Turtle Islands Marine Park
Experience the miracle of turtle-birth
What we say:
About 40 kilometres off the coast of Sandakan, this group of islands is one of the most important sea turtle breeding grounds in Asia.
Almost every night green and hawksbill sea turtles emerge from the sea to lay their eggs in the sand of the exact same beach where they were born. To help boost the numbers of these endangered turtles, the eggs are collected by park rangers and moved to the safety of a turtle hatchery.
To allow visitors to observe the late-night laying, there is a simple guesthouse and cafeteria on the island. There are strict rules for observing the turtles (no flash photography, don't get too close), but according to what we heard in Sandakan, not all visitors seem to respect them.
The best time to visit is from July to October, but turtle nesting occurs throughout the year.
Independent travel to Turtle Island is not possible -- Crystal Quest is the cheapest option and can arrange a one-night stay including meals for 460 ringgit with a minimum of two people. Other travel agencies charge 550-650 ringgit per person (likewise with a minimum of two people).
Note we did not visit Turtle Islands Marine Park -- the above information was gathered in Sandakan.
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