SANDAKAN, The Nature City of Malaysia: Land of Diversity and Conservation Part II

Proboscis monkeys endemic of Borneo island in Malaysia

In Part 1, I listed out the well-known places of interest in Sandakan.  Now, how to get to Sandakan?

You can easily reach Sandakan by car, bus or plane, but if you have the time, I would recommend driving a car or taking the bus as the journey along the way is worth the 6 hours spent sitting in the vehicle passing through Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Kundasang, Ranau, Telupid, Kinabatangan and finally, Sandakan.

You’ll enjoy a wonderful view of lush greenery, valleys and hills along the way. 

However, if you do take the bus, please empty your bladder before you get on it (I’ll tell you the reason later).  For those who are prone to car sickness, please bring along suitable remedy. 😀


To take a bus from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan, you can get a ticket in the Inanam Bus Terminal.  There are many bus operators to choose from.  Depending on your luck, with a new bus operator, the trip could get cancelled if they can’t get enough passengers, but the plus side is the buses are usually quite new and very comfortable.

There would most likely be some unoccupied seats, too.

The fare would be around RM40 – RM50, depending on where you want to stop.  Some passengers may want to stop at Mile 32 (Check Point) or at Bukit Garam, Kinabatangan or head straight to Sandakan town.

Bus To Sandakan

An early morning trip (at 7am) should give you the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful green landscape as the bus passes through Tamparuli, Kundasang, Ranau and Telupid.  Do bring along a sweater or jacket because the air-conditioning in the bus could get very cold.  B

uy yourself some snacks and drinks at the shops near the Terminal as the bus usually makes a stop about 3 hours later at Telupid, to enable passengers to visit the loo and also get something to eat.

Despite the signage in the bus, NEVER visit the in-house lavatory except in cases of extreme emergency!  They are usually not in good working condition.  So, don’t drink too much, just enough to keep yourself hydrated, and forgive me for the extremely graphic picture below…. :{

Toilet Bus

If you want to snap the majestic Mount Kinabalu and its lush green surroundings with vegetation, fruit trees and flowers, then get your camera ready.  If the weather permits and if you don’t get sick during the snaky uphill route to Kundasang, you should be able to capture a decent photo for keepsake and the odds should be greater if the bus gets ‘trapped’ in the middle of an envoy ‘escorting’ tankers or lorries.

The speed would decrease substantially and you’ll be able to snap a shot or gaze at the huts for mushroom cultivation, marvel at the sight of the corns planted by the side of the road and the blooming mango trees.

Folks in Kundasang and Ranau are really blessed gardeners and planters.

If you choose to get off the bus at Mile 32, there’s a food court not too far ahead called  Sam Jaya Food Court at Mile 16, Kampung Gum Gum, Labuk Road, Sandakan. It has a satisfactory washroom facility, a mini-market and a mini-zoo:

Sam Jaya

Just drop in the coin, and you can enter the toilet:

Sam Jaya Toilet

And here’s the activity bulletin:

Sam Jaya Notice

As you can see, there are more than a few activities to keep the kids occupied.  If you’re not too tired and have transportation arranged, you could head straight to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary at Mile 19, Labuk Road, Sandakan.

labuk bay

Proboscis Monkey, or Nasalis Larvatus as it is scientifically named or Monyet Belanda in Malay, can only be found in Borneo.  This forlorn-looking, beady-eyed and extremely fast-climber is the mascot of Malaysia’s Visit Malaysia Year 2014.  There are quite a lot living around Sandakan areas that I heard that teachers in Kinabatangan frequently get to see proboscis at their school backyard.

However, in the Sanctuary, you are guaranteed to get to see them closely a few times each day, and without the need to take a river cruise through their natural habitats of swampy mangrove wetland or the river flood plain.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary map
Pic credit:

The Sanctuary lies in the middle of a 400+ acres palm oil plantation and mangrove area.  The best time to view the proboscis monkeys is during the daily feeding times scheduled in the morning and in the afternoon.

The entrance fees for Malaysians are RM15 (Adult) and RM5 (Child); and for non-Resident RM60 (Adults) and RM30 (Child).  Usage of standard digital camera video or handycam will be charged RM10.

Gate Pass Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

There are 2 feeding places Platform A and Platform B.  Platform A is a simple big hut whereas Platform B has additional facilities such as video room, sitting room, souvenir shop, etc.  The feeding times at Platform A are at 9:30 am and 2.30pm while at Platform B at 11.30am and 4.30pm.  Visitors at Platform B also have a good chance of encountering the Silver Leaf Monkeys (and their cute babies) and the Oriental Pie Hornbills.

For more info regarding the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, please visit their excellent website at

In case you wish to experience living in the middle of the plantation and waking up to the sounds of birds and other creatures, there are chalets and other accommodation available in Labuk Bay.  In fact, there is a promotion due on 17th May 2014 which I find is quite interesting:

labuk bay promo
Pic credit:

So, what do you think?

– SANDAKAN, The Nature City of Malaysia: Land of Diversity and Conservation Part II

8 thoughts on “SANDAKAN, The Nature City of Malaysia: Land of Diversity and Conservation Part II

  1. muhammad Hizwan

    Hahaha… Can’t stop laughing at the toilet signage. But the the truth is, it is the same problem we having in peninsula. Don’t know why people like to squat on sitting toilet. really can’t understand.

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