Turtle Islands Park
The Turtle Islands Park is made up of three islands in the Sulu Sea off the coast of Sabah's East Coast and near the maritime border with the Philippines. The three islands are Selingan (sometimes spelled Selingaan), Bakkungan Kecil and Pulau Gulisan. Selingan is the largest and is the only one of the three Island's which allow visitors to stay overnight.
The Islands making up the Park are the breeding grounds for Hawksbill and Green Turtles. At night, mother turtles come up onto the beach and lay their eggs in the sand. Park Rangers check and tag the turtles before removing their eggs and placing them in a hatchery. Each night newly hatched babies are released into the sea.
Selingan, the only island which allows visitors, is a very popular tourist destination.
Flora and fauna
Visits to Selingan are only available as part of organised tours. Tour operators downtown charge 750 - 800 Ringit per person but the same package can be purchased directly from the company that operates the island, Crystal Quest, for only 480 Ringit, including conservation fee and camera fee. The Crystal Quest ticket office is right at the pier where all island-bound ships take off, a 5 min cab ride / 10 min walk from downtown Sandakan and is open from 8am - 1pm every day. Travel to the Island takes about an hour by boat from Sandakan. Expect large groups.
A camera fee of RM10 is charged for photography of the Turtles during the night viewing. Video cameras and flash photography are banned.
Overnight visitors to Selingan Island are given the opportunity to view a mother turtle laying her eggs; see the Ranger's bury the eggs in the Hatchery; hold a hatchling and witness the hatchlings being released into the see. Visitors are not allowed to roam the Island during the hours of darkness and meet in the cafeteria to await being called by a ranger when a turtle has landed in a spot which allows her to be viewed without being disturbed.
During the day, visitors can enjoy the beaches and snorkel in the sea. Snorkels and fins are available for hire on the island.
Buffet meals are provided in the cafeteria as part of the visit to the Island.
Accommodation is provided in basic but clean and comfortable Air Conditioned chalets.