Sandakan (The Little HongKong)

October 20, 2009

Sandakan’s Attractions

Filed under: "SANDAKAN" aka The Little Hong Kong — Cedric @ 1:36 am

Hi readers,

This post is basically to introduce those attraction places in Sandakan.

1. Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is a sanctuary for orangutans (Pongo borneo) in Sabah. It is located about 25 kilometers to the west of Sandakan, on the eastern side of the state. The centre is within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, which covers an area of 5529 hectares.


Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre was established in 1964. Its main purpose was to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans whose habitat was disrupted by logging, deforestation and poaching. Included are orangutans that were rescued or confiscated from unlicensed owners. The orangutans are trained to adapt to the jungle environment so that they could be eventually released to the wild. This is done by providing the animals with monotonous food, to encourage them to forage in the jungle on their own. The feeding of the orangutans which takes place twice a day, there are various natural trials and walks within the reserve; from

2. Rainforest Discovery Centre


The Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) is located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, and only 2km from the Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre.

The RDC is an education facility run by the Sabah Forestry Department, primarily to create public awareness and appreciation of the importance of conserving forests, as well as the sustainable use of forest resources. Visitors should allow themselves about half a day to fully appreciate what the Centre has to offer.

3. Agnes Keith House

Agnes Keith House is a heritage building in Sandakan, Sabah, that was once the home of famous American writer Agnes Newton Keith. It is located on the hill with Sandakan Bay in front of it, and the Sulu Sea behind it. Agnes Keith came to live in Sabah with her husband in the 1930’s. While she was in Sabah, Keith wrote several novels, the most famous of which was Land Below the Wind, written in 1939.


Agnes Keith’s house was destroyed during the Second World War. During that time, Agnes Keith endured imprisonment under the Japanese, while at the same time trying to raise her young son. This is documented in the house.

In 1946, following the war, the government rebuilt it on the same foundation. The Keiths continued to stay in there house, as Mr Keith worked for the government as the conservator of forests. Their son George was born in the house. After the Keiths left Sabah in 1952, the house continued to be known as the Agnes Keith House. It fell into disrepair by the 1990’s, but was eventually restored and conserved as a heritage building, providing visitors a glimpse of life during the British administration of North Borneo. There is also an English Tea House within the compound – a departure from Agnes Keith’s attempt to make her home more American and less British.

4. English Tea House

The English Tea House is superbly situated within the grounds of the historic Agnes Keith House Museum and is housed in a renovated colonial house surrounded by 1.5 acres of perfectly manicured lawns.


Enjoy the spectacular views of the town and Sandakan Bay as you relax with a cocktail in the garden or enjoy a wide selection of beverages at the long bar. Offering fine teas from around the world, scones & clotted cream, delicious cakes & pastries and a wide a la carte selection of Asian and traditional Specialties.

5. Rotary Observation Pavilion


Rotary Club Observation Pavillion is a viewpoint near the English Tea House, just across the road from the Agnes Keith House, in Sandakan, Sabah. From here, one can get nice views of Sandakan below.

6. Trig Hill Rotary Tower


One of the tallest point to view of Sandakan town. Check out the Sandakan view when you walk up the stairs to the tallest point and you will see the view of Sandakan town.

7. Chinese and Japanese Cemetery

There is a Japanese cemetery in Sandakan, Sabah. This is the resting place of a small Japanese community that settled here in the late 19th century. As in the case with many other towns in Malaya, Sandakan saw an influx of impoverished Japanese immigrants at the tail end of the 19th century. They came mostly from rural villages. In Sandakan, they worked as labourers and prostitutes, known as karayuki san, literally “Miss Gone Overseas”. The situation here is no different from that in Penang (read Cintra Street and Penang Japanese Cemetery). According to the records, there were 20 brothels and 71 Japanese prostitutes in Sabah in 1891.

The Japanese Cemetery of Sandakan was established by a Japanese women by the name of Kinoshita Kuni, better known as O-kuni. The majority of the graves belonged to Japanese women, many of whom earned a living from prostitution.

8. Sandakan Harbour Square

Sunrise over Harbour Square by spOt_ON. 

Sandakan Harbour Square, or SHS, is a retail development on reclaimed land under construction in Sandakan, Sabah. It comprises a central market, fish market and integrated shopping mall. The Central Market will have over one thousand four hundred stalls. The 4-storey Shopping Retail Complex will be the biggest shopping mall in Sandakan. There is also a pedestrian mall that is modelled after the Bintang Walk in Kuala Lumpur. And to top it off, Sandakan Harbour Square will have a 5-star hotel with 800 rooms.

9.  Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary – Up close and personal with Borneo primates;

In the centre of the mangrove forests of Semawang is the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, where you can see Borneo’s indigenous proboscis monkeys. This privately-owned sanctuary located within an oil palm estate gives you the chance to observe these animals up close and personal.

Big family by Enigma911.

The remarkable males sport big dangling noses, reddish flat-top hairstyles, white tails and markings, and pot bellies. The females on the other hand, are much smaller and have up-turned noses.

Take a night tour for a chance to see wild boars, flying squirrels, fireflies and crocodiles. The sanctuary also has a lodge with aircondtioned twin or double rooms, family chalet and dormitaries for those who wish to stay overnight.

10. St Michael’s and All Angels Church

St Michael’s and All Angels Church is a 19th century church in Sandakan, Sabah. It is one of the heritage buildings in Sandakan.


St Michael’s and All Angels Church was the first building in Sabah to be built of stone. Work began in 1893, but it was only completed thirty years later. The building was designed by a New Zealander, B.W. Mountfort. Conscripted prisoners were used to build the church. The structure was built with a belian timberframe, followed by bricks and then stones. The stones came from nearby Kampung Buli Sim Sim. In addition, white stones were also imported from Hong Kong.

The nave and transepts were dedicated on 30 September 1906, in conjunction with the Michaelmas celebration.

11. Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple

Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple is a Buddhist temple in Sandakan, Sabah. It is located on a hill about 4 km to the west of Sandakan town centre. From here, there’s a panoramic vista of Sandakan Bay below compared with the otherChinese and Buddhist temples in Sandakan, Puu Jih Shih is pretty new, having come into the picture only in 1987 at a cost of RM5 million.

Puu Jih Shih is extravagant, and is likely built to awe. It is built in a grand scale, with giant undulating dragons, golden Buddha statues and more.

12. Sandakan Crocodile Farm


There is a crocodile farm in Sandakan, Sabah. It is located about 9 km from the town of Sandakan, at Labuk Road, which is on the way to the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary. With over 3,000 crocodiles, it is one of the largest crocodile farms in Malaysia.

13. Sandakan Memorial Park

The Sandakan Memorial Park is adjacent to the World War Two prison camp, on the site of the massacre of 2,400 Australian and British prisoners-of-war in the hands of the Japanese, in the closing days of the Second World War, between January and August 1945. It is located about 11 km from the centre of Sandakan. Memorials to those who perished in the war can be seen in the park, surrounded by greeneries and ponds. There is also a small museum that documents the war history, along with rusting relics of the war.

14. Sam Sing Kung Temple


Sam Sing Kung Temple is a Chinese temple in Sandakan, Sabah. It faces the municipal field of Sandakan. The name “Sam Sing Kung” means “three saints temple”, and refer to Kwan Woon Cheung, the saint of righteousness, goddess Tin Hou, a deity worshipped by fishermen, and Emperor Min Cheong, a patron deity of students, worshipped for good examination results.

Sam Sing Kung Temple was built by the four main Chinese communities in Sandakan, namely the Hakka, Cantonese, Hainanese and Teochew. It was completed in 1887, making it the oldest structure still standing in Sandakan.

15. Buli Sim Sim

Kampung Buli Sim Sim is a stilt village on the coast of Sandakan, Sabah. This is the original site of Sandakan when William Burges Pryer, the British Resident of Sandakan, established the township back in 21 June 1879.

16. Sandakan Heritage Trail

The Sandakan Heritage Trail is a comprehensive walk that covers the town’s important and interesting sites which have contributed to her rich historical past. A leaflet will map out the entire trail for you and it covers about fifteen spots.

a.) Masjid Jamek

b.) MPS Square / William B. Pryer Monument

C.) Stairs with 100 steps

d.) World War II Chinese Memorial

e.) Japanese Cemetary

f.) Agnes Keith’s House

g.) Rotary Observation Pavillion

h.) Ancient Graveyard

i.) Old Stairs

J.) Goddess of Mercy Chinese Temple

K.) St. Michael’s & All Angels Church

l.) Sam Sing Kung Chinese Temple

m.) Malaysia Fountain

n.) Sandakan Heritage Musuem

o.) Tourist Information Centre

17. Sandakan Heritage Museum

Sandakan Heritage Museum is one of the museums in Sandakan, Sabah. It was opened on 5 December 2003 to document the history of Sandakan.


Sandakan had a headstart over other cities in Asia in terms of development – it was the capital of British North Borneo from 1884 until the end of the Second World War, In 1923, it was installed with an automatic telephone exchange, and this was even before Hong Kong and Shanghai got theirs.

Sandakan Heritage Museum is housed inside Wisma Warisan, which was a British government building during colonial times. The office of the British Resident was located on the first floor of the building, while on the ground floor, there was a post office where the Tourist Information Centre is located today.

18. Sandakan Rainforest Park


Sandakan Rainforest Park (SRFP) is located about 9 km away from the centre of the coastal town of Sandakan in Sabah, Malaysia. The Park, covering an area of 148.6 hectares, is situated at a site where some of the earliest botanical explorations in Borneo were carried out. The Park is the locality of about 110 type specimens; as such, it a very important site for research on plant diversity in Borneo. The core area of this Park is still in pristine condition. Many lowland species of flora and fauna of Borneo are found in this forest.

19. Sandakan Batu Sapi

Batu Sapi is a rock formation beside the river to the south of Sandakan, Sabah. This rock formation was created by water erosion, current and waves over millions of years. It now stands at the estuary surrounded by mangrove and the fast encroaching Sandakan town.

20. Masjid Jamek Sandakan

Masjid Jamek Sandakan is a mosque in the town of Sandakan, Sabah. It was originally built in the 1890’s as a place of worship for the Muslims in Sandakan. Muslims sought refuge here during the Second World War, and it even acted as a hiding place for a few Europeans.



  1. i think you can post a ‘introduction’ to express your opinion & feeling, the reason of why writing this blog before you introduce the place. i feel a bit weird if someone open your blog and read an ‘advertisement’, can you get what i mean?
    But, overall is good. If every recommended place attach with few photo then will be PERFECT !!
    So…when we going to take photo for your blog?? 😛

    Comment by suisan — October 20, 2009 @ 4:59 am | Reply

    • Thanks for your opinion. You are my first reader 🙂

      Comment by cedricchai — October 20, 2009 @ 8:56 am | Reply

  2. Nice! ^^

    Comment by michelletiong — October 20, 2009 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  3. cedric, more pics.. take it by your own and post it up to your blog.

    Comment by Mr. Simatfoo — October 28, 2009 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  4. Wonderful posting.

    I will be in Sandakan in december and can’t wait to visit all these attractions.

    Best wishes from Black Forest!

    Comment by loeffle — October 31, 2009 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

    • what are you doing in Sandakan?

      Comment by cedricchai — November 6, 2009 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

      • It’s part of my vacation.

        I plan to day trips to Sepilok, maybe one day on the river, one day to bat caves and maybe turtle island – and some active rest 😉

        Comment by loeffle — November 6, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

  5. where are you from??

    Comment by cedricchai — November 6, 2009 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

    • Some 13.000 km NE of Sandakan. Central Europe

      Comment by loeffle — November 6, 2009 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

  6. How do you get to know us? How many of you guys coming to visit Sandakan???

    Comment by cedricchai — November 6, 2009 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

    • I come alone, and I come in peace.

      Malaysia is quite known as great tourist location. Last year I went to Peninsula and this year I wanna see Borneo.

      Comment by loeffle — November 6, 2009 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  7. Great choice! get more of your friends coming over! let me know if you need help.. 🙂 and welcome to sandakan!

    Comment by cedricchai — November 6, 2009 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

    • Thank you! People in ML are very friendly … I had only good experiences last year.

      You can see my photos here:

      Impressions from Pangkor Island Beach Resort Perak, Malaysia

      Comment by loeffle — November 6, 2009 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

      • People in Borneo more friendly and warm! Let me know if you need me to show you around. And, don’t forget to introduce Sandakan to your friends.

        Comment by cedricchai — November 6, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

    • I’m still in the process of planning, but let you know when I have more details.

      Comment by loeffle — November 6, 2009 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

  8. Alright..

    Comment by cedricchai — November 7, 2009 @ 5:42 am | Reply

  9. Cedric,
    u left out our famous Gomantong cave, Sukau’s natural view, Pulau Selingan (turtle island/Diving), Memorial Park(Tmn Rimba) and also sandakan mini Zoo, Mile 16.
    beside, please also add in some Photo of the view of our Airport, Sandakan Port, Beach-Pa Sha Kong, the oldest Guan Yin temple(Next to our high school sung siew, the most happening night market Indah & IJM so called small bangsa (lolx).. The only cinema -Capital Cineplex etc..

    Dont forget to intro our local foods- bat Kut tea(See food), Tan tat, Peitan gau, Seafoods, salt fish, dry prawn… and also our favourite’s keropok – Tasen, made in Sandakan. hhaha..

    Comment by Gary — November 12, 2009 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

    • Yes Mr Gary 🙂 i’m done on the others attraction. For the mini zoo at mile 16, will consider.
      Besides, more photos will be upload in future 🙂
      For our local delights, that will be phase 2. I’m still in the midst of gathering photos 🙂 if you have time, please assist me.
      Thanks man.

      Comment by cedricchai — November 12, 2009 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

  10. What is the weather like in December. We are thinking about a package tour in December 2010 – Kuching – Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. Will it be too rainy to enjoy it?

    Comment by Priya — September 9, 2010 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

    • Priya, How many days in Sandakan? December most of the time is rainy days, but, if you do not mind to challenge the rain, you will somehow or rather enjoy as well.. I did trekking on the rainy day before, challenging and advanture! If you don’t like, then, you can sit at the resort and enjoy the green with a bottle of beer.. how many of you guys? Please be remind that If rains no wildlife will appear.. Let me know if you need a tour.

      Comment by Cedric Chai — September 10, 2010 @ 4:03 am | Reply

  11. […] Sandakan’s Attractions October 2009 21 comments 3 […]

    Pingback by 2010 in review « Sandakan (The Little HongKong) — January 2, 2011 @ 2:32 pm | Reply

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