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Turtle Island | 2 Day | Sabah, Borneo

(8 customer reviews)

RM1045

Visiting Turtle Island is a popular choice for those coming on holiday to Sabah, Borneo. A visit to Turtle Island provides you with the opportunity to learn more about Turtle conservation efforts, watch a Turtle laying eggs and see Turtle hatchlings being released. During this 2D1N trip you will also visit Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. Turtle Island does get fully booked so book this trip well in advance.

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Turtle Island – Join a 2 Day Trip to Turtle Island Park, Sabah, Borneo

Enjoy an overnight trip to Selingan Island, more commonly referred to as Turtle Island, to see Turtles laying eggs. Turtle Island Park is positioned 40km north of Sandakan in the Sulu Sea. The park is a safe sanctuary for the scarce Green and hawksbill turtles. Experience the opportunity to observe turtle landings. The headquarters, turtle hatchery, tourist accommodation and basic facilities are based in Selingan – the largest island amongst other 3 islands on Turtle Island Park, Sabah, Borneo.

On the first day of this trip, you will be transferred to Turtle Island. You’ll have the afternoon free to relax on the beach or go snorkelling along the coral reefs fringing Turtle Island. In the evening you will learn more about Turtle conservation efforts at Turtle Island, watch Turtle hatchlings being released and watch a mature Turtle laying eggs – an amazing experience!

Visit Turtle Island And Learn About Turtle Conservation In Sabah, Borneo

During this Turtle Island trip, you will also visit on Day 2 a morning feeding session at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.  Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is world-famous for its efforts at helping orphaned or rescued Orangutans return to the wild. Last but not least, enjoy lunch before being transferred to your drop off location in Sandakan.

A visit to Turtle Island also works really well when combined with a visit to the Kinabatangan River to watch wildlife. Check out our 3D2N and 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip as other options which include visiting Turtle Island.

Trip Itinerary – 2D1N Turtle Island Trip, Sabah, Malaysia

Day 1 (Meals: L & D)

9:30hrs – 10:15hrs: You will be collected from your hotel within Sandakan, or at Sandakan Airport or your hotel near Sepilok. Recommended arrival flights at SDK are Air Asia flight AK6490 depart BKI 0845hrs arrive SDK 0935hrs, or Air Asia flight KUL SDK AK5192 arrive at SDK 0910hrs. You will be transferred by minibus/coach to Sandakan Yacht Club for your boat ride to Selingan Turtle Island Park. 10:45hrs: Your boat departs to Turtle Island.

The boat transfer to Turtle Island will take approximately 45 minutes (depending upon sea state). Upon arrival, you will register at the Parks HQ and check into your chalet.

12:00hrs: Enjoy lunch at the cafeteria. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the island, chill out on the beach or go snorkelling in the sea (snorkel gear is available to rent at Turtle Island).

Early evening: You will have dinner at the cafeteria. After dinner, Rangers will call you to observe turtles laying eggs. Watch the Ranger transfer the eggs to the hatchery and enjoy the opportunity to observe the release of baby turtles to the open sea. You will also be called by the Ranger when there is an opportunity to watch a Turtle nesting (laying eggs).

Overnight on Turtle Island in a twin share room (with ensuite shower room and aircon). Click here to see photos of Turtle Island Resort and the accommodation.

Day 2 (Meals: B & L)

07:00hrs: Depart Turtle Island on your boat transfer back to Sandakan. After breakfast, proceed to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center.

10:00hrs: Join the morning feeding session at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. At this world-renowned centre, come face to face with human’s closest relative, the Orangutans. Orangutans share 97% of the same DNA as humans. The Orangutans feeding time is at 1000 hrs. While Orangutans rehabilitation is still the primary goal at Sepilok, present aims include public education on conservation, research and assistance to other endangered species (such as captive breeding of the rare and endangered Bornean Rhinoceros).

~11:30hrs: You will be transferred to your lunch location. You’ll enjoy a tasty lunch at a restaurant in a Lodge located near Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

12:30hrs: After lunch, you will be transferred to either your hotel or to Sandakan Airport (it is recommended you book a flight departing from 14:00hrs onwards).

Trip Pre-requisites – 2D1N Turtle Island Trip, Sabah, Malaysia

This 2D1N trip is open to all.

Trip Inclusions

  • Return road transfer from Sandakan or Sepilok area to the jetty (Sandakan Yacht Club).
  • Return scheduled boat transfers to Turtle Island.
  • Meals (1 Breakfast, 2 x Lunch, 1 Dinner).
  • Visits (and entrance fees) to Turtle Island, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre feeding session.
  • One night accommodation on Turtle Island in a twin sharing room (with air-con) with ensuite shower room.
  • Guiding throughout your trip by an English speaking licensed Nature Guide.
  • Limited free drinking water is provided at Turtle Island Resort (1 small bottle per person at lunch and dinner). We suggest you take large bottles of water with you for your overnight stay at Turtle Island.
  • 0% Sales & Service Tax on the tour price as applicable from 6th May 2019.

Trip Exclusions

Camera/video conservation fee at Turtle Island (RM10 per item) and Sepilok Sanctuary (RM10 per item), extra bottled water, soft drinks or alcoholic drinks. Snorkel gear is available to rent at Turtle Island.

Upgrades are available for this tour – see add on options above. Tour price is based on joining a shared trip – surcharges are applicable if you add on a private boat for transfer to Turtle Island, private Guide or private minibus transfers.

Recommended Packing List For The Trip

To get the most from this trip please bring with you raincoat, cap/hat, insect repellent, sun cream, comfortable walking shoes, comfortable cotton T-shirt, long sleeve top, long or short trousers, binocular, torch, camera and personal medications (if needed). Please take you passport with you on this trip – your passports will be checked at Turtle Island. We recommend you take a large bottle of drinking water per person as limited free drinking water is provided by Turtle Island Resort.

Notes – 2D1N Turtle Island Trip, Sabah, Malaysia

The Turtle Island Park is located some 40km from Sandakan city. The boat ride from jetty to the island takes 45 mins – 1 hour. If you suffer from seasickness it is recommended you take sea sickness tablets. For boat transfers to/from Turtle Island Resort the Sandakan Marine Department on a daily basis, based on weather/tide update, will make a safety decision if boat transfers are allowed. In the case of choppy sea state parents may find the boat crossing to Turtle Island not suitable for infants. Persons with back problems or pregnant may find the boat transfer to Turtle Island unsuitable when there are rough seas.

Triple sharing is only allowed for children below the age of 12 years old with parents. 3rd adult will need to have his/her own room at an extra surcharge for single supplement. All tours are subject to weather conditions.

Sabah Parks (who manage Turtle Island conservation activities) endorse the following conservation, and safety, practices at Turtle Island. This is to minimise any negative impact on the Turtles who come to lay eggs on the island:-

  • Sabah Parks allow the only camera of unaided flash to take photographs of the turtle (Video/Digital Video Camera are not allowed).
  • Visitors are not allowed to go around the island on their own from 6:00pm – 6:00am.
  • Only one (1) turtle sighting per night is allowed for visitors to Turtle Island.

The Turtle Island trip price is valid for trips taken up to the 31st December 2020.

8 reviews for Turtle Island | 2 Day | Sabah, Borneo

  1. Rebecca Esteve

    I had a great experience at Turtle Island, Sepilok, Sun Bears, Probiscus Monkeys and war memorial. My guide for the day today, Aljua, was excellent. He was friendly, respectful, has great English and gave me lots of great information about each of the animal experiences.

  2. Andrea Fung

    We had the most amazing time ever!
    It was better than we expected!
    It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

    Our guide; Jack was the best ever!
    We had such a good briefing before everything started. So everyone knew what to do when the turtles were birthing etc.

    Jack also really made sure that we got the most out of this experience, and looked after us for making sure we had the best spot for pictures, up and close with the turtles.

    We were fortunate to be part of a small group of only 16 people so we could fully experience everything.

    Will definitely tell all our family and friends about your company and that they should request Jack as their guide to have the same wonderful experience we had.

    Thank you so much for giving us this nice experience.

  3. Bethan Comley

    What a trip!! It really was amazing and it was such a privilege to see a turtle nesting, the hatchlings being released and then a large male orangutan coming to check out the tourists the following day, I couldn’t have asked for more.

    I want to say a massive thank you to the guide, Abdul too. I had a message whilst I was on turtle island to say that my flights back the UK on the Saturday had been changed and he was very sweet and kind in helping me to come up with alternative arrangements and contacted the office to make sure that I was still able to experience the sanctuary on day 2 and still make it to the airport in time. His kindness and pro active attitude completely took the stress away from this frustrating situation so I was still able to completely enjoy the experience.

    I honestly can’t say which was my favourite part but I think the peace and tranquillity of the island was amazing. I came on the tour directly from quite an intense course and it was just what I needed before I came home.

    There is nothing that I would change about this trip – it was truly fantastic.

  4. Stephanie Hung

    I had a great time on Turtle Island!! It has been one of the highlights of my trip so far and probably from my past travel experiences as well!

    Our guide was amazing, very knowledgeable and was very very helpful with everything needed on the trip. He was always cautious of the timing of where everyone needed to be and made sure we were on schedule. He certainly made the trip worthwhile! He had the answers to all the questions asked and made us laugh which made the tour even more so enjoyable. He was willing to help and gave great advice where needed.

    Tour was very professional and guide was 10/10. I felt looked after and got the most out of the two days.

  5. WouldLikeaBeer Liverpool, United Kingdom (TripAdvisor)

    Turtle Island Trip – The online customer service provided by Borneo Dream was second to none. It is the best service I have received, in fact. I had a few queries before booking my 2-day 1-night trip and always received very detailed and helpful advice within 24 hours.

    I also received reminder emails and a very kind follow-up email after my trip. The service was truly exceptional.

    The trip itself was very easy to book. I had looked at other companies offering similar trips but found Borneo Dream to be better priced and much easier to navigate around their site. They have the great option of adding on other trips too, such as the sun bears or the probosci’s monkeys.

    My trip began with a private van collecting me from my resort and transferring me to the jetty in Sandakan. I was then taken by speedboat to turtle island where I had the most wonderful experience. It was a once in a lifetime trip that I would definitely recommend.

    The next morning I returned to the jetty and was collected by another private van and very knowledgeable guide. I was then taken to the orangutan centre, the English tea house for lunch and lastly to the proboscis monkey sanctuary.

    My guide was friendly, patient, kind and happy to help. I travelled alone and felt completely safe and comfortable the whole time. I was dropped off at my resort at the end of the day and I couldn’t have asked for a better trip.

    I compared the price of the trip with other companies and hotels offering tours in the area and found Borneo Dream to be the best price for a solo traveller as many other establishments require a minimum of two travellers and so double the price for solos.

    I would happily book a tour with Borneo Dream again and can comfortably recommend it.

  6. Lesley Tsourdalakis

    We absolutely loved our trip while in Borneo. Very special moments spent at both Turtle Island and the Kinabitangan. Saw so much wildlife exactly where it’s meant to be. Alas, the Orangutans remained elusive but we’ll be back to do it again and hopefully next time we may see them.

  7. Mandy Lewis

    We took the 2D1N trip to Turtle Island and it was amazing. The service was prompt from being picked up from our hotel, the guide was very knowledgeable and kept us informed of the programme at all times. The accommodation on the Island was basic but very clean and insect free!! Turtle Island was paradise and we saw a huge green turtle, another coming in to land and released baby turtles! We had our own bathroom and the food was plentiful varied and of a good standard. Luckily we got a smooth crossing to the Island and it only took an hour. It was great the programme was flexible as we wanted to see the Sun Bears. I would definitely recommend this trip.

  8. Gelder Family, UK

    Hi Joanne, Thanks for the link and the photos they are fabulous. I have now downloaded the photos so you can delete the link. We had a great time in Sabah with quite a variety of experiences. You organized everything wonderfully which meant we could just enjoy the activities. Our few days in Singapore were different again. We mostly just took in the ambience of the place by hitting the shopping Malls and then back to the hotel pool for the afternoon. I even managed to find a hotel with a waterslide just near to Clarke Quay. On our last day we took in the water park on Sentosa, no surprise there I suppose before getting the night flight back to the UK. Thank you once again and you never know we may return to Sabah. Alan, Helen, Matthew and Elizabeth

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Turtle Island

  • Where can I see turtles in Borneo?

    The most famous place in Borneo for getting the chance to see Turtles is Turtle Island located off the east coast of Sabah. The beaches of Turtle Island are visited every night of the year by two endangered turtle species, the green turtle and the hawksbill.

    Turtle Island (Pulau Selingan) is one of three islands in Turtle Island Marine Park dedicated to green and hawksbill turtle conservation, and the only island which permits visitors to view turtles nesting and hatchlings being released. The turtle hatchery and the turtle conservation programme on Turtle Island (managed by Sabah Parks) is the oldest in the world. To visit Turtle Island you need to book an overnight stay, typically as part of a 2D1N tour

    Nearby islands on the east coast of Sabah, such as Lankayan Island and Libaran Island, also offer a similar experience but on a smaller scale.

    If you are a scuba diver you also have the opportunity to see Turtles during dives at Sipadan and on islands located close to Sipadan, like Pulau Mataking. With Sipadan being a turtle nesting site you’re pretty much guaranteed to see Turtles (and several of them) on every dive. Turtles are also found along the coral reefs fringing the islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park located in front of Kota Kinabalu offering both snorkelers and divers the chance to see them (if you’re lucky).

  • Do turtles lay eggs all year round?

    Female turtles return to shore only to lay their eggs, on the same beach where they hatched many years before. Depending on the species, the location, and the temperature, the turtle nesting season varies. 

    Luckily Turtle Island in Borneo is one of the few places in the world where turtles arrive 365 days of the year to nest. Both green and hawksbill turtles nest at Turtle Island in high numbers which means the chances of seeing a mother laying her eggs are high all year round. The female turtles come ashore every evening to lay eggs, and can number up to 50 at a time during peak season (between July and October). The beaches are vacated each evening so as not to disturb the turtles and to encourage the turtles to return and nest multiple times.

    If you wanted to know a bit more about how often a female turtle will nest at Turtle Island most species nest several times during a nesting season every 2-4 years over the course of their lifetime. On average, sea turtles lay 110 eggs per nest, with 2 to 8 nests per season. The largest clutches are of the hawksbills, which can lay more than 200 eggs per nest. 

    This makes Turtle Island a great place to visit if watching a turtle nest (an amazing experience) is on your ‘must-see’ list when coming on holiday to Borneo.

  • Is Turtle Island Borneo safe?

    This question is often asked due to your country FCO advising against “all but essential travel to all islands off the eastern coast of Sabah”. To be able to answer this question we need to understand how FCO advice works, know more about the current safety situation in Sabah and what security measures are in place to keep Turtle Island safe.

    FCO advise is typically based on their assessment at the time of a security incident and not necessarily based on the current situation on the ground. As such travel advisories tend to err on the side of over-caution and their advice can take months if not years to be downgraded regardless of actual conditions on the ground.

    In Sabah there have been a small number of abduction cases / attempts at kidnapping between 2000 – 2016 with the Abu Sayyaf group being the main perpetrators for most cases. To address this security threat the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) was established a few years ago. ESSCom strives to reinforce security measures in the east coast of Sabah utilising military patrols, police and Maritime units. An enforced night time curfew on boats also helps by restricting undetected incursions. It is fair to say that since these measures have been taken, no security incidents have taken place so far.

    Turtle Island is safe to travel to with the military, Pasukan Gerakan Am (PGA), and ESSCOM both stationed at Turtle Island helping make sure tourists are safe when visiting the islands. The Resort is typically fully booked most days throughout the year with no known security issues ever happening at Turtle Island – so many visitors to Sabah have decided the risk level of visiting Turtle Island is acceptable to them. Where it is impossible to give a 100% assurance of security, we believe that Sabah is ‘very safe’ and we feel comfortable in sending our guests to visit Turtle Island.

    Ultimately it is a personal risk decision if you choose to go to Turtle Island. You need to decide if based on the known facts on the ground at the time if they represent a risk level to you that you’re happy to take.

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