Go to the jungle
If you can go to kinaatangan river, you can arrange your trip in Sandakan S.I. Tours will get you a two nights trip with nigth safari accommodation guides and every thing. It is located in Wisma Khoo Siak Chew
- Mountain Climbing
- Budget Travel
Sandakan Central Market
This Market is indoors and it is huge! There is everything you could want to buy here, bargain clothing, cheap watches, jewellers, birds nests, exotic foods, fish, fruit and much more.
If feeling hungry, restaurants serve all sorts of local foods, there is quite a big choice and the prices were very reasonable.
- Food and Dining
KINABATANGAN RIVER TRIP FROM SANDAKAN
This was another highlight of my time in Borneo and something I think you should do if you are interested in seeing wildlife.
The cruise departs from Sandakan wharf and heads out across the ocean and into the River.
Once in the river, it wasn't long before we saw Monkeys, the Proboscis and Macaques. The Proboscis Monkey is huge, a lot bigger than I expected, and once you know what you are looking for, then I found I saw a lot. They have Harems, a Male and a lot of females! I also saw Hornbills and Snakes.
The cruise was really nice, so peaceful going up the river, with just the Jungle on either side.
- Sailing and Boating
SANDAKAN PUU JIH SHIH BUDDHIST TEMPLE
Sandakan is where you go for your onward journey to see the Orangutans.
There isn't a lot to see here. I did go to the Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple which is to the south of the city and located on a hill top. From here, there is quite a good view over Sandakan and its harbour. The Temple has nice gardens and is very nice inside.
The temple is about 5kms from Sandakan. You can get there by bus, but it will drop you at the foothill and you have to walk a kilometre in the heat and up the hill.
Otherwise, take a taxi.
- Religious Travel
Orangutans @ Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary
Borneo is where I went to see Orangutans in the wild. I caught an Air Asia flight to Sandakan, then went to Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. When I arrived I bought my admission ticket, then went and watched a film about the Orangutans.
Next, was a walk on proper board walkway to the feeding platform. Here, there were some Orangutans, the young ones were swinging around having some fun.
When the keeper came with some milk and bananas for them, that stopped, and it was time for a feed. After they had eaten they just wandered off into the Jungle.
OPEN 8 - 5PM DAILY and admission is 30rm
We don't dive but we do snorkel. We were a bit apprehensive about Sipidan because it is known as a divers place. However if like us you only snorkel it is still well worth visiting Sipidan. It is the best snorkelling we've ever done. Oh to have an underwater camera! Maybe one day we'll return and dive.
There is snokelling and diving only a few meters away from the shore. It's literally beach - reef - drop off of 600m to the bottom of the sea!
Lots of turtles here too and this time you can swim with them (unlike Turtle island). Each time we went into the water we saw somthing new. It's an underwater wonderland.
- Diving and Snorkeling
This is an excellent overnight trip and should not be missed. Book in advance to make sure you get a place. The island itself is beautiful and has some good snorkelling. The real attraction though is meeting a real live turtle - up close and personal! We saw a beautiful female laying her eggs on the beach. We were only a few inches away. The park warden collects the eggs and you go off to the hatchery to bury them underground where they take 60 days to hatch. The highlight of highlights on this unforgettable trip is when you get to hold a tiny baby turtle hatchling and see it be released into the sea. Indescribable!
- National/State Park
Boat trips from Semporna
We did two trips - the first was an all day trip to Sipidan, it was excellent. We went with the same company the next day and wanted to do another trip. We stopped at Mabul first and had a snorkel - the place where they took us wasn't very nice as there was loads of rubbish floating around on the surface of the water. We decided to give the next snorkelling spot a miss after that! We went for a walk around the island instead (Mabul isn't the most scenic of islands though!). We had to persaude the trip company to take us to Kapalai in the afternoon for snorkelling. The snokelling here was good. Nowhere is as good as Sipidan though!
- Diving and Snorkeling
We stayed in Semporna on the mainland and took a boat out to Sipidan. The boat stopped at Mabul to pick up some divers that were staying there. We had a walk around Mabul and I have to say it is not the nicest island I've ever seen. There are two very expensive resorts and there is a delightfully attractive oil platform not far offshore. We walked around the island in about 15 minutes (it is very small). There is a locals village in the middle and also a 'working beach' from which the locals go out fishing - it is very dirty and unpleasant.
- Diving and Snorkeling
I never knew monkeys could be so rude!
Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary
The Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is a real undiscovered gem.
The male of this species is very distinctive (and if you don't know why take a close look at the photos - not for those of a delicate disposition!). This is a really great trip to go on. You come to this area to see the orangutan but the experience at this monkey sanctuary is just as good and makes a good contrast to the orangutans. It is quite an expensive trip because the reserve charges a high entrance fee (it is for a good cause though, so dig deep). You have to go down a very long and bumpy road to get there.
We did this as an afternoon trip from Sepilok Jungle Resort. You can either go in the morning or the afternoon (the trip takes half a day). Like Sepilok you see the monkeys at feeding time. You can book the trip up when you get there. The Jungle Resort will take you in one of their jeeps (price is RM140.00 each). The reserve seems to be less visited than Sepilok which is a shame but then again made it better for us!
There is also a resident otter that you can pet and some playful puppies!
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Jungle trail at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary
When you've seen the Orangutans at feeding time why no stick around for a while and explore a bit of the reserve? There a several trails of different lengths you can try. We went to the watering hole. The walk took us about an hour through un-touched jungle. Despite what the name suggest we weren't lucky enough to see any animals at the watering hole. It was a nice place to stop though with a small waterfall and pool.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- Hiking and Walking
See Orangutans at Sepilok Sanctuary
Set up in 1964 to save the orangutan from extinction (due to habitat destruction, logging, capture for zoos). Ill orangutans are nursed back to health and then released back into the wild. The sanctuary puts food out for them twice a day at a feeding platform. This is where you will see the orangutans - once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The idea is that the food on offer from the sanctuary supplements the diet of the rehabilitated organutan while they find their feet again and start to fend for themselves in the wild. The diet is kept deliberately monotonous(bananas and sugarcane) so that the oragutan don't become reliant on it. This encourages them to go off on their own more and gradually become less dependant.
Several jungle trails you can walk on and explore the reserve some more.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Sim Sim village
This is Sim Sim village in Sadakan, Borneo. It shows the typical stilt style houses that are common through Borneo and much of Asia. The houses consist of one large living room with a kitchen, toilet and one or maybe two bedrooms. Access to the houses is by way of small wooden piers which can be a bit dangerous especially with no side rails and the odd plank missing here or there ! The prospect of falling into the water particularly when you consider the toilets flush directly into the sea beneath the wooden buildings is not a pleasent one !
Some of the houses have small souvenier stalls to attract tourists. We went into one of these and the owner had it well decorated with polished wooden floors. As is the custom you must remove your shoes before entering. The woman who owned the house sold some sourveniers and was good at getting you to buy a few small items. The children were watching TV on a mattress on the floor and she had about 15 cats around the house...most of them were also sprawled out watching TV.
A number of the houses are decorated with bright colours or lots of flower pots and these are wonderful. The people are friendly and are keen to show you their house if you stop to chat to them but equally are happy for you to go about your business and let them do the same - after all you have to remember you are invading their space and you must respect that fact.
- Arts and Culture
Orang-utans are so cute !
Sepilok is a sancturay for orang-utans where these amazing animals are rescued, rehabilitated and ultimately after years of work released back into the wild. As part of the process Orang-utans are free to roam the reserve but a feeding station is set up where they can receive food twice a day at 10.00am and 2.00pm. Young Oragn-utans will return to the feeding station to supplement what they manage to find and eat in the rainforest. The feeding station provides them with bananas and milk every day and the concept is that eventually the Orang-utans (like humans) get bored with the same diet and begin to explore the forest for themselves. Ultimately they become indpendent of the feeding station.
Small groups of tourists are allowed to view the feeding platform from another platform about 4/5 metres away. There is no guarantee that you will see orang-utans and I was very lucky that such a large number turned up the day we were there. They are not encourged to interact in any way with tourists and your job there is to stay quiet, take phots and keep the disruption of their natural habitat to a minimum.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Sandakan is in Sabah and is the second-largest town in the state. In the past it was the state capital under British rule in what was then British North Borneo. In the 1870’s the Sultan of Sulu ruled this area along with the Southern Phillippines. With the persmission of the Sultan William Clarke Cowie (a Scottish gun runner) set up a trading post here and he gave the area the name Sandakan (which means that which is pawned). There was a strong German influence in the region prior to the British aquiring the lands under lease. Sandakan was burned to the ground in 1879 and William Pryer moved to where Sim Sim is still today. He also changed the name to Elopura (beautiful city) but the name did not stick and it reverted to being Sandakan.
By the late 1800’s it was the state capital of the British North Borneo Company and the area derived huge wealth from the timber industry right up to the start of WW2. The area was under Japanese control during the war and they re-named the town Elopura. The town was totally destroyed during the war with the exception of only a few buildings (St Michael’s church being one example) that survived. This resulted in Sabat’s adminstration and capital moving to Kota Kinabula where it remains today. Sandakan continued to rebuild based on the timber industry, coffee, mining, fishing and in more recent years in tourism in particular as a start point for wildlife related eco-tourism. It is still an important port in the region and continues to develop and modernise. There is a strong Chinese community in the town and as a reuslt a lot of Chinese festivals such as Chinese New Year are eagerly celebrated.
Things of interest in the area are
·Kampung Buli Sim Sim or just ‘Sim Sim’ village for short
·St Michael’s Church (1897)
·Sandakan Fish Market and Sandakan General Market
·Puu Jih Shih Temple (Buddhist)
·The English Tea House
·Agnes Keith House – Author of a number of books about the region and its culture
- Historical Travel