The Eco Wildlife City Sandakan
I know I owe Sri Lanka's complete post for the longest time, but since I'm now going back and forth to Sandakan, I might as well share more on this beautiful eco wildlife city for all of you. Sri Lanka will take a LOT of my time which I'm working on at the moment.
For starters - If you and your family only have the weekends to spare to travel anywhere you could in Malaysia, please choose Sandakan. Especially if you have kids. Sandakan used to be British's main port after their first move from Kudat, and if you followed my Instagram you would have known that it was reputed to have the most millionaires in the world thanks to the timber industry. As a result? Till today, Sandakan houses some of the richest people in the world, but they camouflage with everyone else so humbly.
The last time I was in Sandakan was 14 years ago and a lot has changed since then. Not drastically, but you do have some international brands sprouting slowly now, and the charm of the wildlife rehabilitation centres and sanctuaries have developed by leaps and bounds. Some even say the standards of the wildlife sanctuaries and centres are probably among the best in the world. I love the part when the video says "that these centres are conflicted between providing a sanctuary to these protected animals and delivering the requests from tourists of seeing these endangered species."
I stayed at Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan, and it was epic. The place is right in the heart of Sandakan Harbour overlooking the Sulu Sea. They have the best views in the entire of Sandakan, stretched as far as the eyes can see. At one corner you'd see the berhala island with sunrise, and the other with sunset. They also have this infinity pool that overlooks both the Sulu Sea and Sandakan Bay which is truly breathtaking.
I had to work the entire week, but that didn't stop me from exploring Sandakan on some mornings and some nights after work. I loved how 1Malaysia Sandakan truly is. Everyone of different cultures and races enjoy the coffeehouses and restaurants together, and workplace is so jovial with everyone around.
What looks like a picture / painting.
I am very lucky to have colleagues who enjoy the best food around. From Bah Kut Teh to Morning Breakfasts to Tarts. Sandakan is a hidden gem of exciting foodie discovery.
Things to do in Sandakan:
I know I'm no genius when it comes to Sandakan still, but here are some suggestions rather things that you MUST do while you're in Sandakan. (I especially think so when you have little kids with you)
1) Try renting a car. Sandakan is a very small place. But good food and sights are to be explored so renting a car might just be perfect for your discovery. This is a combination of renting a car and GO CRAZY WITH SANDAKAN'S FOOD.
2) Sandakan Heritage Trail is one of the council's effort to promote the heritage of the beautiful city. From hundreds of years ago, the landmarks from the heritage trail are beautiful stories of the past of Sandakan. Choose to take an hour or so walk of the trail, or jog / run around town following the route!
3) Wildlife, wildlife - Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Sun Bear Conservation Centre & Rainforest Discovery Centre await the young wildlife explorers and those who enjoy the millions of years age of trees, all standing tall at its glory. Honestly, the first thing that I had in my mind when I went through these three fun and beautiful centres were how I wish I'd bring my kids in the future! Not only are these centres VERY educational, they're very well maintained as well, and rangers and people there are helpful with some of the things that you're interested in. You can adopt an orang utan too, if you'd like to extend more help. There specific feeding times for Sepilok so, please come before 10am to get yourself sorted out. These entrance fees cost, at best MYR 7 so it's really affordable and worth it. It's mostly just a 10 minutes walk, but being part of a conservation effort among their natural habitat is very cool.
SUN BEARS!! ARE SO CUTE!!
4) Lankayan Island or Islands - I was told that Lankayan Island is a whole level of class compared to Sipadan. I honestly, did not know this. I was told the wonders of the Sulu Sea at Lankayan Island is INCOMPARABLE. If you're a diving sport, this might just be your next place.
These are just of my suggestions for at very least 3 Days / 2 Nights in Sandakan, but of course, this place is so charming you just needed to find a companion or two, and you're set!
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.