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Things We Do, See & Eat For 3D2N Sandakan Trip

Sandakan is one of the cities in Sabah state that I always looking back for more. For your information, Sandakan is the former capital of British North Borneo (now known as Sabah) before it moved to Jesselton, currently well-known as Kota Kinabalu. It's the second largest town in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu. Normally for us who live in Kota Kinabalu, we either do self-drive road trip which takes about 6 hours, or probably by taking the long distance bus from Inanam Bus Terminal but in the case you run out of time and want to get there in the faster way, of course you can opt by taking plane as the flight duration only takes 45 minutes. 

The boyfriend actually bought 4 sets of ticket to Sandakan this year but unfortunately due to work commitments, I have no choice but to burn the two tickets. Even I managed to go March this year but it was merely for conference and meeting there, so this doesn't count. Therefore for the remaining last ticket, I really wish I could discover as much as I can cause it's not like always we got the round-trip ticket for RM24 only.

My itinerary includes exploring and encounter the native wildlife as well as food hunting throughout the 3 days and 2 nights there and here's the summary of the things we did and see in Sandakan: 

  • Touchdown at Sandakan Airport
  • Take Grab to Nature Lodge Sepilok and overnight there
  • Have dinner at White House Bistro
  • Walk to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Continue by visiting Borneon Sun Bear Conversation Centre
  • Take Grab to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary 
  • Overnight at Sandakan Hotel
  • Breakfast at Sandakan Central Market
  • Tea break at San Da Gen Kopitiam
  • Dropby at English Tea House & Restaurant and Agnes Keith's House
  • Take a picture of St Michael's and All Angels Church 
  • Dessert time at Crown 99
  • Depart from Sandakan Airport 

Once we touch down at Sandakan Airport, we immediately proceed to Sepilok and overnight in Sepilok Nature Lodge. Sepilok is actually quite distance away from Sandakan city center, it's about 35 minutes drive and we think it's wise choice to overnight there for our convenience on the next morning. As for the dinner, only two choices are available; whether to dine-in in the lodge or right across the lodge, there is a White House Bistro and that's where we settled down our dinner for the night. Whether dormitory room or standard private room, all rooms in Sepilok Nature Lodge come with air-conditioned and they even provide free breakfast to all the guests every morning. 

2019 Sandakan Nature Lodge Sepilok

For the second night, we back to the city center and stayed in Sandakan Hotel. Although the hotel's outlook might seems run down but the location is smack right in the middle of the town and it is easier for us to travel around. 


We kicked-off our adventures on the second day as we arrived late evening a day before. The first place we visited was Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilition Centre, where we walked all the way from Sepilok Nature Lodge. Do take note of the opening hours because this rehabilition centre doesn't operate around the clock. It only opens between 9am to 11am and 2pm to 3pm, which are the feeding time. For entrance fee, you can refer to the timetable below.

2019 Sandakan Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilition Centre

2019 Sandakan Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilition Centre 1

We then continue by visiting Borneon Sun Bear Conversation Centre, located just next to Sepilok Orang Utan. Also known as the "honey bear", sun bear is the world's smallest bear and only can be found in Southeast Asia. However, for this Borneon Sun Bear, it can only be seen in Borneo and that's where the name is derived from.

Opening Hours: 9am - 3.30 pm daily
2019 Sandakan Borneon Sun Bear Conversation Centre 1

2019 Sandakan Borneon Sun Bear Conversation Centre 2

Before going back to Sandakan main city, we plan to go to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary but somehow in between, we're actually facing with the transportation issue where the Grab driver refused to drive us there. I finally understood the reason behind why the driver reluctant to drive us there as he has to go through the deep road into the palm oil plantation, across few kampungs (roughly around 30 minutes from the main road) and the chances of getting the next passenger from Labuk Bay is close to zero. So end up, we decided to pay him extra RM15 just to get there. Bear in mind, Labuk Bay has two different platforms with two different feeding time. 
2019 Sandakan Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

2019 Sandakan Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary 1

On the third day of our trip, we walked uphill to English Tea House & Restaurant. I was exceptionally amazed with the setting of this restaurant which built in colonial style overlooking the spectacular views of Sandakan Bay. We didn't try any of their food cause we're full with the breakfast we had earlier on. How we wish our tummy have bigger space to fill all these delicious food?
2019 Sandakan English Tea House & Restaurant

Not far away is the Agnes Keith House, a house where once lived in by an American author for almost twenty years and now has transformed into a heritage house and a museum specially dedicated for her. Wondering why is Agnes Keith is well-known is because her autobiography made Sabah famous, especially the one with the title "Land Below The Wind". Now you know how Sabah got that name from.

Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm daily
2019 Sandakan Agnes Keith House

We continue by walking to the next destination, the St Michael's and All Angels Church located in the middle of Sandakan town. This Anglican church is the oldest stone church in Sabah dated more than a century and had survived from the World War II.
2019 Sandakan St Michael's and All Angels Church

Entrance Fee
Sepilok Orang Utan
Borneon Sun Bear
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey
Agnes Keith’s House
Note: Always do bring along your MyKad to prove that you are Malaysian.

This is the part where we're disappointed with ourselves - couldn't eat as much as we can. Sometimes I really wonder how those people especially the food bloggers can have so many meals in a day. Like really they will finish all the food or just have few bites - I'm curious about this. Now back to the main topic. We only managed to go for food adventures on our last day before leaving to the airport and those food we savour are:

1) The Original Homemade Kueh Teow with Deep-Fried Pork at Sandakan Central Market.
A bowl of this costs RM4 and don't say I don't warn you, it's wise to get there early cause it might be sold out before 10am.

2019 Sandakan Food The Original Homemade Kueh Teow with Deep-Fried Pork

2019 Sandakan Food The Original Homemade Kueh Teow with Deep-Fried Pork 1

Address: 3rd floor of Sandakan Central Market and search for the huge white signboard
Opening Hours: 5.30am to 11am daily

2) UFO Tart at San Da Gen Kopitiam
2019 Sandakan Food UFO Tart San Da Gen Kopitiam

3) Avocado Shaved Ice at Crown 99
2019 Sandakan Food Avocado Shaved Ice Crown 99

Initially I thought that we can cover as many places as we possibly could within the 3 days 2 nights trip but after what we've been through, I personally think it seems to be pretty insufficient, especially when comes to discover the beautiful nature and up-close with the wildlife. Perhaps when we come back again, we wish to cruise along the Kinabatangan River, explore the Rainforest Discovery Centre and not forgetting, to consume more of the local food we miss out. Sandakan, I will be back!

2019 Sandakan The Nature City
Well, at least I managed to see all three of these.


  1. Other than KK, I have not explore other parts of North Borneo. I would like to visit Sandakan one day.

  2. i never been to sandakan ... hopefully i can go there one day .. people said seafood there is cheaper than other place in sabah .. issit?

  3. Your post come in a right time :D I will go Sandakan soon.

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