"THE FORGOTTEN CITY HARBOUR" Top 5 Page for this destination Sandakan by daryll

Sandakan Travel Guide: 229 reviews and 604 photos


Sandakan formerly known Elopura during the British occupation, was actually known as Little Hongkong when the town was boomed during mid 60-70s. Even now, it is a twin city of Zamboanga in the PhilipPines.

The town was known as "Elopura", which means 'the beautiful place", for more than 200 years before it was given the name Sandakan.

Developed by the British Chartered Company about a hundred years ago, it developed and grew quickly as one of the largest settlements in North Borneo (Sabah). The reason for its rapid growth was due to the many - in fact as many as 43 - commodities that could be exported in the late 19th Century. Sandakan was once the capital because of its bright prospects and the need for an administrative centre on the East coast.

The port was important for the lucrative tobacco, cocoa, coffee, manila hemp and sago exports. Even before the advent of the tractors and chain saws the timber industry boomed as early as 1890s. In the mid 1930s, Sandakan's timber export reached the record figure of 180,000 cu m, making it the largest timber exporting port of tropical wood in the world.

Besides the town itself, you wouldnt wanna miss great places around Sandakan! Sepilok, Sukau, Selingan Island and Gomantong Caves are some off beaten track you don't want to miss out.

This little town is where I was born and grew up until the age of 19 and after given a green light, I left and moved on till where I am today.



Seafood, most famous perishable goods, in fact well known for the whole region as far as Singapore. Most major export of fishes and crutaceans is sent to Singapore at major hotels and restaurants.
So next time if you do find some huge promfret or snapper swimming in the restaurant fish tank in Singapore, you sure know it where its origin.



Sandakan has nature and wildlife to depend on to keep tourism going as part as the city major revenue. Though, most of nature and wildlife in Sandakan has heavyly restricted to avoid exploitation on the wildlife especially Orang-Utan the endangered species. Sepilok probably main itinerary for some travellers or tourist from far to see the rehabilitation centre of this primate. However off the beaten track, Travellers can actually discover more wildlife withing the region if you know where to track them.

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  • In a nutshell:MY HOMETOWN THAT IS!
  • Intro Updated Feb 28, 2006
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Reviews (20)

Comments (10)

  • Feb 3, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    i am from zamboanga city, philippines and i did not know sandakan is our twin city. i will be in sandakan february 17 - 18 and i know this will be an enriching experience...thanks daryll

  • longsanborn's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2008 at 9:56 AM

    Good background about Sandakan. Even I didn't know such history. I shld visit your town the next trip back to M'sia!

  • juliewong's Profile Photo
    Jul 15, 2007 at 9:41 AM

    Beautiful write ups about Sandakan.

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2007 at 2:30 AM

    Hello Daryll. Looks like a lovely place where you come from! I very much enjoyed your tips and photos. Ratings well-deserved. Greetings from Dubai :-) Jess

  • moonlighting's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2007 at 7:49 PM

    I liked salted, dried fish and squid, dipped into spiced vinegar... eaten with fresh steamed rice! hmmmm.. getting hungry now.

  • p_yenyen's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2006 at 4:27 AM

    I miss the seafood bak kut teh over here.. :-) Maybe i should go next year again. :-D

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    May 26, 2006 at 4:43 AM

    Nice page on Sandakan. I visted there too and bring back memories of Seafood Bak Kut Teh. Orangutan is an ape. : ) Cheers from Penang, SL

  • bike_packer's Profile Photo
    Mar 17, 2006 at 8:14 PM

    eastern malaysia and southern philippines has real great potentials, tourismwise, but........

  • BerniShand's Profile Photo
    Jul 4, 2004 at 11:25 AM

    nice page, we had a short tour of Sandakan between visiting Seligan Island and Sepilok

  • danielperals's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2003 at 7:41 PM

    thanks daryll.hope to be there tomorrow

daryll Used To Live Here!

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