Welcome to Sandakan


As well as being a gateway to the Sungai Kinabatangan and Sepilok, Sabah's second city is dotted with religious relics, colonial mansions and haunting mementoes of WWII.


Top experiences in Sandakan

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Sandakan activities

$119.98 Day Trips & Excursions

Sandakan Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center Full-Day Trip from Kota Kinabalu

The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center, located near the town of Sandakan, is one of the best places on earth to see the famous wild man of Borneo in its natural habitat. After pickup from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu, be transferred to the airport for your flight to Sandakan (flight surcharge subject to change, please see Additional Info for more details). Upon arrival, be taken to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center, the largest and oldest of its kind on earth where a dedicated team of professionals work tirelessly to assist orphaned, abandoned or abused Orangutans to learn the survival skills they need to return to their natural habitat - the teeming jungles of Borneo. Follow your guide on a walk along a raised wooden walkway to the observation deck where Orangutans slowly emerge from the rainforest to be fed by the rangers. The Sepilok centre supplements the rehabilitated Orangutan's diet with a feeding at 10am and 3pm. Please note that wildlife sightings are not guaranteed as the Orangutans roam freely in the jungle. Afterward, head to a local restaurant for a delectable lunch of Malaysian specialties. Then, enjoy an afternoon of touring around Sandakan beginning with a tour of a local market offering a variety of fruits, vegetables and unique local handicrafts. Learn about traditional Chinese architecture on a guided visit to a the Puh Jih Shih Buddhist Temple, situated on a hilltop. Admire the views of the city skyline from the observation point The temple is situated on a hill-top looking and provides great photo opportunities of the breathtaking views over Sandakan Bay. At the end of your tour, transfer to Sandakan airport to catch your flight back to Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival, be transported back to your hotel in Kota Kinabalu

$118 Outdoor Activities

Full-Day Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and City Tour in Sandakan

After pickup from your hotel or the airport in Sandakan, you will be taken to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a renowned sanctuary for orphaned orangutans. Upon arrival, you're guided to the viewing gallery and feeding platform to watch young apes as they're fed milk and bananas. Daily morning and afternoon feeding times attract long-tailed macaques from the area on occasion. You'll see orangutans as young as two years old being taught survival skills so that they may eventually return to their natural habitat.During your visit, take a walk along a nature trail to see vegetation and animal life in the tropical rainforest surrounding the center. After departing, your guide makes a stop for lunch at a local restaurant in Sandakan.In the afternoon, embark on a city tour of Sandakan, one of Sabah's earliest settlements. Visit the Observation Pavilion, Central Market, Chinese Temple, and a church, followed by a drive to the water village. Here, check out the stilt houses of local tribes perched above the water.Afterward, you will be dropped off at Sandakan Airport or your local hotel.

$85 Private & Custom Tours

Private Full Day Sepilok Orang Utan, Bornean Sun Bear and Rainforest Discovery Center Tour

Our tour guide will pick up you around 8am from your hotel or Airport. We will head to our first stop at Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. It was established in 1964 to return orphaned "apes back to the wild"€. The centre was being administered by the wildlife section of the Forestry Department which in 1988 was upgraded as a department under the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Development. All administration and management was given to the new Wildlife Department of Sabah.  At 10:00 am Proceed to Platform B; observe man’s closest relative a €˜the Orang Utans’ being rehabilitated to become wild in their natural habitat and experience a walk in the Tropical Lowland Dipterocarp Forest of Borneo and later watch a 25 minutes scheduled video documentary show. Then move on to Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah, Malaysia, is to promote sun bear conservation in Borneo through animal welfare, conservation, rehabilitation, education and research - giving captured sun bears a better home and restoring their right to live in the wild, by: A Creating the capacity to confiscate, rehabilitate and release suitable orphaned and ex-captive bears back into the wild & providing an improved long-term living environment for captive bears that cannot be released. Educating the public and raising awareness about this species. Achieving increased protection for sun bears and their habitat through ongoing research, increased knowledge and awareness, and further protection of habitat. Enjoy the Local Lunch at a Local Restaururant Lastly, visit to Rainforest Discovery Centre. It is the gateway to getting to know the uniqueness and Importance of Borneo’s rainforests. Situated 23 kilometres from Sandakan Town and not too far from the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, the RDC’s main highlights are its exhibition halls, the Plant Discovery Garden, the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, environmental education programmes and a small lake for boat rides. The RDC also gives visitors a chance to get intimate with nature through its Nature Experience programme which includes a guided walk to the Plant Discovery Garden, Rainforest Walk and indoor/outdoor activities. After finish above mentioned sightseeing we will Drop off you at Sandakan airport or your respective hotel (town area only).

$725.96 Multi-day & Extended Tours

3-Day Tour from Sabah: Sandakan Sightseeing and Wildlife Experience in Sepilok and Selingan

Green sea turtles, forest orangutans and limestone caves are just some of the highlights on this extraordinary 3-day tour from Sabah to Sandakan, including 4-star overnight stays at Selingan Island Resort and Borneo Nature Lodge. All meals and transportation, including boat tours, are included as you're expertly guided to some of the region's best natural and cultural attractions.

$137 Outdoor Activities

Full-Day Sepilok Orangutan and Sun Bear and Sandakan City Trail

Board an early morning flight from Kota Kinabalu bound for the historic Sandakan, one of Sabah's earliest settlements. You will be picked up from the airport in Sandakan or from your Sandakan Hotel  and taken to the renowned Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. Take  a 30 minute drive to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center situated in the Kabili-Sepilok forest reserve. Visit the Nature Education Center and watch the video documentary show to learn about the rehabilitation of orphaned Orangutan before taking a boardwalk through the lowland rainforest to view the feeding platform. Trek ten minutes through the rainforest on wooden plank walks to witness the feeding of the Orangutans at approximately 10am. After this, you will be transferred to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center, where you will see the Sun Bear live in tropical regions with year-round available foods. During time of mating, the Sun Bear will show behavior like hugging, mock fighting and head bobbing with its mate. Enjoy a delicious lunch before proceeding to the Sandakan City Tour. You will be shown various landmarks and historical points in the city that was once known as “Little Hong Kong”. Landmarks you will see include Puh Jih Syh Buddhist Temple which offers a panoramic view of Sandakan Bay situated on the hill top Tanah Merah and Sandakan Central Market which has the most amazing variety of fresh seafood and agricultural products. You will also take a visit to the English Tea House – a display of traditional British colonial architecture and uniform. The English tea house has a typically British menu including such favorites as fish and chips, shepherd's pie and cream teas. The concept of a colonial style English restaurant was an idea inspired by the famous Agnes Keith house next door. After the Sandakan city tour you will be dropped at the Sandakan Airport or your Hotel Lobby. Contact the local service provider for recommended flights.

$232 Tours & Sightseeing

Full Day Sabah Tea Plantation & WWII Memorial

The journey will start with a 2.5 hour drive from your Kota Kinabalu city hotel to Sabah Tea Plantation passing through the highlands of Kundasang, Ranau. Enjoy the scenic countryside views and its fresh air. The tea plantation is surrounded by pristine rainforests in the cool mountain air and is the only organic tea farm in Borneo and one of the few in the world. Take a tour around the tea plantation and enjoy a local lunch with the beautiful views of the plantation. Established in 1962, it was one of the first memorials to commemorate the brave Australian and British Prisoners of War who died in Sandakan and during the infamous death marches to Ranau During World War II. The memorial also remembers the people of North Borneo who risked their lives to help the POWs. The Memorial is made up of four beautiful gardens – the Australian Garden, the English Garden, the Borneo Garden and the Contemplation Garden and Pool – to represent the different nationalities. Visitors can also opt to view a brief video on the history of the Sandakan Death March. This tour concludes with the return trip to Kota Kinabalu, and drop-off at your hotel.