Photo: Sandakan from above.

Things to see and do

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Sepilok, 25 km rom Sandakan
T: (089) 5311 189

Orange apes are Borneo’s big drawcard, and possibly why you’re in Sabah. Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre cares for “people of the forest” who have been orphaned or injured due to deforestation or previously illegally kept as pets. ... Read more about Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre .

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Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
25 km from Sandakan
T: (0895) 34491

The excellent Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre at Sepilok rescues and facilitates the rehabilitation of the Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) back into the wild. Sun bears are found in the tropical lowland rainforests of Southeast Asia and are the world’s smallest bears, with adults around just 120 to 150 centimetres tall and weighing in at 20 to 70 kilograms. ... Read more about Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre .

Rainforest Discovery Centre
T: (0895) 33780

Most visitors to Sepilok come for the animal sanctuaries, and while both Sepilok Orangutang Rehabilitation Centre and Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre are excellent, it’s worth spending time exploring the trails at the Rainforest Discovery Centre too. ... Read more about Rainforest Discovery Centre .

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
38 km from Sandakan
T: (88) 317 316

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary offers a chance to see the action monkeys of Borneo up ... Read more about Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary .

Kinabatangan River
130 km from Sandakan

For the most accessible wildlife adventure in Sabah, the Kinabatangan River, Sabah’s longest, offers easy packaged experiences. Known for its remarkable wildlife, you are almost guaranteed to see one or several of Borneo’s endemic species in the wild here. ... Read more about Kinabatangan River .

Gomantong Caves
Between Sandakan and Lahad Datu, about 110 km from Sandakan

For centuries, Gomantong Cave has been renowned as a home of birds’ nests: specifically edible birds-nest-soup-type nests produced from the saliva of the white-nest and black-nest swiftlets. ... Read more about Gomantong Caves .

Turtle Islands Marine Park
40 km from Sandakan

Watching a mother turtle lay her eggs in a sandy nest and seeing the release of tiny hatchlings waddling across the beach is one of Sabah’s many highlights. ... Read more about Turtle Islands Marine Park .

Sandakan Memorial Park
12 km from central Sandakan, near the airport

On the site of a World War II prisoner of war camp, Sandakan Memorial Park is dedicated to those who lost their lives here in the camp, on the infamous “Sandakan Death Marches” and at Ranau, where the marches ended. The memorial also commemorates the local heroes of the underground resistance movement. It’s a beautiful place, with a terrible history. ... Read more about Sandakan Memorial Park .

Agnes Keith House
Jalan Istana, 1 km from central Sandakan
T: (089) 221 140

Perched on a hill overlooking the city of Sandakan is the beautifully restored former home of American author Agnes Keith. She wrote three autobiographical accounts of life in Sabah (North Borneo) pre, during and post World War II. ... Read more about Agnes Keith House .

Sandakan Heritage Trail

A good way to get a feel for the city of Sandakan is to pick up a map and follow the self-guided Sandakan Heritage Trail. There’s a few hills and a few (okay, 100 stairs), and not that much to see, as much of Sandakan was destroyed in World War II. It’s a pleasant two-hour (or more) walk, however, and the added bit of history makes it interesting. ... Read more about Sandakan Heritage Trail .

Puu Jih Shih Temple
4 km from central Sandakan

One of Sandakan’s best sunset viewing spots is from hilltop Puu Jih Shih (Syh) Temple, which has commanding views of Sandakan Bay and across the Sulu Sea. The extravagant Chinese Buddhist temple perches four kilometres west of the centre of Sandakan. Not as ancient and incense soaked as some of the older temples in town, Puu Jih Shih is bright and shiny, relatively newly built in 1987. Rows ... Read more about Puu Jih Shih Temple .

Sandakan Central Market
Waterfront, Sandakan

An interesting way to see a bit of local life is to have a quick look around a town’s market, and Sandakan has a beauty—well, more of an ugly. The three-storey monstrosity dominates the eastern end of the waterfront, and early morning fishing boats dock to unload their catch directly into the market. It’s worth getting out of bed early for a few snaps. You may see some species that really ... Read more about Sandakan Central Market .

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Sandakan? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.

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