Sandakan is a city that is located on the eastern seaboard of Sabah, a city that is filled with a rich history. Formally known as Elopura, Sandakan is the second-largest town in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu City. The city was founded by a Scottish arms smuggler from Glasgow, named William Clark Cowie who built the first European settlement and named it Sandakan which means ‘The place that was pawned’ in the Suluk language. Shortly after that, a new settlement was built there by Germans, changing the name to Elopura which means ‘Beautiful Town”. Several years down the road, the settlement was again renamed Sandakan.
Sandakan is the perfect embodiment of Sabah’s rich and diverse biodiversity, with a mixture of people, lifestyle, cultures and faith. Visitors who steps into Sandakan would surely leave the place in awe as it is a microcosm of the modern day Sabah. With forests reserves rich with wildlife beauty and the beautiful beaches where you can see rare, marine turtle, Sandakan provides visitors with the best of both worlds.
Clueless on what to do in Sandakan? Here are some great tips on how to maximize the stay in Sandakan.
Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre is located approximately 30 minutes out of Sandakan. The people at Sepilok do an amazing job rehabilitating orphan orangutans and gradually releasing them back into the wild after they have learned how to look after themselves.
Address: Sabah Wildlife Department, W.D.T. 200, Sandakan, Jalan Sepilok, Sepilok, 90000 Sandakan, Sabah
Being the smallest bear species in the world, the omnivorous Bornean Sun Bear are extremely rare which is why they need the conservation. Their common name is derived from the unique golden crescent like patch found on its chest. They are also known as honey bears for their love of honey, dog bears for their size and in Malay known as “Beruang Madu”.
A boat trip up the Kinabatangan River lined by the thick, lush jungle will deliver the chance to see plenty of families of probiscus monkeys playing in the trees alongside. The river is the second largest in Malaysia and is 560km long, and approximately two hours drive from Sandakan.
Here are some of the beautiful places to unwind and relax in Sandakan.
Overlooking Sandakan's azure scenic bay at the heart of Sandakan Town, Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan is the perfect choice for business or leisure; a drive a way to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Infinity pool, easy access to town and wildlife, clear skies, warm hearts and fresh seafood await the tired and relaxed mind.
Surrounded by greenery, this relaxed hotel is 10 minutes' walk from the Agnes Keith House, former home to the author, and 15 minutes from the William Pryer Monument, which is part of the Sandakan Heritage Trails route.
With laid-back rooms, ranging from streamlined and subdued to vibrant the Sabah Hotel Sandakan comes with TVs and mini-fridges, plus tea and coffee making facilities. Polished upgraded suites feature wood floors and coffered ceilings.