Peeping out of the Sulu Sea 40km north of Sandakan, three tiny islands comprise the TURTLE ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK. They are favoured egg-laying sites of green and hawksbill turtles, which haul themselves laboriously above the high-tide mark to bury their clutches of eggs almost every night of the year. Although all three islands – Pulau Selingan, Pulau Bakungan Kecil and Pulau Gulisan – hold hatcheries, tourists can only visit Selingan.

All the action is at night. As well as seeing a mother turtle laying her eggs, you can watch as the park wardens release newly hatched turtles that waddle, Chaplin-like, into the sea to face an uncertain future. Before dark there’s plenty of time – arguably too much time, given the lack of facilities – for swimming, snorkelling (equipment rental RM25) and sunbathing. Take precautions against sandflies, which can be voracious especially when it rains.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Malaysia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Malaysia

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Malaysia

Already gaped at the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, lazed on a white beach in the Perhentians, met orangutans at Sepilok and filled a whole SD card with…

31 Aug 2017 • Marco Ferrarese insert_drive_file Article
9 tips for backpacking Malaysia

9 tips for backpacking Malaysia

Despite having turquoise-ringed tropical islands, misty rainforests, cosmopolitan and arty cities, colourful festivals and one of the world's most interesting e…

08 Jun 2017 • Marco Ferrarese insert_drive_file Article
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month