Talang-Satang National Park is Sarawak’s first marine protected area and it covers an area of 19,414 hectares.
It was gazetted in 1999 to enhance marine turtle conservation in Sarawak and covers the coastline and waters surrounding four islands; Pulau Talang-Talang Besar and Pulau Talang-Talang Kecil (located off Sematan), and Pulau Satang Besar and Pulau Satang Kecil (located off Santubong).
Apart from having patches of shallow coral reef, which provide shelter for sea turtles that come ashore to lay eggs, three of the islands in the park – Talang Talang Kecil, Talang Talang Besar and Satang Besar – are known as Sarawak’s “Turtle Islands.”
VISITING & ACTIVITIES AT TATANG-SATANG
The national park can only be visited if there is prior arrangements with the Sarawak Forestry, which is the department governing National Parks in Sarawak.
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Due to the sensitive nature of the habitats, conservation takes priority over tourism and visitors are only allowed within 2.8km of Pulau Talang Besar, Pulau Talang Kecil, Pulau Satang Kecil or the Ara-Banun Wildlife Sanctuary.
However, if you are keen to be part of the turtle conservation efforts, The Sarawak Sea Turtle Volunteer Programme (SSTVP) initiative organized by the Sarawak Forestry opens from May to September in which volunteers are to actively participate actively in Sarawak’s turtle conservation efforts by spending 4 days at the Turtle Conservation Station on Pulau Talang-Talang Besar.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are both allowed but are strictly confined within the designated zones only and no other water recreation activities are allowed outside the designated zones in the interests of conservation.
Scuba divers must be accompanied by an approved dive guide, and diving tanks, BCDs and regulators can be rented from the Sarawak Forestry operations office on the island with advance booking.
Day time marine-based activities such as dolphin watching or mangrove cruises are also available but with organized tours only.
HOW TO GO TO TALANG-SATANG NATIONAL PARK
There is no regular boat service to the Talang-Satang National Park, and visitors come in via organized tour, unless there are special arrangements made by the Sarawak Forestry.
A boat ride to Pulau Satang Besar from Damai Beach, Sarawak Boat Club Jetty or Telaga Air Jetty will take some 45-minutes, and advance booking is required.
Another option is to travel by land towards Santubong for 45 minutes, charter a commercial boat to the island which only takes about 45 minutes.
Note that the word ‘charter’ is used in both methods. It is likely you will need to contact a tour operator for your trip.
STAYING AT TALANG-SATANG NATIONAL PARK
No accommodation is provided for regular tourist to Talang-Satang National Park, and for volunteers enrolling in the SSTRP programme, they would be provided with basic accommodation.
If you are planning to check out the beautiful Tatang-Satang National Park, my advice is to book a hotel in Kuching first.
MORE INFORMATION & MORE NATIONAL PARKS
To gain more information on the Talang-Satang National Park, as well as other National Parks in Sarawak, such as the Bako National Park which is famed for the proboscis monkey, the Gunung Gading National Park (famed for the Rafflesia flower), the Mulu National Park (famed for the unique Mulu Pinnacles) or the Niah National Park (famed for the extraordinary Niajh Caves), contact the National Parks Booking Office below.
Visitors Information Centre,
Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg,
93000 Kuching Sarawak,
Tel: (+6) 082 248088 Fax: (+6) 082 248087
Online booking: http://ebooking.com.my