Sandakan ist the gateway to the wildlife of Borneo – These are the top things to do in Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia
Sandakan was our favorite place in the malaysian part of Borneo. Yes true, the city itself isn’t very pretty. More the opposite. It’s grey, the coastline isn’t spectacular and the water is brown and full of trash. Still, there are some things to do in town, like visiting the local market or grab some food or drinks at the promenade. But the real treasure of Sandakan is the area around, which is filled with the famous Borneo wildlife.
Borneo wildlife experiences around Sandakan
During our stay in Sandakan we managed it to had four incredible Borneo wildlife experiences, which I will introduce to you one by one. Note, that all activities in Borneo are pretty pricy, so if you are on a budget, you need to choose wisely, which one is for you.
1. Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Borneo is the only place on the planet where you can see Proboscis monkeys. The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is the place for you to get an incredible close experience with those animals. We were lucky enough to see also some silvery lutungs that passed by.
The journey by minibus starts at 9 a.m. in front of the Sandakan Hotel and is quite long and rough – please ask at the tourist information or your hotel/hostel for more information.
2. Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Often considered the best place to spot Orang Utan’s the rehabilitation centre is also among the top things to do in Sadakan. As the Sun Bear Conservation Centre is just next door tot he Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, it’s possible to visit both in one day. The best and cheapest way to reach these places is to take a mini-bus from the main minibus station (orange/white minibuses) for a small amount of money. They start at 9 (weekend also 8) and drop you directly in front of the entrances. If you plan to visit you one of the places, you can take a minibus back at 12.30 or at 4 p.m. if you want to visit both centre‘s.
3. Rainforest Discovery Centre
Just about an kilometer before the mini-busses reach Sepilok and Sun Bear centre’s the Rainforest Discovery Centre is located. You can ask the driver to drop you of there. Another option would be to visit Sepilok or Sun Bear centre and then walk tot he Rainforest Discovery Centre. Later you can wait at the main street for the 4 p.m. bus to pass.
World Trip Berlin Tip: In case you are in a group of 3 or 4 people, you can think about the option of taking a Grab Taxi and share the price. As Grab service isn’t available outside the city, you need to ask the driver to meet at the last place you want to visit at a fix time. Please make sure before you start to agree with the driver to pay the same amount on the way back that the Grab App tells you to pay for the trip towards the centre’s. As the driver won’t have to pay the Grab fee’s this way, he will likely accept your offer.
Other activites in and around Sandakan
- Turtle Islands Park
- Gomantong Caves
- River cruise on the Kinabatangan river
- Sandakan Memorial Park
- Puu Gih Jih Temple
- St Michael and All Angels Church
- Buli Sim Sim water village
- Botanical Gardens