Frequently Asked Questions About Selingan Island:
1. How do I get to Selingan Island?
Selingan Island is located just 40 kilometres North off the coast of Sandakan. Once you arrive at the local airport in Sandakan (about a 45-minutes flight from Kota Kinabalu), you can head straight for Sabah Jetty Park. From there, the island is just an hour-long boat ride away!
2. Where can I stay in Selingan Island?
The sole accommodation on the island are the Chalets, which are basic but pretty clean and comfortable. Each chalet is equipped with an attached bathroom, electric charging ports, air conditioning and furnishing. The facilities may be simple, but complement perfectly the experience of being out here in the tropics and watching one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful creatures.
Only a few units of these chalets are available, with a limited number of visitors at a time. So, you’ll need to book well in advance with a tour operator if you want to enjoy the whole overnight experience at Selingan!
3. What should I bring to Selingan Island?
You’ll only need to pack lightly for this trip. Most necessities such as food, water, towels, bedsheets, and shampoo are provided for your convenience. Some essentials to bring are:
- Drinking water bottle
- Personal medicine
4. What can I do in Selingan Island?
Selingan Turtle Island, as the name suggests, is a great place to watch green turtles. They visit the island at night, coming ashore to lay their eggs. This would likely be the highlight of your trip here. Afterwards, you’ll also get the opportunity to personally release hatched baby turtles into the sea!
Since most of the ‘action’ occurs at night, visitors are left to spend time at their own leisure during the day. Luckily, it’s pretty much the perfect place to take a stroll, read a good book, or just relax under the tropical sun. The crystal-clear waters surrounding Selingan are also awesome for swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling (snorkel equipment is available for rent).
5. Is it suitable to bring families with children to Selingan Island?
Definitely! Huddling together and watching as turtles slowly make their way to nest upon the shore, before witnessing cute hatchlings being released into the sea – that makes for an unforgettable experience for any kid.
6. Can I take photos or videos during my stay?
You may take photos, but videos are strictly prohibited. Flash photography is also NOT allowed, as the sudden burst of light may disturb wildlife and interfere with the turtles’ routine. Also, please keep in mind that you will need to pay a fee of RM10.00 per camera (whether phone, digital, or still camera). Don’t worry, this fee goes to a good cause – helping the Turtle Islands National Park’s conservation efforts.
7. What conservation efforts are being organised on Selingan Island?
Selingan is a safe haven for endangered species such as green turtles and hawksbill turtles, giving us a rare opportunity to study and protect them at the same time. Eggs laid along the shore are collected and transplanted into an incubation chamber, preventing predators from eating them (but not all eggs are collected – some nests are left alone to maintain the island’s ecosystem, as many animals rely on turtles and their eggs for survival).
The turtle hatchlings are then released into the sea at night to increase their chances of surviving.
Sabah’s turtle conservation programme is the oldest in the world, with some of the most detailed statistics and research available on the subject. It is a crucial project that aims to bring marine turtles back from the brink of extinction, allowing the majestic creatures to thrive once more for many more generations to come.
8. When is the best time to visit Selingan Island?
Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs at Selingan Island throughout the year, but the best time to head there is between July and October when the sea is calmer. There may be times where the waters could get a little choppy. As with any journey through the sea, your boat ride may get cancelled or postponed due to inclement weather conditions.
9. Is it safe in Selingan Island?
In spite of travel advisories issued from some countries, thousands of visitors enter and leave Selingan Island without incident. In fact, travel is still very safe due to the permanent military presence on the island, further enhanced with the deployment of police and military personnel at all tourist attractions in Sabah. An enforced nigh time curfew on boats also helps to restrict any unwanted incursions.
10. What are the weather conditions like in Selingan Island?
Being in the tropics, you can expect Selingan Island to be both hot and humid throughout the year. It also rains occasionally, which is to be expected. Temperatures here range between 28°C to 30°C. It’s perfect for sunbathing, but be sure to apply a generous amount of sunscreen, as the tropical heat can get pretty intense sometimes!