand the negative reviews on here. We had an amazing experience on Turtle Island.
We arrived just before lunch with our guide. Yes the rooms were a bit basic but who cares. They had air con which was more than other places we stayed in Malaysia and were neat and tidy. Lunch was a bit average - buffet. We brought some snacks over to supplement but there is also a little shop that sells food (I guess expensive for malaysian standards but still cheap for us compared to Australia). But at the end of the day you are there for the turtles not for a luxury resort and 5 star food. If you don't enjoy wildlife don't go.
So we spent the afternoon at the beach, which is beautiful. The water was amazing, you could see other islands in the area, and it is a nice walk around the Island. You can also hire snorkel gear if you wish. The island looks like a war zone due to craters everywhere in the sand from all the previous turtles!!
So after dinner, our guides explained the evenings program and then we watched a short video on the turtles and they have a little museum that you can wander round and look at the displays.
We were very lucky at about 8.15 we got a call to say that a turtle was laying so we all rushed down to the beach. Sure enough their was a mother turtle, so we all crowded around and watched. She laid 77eggs so plenty of time for everyone to get to the front and see. afterwards they measured her etc and then we went back to the hatchery to watch the rangers bury the eggs. Next we got to go back down to the waters edge and see about 50 hatchlings released back into the water.
So everything that happened that night was amazing but my partner and I were lucky enough to have an ever better experience the next morning. You are not allowed on the beach by your self between 6pm and 6am so we got up early and were on the beach at 6am with the aim of taking photos of sunrise. We had just walked onto the beach and heard a noise. We looked over and sure enough there was a large turtle in the sand, burying her eggs. We couldn't believe our luck as we were the only ones there so was a magical experience. We watched sunrise and gave her some privacy and then we were fortunate enough to see her walk back down the sand and enter the water, which was incredible.
All and all, it was a great 24hours, the island is managed really well and everyone seems passionate about the turtles. And I would highly recommend getting up early the next day as you never know what you will see :)

3  Thank Jjeennzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2014

Due to engine problems we had to wait almost an hour at Turtle Island Park before continuing trip. Possibly we've been spoiled as we were not really impressed . Nice sandy beach to the sea . But nothing spectacular. Some young turtles were kept to be released shortly . If it's your only possibility to see turtles , might be interesting to spend a day or two there . No info on food other than there's a small shop that also sells cold beer.

Thank NLxpat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 April 2014

Agree with the other reviews, this is a must do. Rooms are basic & may not have hot water, but they do have air con! Food is a basic buffet which is adequate for one night.
"Turtle Time" is what you are there for & that didn't disappoint. We saw 144 eggs laid, were educated on turtle breeding & watched hatchlings released back to the sea.
Combine this with a trip to Sepilok (or more - we did the Sandakan Wildlife Safari through Borneo Eco Tours) & you will have a great wildlife experience.

2  Thank Borneo50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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