Photo: Meet Sandakan.

Things to see and do

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Sepilok (23km from Sandakan)
T: (089) 5311 189

The orangutans here are all rescue animals (orphaned or injured) and have been reintroduced into the safety of the Sepilok Forest Reserve. They're wild apes and free to roam, but generally make an appearance at the 09:00 and 15:00 feeding times. The feedings are intended to supplement their natural diets, but it's also an opportunity for tourists to get a good, long look at the orangutans as ... Read more about Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre .

Rainforest Discovery Centre
T: (089) 533 780

You could spend half a day here trekking the market trails, or breeze through the highlights like the orchid garden and 25-metre high canopy walkway in an hour. There are also educational gardens with medicinal plants and rainforest crops. Quiet trekkers stand a good chance of seeing giant squirrels and hornbills plus, if you're lucky, orangutans. The best time to visit is early in the ... Read more about Rainforest Discovery Centre .

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

Unique to Borneo, they are memorable looking monkeys with pot bellies and bulbous red noses. The monkeys are fed at 09:30, 11:30, 14:30 and 16:30 and this is when they're at their most photogenic. Do note that Labuk Bay is privately operated and the emphasis seems to be on tourism rather than education. The other downsides are the expensive admission fee and the long ride to get here -- a ... Read more about Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary .

Turtle Islands Marine Park
T: (089) 212 711

Almost every night green and hawksbill sea turtles emerge from the sea to lay their eggs in the sand of the exact same beach where they were born. To help boost the numbers of these endangered turtles, the eggs are collected by park rangers and moved to the safety of a turtle hatchery. To allow visitors to observe the late-night laying, there is a simple guesthouse and cafeteria on the ... Read more about Turtle Islands Marine Park .

Sandakan Central Market
Waterfront, Sandakan

Near the entrance are a couple of souvenir shops dealing in orangutan T-shirts and pearl necklaces, but otherwise the ground level serves as a wet market with fresh veggies, fruit, poultry and more dried fish than you've ever seen in your life. On the second floor you'll find cheap eats at the cooked food centre. Each stall has its own specialty like Malaysian curries, grilled fish or ... Read more about Sandakan Central Market .

Agnes Keith House
Hilltop, Sandakan
T: (o89) 221 140

Though the original house was destroyed during WWII, a replica has been constructed and turned into a museum filled with relics from the author's life. Literary fans will love matching passages from her novels to rooms in the mansion, but others might find the museum a bore. The souvenir shop sells paperback copies of Keith's books for a whopping 69 ringgit. To get here it's a 15-minute ... Read more about Agnes Keith House .

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.

Top of page