Turtle Islands Marine Park

Turtle Islands Marine Park

Baby turtles!

More on Sandakan

Watching a mother turtle lay her eggs in a sandy nest and seeing the release of tiny hatchlings waddling across the beach is one of Sabah’s many highlights.

Travelfish says:
Turtle treads. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
Turtle treads. Photo: Sally Arnold

The islands span the international border separating Malaysia and the Philippines, with six in Filipino waters and three in Malaysian, the first trans-boundary protected area of sea turtles in the world. From Sabah it’s only possible for tourists to visit tiny Pulau Selingan and as turtles prefer to lay their eggs under the cover of darkness, you must overnight it on the island. Like many of Malaysia’s national parks, associated tourist services are privately managed—and extortionately priced. Many agents in Sandakan offer tours, but it’s more economical to book a package which includes transport, accommodation, and all meals directly though the managing company, Crystal Quest. This means however you won’t have the benefit of a guide when you get to the island, but it’s not really necessary as the rangers are very informative.

Boats leave Sandakan around 09:30 and it takes a bit more than an hour to reach the island. Seas can be rough. Ringed by powdery white sand, the island is your usual tropical cliche, and there’s plenty of time to enjoy swimming, snorkelling or just lazing about; other than this there is little to do. Snorkelling gear and beach mats can be hired. You are required to wear a lifejacket for swimming, and if not, you must sign a waiver. Beware of seasonal marine stingers and other poisonous sea life. The rangers will alert you to the dangers; there were some poisonous sea snakes nesting when ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 900 words.)

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Reviewed by

Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.

Tours in Malaysia



Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Sandakan

Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Meet the world’s smallest bears

Rainforest Discovery Centre
Rainforest Discovery Centre

Plants, birds, and jungle walks

Gomantong Caves
Gomantong Caves

Smelly home of birds' nests

Sandakan Memorial Park
Sandakan Memorial Park

Lest we forget

Agnes Keith House
Agnes Keith House

Colonial Sandakan

Kinabatangan River
Kinabatangan River

Wildlife, and more wildlife

Puu Jih Shih Temple
Puu Jih Shih Temple

Chinese temple with views of Sandakan

Sandakan Heritage Trail
Sandakan Heritage Trail

Historical treasure hunt