Sandakan is a town on the east
coast of Sabah, facing the Sulu sea. It is a town rich in historical sites and a
gateway to many eco-tourism destinations. To the west of Sandakan (about 20 min
drive) lies Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre. It is the world oldest and
largest Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre.
"Sandakan" is derived from the Suluk word "sanda" meaning, to pawn and "kan"
being the suffix. So "Sandakan" means the place that was pawned.
William Clarke Cowie, in
the early 1870s, a Scottish adventure and engineer, delivered guns and
ammunitions to the Sultan of Sulu.
He did this for protecting territory of the Sultan against the Spanish
In return, Cowie was granted permission by the Sultan to set up base on
Pulau Timbang, in Sandakan Bay, where a small Suluk village existed.
Cowie called his base "Sandakan".
In 1883, the British North Borneo Chartered Company moved its capital
from Kudat to Sandakan.
A "building mania" started and
Sandakan became a bustling modern town. Allied bombings towards the end of World
War II nearly flattened the town.In 1946, the capital was moved to Jesselton. In
1968 they changed the name to Kota Kinabalu.
Sandakan was first and foremost a port for the export of logs and timber. In
fact, it was said that Sandakan timber went into the building of Peking's Temple
of Heaven. In its heyday, Sandakan used to boast of having the greatest
concentration of millionaires in the world! Today, it is known more as the
gateway to nature's most prolific treasures in Borneo.
There are daily flights from
(KUL) or Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Sandakan airport (SDK) by both
(MH) and Air Asia (AK). At Sandakan airport, there are two main options to get
to Sepilok. The easiest one is by taxi. Otherwise, there are a number of public
buses that go into the orang utan sanctuary. Journey will take about 20 minutes.
Sam Sing Kung Temple, or the
Three Saints Temple.
Located at the edge of the town padang (town field). Dating from
1887, the Three Saint's Temple is the oldest building in Sandakan.
- Kwan Woon Cheung, the saint of
- the goddess Tin Hou,
- and the Emperor Min Cheong, worshipped by those who
seek success in examinations.
Before school exams you will find hopeful students
at this temple, which was built by four Chinese communities: the Hakka,
Cantonese, Hainanese and Teochew.
Places of interest in Sandakan include the Puu Gih Jih Chinese
Temple - a majestic temple erected on top of a hill facing Sandakan Bay. Don't
miss the panoramic views across the town and huge bay from the great Puu Jih
Shih Buddhist temple. St
Michael and All Angels Cathedral, erected in late 19th century and one of the
oldest stone buildings in Sabah.
There's also an interesting forestry exhibition and orchid house to visit. Other places of interest that can be visited
are the world famous Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary which is located just 26 km
from Sandakan. The Sandakan Crocodile Farm located on the Labuk Road near the
Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary is also a major attraction.
The hotel sits on top of the hill overlooking the
town of Sandakan.Yet it is accessible by a 15 minute walk to the
town below. The hotel has 120 spacious guest rooms and suites, with
a homely atmosphere. Each is equipped with all the latest comforts
including a colour tv with in room movie channel, built in mini bar
refrigerator, IDD phones. The hotel has a sports and fitness club, a
fully equipped gym, outdoor tennis and squash courts, a jogging
track, free form swimming pool fed by a beautiful waterfall, spa
steam baths and a sauna. Golfing arrangements can be made at the
nearby Sandakan Golf Club. This is the only international class
hotel in Sandakan.