Malaysia My Destination : Info about Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia Capital - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Putrajaya : Federal Territory - Malaysia
Selangor : Central Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Terengganu : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Kelantan : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Pahang : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Johor / Johore : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Malacca / Melaka : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Negeri Sembilan / The Nine State : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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Perlis : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
Sabah : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
  Welcome
 
  Sabah Map 1
  Sabah Map 2
   
  Eco Treasures
  Celebrations & Festivals
  Unique Ethnic Group
 
  PLACES OF INTEREST :
 
  Beach Holiday
  Island Holiday
  National Parks
  Tamu Sunday Market
  Golfing
 
  KOTA KINABALU (KK):
 
  General Info
 
  Tourist Attraction
  Aquarium & Marine Museum
  Handicraft Market
  Jesselton Point Waterfront
  Kipandi Butterfly Park
  Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
  Monsopiad Cultural Village
  Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
 
  BEAUFORT:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  KENINGAU:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  Crocker Range National Park
 
  TENOM:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  Agriculture Park
 
  KOTA BELUD:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  Pulau Mantanani Island
  Tamu (Sunday Market)
 
  KUALA PENYU:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  Pulau Tiga Park
 
  KUDAT:
 
  General Info
 
  Beautiful Beaches
  Island, Diving & Fishing
  Tanjung Simpang Mengayau
 
  Rungus Longhouse
  Honey Bee Village
  Gong Making
  Tamu Kudat
 
  KUNDASANG & RANAU:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  Fish Massage
  Kundasang War Memorial
  Sabah Tea Garden
 
  Kinabalu Park
 
  General Info
  Flora & Fauna
  People Of Mount Kinabalu
  Poring Hot Springs
 
  Trails Of Wonder
  The Summit Trail
  The Mesilau Route
  Climbing To The Peak
  Via Ferrata
  Trails Map
 
  PAPAR:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  SIPITANG:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  TUARAN:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  Crocodile Farm
 
  SANDAKAN:
 
  General Info
 
  Tourist Attraction
  Agnes Keith House
  Gomantong Cave
  Lower Kinabatangan River
  Rainforest Development Centre
  Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary
  Turtle Island Park
 
  LAHAD DATU:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  Danum Valley
  Tabin Wildlife Reserve
 
  SEMPORNA:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  TAWAU:
 
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
 
  Bukit Gemok
  Tawau Hills Park
 
Labuan (Federal Territory) : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Sarawak : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
 
 
 
SABAH - EAST MALAYSIA / BORNEO MALAYSIA
SANDAKAN : Turtle Island Park
 
 

TURTLE ISLANDS PARK

About 40km northeast of Sandakan on Sabah?s east coast lay three small islands; Selingan, Gulisan and Bakungan Kechil. These form the Turtle Islands Park. Covering a total area of 1,740ha including the surrounding reefs, the park is a breeding ground for the Hawksbill and Green turtle (Chelonia mydas).

 

Throughout the year, these turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Hatcheries exist on all three islands, which are famed for their crystal clear waters and wonderful coral reefs ? excellent for diving or just snorkeling. Gazetted as a marine park in 1977 to protect the breeding habitat of these sea turtles, the park also provides accommodation for visitors. In order to fully protect these delicate breeding grounds, park staff are resident on all three islands. Vegetation on the islands is typical small oceanic island and includes mangroves, scrub vegetation, the yellow flowered saphora and the furry, silver leaved tournefortia. The island?s flying foxes visit when the fruit trees are in season. However, the turtles are the main attraction.

 

Green and Hawksbill turtles come ashore throughout the year to lay their eggs. The Hawksbill seems to prefer to lay its eggs on Pulau Gulisan where the beach vegetation is particularly favourable. The peak nesting season for the Green turtles is from July to October while more Hawksbill turtles come ashore between February and April. The turtles come at night and haul themselves up to an area above the high watermark where they use their rear flippers to excavate an egg chamber. Laying between 40 to 200 eggs (although the average is 50 to 80), they then cover the eggs with sand to conceal the site. All new turtles that come ashore are tagged by park rangers and measured to gain a clearer picture of growth, distribution and population.

 

Freshly laid eggs are dug up and relocated to secure sites. Hand placed in pits 75cm deep, the eggs are then surrounded by plastic mesh and given an information plate detailing a serial number, date of collection and the number of eggs. The environment determines the sex of the offspring. As cooler nests produce males, warmer ones, females, some are shaded to provide the correct sex ratio. After about 50 to 60 days, the egg will hatch, usually at night, and the offspring are later released into the sea. Only a small number will survive to adulthood.

 
 

 
 
ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES
  • Turtle nests

  • Hatcheries

  • Clear seas

  • Coral reefs

  • Diving

  • Snorkeling

  • Swimming

  • Fishing

 
 
PLANNING AN ITINERARY
 

A visit to these islands is a must on your itinerary, if you are interested in the conservation of these turtles.

 

 

Pulau Selingan

Almost 8 hectares in size is the second largest island in the group.  The turtles come ashore on the east and southwestern parts of the island to lay their eggs before returning to the sea.  They normally come ashore after 7:30pm but have also been seen nesting in the early hours of the morning between 5 - 6am.  Accommodation is available on the island for those who wish to stay overnight to witness the nesting.  A restaurant is also available for visitors to enjoy hot meals.

 

Pulau Bakkungan Kecil

This is the largest island and it lies close to the Philippines border.  Active mud volcanoes are also present here. These are not true volcanoes but originate as mineral-rich mud, expelled from deep below the surface.  The favourite nesting places of the green turtles are the beaches on the northern and western shores of the island.  There are no accommodation facilities on Pulau Bakkungan Kecil.

 

Pulau Gulisan

The island is a mere 1.6 hectare in size but remains one of the favourite haunts of the hawksbill turtles which lay their eggs on the northern, eastern and southwestern beaches.  All sea turtles eat marine animals such as sponges, marine worms and mollusks and the hawksbills are no exception.  Being carnivorous, they feed on the invertebrate animals of the coral reefs.  The adult green turtles however, are strict vegetarians, limiting their diet to the underwater grass and seaweed.

 
Nesting

The turtles really take their time laying their eggs.  The whole ritual of emerging from the sea, then choosing a suitable site and clearing the area before laying its eggs (about 40 - 90 eggs per batch);  concealing the eggs with sand and finally taking their leave takes one whole hour!    So be prepared for a long wait if you wish to observe the nesting.

 

Hatcheries

Park staff collect the eggs and transfer them to hatcheries where every effort is made to ensure successful hatching. After an incubation period of about 50 - 60 days, the hatchlings dig they way up to the surface and they are later released to the sea from different points around the islands. They are then on their own, to survive the dangers at sea and perhaps return one day to lay their eggs on the very same shores as their mother once did.

National Parks in Malaysia - Turtle Islands Parks in Sabah, East Malaysia or Borneo

 
 
 
GUIDELINES FOR VISITORS

The park was created to protect the natural environment especially the sea turtles, the coral reefs and other marine life.  There are therefore stringent rules which visitors are advised to observe.

 

Visitors are forbidden from engaging in any of the following:

 

  • Wander along the beach after dark.  The Park Ranger will inform them when there is a turtle laying eggs.

  • Build campfires, shine bright torches on the beach, sing, dance or play music on the beach at night.

  • Disturb the turtles during the nesting process by coming too close or crowding around her.  Instead, visitors are advised to watch the nesting from a distance.

  • Under any circumstances, ride on the turtle, pull her flippers, turn her over, jump on her or injure her physically.  Such acts of abuse may have adverse effects on future nesting returns.

 

Night photography is strictly forbidden on Pulau Selingan but allowed on the other two islands with permission from the Park Ranger.  Collecting any plant, animal or other living or non-living things is strictly forbidden without prior written permission from the Director of Sabah Parks.  Fishing, however, is permitted with hook and line only.

 

 
ACCOMMODATION

Although all three islands are staffed by wardens, only Pulau Selingan, the most developed, has accommodation and a visitor interpretative centre. A small restaurant serves simple meals. The number of visitors to the island is limited to only 38 per day.

 
 
FURTHER INFORMATION

Permission to visit the Park must be obtained from Sabah Parks and is currently coordinated by the sole agency of Crystal Quest, located at Sabah Park Jetty in Sandakan.

 
 
VISITING PERIOD

Throughout the year.

 
 
ADMISSION FEES

Adult : RM10.00

Children : RM6.00

Night photography of turtle landing (unaided by flash) : RM10.00

 
 
GETTING THERE
 

From Sandakan Harbour, it takes about one hour by speedboat to reach the park. Make sure that you catch the 9.30am speedboat service from the Sabah Parks jetty at Jalan Buli Buli Sim as there is only one trip to the island daily and the ride to Selingan takes an hour. Alternatively, you can charter a speedboat. Local tour companies operate visits.

National Parks in Malaysia - Turtle Islands Parks in Sabah, East Malaysia or Borneo

 
 
 
SANDAKAN : Turtle Island Park
SABAH - EAST MALAYSIA / BORNEO MALAYSIA