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What makes Sandakan so unique?

03 Nov 2015

Sandakan, formerly known as Elopura, “Beautiful Town”, is the second largest town in Sabah located on the north-eastern coast of Borneo. Only a 40 minute flight from Kota Kinabalu and with so much on offer, Sandakan is worth your while to include a stop here.


The area around Sandakan is known as a tropical paradise for wildlife lovers and eco tourism. At nearby Sepilok Orang Utan Centre, located in a tropical lowland rainforest, witness the successes of rehabilitation of orphaned Orang Utans into the wild.

Still want to see more primates? The privately owned Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary gives you a chance to observe these remarkable monkeys up close. Labuk Bay proboscis monkey.

Travel further inland to visit the Gomantong Caves, an intricate cave system with millions of bats near the Lower Kinabatangan River and colonies of swiftlets that produce the edible bird’s nest.

At the Sukau jetty, jump on a boat to take you along the Kinabatangan River through lush tropical rainforest while spotting birds and other wildlife. Here you have the chance to spot proboscis monkeys, macaques and sometime wild orang utan and Borneo’s own pygmy elephant.

An overnight at a river lodge is a must to appreciate all the nocturnal wildlife.

Approximately 1hour and 15 minutes by boat from Sandakan jetty, Selingan Island is the place for your turtle experience. At the turtle breeding Marine Park you will be able to see the turtles laying, the eggs being collected for the hatchery and the release of hatchlings to the sea.

Contrasting the tropical beauty, you will find remnants of colonial days like the Agnes Keith Sandakan Memorial House and museum, as well as the Australian War Memorial and Gardens that tell the somber story of a time of unbearable atrocities during World War II.

Last but not least – the local food. Sandakan has a kind of hawker culture influenced by traditional Malay and Chinese food preparation. A highlight of your stay in Sandakan would have to be a Chinese style seafood dinner with the seafood being some of the freshest you have ever tasted.

Sandakan may only a relatively small town, but worth the visit


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