Oct 17, 2010

Sandakan – The Nature City


Sandakan City - is in Sabah, Borneo, East Malaysia. It is the second-largest city on the north-eastern coast of Borneo. It is located on the east coast of the island and it is the administrative centre of Sandakan Division. Sandakan is known as the gateway for ecotourism destinations in Sabah.



Sandakan was the former capital of British North Borneo until 1946. The town prospered in the early days due to its port with visiting traders from about the world. Sandakan is an important town to Australian and British WWII history with the infamous Death Marches commencing here in 1945. After WWII the capital moved to Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu).

We got here by bus ride from Kota Kinabalu. Weesam Express runs 2 ferries per week between Sandakan and Zamboanga, Mindanao (Philippines). It's a 13h/P2600 ride.

Sandakan remains Sabah's second most important port, after Kota Kinabalu. The port is important for palm oil, tobacco, cocoa, coffee, manila hemp and sago exports.


Sandakan is also one of the most bustling towns in East Malaysia. The once dominant timber industry is now relatively small. It is likely tourism will become increasingly important to the town's future.

Next: Streets of Sandakan

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