Agnes Keith House

Agnes Keith House information

Sandakan , Malaysia
Jln Istana
+60 89 221140
admission RM15
Opening hours
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On the hill above town, overlooking Teluk Sandakan and the city itself, is Agnes Keith House, an old two-storey wooden villa now renovated as a museum. Keith was an American who came to Sandakan in the 1930s with her husband, then Conservator of Forests, and ended up writing several books about her experiences, including the famous Land Below the Wind . The house fell into disrepair during the 1990s, but Sabah Museum has since restored it as a faithful recreation of Keith's original abode.

The villa documents Sandakan in all its colonial splendour, with detailed displays on the lives of the Keiths. Most poignant are mementos of Agnes' imprisonment by the Japanese during WWII, when she had to try to care for her young son under gruelling conditions. There's some great vintage photographs, including a shot of Keith's husband standing with a dead elephant in full Heart of Darkness safari gear. The admission price includes entry to the various branches of the Sabah Museum in KK – now didn't we tell you to keep hold of your ticket? Also on the grounds is the English Tea House & Restaurant, conveniently ignoring Keith's American background and the fact that she found Sandakan to be 'too British' when she first arrived.

To reach the museum, follow Jln Singapura from the city centre and turn right up the hill, or head up the Tangga Seribu (100 Steps) to Jln Istana and turn left. Just below the museum gardens is an observation pavilion built by the local Rotary Club, which offers more fine views.