Once known as ‘Little Hong Kong’, Sandakan is the second largest city in Sabah today. This city served as the capital of British North Borneo back in 1880s to 1940s.

Sandakan largest town in Sabah

It was then the largest town in Sabah due to the ever increasing number of traders from Europe, Africa, China and Arabia flocked to the city. After World War II ended, the capital transferred to Jesselton. During the early days, most of the traders have decided to settle down in Sandakan. Thus, one would have noticed that the city is rich with traces of different foreign cultures.

Attractions around Sandakan

With so much to offer from adventurous activities to exciting nightlife, stunning golf courses to historical landmarks as well as nature activities, tourists should plan ahead your holidays in Sandakan before you embark on a journey to the mystical city. There are plenty places of interest in Sandakan such as:

  1. Puu Gih Jih Chinese Temple
  2. Sandakan Crocodile Farm
  3. Agnes Keith House
  4. Parish of St Michael and All Angels
  5. Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
  6. Kampung Buli Sim-Sim
  7. and Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.

Puu Hih Jih Chinese Temple

Puu Gih Jih Chinese Temple built on a hilltop offers splendid view of Labuk Bay. This fiery red and gold temple is designed with ornate pillars with entwined golden dragons. Sandakan Crocodile Farm is highly recommended for families with kids because this is definitely an educational trip for you to get up-close with over 2,000 reptiles in concrete pool. Meanwhile, Agnes Keith House or also known as Newlands is a two-storey home built along Jalan Istana. The house offers fascinating insights to life during British North Borneo times. Take a stroll down the gallery on the first floor to witness the story of Agnes and her family.

Parish of St Michaels and All Angels

Parish of St Michaels and All Angels is a beautiful and enchanting granite church built in late 1890s. Remember to include this attraction in your trip itinerary because this is one of the few surviving pre-war buildings in Sandakan.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

Tourists who would like to check out monkeys all in their natural habitat should head over to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. Located slightly further away from the town, approximately 25 kilometres west of Sandakan is the world-renowned Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. First opened its door in 1964, this centre houses orphaned orang utan. Orang utans can roam freely around this virgin rainforest since the sanctuary is protected.

Great food around Sandakan

Your trip to Sandakan is not complete without tempting your palate with gourmet meals and delectable local delights. When you are in Sandakan, remember to try local Sabah favourites such as Bak Kut Teh, Beaufort Mee, Claypot Rice, Laksa, Fish Head Curry, Mee Goreng Tuaran and Ngiu Cap. Of course, how can you forget to try fresh seafood cooked to perfection!


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