Best Places to Dive with Turtles in Asia
We've carefully selected our top 5 destinations where you can not only see turtles but also get a glimpse into their daily lives, be it feeding, mating, nesting or hatching. From the pristine beaches of the Maldives to the iconic Barracuda Point dive site at Sipadan, these destinations will provide you with unforgettable experiences.
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Turtle Islands National Park
The aptly named Turtle Islands National Park lies in the Sulu Sea off Sabah’s east coast. The park was created in the 1980’s to protect the turtles that use the islands as nesting grounds and covers a group of islands on both sides of the sea borer between Malaysia and Philippines. Visitors can stay overnight on Selingkan on the Malaysian side and watch female green turtles as they lay their eggs. The experience is carefully regulated: guests are not allowed to use torches or camera flashes on the beach at night, and must wait for a ranger to decide when it is safe to visit a turtle and minimise any disturbance.
A trip to the Turtle Islands National Park can be combined with a dive holiday on Mabul or Kapalai, as well as visits to Sepilok and other jungle areas. Do get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more.
Turtle Bay, Palawan, Philippines
In Palawan, Philippines, a small bay has become well-known for its turtles, and a conservation project set up to protect these animals. At Turtle Bay near Port Barton, the Secret Paradise Resort has spent the last decade protecting a small bay and several nesting beaches from poachers and illegal fishermen, creating a thriving marine sanctuary that is home to plenty of turtles. From October to March, green and hawksbill turtles arrive to nest on 4 beaches within the bay and adults are seen in the area all year around. Secret Paradise Resort is closed until 2021 for renovations but will be taking bookings once again at the end of 2020 - so stay tuned for news in the future when this wonderful resort reopens.
Kei Islands, Banda Sea, Indonesia.
The Kei or Kai Islands are part of the so-called ‘Forgotten Islands’ in the far southeast of the Banda Sea. The islands are little known in the wider world, apart from being one of the only places places where visitors have a reasonable chance to encounter the highly endangered leatherback turtle. These turtles congregate around the islands every year to feed on seasonal blooms of jellyfish, and the Kei islanders have learnt to take advantage of this and hunt the leatherbacks for food using canoes and spears, a traditional hunting practice that is allowed to continue to this day.
Scubazoo first went to the islands in 2009 and are planning a return in November 2017. Read about the first trip here and stay tuned for news from the latest expedition.