Favourite Destinations



Sandakan is the second city of Sabah and many people flock here for the famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre which rescues and rehabilitates these beautiful apes. The main reason to come to Sandakan is to check out this amazing history here as well as an abundance of gorgeous rainforests, and anyone who loves wildlife should make sure not to give it a miss. Just some of the spots that you can visit as part of a trip to Sandakan include amazing rainforest walkways and mighty tropical rivers, and this is one of the most unspoiled parts of Borneo that will give you a great insight into the culture in this part of the world.

Satisfy your passion for shopping at Sandakan Central Market 

Across the road from the Four Points Sheraton (where we stay on the Borneo Explorer tour) you’ll find the main market which is at its prime early in the morning. On the ground floor you’ll see local produce stacked up in colourful rows, and at one end a fresh fish market. On the upper levels you’ll find local crafts, souvenirs, jewelry, T-shirts and sarongs.  Borneo isn’t exactly a destination known for its shopping but if you want to pick up a few gifts for people back home, this might be your best bet. 

Go spelunking at Gomantong Cave

Gomantong Cave has the claim to fame of being one of the largest cave systems in all of Sabah and with that in mind you shouldn’t miss it off the itinerary on a trip here. The cave is known for its bat population which is said to include millions of these furry creatures and at night time the central chamber of Gomantong Cave is filled with darting swiftlets. Over the centuries, the cave became famous for the nests left behind by the switflets which are edible and are used to make bird’s nest soup. There are actually two main cave chambers here that include the Black Cave which is open to the public and the White Cave which is difficult to enter due to its inaccessible terrain and is best avoided unless you are an avid cave fan.

Meet the orang utans at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

The main reason why many people come to Sandakan is to take a trip to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. The center is the most famous of its kind in Borneo and is dedicated to rescuing orang utans that have been poached or illegally kept as pets and cares for them before releasing them back into the wild. There are several feeding platforms where you can check out these amazing apes when they come in search of fruit, although one thing to bear in mind is that this the main tourist attraction in Sandakan and as a result it gets very crowded so come early to get the best views of the cuddly orangutans.

The English Tea House & Restaurant

While the British colonial rule of Northern Borneo only lasted a mere 17 years, they have certainly left their mark. Next to the Agnes Keith house you can find the English Tea House, set up on the hill, with a lush garden area. Here you can have traditional English tea and scones while gazing out over the Sulu sea.

Harbour Mall 

The Harbour Mall is not the most exciting mall you’ll ever visit but does have a few necessities such as a supermarket and a pharmacy as well as a few familiar western brands: The Body Shop, Macdonalds and Levis. The upper levels of the mall are set up in a market style and sell knock off cosmetics, t-shirts and shoes. 

Tropical Sandakan is a paradise for animal lovers. Watch turtles lay eggs at Turtle Islands Park, keep a giggly distance at a crocodile farm or share an impish smile with some of the residents at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. The houses on stilts in the fishing village of Buli Sim Sim are perfect for sightseeing and photographing.

The easiest way to access Sandakan is by air, as it is well served by the small airport on the outskirts of town. There are regular and cheap flights from Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur when booked in advance with Malaysia Airlines.