Day 1: Sabah – Selingan Turtle Island (L, D)To begin your 2-day tour, you will be picked up by your guide from your Kota Kinabalu hotel in Sabah and taken to the airport for your flight to Sandakan (flight not included, please see Additional Information for more details). Upon arrival, transfer to the Sandakan jetty for a 1-hour scenic boat ride to Selingan Turtle Island, where you’ll head to the hotel for check-in and lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the island at your own leisure and expense. Take a dip in the ocean; soak up the sun on the beach; or discover marine life while snorkeling – the island offers a variety of fun recreational activities for you to enjoy.
After dinner, enjoy an exciting and unique nighttime experience -- watching green turtles lay eggs on the beach! The island is a conservation area that protects turtles’ newly laid eggs from predators by transplanting them to the hatchery and then releasing baby turtles to the sea once they have hatched. With your expert guide, watch a turtle laying eggs; see the process of transplanting the eggs; and witness baby turtles being released to the open sea!
Overnight: Selingan Island Resort on Selingan Island (4-star rated resort on TripAdvisor)
Day 2: Selingan Turtle Island – Sandakan – Sabah (B, L)After breakfast, board a boat that will take you along the Sulu Sea back to Sandakan. You’ll be picked up for a drive 15 miles (25 km) to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Here, watch a video to learn about the center’s important work of rehabilitating injured and orphaned orangutans. Then, follow your guide on a 10-minute trek along wooden plank walkways through the rainforest to witness the feeding of orangutans.
Head back to Sandakan for lunch with your fellow travelers at a popular restaurant chosen by your guide before spending the rest of the day on a guided city tour by comfortable vehicle. Stop at a bustling city market to peruse its many stalls that offer a variety of fresh seafood and unique local delicacies. Then, visit historically significant places like the Agnes Keith House, a restored building where well-known American author Agnes Keith and her family once lived and housed the British colonial government. Walk around inside the house and see reproductions of colonial furniture and authentic antiques, as well as a timeline of the Keith family. Make your way to the Sandakan Memorial Park, a site commemorating the life of many Australian and British prisoners of war during World War 2. Take a guided tour of the beautifully maintained park and the museum, where you can learn more about the heroic efforts of these POWs.
After touring Sandakan, transfer to airport for the late afternoon flight (not included) back to your Kota Kinabalu hotel.