Turtle Island and the Kinabatangan River – Get Close to Wildlife in Sabah, Borneo
Visiting Turtle Island (also known as Selingan Island) and the Kinabatangan River are two very popular choices during a holiday in Sabah, Borneo. With this 3-Day Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip, we bring together these two amazing locations in one easy-to-book trip package. During this trip, you enjoy an overnight trip to Selingan Island, followed by a night’s stay at a lodge located along the Kinabatangan River (Nature Lodge Kinabatangan).
Selingan Island is located in Turtle Island Marine Park and is positioned 40km north of Sandakan in the Sulu Sea. The Marine Park is a safe sanctuary for the scarce Green and Hawksbill Turtles. Selingan is the largest island among the other three islands in Turtle Island Park, Sabah, Borneo. At Selingan Island, you can observe turtle landings and nesting during your stay (which typically happens every night). The Turtle Hatchery will also release hatchlings at dusk as part of their ongoing Turtle conservation programme.
Explore the wonders of Sabah – 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia
After visiting Turtle Island, you will visit on Day 2 a morning feeding session at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre before being transferred to the Kinabatangan River to join river cruises in search of some of the amazing wildlife of Sabah. During your visit to the Kinabatangan River, you will join a range of wildlife viewing activities: two river cruises and a night trek. On the last day of your trip, you will also visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre before being transferred back to Sandakan.
If you want more wildlife encounter opportunities and you have an extra day free, then choose our 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River trip with the chance to enjoy more river cruises along the Kinabatangan River.
Trip Itinerary – 3-Day Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia
Day 1 (Meals: L & D)
~08:00hrs – 09:15hrs: You will be collected from your hotel within the Sandakan or Sepilok areas or at Sandakan Airport. If you are flying to Sandakan Airport to join the tour, you need to arrive at SDK by 08:00hrs. You will be transferred by minibus/coach to Sandakan Yacht Club for your boat ride to Selingan Turtle Island Park. 10:00hrs: Your boat departs for Turtle Island.
The journey to Turtle Island will take approximately 45 minutes (depending upon the sea state). Upon arrival, you will register at the Parks HQ and check into your chalet
12:00hrs: Enjoy lunch at the cafeteria on Turtle Island. 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 shared room (with ensuite shower room and aircon). Click here to see photos of Turtle Island Resort and the accommodation.
Day 2 (Meals: B, L & D)
07:00hrs: Depart Turtle Island on your boat and transfer back to Sandakan. You’ll then proceed to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center.
10:00hrs: Join the morning feeding session at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. The orangutans’ feeding time is 1000 hours. Orangutan rehabilitation is the primary goal at Sepilok.
11:30hrs – 12:00hrs: After the feeding session at Sepilok, you will go for lunch at a local restaurant in the Sepilok area.
13:00hrs: After lunch, you will be transferred to the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge, which is located in the Lower Kinabatangan River Sanctuary. The journey will take approximately 2 hours, passing by Kota Kinabatangan town and oil palm plantations. Once you arrive at Kampung Bilit, you will transfer to Kinabatangan Nature Lodge, just a few minutes by boat transfer across the Kinabatangan River. Welcome drinks will be served upon arrival.
15:00hrs: On arrival at the Lodge, you will have a welcome briefing, including an orientation of the Lodge and the surrounding area. Check into your chalet within the Agamid Wing of Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
16:00hrs: Join the afternoon river cruise along the Kinabatangan River to search for wildlife and bird life along the river banks.
18:00hrs: Return to the Lodge to freshen up and then enjoy dinner at the Lodge restaurant in the midst of the Kampung Bilit secondary jungle.
Afterwards, go for a guided night walk behind the Lodge to enjoy the wilderness and watch sleeping birds and nocturnal creatures of the jungle.
Overnight at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge in an Agamid Chalet (with twin or double bed, aircon and ensuite Shower Room). Click here to see photos of the accommodation at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
Day 3 (Meals: B)
06:00hrs: Join an early morning Kinabatangan River cruise to see more birds and wildlife.
07:00hrs: Return to the Kinabatangan River Lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, you will proceed to check out of your Chalet.
08:30hrs: Start your transfer by minibus/coach back to the Sepilok area.
~10:30 to 11:00hrs: Arrive at the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Embark on a journey along the Rainforest Skywalk, Sabah’s longest canopy walk, and soak in panoramic views across the rainforest canopy. Hopefully, you’ll see some of the exotic birds found here and possibly a sighting of an Orangutan. You’ll join a guided walk along one of the marked trails to visit “Old Sepilok,” the tallest tree at the centre. It’s like meeting a giant from the rainforest’s ancient past. If time permits, you will also visit the botanical garden and see some of the endemic flowers of Borneo.
12.30 – 13.00hrs: Continue your journey back to Sandakan and transfer to either your hotel or Sandakan Airport (recommended flight AK6497 ETD 2.50 pm or later). We hope you’ve enjoyed your Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip.
Trip Pre-requisites – 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia
This 3-day trip is open to all.
Trip Inclusions – 3-Day Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip
- Return road transfers as mentioned and return boat transfer to Turtle Island.
- Meals (2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunch & 2 Dinner).
- Visits (and entrance fees) to Turtle Island, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Rainforest Discovery Centre.
- At the Kinabatangan River: 2 x river cruises (1 morning & 1 late afternoon), 1 x guided night nature walk. The Kinabatangan River cruises included with this trip will travel as far upstream as ~7km to Pontian Point and a downstream maximum of ~ 10 km to Tenegang Besar Point.
- 1-night accommodation at Turtle Island in a twin-sharing room with an attached bathroom.
- 1-night accommodation in an Agamid detached chalet (twin / double or triple beds, ensuite shower room and toilet, aircon) within the Agamid Wing of Nature Lodge Kinabatangan.
- Guided throughout your trip by an English-speaking, experienced, passionate, licensed Nature Guide.
- Free flow of coffee/tea and fresh water are available at the restaurant at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
- Limited free drinking water is provided at Turtle Island Resort (1 small bottle per person at lunch and dinner).
- 0% Sales and service Tax on the tour price as applicable from 6th May 2019.
Trip Exclusions – 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip
Camera/video conservation fee at Turtle Island (RM10 per item) and Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (RM10 per item) and the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RM10 per item), extra bottled water at Turtle Island, soft drinks or alcoholic drinks. We recommend you take a large bottle of drinking water per person as Turtle Island Resort provides limited free drinking water. Single supplement if you book this trip on your own (for single sharing a room / Chalet).
The new Tourism Tax – the Tourism Tax is currently set at a flat rate of RM 10 per room per night and will be charged to Non-Malaysian or Foreign tourists from 1st September 2017.
Recommended Packing List For The Trip – Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River
To get the most from this trip, please bring with you a raincoat, cap/hat, insect repellent, sun cream, swimwear for Turtle Island, towel, comfortable walking shoes, comfortable cotton T-shirt, long sleeve top, long or short trousers, binoculars, torch, camera and personal medications (if needed). Please take your passport with you on this trip – your passports will be checked at Turtle Island and the Kinabatangan Lodge.
Notes – 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia
Turtle Island Park is located some 40km from Sandakan City. The boat ride from the jetty to the island takes 45 mins – 1 hour. If you suffer from seasickness, it is recommended you take seasickness tablets. For boat transfers to/from Turtle Island Resort, the Sandakan Marine Department on a daily basis, based on weather/tide updates, 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 who are pregnant may find the boat transfer to Turtle Island unsuitable when there are rough seas.
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 only the use of a camera with 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 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.
- Visitors to Turtle Island are allowed only one (1) turtle sighting per night.
At Turtle Island Resort, triple-sharing is only allowed for children below the age of 5 years old with parents. A third adult will need to have his/her own room with an extra surcharge for a single supplement. All tours are subject to weather conditions.
The Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River trip price is valid for trips taken up to 31st March 2024.