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“Incredible experience!”

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Selingan Turtle Island
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pulau Selingan
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Incredible experience!”
Reviewed September 2, 2012

We booked a trip to turtle island as part of a three night tour with Tropical Gateway Tours and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Our adventure started with a 45 minute boat ride to the island. This is a good opportunity to see the water villages of Sandakan and other islands in the area.
Upon arriving we were given a briefing of what to expect during our stay before checking in to our rooms, then enjoying free time to swim, snorkel and explore the island.
The rooms bere basic but clean and comfortable. there was even air conditioning and hot water which I was not expecting.
At night, after dinner is when the action starts. We were first taken into their museum and given a talk about the sea turtles then shown a short documentary on the big screen. Following this it is just a matter of waiting for the turtles to start arriving.
At approximately 8:30pm the first turtle arrived to nest and lay eggs. We were split into two groups and taken to witness the mothers laying. It was incredible to be able to get so close while she layed her eggs.
After this we were taken to watch the rangers bury the eggs in the hatchery, then we went back to the beach to watch the newly hatched turtles released into the ocean.
In the morning my friend and I took a walk around the island and observed all the tracks left by the nesting turtles through the night. We even found a baby turtle that was struggling to find its way to the ocean so we helped it in the right direction.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner was included in the package with snacks available for purchase.
Turtle island is an amazing experience. You will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank BB1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London
Level 6 Contributor
159 reviews
76 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 195 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2012

We've just got back from our Borneo holiday and the whole family is in agreement that this was the best bit. We did however get very lucky - we saw a few baby turtles hatch out of the sand on the beach and make their way into the sea, and then at around four o'clock a whole nest of them burst forth and scuttled down the beach. The island has rangers who take the eggs away as soon as they're laid and put them in hatcheries. Occasionally they miss a turtle and so the eggs are laid naturally and the baby turtles have to make their own way to the sea. There were quite a few Chinese tourist day-trippers who got rather animated about the whole thing (and a little boy who almost stepped on a few of the baby turtles) but they were good-natured and without their excitement we might not have noticed the turtles hatching at all.

We also hired snorkels and went in the sea. There's a roped-off area you can go in, but it's big enough that you can potter about looking at the fish and not get bored. This was my daughter's first time snorkelling and it worked very well as she could just go straight in from the beach. The variety of fish was great too and there were some colourful corals. It wasn't Red Sea or Great Barrier Reef standard, but pretty good nonetheless.

In the evening, after a tasty dinner, we waited for the mother turtles to arrive. I was disappointed that we were in the second group as we had young kids who were tired, but we only had to wait five minutes after the first group went out. There was disappointment again as something spooked the turtle (probaby over-enthusiastic photographing) and she stopped laying, but a friendly ranger offered our guide another turtle for us to watch so we got to see the eggs coming out. It's all a bit surreal to be honest - the turtles are huge and the pit they drop the eggs in is lit up like a mini Olympic stadium. Meanwhile flashes of lighting in the distance lit up the beach every so often. They showed us the eggs being buried and released some new hatchlings into the sea, but having seen the natural hatching in the afternoon we found this less interesting.

We were told that the rooms would be basic, and compared to the Shangri-La where we'd been staying, they were, but they were fine for one night and had air conditioning.

The next morning we found more baby turtles wandering around the huts trying in vain to find their way to the sea so we picked them up and helped them on their way. Everyone clears the island early(7am) to make way for the next day's arrivals. All in all it was a great adventure and truly memorable and certainly gives you an insight into the lives of these vulnerable and threatened creatures.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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3 Thank rosiefromlondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leidschendam, The Netherlands
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2012

We went on a tour with Borneo Guides for one day and one night on the island. Getting there from Sandakan takes two hours by boat. We arrived at 10:20AM. After lunch (included) we hired snorkels, 10RM (3.80euro) and walk to the ‘bounty’ beach with an enclosed area where snorkeling was allowed. I did find the Red Sea a better snorkeling place but the island did beat Belize, Thailand and Tanzania by far.
After diner (included) we did need to wait till we called to hurry to an egg legging turtle. We did need to stay behind the turtle. We did got a good view to the process. It was allowed to make pictures if you did buy a license (10RM) but flash was strongly forbidden (it scares the turtles away). The change to make a good picture in the dark is very small. The turtle did produced 50 eggs. After several minutes the last of the 50 eggs were possessed. The turtle was measured (shield 89 by 90cm) before we went back. After that we could see the process of burying the eggs in a secured area and after that the releasing of one nest of hedged baby turtles into the sea.
We did leave early in the morning after breakfast (included).
Only one or two (when fully booked) turtles are being viewed by tourists. The night we were there 34 turtle did lay eggs on the small island. Some places on the beach has many flies at night time.
The room was better than expected. Nothing to complain here. The meals where ok but not great. Drinks where not expensive.
I did find the island a terrific place to go. The snorkeling is good, the almost empty beach beautiful and the experience with the turtles was great.
GPS 6.175288, 118.060915

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fareham, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed August 17, 2012

When going to Selingan you must remember why you're there; to share in the experience of seeing turtles and turtle conservation at close range 30 miles out in the Sulu sea. If you want 5 star luxury then watch a documentary about turtles on TV. To be honest I would have slept on the ground to have the privilege of seeing a female turtle at dawn complete her nest and drag herself down to the sea. Fantastic.

The team at Selingan are doing a tremendous job whilst still balancing responsible tourism with conservation. I could not recommend this trip more highly. The accommodation and food is basic but adequate, the lifetime experience is unequalled.

Room Tip: Stop worrying about the room and get out there and see the turtles
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Polybin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seremban, Malaysia
Level 6 Contributor
57 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
Reviewed August 11, 2012

We went there end of May, sunny day, we had a wonderful holiday with sun, sand and turtle.

There is a limited accommodation in the island, hence we were start booking 6 months in advance. However, the price we get was shocked!! Please do not hesitate to ask few agents to get comparison, in the end all will get the same “treatments” in the island, there is no VIP or luxury service (it is a luxury trip to have a private island and beach). Therefore, please get the cheapest deal when you make booking. At first, I got a quote from KL agent with RM980/pax for 2D1N. Than we can easily find cheaper rate on line, even we get lower rate from local agent in Sandakan, it was just 2 weeks before we stay (perhaps we got last min offer, I am not sure.)

We have to depart from Jetty at 9.30am, and the journey take around 1.30 hour. After that we have plenty of time to enjoy at the beach after lunch. We did snorkeling and swimming in the crystal clear sea water. All the swimming equipments are available to rent with the reasonable price. There is no other network coverage, only Celcom is working well there. No other entertainment, no wifi and no TV in your room. All back to basic and wish you have a well rest.

The most important show start after dinner, 8.30pm, depends the first turtle arrive in what time and weather. We did nothing and wait, there is an exhibition hall upstairs to spend your time. Please bring play card, it can spend your time while waiting.

We were lucky to have first turtle at 8.45pm, the ranger brings us to see turtle laying the egg, please bring torch light the journey is dark. After that we visit hatchery for hatchling and last release the baby turtles. The whole process spends you approximately 1.30hrs. It is only one round, no second round. However, we do appreciate and feel touching to their effort to protect wildlife, we shall show respect to them.

Next day, the breakfast start at 6am and we depart to Sandakan at 7am. However, please try your luck to the beach and see any other turtle, it is what my friend did and he saw a last turtle just finish laying egg and heading back to sea.

It was a meaningful trip for us and unforgettable, I feel shame as a Malaysian who do not aware there is such a beautiful place to have turtle laying egg everyday, I was fool just think only east coast of Peninsular Malaysia have a chance to see turtle during selected season.

Please prepare insect replica, sun block, drinking water and isotonic drink. It is one bottle drinking water provided, but is not enough and is not cheap selling there. Fullboard meal provided with Asian food serve with rice, just do not understand why they do not provide spoon, only serve with fork and knife… again, no drinking water to be served, only coffee and tea.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank WeilekHo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed June 8, 2012

We booked our trip directly with crystal quest as we were travelling independently. We turned up at the jetty and they were expecting us. The boat ride was just under an hour and not too choppy. The island was beautiful - white sandy beach and turquiose sea. The room was lovely and very spacious with good aircon and great shower (not sure what other reviewers were used to but I wouldn't describe it as basic!) Also the food was great - a reasonable choice of fresh buffet dishes and plenty of it. Daytime you are lazing on the beach (or you can hire snorkelling kit at a small price to swim about viewing the coral reefs and plentiful fish) and after dinner everyone waits in the dinner area until the ranger calls the first nesting of a turtle. The turtle viewing is well managed - the ranger describes what is going on, ensures everyone in the group gets a view and is ultimately very protective of the turtle. They collect the eggs the turtle lays and you see them placed in the hatchery with a label. Finally it's back to the beach where they release the newly hatched babies and everyone cries Ahhhhh when they all scramble across the sand and into the waves.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank 4dchops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kent uk
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2012

we booked with Borneo Adventure on a two night,three days Sandakan adventure.Their partners in Sandakan were S.I. Tours who looked after us for the whole of the duration. The lodge at Selingan turtle island was very basic .We had twin beds with a shower and toilet. We only had one pillow each and asked if we could have another pillow which they said they would leave in our chalet, when we arrived back at our chalet which was near on midnight I saw that they had left me an extra pillow but was covered in brown stains and was filthy dirty, how anybody could expect me to lay my head on that,so ended up sleeping on top of the bed in my jeans etc.also the bedding could have been cleaner. I have complained to Borneo adventure and S I Tours who have passed my comments on and the chalet operators is aware of the need to improve things. This month they have started to renovate some of the chalets.lets hope they bin the pillows as requested.Selingan is a monopoly, there are no other accommodation options on the island, in contrast there are various lodges along the Kinabatangan River. Getting back to turtle island, we only stayed one night here with lunch and dinner provided.After dinner we waited for the ranger to call us as he was on watch seeing if any turtle were coming in to lay their eggs. We got a call at 9pm as two turtles had arrived, it was amazing standing round seeing the turtles laying their eggs , each turtle laid about 80 eggs and then the ranger carefully put the eggs into a bucket and transfered them to their hatchery. We were also very fortunate to see a bucket full of baby turtles being let out to sea, we were so pleased that we had seen this. We came here in March which is not the time of the year when most turtles come in to lay. however I understand from our ranger that 16 turtles came in that night. Our guide was Remy,he made this tour as he was so friendly and knowledgable

Room Tip: sorry cannot say as they are renovating some of the chalets
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank angie001fromkent
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

Property: Selingan Turtle Island
Address: Pulau Selingan, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan Division > Pulau Selingan
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pulau Selingan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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