This was our 3rd night of a short tour out of Sandakan - the last night after 2n on the Kinabantagan River all arranged through SI tours who were excellent.
After the 1 hour speed boat from Sindakan Sim Sim Jetty we arrived about 1130am.
The Island is a National Park - so has Rangers permanently stationed here to monitor the turtles. The accomodation is run by Crystal Quest. This is a small island (approx. 500 m across) with one side of the island available for snorkeling — which was fine. Very shallow reef with bleached corals - but some new coral growth evident and a really great array of marine life to see. Not the best in Borneo I'm sure but pretty good in safe waters. The beach is picture postcard pretty, very quiet as only limited numbers on the island and watched over by lifeguards.
Accomodation was fine - 4 chalets each with individual rooms. Our 3 rooms in chalet D were good - very clean with hot water. Even had an AC which seemed a bit OTT on such a small island — would be better if they put mosquito nets on windows so that you could have sea breeze with fans. Food and canteen were pretty dismal. Crystal Quest has a monopoly on the food and accomodation and came across as having a lump it or like us attitude.
The turtle watching in the evening (all Park Rangers) was great. There was very much a no touch rule and everyone respected the no flashes/no lights shining at turtles. No nesting was disturbed. The Rangers came across as caring, informative and committed.
They want to get you off the island at 0700 the next day — certainly you have to vacate room then. All a bit bonkers — another Crystal Quest issue. We managed to negotiate through our SI guide to leave at 0900 - which allowed us some time on the beach and further snorkeling (from 0830) before we left.
Also worth mentioning the Turtle islands are part Malaysian and others belonging to the Philippines. However, even with recent troubles further south in Sabah before our arrival we felt safe throughout our trip.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our trip here — despite Crystal Quest.
- Also Known As:
- Selingan Island Hotel Pulau Selingan