The Turtle Island Park (gazetted 1977) lies 40km north of Sandakan in the Sulu Sea and consists of Selingan, Bakungan Kecil and Gulisan islands. The park is a safe haven for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles and gives you the rare opportunity to watch turtle landings. Selingan, the largest of the islands, houses the park’s headquarters, a turtle hatchery, tourist accommodation and basic facilities. The other two islands are more for conservation activities.
As turtle landings usually occur after dusk, an overnight stay would be the best plan to see the turtles as they come ashore to lay their eggs, but shining a light on them or using camera flashes should be avoided as either can be stressful on the creatures.
Turtles lay their eggs throughout the year, but the best time to head there is between July and October when the sea is calmer. Observe the collection of eggs, tagging of mother turtles and releasing of baby turtles into the sea.