There’s nothing quite like witnessing new life in person. In an age where most millennials are often glued to their gadgets, we as a generation have become disconnected to wildlife. This is why we jumped on the opportunity when Resorts World Genting invited us to return to Resorts World Kijal.
Previously called Awana Kijal, Resorts World Kijal is located at Kemaman, Terengganu, which is a 4-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. There has been a number of changes since, but this much remain: the feeling of warmth and a whole bunch of exciting activities in this vicinity.
As one of the oldest creatures on earth, sea turtles have been around for millions of years. Unfortunately, they now face an uncertain future as their numbers have been dwindling down at an alarming rate over the past decades. Thankfully, conservation efforts are being carried to make sure turtles don’t become extinct.
Where there is turtle nesting, there is turtle hatching. For all you animal lovers out there, Resorts World Kijal is one of the popular hotspots to visit for their exciting programs that include turtle watching, egg planting, and hatchling release.
As you may know, nesting season is popular between May and August, peaking from June to July. Despite visiting the area on 20th September 2018, the small group of us was extremely lucky that a mother green turtle decided it was time to lay a new batch of eggs on a beach at Teluk Derdak, along Jalan Paksu in Kemaman, which is a 30-minute drive from Resorts World Kijal.
According to local experts Arifin bin Hasan, 59, and Fadhil Izzuddin, 25, the lifespan of a green turtle is between 80 to 100 years old. Some female turtles start to lay lay eggs as early as 20 years old onwards. The duo shared that the beach once had a record of 43 mother turtles lumbering onto the beach during nesting season. The highest track record by a female turtle was 181 eggs.
Come rain come shine, a mother turtle will make her way to the familiar beach. Unless there is a thunderstorm cause that might frighten them away. That is why onlookers are advised from using flash photography when witnessing the reptiles laying eggs. We were also told to avoid wearing bright shirts in order to blend in with the dark.
At approximately 10:20pm that night, we got to see firsthand the process of a mother turtle depositing white ping-pong ball sized eggs in the egg chamber she dug up in the sand. A turtle’s hearing is rather poor. So that allowed us to get close for some photo-taking and video recording. The female turtle, which is estimated to be around 30-40 years old, produced a whopping 119 eggs!
Here are some fun facts:
- Temperature determines the sex of the hatchlings. Warmer temperatures (87.8-89.6º F) tend to produce more females, while cooler temperatures (84.2-86º F) will result in more males.
- Females tend to hatch earlier – usually around 50 days – whereas males will require more than 50 days to hatch.
- After hatching, it usually takes 1-2 days for the baby turtles to surface up to the ground.
- Out of the 100 something new hatchlings, only 1% will survive and make it to adulthood.
Even if you visit Resorts World Kijal after August (past turtle season), there are still plenty of exciting activities to entertain yourselves. Here are 5 other things to do:
1. Egg Planting
The locals in Terengganu mainly have 2 schools of thought about sea turtles – some want to save them; others want to eat them. Resorts World Kijal Fun and Adventure manager Ragunathan Kathirgamu has long been an advocate for the turtle conservation.
“We want to educate visitors especially the young ones on the importance of protecting endangered sea creatures and their habitat. It is important for them to know why the turtles are shying away from our shores. There used to be a time, at Rantau Abang, where there were so many leatherback turtles. Now, we hardly see any. There are people who disturb them and poached the eggs for their own use. Our resort wants to continue creating awareness and foster greater appreciation and instil the love in people towards this delicate sea creature,” he previously said.
Not far from the hotel sits a small hatchery where turtle eggs are collected and kept for incubation purposes. There are still no laws against collecting and selling turtle eggs at local markets. Many feel that this needs to change – fast.
2. Hatchling Release
There’s a reason why visitors are advised to release the baby turtles about 3-5 metres away from the sea. This will allow the new hatchlings to imprint on the sand, and it will always remember this particular beach as home. After their first frantic crawl to the ocean, male turtles may never return. Only the females will come back to continue the circle of life. This explains why females have longer flippers as compared to the males.
Witnessing turtle nesting and participating in the turtle release can be both wonderful and moving at the same time. The lives of these baby turtles are so fragile. It makes you reflect on life from a broader perspective and realise your problems really aren’t that big of a deal after all.
3. Tree Planting
Trees produce the air we breathe, they reduce excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and are also food resources for the ecosystem. Let’s face it: our existence are dependant on trees. It’s nice that Resorts World Kijal are also encouraging guests to take part in planting trees surrounding the beach front.
4. Team Building
As aforementioned, Resorts World Kijal isn’t just catered to families with children. The place is also known to host companies for team building events. Here, there are plenty of fun outdoor activities such as Telematch, Explorace, and Waterpolo to encourage collaboration and teamwork. You’ll get to see your colleagues in a different light when you’re required to connect with one another in a different setting.
5. Swimming Pool
When it comes to having a good time, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a splashing session in the big swimming pool. The children can have fun at the mini water park while serious swimmers can practice their strokes in the lap pool. There’s even a hot tub jacuzzi to unwind after a fun-filled day.
Other activities available:
- Bicycles for rent
- Gym facilities
- Giant Snake & Ladder
- Giant chess set
The details for Resorts World Kijal are as follows:
- Address: Km 28, Jalan Kemaman-Dungun, 24100 Kijal, Kemaman, Terengganu.
- Email: [email protected]
- Tel: (609) 864 1188
- Fax: (609) 864 1688
- Website: http://www.rwkijal.com/
Shout out to our awesome friends from Resorts World Genting for making this happen 🙂