Once serving as the capital of British North Borneo during the British colonial time, the historical city of Sandakan is now the gateway for eco-tourism destinations in Sabah such as the small town of Sepilok, the magical Turtle Islands, Sukau on the Kinabatangan River and the archaeological Gomantong Caves.
Arriving into Sandakan by air or overland visitors can explore religious relics and iconic temples, haunting cemeteries and stunning colonial buildings around the city. The colourful markets and fishing villages are great for a glimpse of local life, however most visitors will head straight to Sepilok for a wildlife discovery before heading deeper into Sabah or onwards to one of the many tropical islands off the coast.
Sepilok is famous as one of the world’s best orangutan viewing locations, home to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, with many of the residents taking time out in the local town and amongst the trees surrounding our favourite Sepilok lodgings. Nearby there is also the option to visit the excellent Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, and word on the street has it that the Pygmy Elephant Hospital will also be opening its doors to visitors in 2019.