5 Reasons Sandakan is a Unique Travel Destination
The dawn at the Sandakan city
Sandakan is located on the eastern coast of Sabah Borneo, it is formerly known as Elopura or “Beautiful City” by the founder and early trader – William Pryer, in the midst of 19th Century. Later on, it also is known as Little Hong Kong, due to the town becoming a thriving place for trades of the pearl of the sea, tobacco, beeswax, edible bird’s nest, timber, and more, which eventually attracted Chinese residents from Guangdong Province, China, to come to Sandakan. Sandakan is the second largest town in Sabah, Borneo, after Kota Kinabalu city and used to be the capital of British North Borneo.
So, what makes Sandakan a unique travel destination for wanderlusts out there? Check the list below:
Orangutan hanging on a tree
Sandakan, known to be a famous eco-tourism travel destination in Sabah Borneo, where travelers can visit the Orangutan Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre to see the Red Apes of the forest – Orangutan; The cute and smallest bear, Sun Bear in Sun Bear Rehabilitation Centre just beside Sepilok; as well as get a close-up with the Proboscis Monkey at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. These places are perfect for travelers to spend a relaxing tour to see the animals in their natural habitat through the viewing platform.
2. A Gateway to Wildlife & Nature Adventure in Sabah Borneo
Kinabatangan river cruise to spot some endemic Borneo Wildlife
Travelers who are hardcore nature enthusiasts will find Sandakan one of the best wildlife adventures in Malaysia. A traveler will most probably book a trip for river cruising on Kinabatangan River to see some of the Borneo Wildlife, such as Pygmy Elephants in the wild, which is endemic to Borneo Rainforests. Go for the canopy walk and get intimate with nature. In addition, exploring the Gomantong cave to see the swiftlets, bats, and the natural architecture of the cave.
3. Preservation and Conservation Places
Forty-two kilometers offshore in Sandakan is where the idyllic Turtle Islands National Park awaits. A place where a traveler can spend lazily under the sun and swim in the Sulu sea. But, what makes it more interesting is the Turtle Island is where traveler gets a chance to witness the Hawksbill or Green Turtle laying eggs at the beach in the middle of the night, as well as participate in assisting and witnessing the release of the hatchlings to the sea. It is a unique experience for the traveler to feel it and also helps to contribute one of the world’s most important conservation and preservation programs for sea turtles.
4. Historical Heritage Tour
Sandakan Memorial Park
Going for the Sandakan Heritage trail will give you the chance to view several places of attraction such as the Agnes Newton Keith’s house, St. Michael and All Angels Church, Sandakan Memorial Park and more. Agnes Newton Keith’s house was rebuilt and converted into a museum after it was destroyed during the World War II (WWII). The St. Michael and All Angels Church is one of the oldest stone buildings in Sabah Borneo that managed to avoid major damage during the WWII in the 1940s. Moreover, Sandakan Memorial Park is a place of somber reflection on the world’s infamous Death March which was set within the park itself, known as the Prisoner of War Camp (POW). A beautiful green park that offers a free and easy to explore the area as well as commemorate those who served and died during the war in Sandakan. Are you more into historical traveler? You can read our other blog post to know more on Sabah Heritage Buildings.
5. Foodie Heaven
Apart from being the perfect place for wildlife and nature adventure, as well as showcasing historical places in Sabah Borneo, Sandakan also offers a foodie haven for those who like to eat. Food in Sandakan is to die for! Stop by Kampung Buli Sim-Sim, a traditional village built on stilts over the sea, to taste the freshest and tastiest seafood around. Taste the popular Seafood Bak Kut Teh which made only from the general spices of Bah Kut Teh, but with a flavored taste of Seafood – makes it a unique food and MUST-try when in Sandakan. The famous UFO tarts (originally from Sandakan) can be found in any bakeries in Sandakan for the sweet tooth to indulge it with a cup of hot tea/coffee!
Sandakan offers travelers more than they could imagine, which makes it one of the unique travel destination in Sabah Borneo. Looking for more places in Sandakan, Sabah Borneo to visit? Feel free to read our Sandakan Travel Guide, to make your Holidays in Borneo Island more interesting! Are you an avid trekker? Check out our travel tips on trekking in Sabah Borneo rainforest.
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