‘Sandakan? Are you going there for work? Holiday?! What’s to see there?’ is the reaction I got when I told some people that I would like to go on a trip to Sandakan. I did and it was amazing.
Perhaps, some folks feel that there isn’t much adventure or experience when travelling to a local place. That wasn’t the case with Sandakan. It has a lot to offer and I guess these folks missed out a lot.
DAY 1 – Wednesday, January 28th.
My friend and I took a flight from KK on the morning of January 28th and upon our arrival we took a cab to Bandar Kim Fung as a friend of ours recommended a Chinese-Muslim Restaurant, Alice. Bandar Kim Fung deosn’t feel like Sandakan at all. Or Sabah for that matter. I felt like I was in China.
After we had our breakfast at Alice and walked around the area, we took a bus straight to the city. Not knowing where to stay, we immediately checked into Harbourside Backpackers, the first backpackers lodge we saw and it was perfect as it was just in front of Harbour Mall where another friend of ours has a bookshop there.
In another story, prior our trip to Sandakan I suggested that we couch surf. But then, another friend of ours joked that our internal organs will be at stake. Jokes aside, we didn’t couch surf cause we were afraid of losing our organs but the house I suggested was a bit far from the city. Sorry Kak Ros.
Anyway, after we settled, the first stop has got to be Hipsta, our friend’s bookshop. It’s small but it’s full of life. It’s her dream came true and I felt very proud of her. This is also the place that sells my zine, t-shirts and bookmarks.
Later on we went to a shop beside the main road that sells these old school stuff. Hoarder mode on, immediately took everything I want from postcards, to speakers and board games. I ended up being friends with Kak Siti and came back to the shop again and again.
For tea, we went to Ba Lin, a roof top restaurant. We had some cakes and juices. Despite the gloomy sky, the view was spectacular.Ba Lin itself is a beautiful restaurant. I like the concept. I will go back there to try the main dishes. We ended our day with a karaoke session at Bandar Indah Recreation Centre.
DAY 2 – Thursday, January 29th.
We started our second day with Coto Makassar for breakfast. Mind you, the soup or more like a gravy is so thick, I don’t think it’s for everyone. I on the other hand, despite the heavy gravy, liked it. It was full of flavour but a bowl was enough for me. Burrppp!
After a trip to the post office and lunch, we drove to Agnes Keith’s House and we only had half an hour to look around before it was closed for the day. It was a beautiful house with beautiful furniture. The gift shop however, didn’t have much to offer. It only has these items that you can see in KK, not a single thing like postcards or magnets that says ‘Agnes Keith’s House’.
Since the English Tea House was just next door, we decided to have our tea overlooking Sandakan and the sea.
DAY 3 – Thursday, January 30th.
Our dear friend is a teacher at SK Bongon Besar 1, a school located at Pulau Bongon Besar, about half an hour boat ride from the mainland. We planned some activities for her students like origami and pop quiz. The view on the way to the island was spectacular and the hospitality shown by her colleagues makes you feel right at home. Her students? Adorable!
Right after our island trip we went to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Lindung. Unfortunately, at that time, Lindung was still closed.
DAY 4 – Saturday, January 31st.
‘What will we do today?’
‘Why don’t we just chill?’
‘That sounds like a good idea.’
Next thing we know, we’re on a bus heading towards the Sepilok, AGAIN. This time however, we wanted to see the sun bears at Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Did you know that the sun bears are the smallest bears in the world? We were the only visitors there at that time and we had a one on one session with Lester (or was it Leslie) who gave us a lot of info on sun bears, rescue efforts, what they eat and when they’ll be released back into the wild.
DAY 5 – February 1st
We took a 2.00 pm flight back to our real lives.
It was a pleasant and much needed trip for both of us. There are still place in Sandakan that we haven’t been to yet. Perhaps well go there again someday. Besides, Kak Siti kept asking our friend about us. Patience Kak Siti.