Sandakan, Sepilok and Bilit Rainforest Lodge
Sandakan is a small seaside town which some say resembles Hong Kong in the 1950s (I wouldn’t know!). You could probably walk the entire place in a day, which admittedly I didn't do on this three-day trip in January 2017. I did however, visit the Australian War Memorial and peer at the Sam Sing Kung Temple through the locked gates (it was closed that day).
Sandakan is a sleepy town with a decidedly retro feel
On this particular trip, we flew into Sandakan on an Air Asia flight out of Kuala Lumpur. Arriving in the evening, we stayed the night at the waterfront Four Points by Sheraton. This was a clean, comfortable hotel at a very reasonable price with sweeping views over the harbour which we enjoyed from both our room as well as the pool.
What we did cover in detail was the local market – which was full of interesting foodstuffs, including this curious fruit that was somewhere in between a durian and jackfruit.
We also had breakfast here on the cavernous top floor – tea with condensed milk (know as “teh”) and noodles.
The following morning, we went on a sunrise boat safari along the mighty Kinabatangan. The scenery was very pretty. The day before we happened to chance upon a wild orang utan high up in a tree on a riverbank. What would today bring?
Lots of birds, including several majestic types of hornbill. Also monkeys, monkeys and more monkeys. Eating, scratching, mating and doing the things they do. Apparently, Borneo has 7 species – we saw the long-tailed macaque (as plentiful and promiscuous as rabbits), pig-tailed macaque, orang utan and the proboscis. The latter I loved as their colouring made them look like pot-bellied men in undies. Also, the boys had very prominent ahem…male parts which the guides politely referred to as “lipsticks”.