Sandakan Bucket List: Best Things to Do and Amazing Places to Visit in Sandakan
S.Andakan in Malaysia has many attractions to offer to tourists. This city is a special place, especially for nature lovers who admire the environment and wildlife. Malaysian culture is also evident in the cities and museums you encounter. Here are some of the activities you can take part in during your visit:
Experience the turtles on Selingan Turtle Island
Turtle Island by Tian Yake Interlude via Flickr CC
Selingan Turtle Island is a haven for rare species of turtles. In fact, visiting this island is an opportunity to see turtles land and hatch.
Some of the rare species you will encounter are the green and hawk turtles. If you want to stay longer than a day, a hotel and a cafeteria are at your disposal.
See the orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center by LouiseGoggin via Flickr CC
Visiting this rehabilitation center is an opportunity to meet the rare orangutans. The orangutans here were either orphaned or confiscated, including other species such as elephants, gibbons, and sun bears.
These species stay at the center to teach them how to survive in the wild. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to interact with them so as not to disrupt the rehabilitation process.
Relax at Sepilok Nature Resort
Sepilok nature resort in Sandakan
Check prices and availability
If you’d rather stay longer at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, you can stay at the Sepilok Nature Resort, which is just five minutes away.
The resort is surrounded by exotic gardens, including 150 types of orchids.
Some of the hotel’s services include restaurants and air-conditioned rooms with great views of the rainforest.
Watch the bears at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center by Andrea Schieber via Flickr CC
Bears are not the kind of creatures people see on a daily basis. The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center is a rare opportunity to get a better understanding of the Malay sun bears, who happen to be the smallest in the world.
This facility serves as a rehabilitation path for sun bears when they are released back into the wild.
Meet the monkeys at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary by Martha de Jong-Lantink via Flickr CC
The Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary offers a rare chance to encounter monkeys up close. Labuk Bay is surrounded by small mangrove forests, making this sanctuary a perfect habitat for proboscis monkeys.
While visitors are on observation decks, they also have the opportunity to feed the monkeys and even take photos.
Bird watch at the Rainforest Discovery Center
Rainforest Discovery Center by Chris Smallwood via Flickr CC
The Rainforest Development Center is a nature lover’s paradise. The special thing about this rainforest is the existence of several species of birds. So be sure to bring a camera and a telescope with you.
If you’re exploring the rainforest, do so on a 347 meter steel walkway. There are also plenty of signs along the way letting visitors know about the birds and plants.
Take the Kinabatangan River Cruise
Kinabatangan River Cruise by Daniel Pietzsch via Flickr CC
The Kinabatangan River Cruise cannot be missed by any adventurer. The river cruise lasts half a day and gives you the chance to see lots of wildlife. Some of the species you will see are birds, primates, snakes, and crocodiles.
Since you will be in a boat for a long time, bring sunglasses, a raincoat, insect repellent, and sunscreen.
Enter the Gomantong Cave
Gomantong Caves by Mike via Flickr CC
Gomantong Cave offers the rare Indiana Jones Cave Adventure that people have always dreamed of. The cave is divided into the white and black caves. The White Cave offers a casual adventure that involves simply cruising through the cave on a boardwalk.
The Black Cave is a more difficult route and requires more challenging caving activities. Be sure to keep an eye out for bats and cockroaches.
Spend the afternoon at Buli Sim Sim Water Village
Buli Sim Sim Water Village by Shankar S via Flickr CC
The water village is a representation of the Malaysian fishing life. This village is full of boardwalks where fishermen carry out their daily activities.
The area usually serves as a fish market for locals and fish restaurants for tourists. Some of the must-try dishes are shrimp balls, prawn noodles, curry bean curd, and seafood dumplings.
Learn about the history at Sandakan Memorial Park
Sandakan Memorial Park by Merlijn Hoek via Flickr CC
The Sandakan Memorial Park gives a glimpse into the city’s dark history. This park is said to commemorate the deaths of approximately 2,400 Australian and British prisoners of war.
Some of the park’s notable attractions include the small museum, memorial pavilion, and the rusty remains of an excavator, boiler, and generator.
Go to the Puu Jih Shih Temple
Puu Jih Shih Temple in Sandakan Bay by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas or alternatively © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas, CC BY-SA 3.0
The Puu Jih Shih Temple is one of the global landmarks of Malaysia. There are several Buddha statues on the way to the largest Buddhist temple in Sandakan.
The temple also has a garden, gift shop and amazing views of the city and Sandakan Bay.
Visitors are also allowed to partake in some Buddhist rituals such as vegetarian dinner and charity work.
Visit the Agnes Keith House
Agnes Keith House by ChezShawna via Flickr CC
The Agnes Keith House is the historic former home of the famous American writer Agnes Keith. In fact, she wrote two famous novels on the hill on which this house was eventually built.
When she finally left Malaysia, the house was still seen frequently by visitors. As of now, it is a historic house that tells Agnes’ lifestyle and family.
Eat at the English Tea House and Restaurant
Shankar s English tea house and restaurant via Flickr CC
After visiting Agnes Keith House, be sure to dine at the nearby English Tea House and Restaurant. The house offers a fine dining experience with traditional English and Asian cuisine.
The special thing about this restaurant is the refreshing and windy atmosphere with a beautiful view of Sandakan Bay.
Eat at Sandakan Central Market
Dried fish at Sandakan Central Market by Merlijn Hoek via Flickr CC
You cannot end your trip without visiting Sandakan Central Market, which is sure to delight your taste buds. There are several exotic dishes in the market such as the Malay Nasi Lemak, the Chinese Fried Noodle, Coto Makassar, and the Indian Roti Canai.
Visiting this place in the evening is highly recommended as there are several food stalls selling fresh seafood and flavorful chicken wings.
Explore Sandakan by walking the Sandakan Heritage Trail
Sandakan Heritage Trail Photo by Shankar p. via Flickr CC
Because Sandakan has so much history to offer, the Sandakan Heritage Trail is the most efficient way to do it. This trail serves as a comprehensive journey covering Sandakan’s most important cultural heritage sites.
In fact, when you see temples, monuments and colonial buildings, you will receive a brochure to accompany you on your travels.
Sandakan travel and tour packages
To help you plan your trip to Sandakan, we have listed attractions and other amazing things to do in Sandakan, Malaysia. We’ve also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages, along with excellent flight deals and accommodations.
Looking for the best hotels, resorts and cheap flights in nearby towns? Check out our list of affordable Sandakan hotels and resorts through Agoda, Booking, or check out Airbnb hotels available in the city as well.
Would you like more information on new vacation packages and attractions in Sandakan, Malaysia? Follow #TeamOutofTown on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.