Home | Shop | Kinabatangan River | Sukau, Sabah | Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River | 4 Day | Sabah, Borneo

Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River | 4 Day | Sabah, Borneo

(20 customer reviews)

RM1995

This is a great value four day package which pulls no punches when it comes to maximising your wildlife encounters. This 4D3N Trip is a great choice and includes overnight stay on Turtle Island, two nights at a Lodge along the Kinabatangan River, 4 x river cruises, 3 x treks, a visit to Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and Gomantong Cave. Turtle Island gets fully booked so book this trip well in advance.

Price per challet *

Please choose whether it is for an Adult or Child.

1/2 Day Sandakan City Tour

Visit some of the famous sites in Sandakan including the water village, St. Michael's church, World War 2 Memorial and Puh Jih Tshih temple. This add on activity happens during the afternoon of the last day of the trip.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

Visit a feeding session at Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary for the chance to watch these very special monkey's close up. The visit to the Sanctuary happens during the afternoon on the last day of the trip.

Rainforest Discovery Centre

Visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre for a guided walk and learn more about the plants endemic to Borneo and the rainforest environment, including a walk along the raised canopy walkway. This add on activity will happen during the afternoon on the last day of the trip.

Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Add on a visit to the Borean Sun Bear Conservation Centre as part of your trip. You will visit the Sun Bear Centre after the visit to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River – Join a Four Day Wildlife Adventure in Sabah, Borneo

The 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip is one of our most popular trips. It’s easy to see why when in one trip you get to join the following amazing wildlife viewing activities:- Turtle Island, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, join four river cruises along the famous Kinabatangan River, visit Gomantong Cave and go trekking in the rainforest (twice at night and once during the day). All this at a great value 4D3N Trip price! For those wanting to include more wildlife viewing activities, you can also choose to add on visits to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and the Sun Bear Conservation Centre (at a small extra charge).

Wildlife Dreams Coming True In Borneo – Turtles Nesting, See Orangutans And See Wildlife At The Kinabatangan River

During the 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip you spend one night staying at the Resort on Selingan Island, otherwise known as Turtle Island. You will then spend two nights in a Superior Agamid Detached Chalet at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge located along the banks of the Kinabatangan River near Kampung Bilit.

After four days of wildlife viewing adventures at Turtle Island and the Kinabatangan River why not add on a snorkeling or scuba diving adventure from Kota Kinabalu with Borneo Dream in search of marine life. Our Guided Snorkeling Trip, or PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience, are both perfect choices for exploring the tropical waters and coral reefs near Kota Kinabalu.

Trip Itinerary – 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia

Day 1 (Meals: L & D) – Travel to Turtle Island

Today follows the same outline itinerary as Day 1 of the 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip – find a more detailed daily itinerary on this 3D2N Trip page. If you are flying into Sandakan Airport this morning to join the 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip please check recommended flight arrival times on the 3D2N Trip Page.

Afternoon: Upon arrival at Turtle Island you will have the afternoon free to explore the island, chill out on the beach or go snorkeling 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 & D)

Today follows the same outline itinerary as Day 2 of the 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip – find a more detailed daily itinerary on this 3D2N Trip page.

Today you will visit a morning feeding session a Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, join a late afternoon river cruise along the Kinabatangan River in search of wildlife and join a guided night trek in the secondary rainforest located behind Kinabatangan Nature Lodge. As an optional extra during your Turtle Island and Kinabatangan River experience, you can choose to join an introductory local dance session this evening after dinner and before your night trek. The Lodge team will teach a traditional dance from one of the tribes found in Sabah such as Sumazau (a KadazanDusun dance) or daling daling (a Bajau dance). An opportunity for learning more about Borneo’s rich culture and having a bit of fun!

Overnight at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge along the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Stay 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.

Explore and Relax – 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia

Day 3 (Meals: B, L & D)

06:00hrs: Join an early morning river cruise and see the wildlife as they awake from a night’s sleep. Various species of wildlife may be seen such as Proboscis Monkeys, Leaf Monkeys, Macaques, Gibbons and even the Orangutans.

07:45hrs: Return back to the Lodge for breakfast at 0800 hrs.

09:00hrs: After breakfast, you will start your trek through the nearby secondary lowland rainforest to the nearby Bilit Ox-Bow Lake. You will be led on the trek by your Nature Guide who will explain more about the plant life and insect life found in the rainforest.

11:30hrs: Return to the Lodge for lunch at 1200 hrs.

13:00hrs: You now have a chance to rest and chill out at the Lodge before your late afternoon river cruise.

16:00hrs: Join another late afternoon river cruise along the Kinabatangan River for more wildlife sightseeing.

18:00hrs: Return to the Lodge. Dinner will be served at the Lodge.

~20:00hrs: Join a guided night trek following a different trekking route behind the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.

Overnight at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.

Day 4 (Meals: B)

06:00hrs: Join an early morning river cruise to see more birds and wildlife.

07:45hrs: Return to the lodge for breakfast then check out of your Chalet.

09:15hrs: You will be transferred to Gomantong Caves, located on the largest limestone hill in Sabah.

~10:30hrs: Continue your journey back to Sandakan and transfer to either your hotel or Sandakan Airport (it is recommended you book a flight departing from 14:00hrs onwards).

Trip Pre-requisites – 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia

This 4D3N trip is open to all.

Trip Inclusions

  • Return road transfer as mentioned and return boat transfer to Turtle Island.
  • Meals: 3 Breakfast, 3 Lunch & 3 Dinner.
  • Visits (and entrance fees): Turtle island, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Gomantong Cave.
  • At the Kinabatangan River: 4 x river cruises (2 mornings & 2 late afternoons), 2 x guided night nature walk, 1 x trek to an Oxbow Lake. The Kinabatangan River cruises included with this trip will travel as far upstream as ~7km to Pontian Point and downstream maximum ~ 10 km to Tenegang Besar Point.
  • One night accommodation at Turtle island in twin sharing room with attached bathroom.
  • Two nights’ accommodation in an Agamid detached chalet (twin/double/triple beds, ensuite shower room and toilet, aircon) within the Agamid Wing of Nature Lodge Kinabatangan.
  • Guiding throughout your trip by a knowledgable, passionate English speaking licensed Nature Guide.
  • Access to free flow coffee/tea and fresh water at the restaurant at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
  • Limited free drinking water is provided at Turtle Island Resort (1 small bottle per person at lunch and dinner).
  • 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) and Gomantong Cave (RM30 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 limited free drinking water is provided by Turtle Island Resort. There is a single supplement of RM212.00 on top of the trip price 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

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 trousers (long trousers are required for the Oxbow Lake trek), long shorts, binocular, 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 – 4D3N 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 sea sickness 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 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 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 6:00 pm – 6:00 am.
  • Only one (1) turtle sighting per night is allowed for visitors to Turtle Island.

Triple sharing is only allowed for children below the age of 12 years old with parents. If weather, or other factors (e.g. landslide), makes an activity unsafe the Lodge will adapt the trip itinerary for safety reasons. There will be no refund if a trip itinerary needs to be adapted on the day due to safety reasons.

The Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River trip price is valid for trips up to 31st December 2022.

20 reviews for Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River | 4 Day | Sabah, Borneo

  1. Yvonne Millington

    We had an amazing time. Our guide in Kinabatangan- Omar – was brilliant at spotting wildlife so thank you so much! We loved the trip and already returning to do another trip one day. Thanks for organising everything so well.

  2. Sarah Wood, UK

    Your guides on both trips were absolutely amazing, everything ran on time, the food was amazing. We all really really enjoyed the trip. The tour guide we had on the turtle island trip, she was brilliant, so much so that other people on the trip thought we’d paid for our own guide. She was full of knowledge and her English was perfect. We had Mohammed as our guide in the jungle, he was very very good. Again, full of knowledge and he looked after us very well. I can’t forget to mention all of the other staff, the chefs, waiting staff etc, everyone was very polite and professional. I have many friends that live in Asia and they have seen my photos and are all asking about my itinerary. I will be sure to recommend your company to them and in fact to anyone else that asks.

  3. Andrew Booker, UK

    Our trip was amazing thanks in no small part to your team, everyone we had contact with was professional, friendly and a credit to your organisation, special mention to Sam for Selingan and especially Mohammed at Kinabantangan who’s ability to spot wildlife is uncanny, we saw wild Orang Utan and pygmy elephant as well as a supporting cast of other primates reptiles and birds. Mohammed also went the extra mile to arrange extra activities on our last day plus we got to meet his beautiful family.
    The timings, transport and accommodation were all excellent.
    Thanks for a great trip, we would certainly recommend Borneo Dream to anyone visiting Borneo.

  4. Ann Mulloy

    We had a truly amazing time in Borneo and thoroughly enjoyed our Turtle island and Kinabatangan River trip. The whole trip was fantastic and we were looked after tremendously from start to finish.

    Watching a nesting turtle was a breath-taking experience. The accommodation on the island although a little basic was indeed more than adequate and the staff were so friendly and knowledgeable, they really seemed to take pride in their work.

    Ichy, our guide who met us at Sandakan airport and travelled to turtle island with us was again fantastic, courteous and informative at all times.

    The Kinabatangan River trip was another fantastic adventure and again we were looked after from start to finish. Our guide at the lodge, Mohammed deserves a special mention as he really did seem to go that extra mile in ensuring that we saw as much wild life as possible whilst out on our boat each day. He was so informative and genuinely seemed to enjoy his job and spotting the wildlife as much as we did. We saw orangutans, crocodiles, proboscis monkeys and many species of birds.

  5. Karen McCarthy

    Our experience in Borneo was amazing. The guides were great and really knowledgable. Particular mention to Ichi who was fantastic and really good with our children. And Ramzan (in photo) seemed the best guide on the water always first to spot the wildlife.
    We were fortunate to see Orangutans and an elephant swim across the river. The welcome was lovely from the ladies at the lodge and the buffet food was excellent and plentiful.
    I would definitely recommend your tour company to our friends in the UK.
    Leia was very helpful via email before we travelled and always returned our questions promptly.
    Overall 5 star experience thank you

  6. Chrystal O (TripAdvisor)

    Amazing trip – The trip was fantastic. One of the best I have been on. Booking through Borneo Dream was easy and the whole process was smooth. It was good to book through Borneo Dream as we did not have any problems along the way with the company who actually took us on tour.

    We did the 4D3N tour with Nasarlis Lavartus tours having booked through Borneo Dream. The tour itself was quite simply incredible and all the guides and drivers were superb. They were knowledgeable, kind and made sure we were satisfied at all times. I connected particularly well with Edmundo Jr, who is one of the most passionate people I have ever met and is more than willing to talk your ear off about all things Borneo. Khairul was our guide for our river cruises and he too was great, he had a really good eye for the wildlife which enabled us to spot a wild Orangutan, crocodile, hornbill, macaques, proboscis monkeys and several more, the list goes on. He was entertaining (even at 6am) and made sure that we were satisfied.

    Kinabatangan Nature Lodge – All of the staff at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge was so friendly and welcoming; we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. The setting was perfect along the banks of the river and staying in the jungle hearing monkeys and other animals around you was an experience in itself. On the river cruise we saw an Orangutan, crocodile, hornbill, macaques, proboscis monkeys and several more, the list goes on.

    Thank you so much. I will recommend the company to my friends and family.

  7. Lollybelle85 London, United Kingdom (TripAdvisor)

    Great service – Borneo Dream, in my experience, is a fantastic tour company to use.

    From the moment I sent my first email enquiringly about the 4D3N turtle and river tour, they were unbelievably helpful and patient as I dithered about what I wanted to do.

    Winnie (the person on the other end of the email) was fabulous. A real asset to your company. Whatever I asked Winnie came back to me quickly and with all the information I needed.

    All tour guides/drivers we encountered during our stay were amazing. Clearly love their job and are passionate about what they do.

    Turtle Island was a wonderful experience and again everyone who works there was great!

    Kinabatangan Nature Lodge is brilliant – totally recommend it – and stay for 2 nights you’ll get so much more out of it.

    Our guide at Kinabatangan was called Mohammad and he is brilliant! Great English, sense of humour and very knowledgeable.

    I highly recommend this tour company if visiting Borneo.

    Thanks for organising such a great trip

  8. robert t Oudenbosch, The Netherlands (TripAdvisor)

    The best you can get! – We have done several excursions with Borneo Dream and Travel Tours.
    And everything was perfectly arranged, from the beginning till the end!

    They have a great team, which respond to your questions very quickly.
    They also think with you, to offer the best experience in Borneo.

    We have done Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River | 4 Day | Sabah, Borneo.
    This excursion i can recommend to everybody. It is such a amazing experience to witness the turtles on the Island. From laying their eggs on the beaches till releasing the new bornes into the Sea ! I guess a once-in-a-lifetime-experience.

    And after this, you will have a great wildlife experience at the Kinabatangan River.
    I can keep talking for hours abt. the tour, but just book it and you will have no regrets for sure. Take the extra packages, but esp. LABUK BAY PROBOSCIS MONKEY SANCTUARY. This was such a wonderfull experience as well.

    At Kota Kinabalu we took the snorkling excursion at TARP incl. the zipline 🙂
    We saw a lot of fish and nice corals, even some sharks ;). Again great to do.

    Also we did the Hot springs tour, which we liked, but overall it was such a long day with traveling. Keep in mind you will be traveling a lot of hours on the road. It is a personal choice if this interesting or not for yourself (you spend easily 4-5 hrs in a buss)

    We had a great time and if we will travel again to the beautiful Borneo, we will ask them for sure for advice and good excursions !!

  9. Tommy Smith

    It was possibly the best trip I have been on in my travels and I have down quite a few. Everything ran so smooth and your help with flight advice and timings was a big help. The turtle island was something very special and there were only 8 tourists on the island which was perfect. The river cruise and lodge I think we got very lucky as we seen everything, we seen a herd of around 40 Pygmy elephants which was extremely lucky. The guides were friendly and so good at there jobs, our guide at the lodge was called apok and he was awesome. All in all a perfect few days.

  10. Niamh

    We enjoyed the most amazing experience to Turtle Island and to the Kinabatangan River with Borneo Dream and their tour partner Nasalis Larvatus.

    Turtle Island is a gem which really needs to be seen to be believed. We saw a turtle lay eggs and also released the baby turtles which had hatched that day to the sea which was a beautiful experience.

    We visited the Orangutan and Sun Bear sanctuary on our way to the Kinabatangan River.

    During our stay on the River we saw a vast array of wildlife in their natural habitat including many species of monkeys and horn-bills, crocodiles and lots and lots of other creatures. We did not encounter any pigmy elephants which was unfortunate.

    The accommodation on Turtle Island was basic but you’re there for the turtles. Don’t be expecting must from it.

    The accommodation in the detached chalets in the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge was good, a clean room with en-suite and air conditioning.

    The food in both was good and there was lots to go around and enough for seconds!!!

    Our tour guides were very knowledgeable and we would recommend this tour.

  11. Yanika and Craig

    We were really impressed by Borneo Dreams. We booked a 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip with them. We also asked to add in some extra things, like Gomantong caves, and different departure times and drop off points and they were very accommodating. They replied to emails promptly. The lodge at the river was nice and the guide very knowledgable- we were incredibly lucky to see elephants on all 3 river trips, as well as a saltwater croc, lots of hornbills, proboscis monkeys and a wild Orang-utan. Turtle island was an incredible experience- such a beautiful place and the work they do, conserving the turtles is inspiring.
    I would highly recommend this company- we had a guide with us the whole time and everything felt safe and organised

  12. Karin (Switzerland)

    We enjoyed every moment of our 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip. The organisation was excellent and the service of Borneo Dream very efficient and helpful.

    Both of the guides, Arthur (Seligan) and Mohamad (Kinbatangan) did a great job and we felt in good hands.

    Thank you for this great adventure!

  13. Cassie

    We had an absolutely fantastic experience with Borneo Dream and Nasalis Larvatus. Borneo Dream were faultless in their customer experience in the run up to our booking the trip. They were always incredibly quick, efficient and patient in answering all of our questions – and we certainly had a fair few before actually clicking that ‘book’ button.

    The star of the whole trip was our guide James. He was so knowledgeable, friendly, reliable, approachable and generally really good fun & relaxing to be around. It wouldn’t have been the same without him! I can only hope others will be lucky enough to also have him as their guide, I can’t imagine anyone better?!

    During our 4D/3N trip we saw so much wildlife we were really quite spoilt. Turtle Island was a particular highlight, where we were lucky enough to spot 3 natural hatchings on the beach during the day time (This is not a common occurrence!), as well as the turtle laying eggs at night. The Kinabatangan River trip was also magical, the lodges were fabulous and eco-friendly and was a real treat to hear the sounds of the jungle at night. During the river trips an Orangutan in the wild, along with the humorous proboscus monkeys, the crazy macacques, cute silver langures, and so many beautiful birds I wouldn’t even know how to begin naming them (kingfishers & hornbills I do remember!).

    I recognise there are other groups offering a similar package but Borneo Dreams really stood out in their highly organised, professional yet incredibly friendly service. And overall it was a trip we will treasure forever 🙂

  14. Ptitsyna Liudmila

    Everything was organized on the best level. Food, premises, excursions, guide, price-quality rate – everything was fine. It was so wonderful to observe the wild animals – proboscis’s monkey, orangutans, birds, turtles and ets. Thank you very much for this opportunity.

  15. Sophie

    My husband and I loved this part of our honeymoon. We saw more wildlife than we dared to dream of; it was a real privilege to see turtles, orangutans and Pygmy elephants in particular! We had a wonderful guide who was entertaining and knowledgeable and the whole experience was wonderful. Would highly recommend.

  16. Nikki Cheetham

    My husband and I had a really brilliant trip organised by Borneo Dream to Turtle Island and the Lower Kinabatangan River. Our guide, Rudy, was professional and fantastically enthusiastic, going the extra mile to ensure we were seeing all the wildlife and helping us to understand what we were seeing. He is a great asset to the company. The entire trip was very well organised.

  17. Ania Jakubowska

    I would like to thank Borneo Dream Travel & Tours and Nasalis Narvatus for perfect organization and effort put to make my tour so interesting and comfortable. I want separately thank to tour guides, Terance on the Turtle Island, and specially Dino at the Kinabatangan river for commitment and great atmosphere. I learnt a lot about Borneo’s wild nature and will take home wonderful memories.

  18. Lady Of Misrule, UK (TripAdvisor)

    Open Water Certification & 4D 3N Jungle Adventure
    We took our Open Water Certification with Borneo Dream after doing some research of dive schools in the local area. We settled on them as they had good reviews and good prices. We were not disappointed! Our instructors were really knowledgeable with decades of diving experience between them and doing the course was so much fun! Our confined water dives we did just off Sapi Island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, which I was really pleased with, we had tropical fish swimming all around us as we learned the basics, & it felt like a more comfortable transition from learning to actual diving than maybe doing the confined dives in the pool would have been. The dives themselves were really fun, we did 2 on the House Reef and the other 2 in the Coral Garden, different sections each time. Saw a bunch of pufferfish, lionfish, barracuda, stingrays, mantis shrimp, a moray eel and loads of other fish.

    We also chose to book with Borneo Dream for a 4D3N tour, which took in a Turtle Sanctuary, where we got to see a Turtle give birth and then some baby turtles released into the wild, which was magical. We initially thought this might be a if you’re lucky kind of situation but it happens every night. And it’s great. Second day we visited the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and the Sun Bear Sanctuary in the morning, both of which were awesome, and then went to the Kinabatangan Lodge in the jungle, where we stayed a further 2 nights. During this time we took two sunrise river cruises, two sunset river cruises, 2 night hikes through the jungle and one trek to an Oxbow Lake. This entire experience has been incredible. In the wild we saw Orangutans, Proboscis Monkeys, Silver Langurs, Saltwater Crocodiles, all kinds of birds and spiders and scorpions and generally just had an amazing time. Falling asleep in our bamboo hut listening to the sounds of the rainforest was truly magical. On the last day we visited the Gomantong Caves and we saw a mother and baby Orangutan and some red leaf monkeys as an added bonus to the cave itself, which was immense and really cool.

    Big shout out to our Jungle Guide James, who was with us for the whole four days and was an all around great guy. He was really knowledgeable and really friendly and approachable – an amaing guide, we couldn’t have hoped for better.

    Really enjoyed both of our experiences – thanks Borneo Dream! 🙂

    Visited February 2016

  19. Rosalind & Roanna

    Very well organised. Happy with the lodge service.
    Guide Dino is a good organiser. Overall we have enjoyed this trip.

  20. Erica Hu

    Borneo Dream provide a professional guide , we get lots of useful information from him. It’s really helpful for foreign tourist, so we get a perfect trip from Borneo Dream.

Add a review

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.

  • Kinabatangan River

  • How do you get to the Kinabatangan River?

    At 560 kilometres long, the Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest river with the lower reaches of the River being home to a rich concentration, and diversity, of wildlife. This makes the Kinabatangan River one of the most popular places for tourists to visit during their holiday to Borneo. The simplest way to get to the Kinabatangan River is too join an organised tour. As the Kinabatangan River is located towards the east coast of Sabah the starting point for most tours to the River is from Sandakan (Sandakan Airport or from a hotel in Sandakan). 

    How do you get to Sandakan?

    Sandakan is a middle-sized city located on the east coast of Sabah and well connected to Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. The main ways to travel to Sandakan from within Sabah are by plane, by public bus or by private transport.

    By plane

    Internal flights operate daily from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) and Tawau to Sandakan Airport. Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines operate daily flights from these airports to Sandakan. You can also fly direct from Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL) to Sandakan Airport on a daily basis. Flying to Sandakan is an easy, quick option and if flights are booked well in advance you can typically pick up low price tickets with the airlines.

    By public bus

    A slightly cheaper option than flying is to catch a public bus to Sandakan Bus Station. You can catch a public bus from bus stations in Kota Kinabalu, Semporna or Tawau to Sandakan. The most popular bus route is from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. In Kota Kinabalu, you will need to go to the northern bus terminal (located in Inanam). There are several buses here going to Sandakan on a daily basis. We’d suggest you try and catch the first buses to depart in the morning as it’s a long journey to Sandakan bus station (a ~ 6 – 7 hour journey). 

    By private transport 

    This includes hiring a car to drive to Sandakan, using a local taxi or via an organised private coach transfer. 

    How do I get to the Kinabatangan River Independently?

    For independent travellers wanting to arrange their own way to the Kinabatangan River, there aren’t any direct public transport services to the two main villages on the river which provide access to Lodges on the Kinabatangan River – Bilit & Sukau. You would need to use local bus service and ask to be dropped off at Sukau Junction, followed by catching a transfer with a local van from Sukau Junction to either Bilit or Sukau (a ~ 45km journey). For this option, you still need to have booked a stay at a Lodge near the Kinabatangan River and arranged a transfer with the Lodge from your drop off point. This option may be a cheaper alternative to an organised tour but is a lot more hard work and involves more time for the amount you may save.   

  • Where can I see pygmy elephants in Borneo?

    The pygmy elephant (or Bornean pygmy elephant) are the smallest elephants in Asia and are endemic to Borneo. With only about 1,500 Bornean pygmy elephants left on Borneo, they are classified as critically endangered. For those visiting Borneo to see wildlife, the Bornean Pygmy elephant is likely to be in your top 5 of things to see. Encountering a herd of these elephants is unforgettable, and often once in a lifetime, experience. Whilst Borneo is big (it’s the third-largest island in the world) the pygmy elephant can only be found in a limited area in the forests of northeastern Borneo (with most found in Sabah, Borneo). The pygmy elephants migrate throughout the year, following a traditional corridor, and the top three places to see pygmy elephants in Sabah, Borneo are as follows:-

    Kinabatangan River

    The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is a narrow corridor of Protected lowland rainforest along the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Herds of the Bornean Pygmy elephant migrate through this sanctuary and when they are passing through they can be seen for a few days along the banks of the river as they forage for food. If you are lucky to be visiting the Kinabatangan River whilst they are in the area you will have the privilege of being able to watch the elephants during morning and afternoon river cruises. As with all wildlife encounters, sightings cannot be guaranteed but the more days you spend at a Lodge on the Kinabatangan River (and therefore more river cruises you join) the increased chance of seeing the rarer wildlife finds like the pygmy elephant. 

    Danum Valley

    Danum Valley, or Danum Valley Conservation Area, is one of the largest protected areas of primary rainforest in Sabah and offers a ‘safe-haven’ for the pygmy elephant and other wildlife found here. Elephants can often be seen along the access roads into Danum Valley, as well as roaming through the forest. There are two locations tourists can stay at in Danum Valley to see wildlife – Borneo Rainforest Lodge and Danum Valley Field Centre. At both locations, you are able to join guided treks into the forest, and guided night drives, in search of wildlife including the Bornean pygmy elephant.

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve

    Tabin Reserve is considered to be the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia and covers an area of lowland forest of approximately 300,000 acres. It is home to the Bornean pygmy elephant as well as many other endangered wildlife species. Similar to Danum Valley, the access roads and guided treks into the forest provide the best opportunities to see pygmy elephants. There is one location tourists can stay at in Tabin Reserve – Tabin Wildlife Resort.

  • Where can I see orangutans in Borneo?

    Seeing an orangutan in its natural habitat is one of the top reasons for coming to Borneo. In Borneo, there are around 11,000 orangutans in Sabah and 1,600 in Sarawak. In Sabah, the top three places to see orangutans in the wild, along with other wildlife encounters on offer, are the Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Reserve. 

    Kinabatangan River, Sabah

    the Kinabatangan River is one of the best wildlife-watching destinations in Southeast Asia. If you spend a few days here joining river cruises you will have a very good chance of seeing an orangutan in the wild. Wildlife watching on the Kinabatangan is done from boats making this location suitable for a range of ages and fitness levels. The Kinabatangan River is the easiest and most ‘comfortable’ option in Borneo for seeing Orangutans in the wild.

    Danum Valley, Sabah

    Danum Valley is the best place to see wild orangutans in pristine, undisturbed forest. Sightings are not ‘guaranteed’ but there is a pretty good chance of seeing an orangutan if you spend a few days at Danum. You will join guided treks into the forest in search of wildlife (including orangutans). The trekking is relatively easy so you don’t need to be super fit. 

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a large protected forest area covering 122,500 hectares. At Tabin, there are reasonable chances of seeing an orangutan by joining guided treks into the forest but they are not as high as Danum or the Kinabatangan. 

    Alongside these ‘seeing orang-utans in the wild’ options, you also have the chance to see orangutans at the world-famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. At Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre illegally captured, orphaned and injured orangutans are taught to survive in the wild again. The Centre has two feeding sessions a day which is open to the public during which you can go to a raised platform to watch the orangutans come in from the surrounding forest to be fed.

    Which one of these options is best for you for seeing orangutans in Borneo depends upon your budget, how to fit you are, how much time you have and the way you want to go in search of orangutan (by foot, boat or 4WD safari). Choose one, or more, of the above options to have the best chance of seeing an orangutan in Borneo.

  • How far is Kinabatangan River from Sandakan Airport?

    The journey from Sandakan Airport (SDK) to Kinabatangan River (Bilit) is 156 kilometres and takes 1 hour 57 minutes approximately. The route it takes is:

    Follow Jalan Airport and Jalan Lintas Labuk to Jalan Ranau – Sandakan/Jalan Sapi Nangoh/Route 22 for 8 min (5.1 km)

    Follow Jalan Ranau – Sandakan/Jalan Sapi Nangoh/Route 22 and Jln Sandakan-Lahad Datu/AH150 to Kinabatangan for 1 hr 13 min (73.9 km)

    Take Jalan Sukau to Jalan Kampung Bilit for 32 min (36.8 km)

  • How far is it from Kinabatangan River to Danum Valley Feild Centre Office in Lahad Datu?

    The route to the Danum Valley Feild Centre Office in Lahad Datu is 124 kilometres and takes approximately 1 hour 54 minutes. Here is the normal route:

    Take Jalan Sukau to AH150 for 32 min (36.8 km)

    Follow AH150 to Lorong Fajar 1 in Lahad Datu for 1 hr 19 min (87.0 km)

    Take Lorong Fajar 2 and Lorong Fajar 6 to Lorong Fajar 9 for 2 min (190 m)

  • Is Kinabatangan River safe to visit?

    As far as we know looking at local papers and government announcements There has never been any history of a security or criminal acts in the Kinabatangan area. This also includes Danum Valley, Tabin, Selingan island and Lankayan Island. However, there was a very small isolated incident on the outskirts of Sandakan.

  • Shopping Cart
    Scroll to Top