Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Lite Backpacker: Why You Should Visit Turtle Island in Borneo

Selingan Turtle Island

Borneo’s turtle island is a once in a life time experience. A chance to get up close and personal with some of this planets ancient creatures, in a sustainable and environmentally supportive way.

Who doesn’t love turtles? Not loving turtles is like not loving puppies or kittens. They are amazing creatures who are simultaneously cute and awe inspiring.

While I was diving off the coast of Borneo on an island called Mabul, I didn’t go more than an hour in the water without seeing one. Actually, I also saw one from the deck of my accommodation as I watched the sun set.

They are everywhere. However, turtle island was by far the best “turtle experience”, not only did I get to see a mother turtle lay her eggs, but I got to see the hatchlings be released into the ocean. Magical!

Where is Turtle Island?

Turtle island is part of marine conservation park between Malaysia and the Philippines, just off the coast of Sabah, Borneo. It is a great example of international cooperation for wildlife, being jointly managed by the two countries to preserve the turtle hatcheries.

The best way to get there is through Sandakan, a seaside town, that is a launching pad to the island.

How to get to Turtle Island?

As turtle island is part of a highly protected marine park, there are only a limited number of visitors allowed on the island per day. Therefore, you cant just rock up or catch a boat there, you need to book a tour.

There are a few tour companies that run a monopoly on the tours, however, their websites are a bit hard to navigate. I found the best way to book was to email them, they will then send you a secure booking link.