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Sandakan (Malaysia)

Practical information on Sandakan

  • Encounters with locals
  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Park and garden
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Place or Historical Monument
4 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
6 hours by car from Kota Kinabalu
When to go
From March to June
Minimum stay
1 to 2 days

Reviews of Sandakan

Lorette Vinet Seasoned Traveller
59 written opinions

If you like nature, Sandakan is an interesting place to walk round during your trip to Malaysia. It has turtles, orang-utan, proboscis and other endemic monkeys...

My suggestion:
At first sight the town itself doesn't seem very interesting but once you get out you will be amazed how many things there are to see.
My review

I had already used my time in the region to visit the organg-utan rehabilitation centre and Labuk Bay reserve. I didn't have enough time to explore far as Sandakan was the last place I was staying in during my trip to Borneo.

So I decided to visit the town. A visist to the market and then Puu Jih Shih Buddhist temple. I was intending to walk there but a woman, probably because she saw me rushing through the tropical rain, offered me a lift in her car and put me down in front of the temple. I just had to wait for the shower to stop, wondering about the temple's garden sculptures, and then went back down and finished my day with a picnic on the sea front, where the young Malaysians meet up at the end of the evening.

Arthur Joffrin Seasoned Traveller
38 written opinions

Sandakan, as the second most important town of Sabah state, enjoys a strategic position for tourism. 

My suggestion:
The restaurants to be found on the pedestrian street by the seaside, right next to the shopping centre, offer tasty dishes with a pleasant view and atmosphere at very reasonable prices.
My review

I arrived in Sandakan after spending several days in Kota Kinabalu, and I found the town rather depressing and of limited interest. The town centre with its grid patterned streets ends in a covered public market, a big shopping centre and a rather pleasant pedestrian street by the seaside (ideal to have something to eat). 

Still, this historical town offers an interesting walk to see old-style middle-class houses, a Chinese and a Japanese cemetery, a World War Two memorial, as well as the old clock tower .

Lastly, it does have a reputation as an eco-tourist stop, for being an ideal gateway to the turtle islands, the orang-utan sanctuary and proboscis monkey reserve. All interesting stops to enrich a trip centred on the discovery of Borneo’s animal world.

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