Sandakan Attractions: The 10 Best Tourist Attractions In Sandakan

Nestled on the northeast coast of Borneo, Sandakan is a treasure trove of natural wonders and historical gems. It’s a place where adventure whispers through lush rainforests and echoes in the depths of mystical caves. I’ve had the pleasure of exploring this vibrant city, and let me tell you, it’s a haven for those who seek to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and the richness of culture.

1. Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

One of the most heartwarming experiences in Sandakan is visiting the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Here, orphaned and injured orangutans are nurtured back to health and taught survival skills for eventual release into the wild. Watching these intelligent creatures swing through the trees is a poignant reminder of the importance of conservation. It’s a place where you can’t help but feel a deep connection to the natural world.

2. Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Right next door to the orangutans, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is a sanctuary for the world’s smallest bears. These sun bears, with their distinctive chest patches, are a delight to observe as they clamber over forest platforms and forage for food. The centre’s efforts in rescuing and rehabilitating these bears are nothing short of inspiring.

3. Rainforest Discovery Centre

For those who love a good walk in the woods, the Rainforest Discovery Centre is a must-visit. Its canopy walkway offers a bird’s-eye view of the lush rainforest below. You’ll spot vibrant birds, unique insects, and the diverse Flora that make Borneo’s ecosystem one of the most complex on Earth. It’s a place where every step reveals a new wonder.

4. Sandakan Memorial Park

History buffs will find the Sandakan Memorial Park deeply moving. This site commemorates the prisoners of war who lost their lives during the infamous death marches in World War Ii. It’s a serene space that offers a sombre reflection on the past, ensuring we never forget the resilience of the human spirit.

5. Gomantong Caves

Adventure seekers, get ready for the Gomantong Caves. This complex Cave system is home to swiftlets, whose nests are famed for the delicacy bird’s nest soup. But it’s not just about the nests; the caves are an otherworldly experience, with vast chambers and an ecosystem that thrives in the darkness.

6. Sandakan Heritage Trail

Take a step back in time with the Sandakan Heritage Trail. It winds through the city’s historical landmarks, including the Agnes Keith House and the century-old Masjid Jamik. Each site tells a story, painting a picture of Sandakan’s rich cultural tapestry.

7. Turtle Islands Park

A short boat ride from Sandakan lies Turtle Islands Park, a group of islands that are key nesting sites for green and hawksbill turtles. If you’re lucky, you might witness the magical moment when hatchlings make their first journey to the sea. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s both humbling and exhilarating.

8. Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

Ever seen a monkey with a nose that rivals Pinocchio’s? The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to observe these fascinating primates up close. Their playful antics and social dynamics are endlessly entertaining and provide insight into the lives of one of Borneo’s endemic species.

9. Sandakan Fish Market

For a taste of local life, head to the Sandakan Fish Market. It’s a bustling hub where the day’s fresh catch is artfully displayed. The vibrant atmosphere and the chance to sample seafood straight from the ocean make this market a feast for the senses.

10. Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple

Perched on a hilltop with panoramic views of the Sandakan Bay, the Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple is a place of tranquility and spiritual reflection. The ornate architecture and golden statues are not only a feast for the eyes but also provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.


  • What’s the best time to visit Sandakan?

    The dry season from March to October is ideal for visiting Sandakan, as the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities.

  • How can I get to Sandakan?

    Sandakan is accessible by air with direct flights from Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. You can also reach it by road from other parts of Sabah.

  • Are there any cultural etiquettes I should be aware of?

    Yes, it’s important to be respectful of local customs. For instance, remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a place of worship, and dress modestly when visiting temples.


Sandakan is a city that’s rich in natural beauty and steeped in history. From the enchanting wildlife encounters at Sepilok and Labuk Bay to the reflective moments at the Sandakan Memorial Park, there’s a depth of experiences waiting to be discovered. The city’s attractions offer a blend of adventure, education, and cultural enrichment that’s hard to find elsewhere. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply in search of a unique travel experience, Sandakan’s top attractions are sure to leave a lasting impression. So, pack your bags, and get ready for an adventure that will touch your heart and stir your soul.

Remember, Sandakan isn’t just a destination; it’s a journey through the heart of Borneo’s enchanting landscape. And trust me, it’s a journey worth taking.

Kurby Team

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