Turtle Island Park consists of a number of uninhabited islands lying in the Sulu Sea, off the east coast of Sabah.The park comprises three small islands, Selingan, Gulisan and Bakungan Kechil. Selingan, the largest of the islands, houses the park’s headquarters, a turtle hatchery, tourist accommodation and basic facilities. The other two islands are more for conservation activities.
Two species of turtles. Greens and Hawksbill are special festures of this park. Turtle landings usually occur after dusk. The park has a sensible policy of allowing visitors to see only one landing a night. This allows undisturbed nestings to go on throughout the night.
Whilst waiting for the evening’s highlight, all that is left to do is to laze on the beach at sunset or snorkel. The west side of the island is ideal for this. It’s clean, quiet, and offers some interesting coral and sea life. Wander around the island and you’ll be surprised at how many turtles would have landed in the last few days; their tracks, like mini-tractors, remain in the sand for days.
The driest months and the calmest seas are between March and July. The peak egg laying season is July to October. The seas can get rough between October and February.
The nearest mainland town to the park is Sandakan. Your tour operator will organise a speedboat pick-up service to and from Turtle Island Park. It takes about one hours to reach the islands by boat.
Turtles lay eggs at night, it is best to find out more about catching a sighting at the hatchery, where they are very well informed.
How to get there
From Sandakan jetty, you can arrange a speedboat to take you to Turtle Island. The journey takes about two hours.
There is accommodation available only at Pulau Selingan. The number of visitors is restricted to a maximum of 38 people a night. It is important to book in advance.