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“Fantastic Experience!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Turtle Island Park

Turtle Island Park
Sandakan, Malaysia
6088 248 698 211 732
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Ranked #2 of 19 attractions in Sandakan
Type: National Parks, Nature/ Wildlife Areas
Activities: Viewing wildlife
Attraction Details
Adelaide, Australia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Fantastic Experience!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

We arrived in Sandakan on the early morning flight from Kota Kinabalu and were greeted by Lisa ou tour guide from Tropical Tours. She took us to town where we bought some raincoats as the weather was not looking good. It was very cloudy. Then we went off to the jetty, where we waited with some other people. I was relieved when we ended up in the bigger speed boat. The other people were in one of the smaller boats. The sea was very choppy!! Also the trip takes about 1 hour and I am not the best in boats. It was us four and two other young english couples. It was one of the roughest rides I have been in, but our driver was very good! He got us there safely and we were all glad to step foot onto the beautiful yellow coral sand! Selingan Island is not very big and is part of 3 other islands that take part in the turtle conservation program.However, it is a beautiful looking island. We checked into our accommodation. Now..this is pretty basic here. We had two separate rooms, so my husband and No:1 son took one room and i and no; 2 son took the other room. They just have beds,small bedside, aircon, and bathroom. There is no showerscreen, so the whole floor and toilet gets wet when you shower. Make sure you bring thongs to shower in. There is only soap. You need to bring shampoo etc. Once again don't forget your mozzie repellant. AT night time the military security guard tells you to stay inside Not safe he said! The Philipines are only 7km away. Lunch was great! Dinner a bit disappointed , chicken tough, fish ok, but sauces were nice. Then upstairs to watch a film about the turtle conservation. We found out through Lisa that the Philipinoes still come to sabah to the markets to sell turtle eggs. The fetch 2RM for one (not even $1). We now wait for the turtles. Luckily this evening it was not too late, about 8:45pm. We all madly raced to the beach and followed the ranger with the torch. And there she was ...laying her eggs...all 97 of them. They then measure the turtle, tag her and then collect the eggs and re-bury them . Then we got to watch as they released a bundle of baby turles. They were madly trying to get out of the basket! So gorgeous to watch them race towards the ocean. They are doing a great job here. It's amazing to think how remote the island actually feels, even though it's only 1 hour from the mainland. The staff here rotate every three months. The kids tried to do some snorkelling, but the sea was very rough so it was a bit hard for them. The water was still nice and warm. Just a shame the weather was a bit lousy..but we can't help that.We took our own snorkels, but you can hire them here. We still went exploring along the beach in our raincoats and the kids enjoyed this.We saw lots of monitor lizards and butterfly's. Apart from that there is not much else for them do to. Also I suggest to pack some snacks and bring a drink bottle. Luckily the next morning the weather was a lot calmer and this made me feel better about the boat ride back. This time only taking 45 minutes! We enjoyed our stay here and it was a great experience.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Good but not worth the hype!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

We stayed on Turtle Island for one night in September 2012. We were pleasently surprised by the accomodation - having been warned in advance that it was very "budget". The beds were comforatable, the water hot, plenty of snorkling equipment available to hire, clean rooms with plenty of communal areas.

The overall turtle experience was a little disorganised - we werent warned that we could be sat after dinner for many hours waiting for the turtles. Some board games would be great to help fill this time, or some books, or other forms of enteratinment. Watching the turtle laying her eggs was beautiful but the whole process of running to get there and watching felt a little chaotic - given that there are many turtles laying each night could this not be more organised!

The most dissapointing area was the food. I appreciate that it is an island and far away and that food has to be brought but it is easy to provide better food. Very limited fruit was provided - I would have thought this would bea cheap and easy thing to provide. A BBQ would be a better idea for the evening - it must be easy to get cheap/free seafood given the location! It also felt like there wasnt enough food to go around.

Overall, I'd say it was OK - but not the experience I expected, I would reccomend looking for other places to see turtles.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“Amazing experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

After a smooth boat trip of around 45 minutes we arrived at a stunning island paradise in the middle of the Sulu sea.

Yes the accommodation is basic but very clean in small chalet type buildings with around 6 rooms per building. Twin beds, a basic bathroom and a fierce air conditioner (that is most welcome in the heat and humidity). What is not mentioned too many times on here is just how beautiful the island is, that was a surprise to us.

We arrived around 10.30am were shown to our rooms then rested before lunch was served in the main building - basic food but actually quite nice. You can also buy drinks and snacks at the small shop. Then you can spend the afternoon looking around the island, which we did, or relaxing on the beach, if the tide is in then you can snorkel. The islands in the distance are actually part of the Philippines - hence why there are security police based on the island.

At night after dinner (again the food was good) you are shown a short film then have a tour through the information centre - then you hang around the main building waiting for "turtle time". When we were there the place was full so they split you into two groups with families allocated into the first group. We were in the second group and had a pretty long wait through two spectacular thunderstorms until 10.30pm when it was time to head to the beach to see the mother turtle laying her eggs.

Next it was time to release the little hatchlings - they are so cute, some did not want to go and raced backwards over our feet!! Eventually they made their way to the ocean - good luck guys.

Next morning after breakfast we headed back to Sandakan - reflecting on what an incredible experience we had. If you are in this area then do not miss this experience - bearing in mind it is not a 5 star luxury resort!

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“A little bit of paradise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

One of the absolute highlights of our Malaysia trip, Turtle Island is classic tropical paradise: a pile of sand, a small settlement and a bunch of palm trees. Yet, its mission is conservation and the prosperity of turtles and that's the focus of everyone on the island. We had brilliant weather and enjoyed an afternoon on the beach and snorkeling. We were lucky that a turtle came to nest around 8.30pm and it was an amazing experience to see her lay her eggs on the beach. If you're into nature, it's a must see. Accommodation and food are simple but adequate.

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Turtle Island Park”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

We went to Selingan Turtle Island on the 9th of January 2013 it is
a one hour journey by boat, just a covered boat with two outboards engines, we got a wet backside but so what we were on holidays and off to Selingan for an adventure, we got there late in the afternoon and found we had to carry our luggage up to the communal area which was no drama (should have left them at the Hotel in storage) twenty twenty vision afterwards, the island is a very simple affair do not expect five star treatment you will not get it, rangers control the area and it is very environmentally controlled, the turtles are the main concern and the breeding of them and protecting of them is paramount, we had a simple meal which was nourishing and were told the rules we could swim, snorkel etc up to 6pm after that the beach is closed as the turtles watch what is occurring on the beach and will not come in if any disturbance is noted. We were told to go have a sleep and come back for a meal early in the evening as the turtles could come in just after nightfall or later early in the morning have been noted as late as three AM, We assembled for dinner and waited - luck would have it one arrived at seven thirty PM and started laying eggs at eight thirty PM we all dashed off to see the laying of the eggs and were told no flash cameras and no shining of light into the turtles eyes, she finished here laying of the eggs and they were gathered by the Ranger, we then proceeded to the hatchery where they were buried, next was to take the hatched turtles to the beach for release. such excitement as they went scuttling off to the sea. no camera flashes of lights on them to protect them. once that was done off to bed after a quiet soft drink or whatever, a most enjoyable trip, simple, basic, no frills , and back to Sandakan early in the morning another wet back side, plenty of photo's.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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