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Sandakan Holiday

This historic township, once occupied by the Japanese in World War II, is now a gateway to northern Borneo’s rich world of ecotourism.

The Sabah region’s largest center is the historic town of Sandakan, located on the northern coast of Borneo. The town is surrounded by natural beauty and an abundance of wildlife, and is considered the gateway to Sabah’s ecotourism region. Beyond the ecotourism, Sandakan is an important historical site. The Japanese occupied the town for much of World War II. The area was used to host a number of Prisoner of War camps, and the Sandakan Airport was built by forced labor. Today, a war cemetery and memorial park mark the events.

Tour operators are abundant in Sandakan, and ecotourism is by far the biggest draw card to the region. Elephants, monkeys, crocodiles and rhinoceros call the area home, and the dramatic shifts in landscape produce one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Within a few miles you’ll see swamps, limestone cave systems and three types of forest. See endangered species of ape and monkey at the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. The largest mammals mingle with the smallest birds on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, a short drive from the town. Dive the Semporna Islands, known as one of the best dive sites in the world, just off the Sabah coast. 

Life underwater is even more abundant than it is above in Sandakan, and many of the local dishes revolve around seafood. Sample freshly caught shellfish, or try dried, salted fish from the local markets. 

Sandakan enjoys a tropical rainforest climate, with temperatures averaging 87 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius) year round. The wet season brings monsoons that often cause the Kinabatangan River to flood during December and January. Between April and October visitors can expect a mostly dry experience with the added bonus of the new season of flora in the region.

Sandakan can be reached by plane from Kuala Lumpur or by bus from southern Borneo. Once in town you’ll have no problem walking between your hotel, restaurants and local attractions, while a bus system will take you further afield. Taxis are readily available and cars can be hired from within the town.


Top Hotel Deals

See all 39 Hotels in Sandakan
$69
Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan

Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan

Lot 106 & 107 Blk Hs 11, Sandakan
4.4
of 5, from 145 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Sandakan hotel is located on the waterfront, within a 15-minute walk of Sandakan Harbour Mall and Saint Michael's and All Angels Church. Agnes Keith House and Puu Jih Shih Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$26
Tyng Garden Hotel

Tyng Garden Hotel

Lot 19,Ground Level, Bandar Tyng, Sandakan
2.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Sandakan, this hotel is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from Sandakan Memorial Park and within 6 mi (10 km) of Puu Jih Shih Temple and Agnes Keith House. Sandakan Harbour Mall and Saint Michael's and All Angels Church are also within 9 mi (15 km).

$34
2 Inn 1 Boutique Hotel & Spa

2 Inn 1 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Lot 1-7 Block B, Bandar Fajar, Sandakan
4.0
of 5, from 2 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Sandakan, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Puu Jih Shih Temple, Saint Michael's and All Angels Church, and Sandakan Harbour Mall. Agnes Keith House is 1.8 mi (3 km) away.

$88
Sepilok Nature Resort

Sepilok Nature Resort

KM 22.5 (Mile 14), Jalan Sepilok, Sandakan
4.8
of 5, from 32 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Sandakan, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary and Rainforest Discovery Centre. Sandakan Memorial Park and Sandakan Memorial Park are also within 12 mi (20 km).

$35
The Pavilion Hotel

The Pavilion Hotel

Block A3, Bandar Labuk Jaya, Mile 7, Sandakan
3.6
of 5, from 5 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Sandakan, this hotel is 0.3 mi (0.4 km) from Sandakan Memorial Park and within 9 mi (15 km) of Puu Jih Shih Temple and Agnes Keith House. Saint Michael's and All Angels Church and Sandakan Harbour Mall are also within 9 mi (15 km).

$43
S'kan Styles Hotel

S'kan Styles Hotel

HS12, Sandakan Harbour Square, Sandakan
3.5
of 5, from 34 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated by the sea, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Sandakan Harbour Mall and Saint Michael's and All Angels Church. Agnes Keith House and Puu Jih Shih Temple are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$50
Sabah Hotel Sandakan

Sabah Hotel Sandakan

Km 1 Jalan Utara, Sandakan
4.1
of 5, from 34 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Sandakan, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Agnes Keith House, Sandakan Harbour Mall, and Saint Michael's and All Angels Church. Puu Jih Shih Temple is 2.7 mi (4.3 km) away.

Borneo Sandakan Backpackers

Borneo Sandakan Backpackers

Block HS-5, Lot 54 & 55, Sandakan
2.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Sandakan, this hostel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sandakan Harbour Mall, Saint Michael's and All Angels Church, and Agnes Keith House. Puu Jih Shih Temple and Sandakan Memorial Park are also within 9 mi (15 km).

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