Thursday, 24 January 2013

Sandakan - Sepilok's Orang Utan Rehab Centre, Sabah, Malaysia

Entrance of Agnes Newton Kieth's House
At first, Sandakan might look like a boring place to pay a visit. The fact, there are several attractions in this beautiful mix of waterfront and green city. There are several flights by Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan daily. Besides, visiting the city, Sandakan is a popular base for trip to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and the checkpoint for Kinabatangan River expedition.

Where to stay?

Sandakan town consisted of a good mix of budget, boutique and stars accommodations with price start from RM50 up to RM300 per night. Visitors can choose to stay at waterfront areas with great sea view at Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan or enjoy the service and magnificent rainforest view of Sabah Hotel, which is also one of the oldest hotel in Sandakan. Optionally, you can walk along the waterfront area or zooming in Bandar Fajar for budget or boutique accommodations choices.  

Sight-seeing in Sandakan

Sandakan Memorial Park

For me, this memorial park is just a park where local residents will come for morning or evening walk and jog, as well as relaxing after a long day. But the fact, this park is a place to remember all those who passed away during the "Death March by Japanese Army during World War II on 1945. The journey from Sandakan to Ranau is about 250km through the jungle and out from those 1577 mix of Australian, British and New Zealanders prisoner, over half died on the walk- except half dozen of Australia managed to escape - many others died because of violence, starvation and disease during the 6 months walk.

Sandakan Memorial Park
Mile 8, Jalan Labuk Utara, Taman Rimba, Sandakan
Sandakan Memorial Day, 15th August every year
Entrance fee: Free

Agne Newton Keith House


Agnes Keith Newton was an author and American expatriate who lived in Sandakan during 1930s to 1750s. Her husband is a forest conservator during their stay in Borneo. This house is a museum to remember her heydey and it was rebuild after the war time, one of her famous book is Land below the Wind which now is the tagline of Sabah state. This 2 storey house consisted of bedrooms, study rooms, dining areas, kitchen and family recreational areas. Visitors entrance fees is RM15 and you are not allow to take photos inside this house. 

Agnes Newton Keith's House

SimSim - Fishermen Village - Tanah Merah

SimSim is more popular than Tanah Merah. This is the place where you can enjoy great grilled seafood dishes at a very reasonable price. Besides, you also can order varieties o mouth watery savouries such as noodles, tofu and other authentic Chinese foods. This is an open air food venue and area cleanliness can be an issue.

Sandakan Centre Market - Good place for souvenir 

This is my favorite place to get crackers, rattan baskets, bags, salted fish, Philippine's batik (Samarinda cloth) and other local souveniers. There are many filipinos migrant here who did their business illegally besides native Sabahan merchants.

Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

This is a very special place which is dedicated for survival or orphaned Orang Utan babies. Visitors will enjoy the greeneries along the canopy walk and keep silent in order not to scare the Oran Utan. Besides, you can sit for hours at the observation deck and wait for the feeding time to watch the Orang Utan by the park ranger. You need to check in your guide for the viewing time for the best Orang Utan observation experience. Try to avoid visiting this rehab centre during weekend and public holidays as sometimes, too many people will make this place noisy which will end up with visit's disappointment.

Admission fees:
MyKad holder (Malaysian) - RM5
Others (Foreigner) - RM30
Camera charge - RM10 each

Reception & Ticketing counter: 9.00am - 11.00am & 2.00pm - 3.30pm
Security Gate: 8.00am - 5.00pm
Mai Centre: 9.00am - 12.00pm (Friday is until 11.00am) and 2.00pm - 4.00pm daily

Saint Marie Church, Sandakan
Besides, there are many other places to visit such as Saint Marie Church which was built since over 100 years ago, Crocodile Farm, Turtle Sanctuary and Monkey Sanctuary too. Two days and one night stay in Sandakan will give you a wonderful experience in this economical city.