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“Loved it” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Turtle Island Park

Turtle Island Park
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2-Day Small-Group Tour: Sandakan City and Wildlife Experience from Sabah
Ranked #6 of 29 things to do in Sandakan
Certificate of Excellence
Brunswick, Maine
Level Contributor
358 reviews
290 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Loved it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 February 2014

We initially tried to book our stay through Crystal Quest, but were unsuccessful. We used tropical getaways and we are glad we paid the money to go. It was a very relaxing day and then at night you wait for the turtles. We were fortunate and the mother turtle came at 8:00. The food was not great, so picky eaters may want to bring something along. The rooms are clean, basic, and have ac. If we were to find ourselves in Sandakan again we would go back. I also think that paying for the guide had it's benefit.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank chasetravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Santiago, Chile
Level Contributor
332 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
“Excellent experience but with some serious shortcomings”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 February 2014

We stayed here overnight as part of a longer trip. On the positive side, it was a real privilege to witness a turtle laying her 63 eggs on the beach that night and then to guide some tiny hatchlings into the sea and we will never forget that experience.

On the negative side, firstly, the accommodation is very basic. Even that would have been more acceptable if the huts into which the rooms are crammed had been built facing the sea instead of facing inland. With a verandah to sit on and a stunning view, the experience would be transformed. The rangers are informative and helpful whereas the reception staff, in our experience were quite the opposite, and the food was pretty appalling. We felt as if we were barely tolerated as visitors and, even worse that some aspects of their practice were bordering on dangerous. In such high temperatures, it is vital that safe drinking water is not only constantly available, but also that drinking it should be actively encouraged. No water was provided on the table at mealtimes and water was only able to be purchased ( at an inflated price) in a bar room tat was only open sporadically. The real danger of this lack of customer care became evident during our evening wait for turtles to arrive. A delightful young lady collapsed in the dining room and the staff did not seem to have any idea what to do. Luckily , 2 of our group of 4 are doctors and were able to diagnose, treat and reassure. She was seriously dehydrated as she had not drunk sufficient water and had lain in the sun, and overnight she also developed a severe UTI. She was very weak and unable to walk and we had to demand a stretcher or board in order to get her to her bed. It took some time, but a stretcher was eventually produced. The guide from the mainland with whom the young couple had travelled was properly concerned, but the resident staff just disappeared. No first aid kit, co cool cloths, blankets,or other basic care was offered. She became worse overnight and her partner sought out one of us and he spent much of the night treating her with resources brought for personal emergencies. Next morning she was taken by boat to the mainland and admitted to hospital. Some of the guides helped carry the stretcher with her partner ( she was a featherweight) but the other young men who were resident on site just watched and I was horrified to see that the partner had to leave her and run back up the beach for their luggage, while these fit young men and women just watched. This whole episode demonstrated to us that the owners and management of the Sanctuary need to decide whether they wish to attract guests and the finance they bring (e.g. beach mats have to be hired if you want to sit on the sand) then they need to take their responsibilities towards them seriously especially in terms of not placing barriers to keeping hydrated. They cannot always rely on the skills and kindness of strangers.

Visited January 2014
4 Thank RWWDevon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
77 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 February 2014

When on holidays I am one who usually likes to stay with all the comforts, however if you are going to go to Sabah and go anywhere outside of the capital you will either have to make a few compromises or just stay at home.

So I’ll start with the “compromises” and end on a high note….
So the accommodation is shabby however it isn’t absolutely disgusting either. Big bonus also is that it has air-conditioning which for me was a major plus, also keep in mind that you will probably be up half the night turtle watching and by the time you are off to bed you won’t really care where you go to sleep.

Also the food is really quite rank, I would be packing my own food if I was to do it again – bottles water is a must through they have a small store where you can buy it from it is lot more expensive than in town before you leave.

Despite all that the overnight stay was one of the biggest highlights of the whole holiday. The Island is so beautiful, gorgeous stretches of sand, perfectly clear water and lots of crabs, fishes, corals and fish to see just off the shore. It really has that deserted Island feel – bliss.

The turtles speak for themselves and we were not disappointed – the rangers have also set up a little museum on the top floor of the main building and they guide you through before the wait for the turtles to arrive. We also were lucky enough to have a special little friend greet us at the doorstep on the way to breakfast, a lonely little baby turtle had hatched in the night and gotten a little lost as he was far from the beach. We pointed in out to a ranger who advised and stepped us though how to let him go down on the beach – One of the most amazing things I have ever done

Visited October 2013
5 Thank Tristan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
30 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Very special experience.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 January 2014 via mobile

We made a trip of three days with Tropical Gateway Tours.
We went to the Island with guide Tan and had a very good time here.
Accommodation is basic but on a turtle Island you can't expect more, food was good and rooms clean.
To see the turtles was very special.

Next day we went to Sepilok and Sukau with g uide Larry Galius, he made our trip special by being friendly, patient,giving enough and good information. We did see a lot of animals and had a great time in Bilit Rainforest Lodge.

This tour of three days was a great experience, also thanks to our guides who let us enjoy the nature of Borneo.

Visited November 2013
3 Thank Melanie v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Definitely worth it, if a little touristy”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 January 2014

Idyllic afternoon on the beach, including a decent first-time snorkel seeing clown fish, anemones, etc. Then great to see turtle laying (albeit surrounded by people - not exactly a communing with nature experience) and to see the little ones let go too. Food poor, accommodation rough but hey, it's a unique experience in a simple package, so definitely recommended.

Visited February 2013
2 Thank Kevin B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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