Sandakan is the second largest city in Sabah located in the island of Borneo. We decided to go here because of what we read from a travel brochure we got from the airport. It was filled with narrations and colorful pictures of what Sandakan can offer - beaches, rainforests, orangutans!
We went here Sunday morning after we did some shopping at the Gaya Street Sunday morning market in Kota Kinabalu city. It was a very uncomfortably humid day but a fab find - a beaded football coin purse cheered me up.
Sandakan is 6 hours away from Kota Kinabalu by bus and we rode a cab for 20MYR to get to the bus terminal in Inanam.
As an alternate, you can also ride a plane from Kota Kinabalu via Air Asia which will only take you about 45 minutes. Of course, it costs more.
The bus ride was uneventful. We passed by a highway with mountains on both sides and several times during that ride, I had to remind myself that I was not in the Philippines. With the exception of signboards in Bahasa and vehicles moving forward on the left side of the highway, everything felt like home.
Almost an hour away from the Sandakan town proper where we originally planned to spend the night, the bus made a stop to let out a few passengers. I saw a huge signboard of the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort at the left side of the road. Unconsciously, my eyes scanned what was written on it. I pointed the signboard to Mao. The bus started to move. After several short seconds, my mind processed everything - it mentioned the resort's amenities which I yelled urgently to Mao, one at a time - "Internet access! forest trail!" and what got Mao scrambling from his seat was when I yelled "Jacuzzzziiii!!!" ...and Mao yelled at the driver asking him to stop and let us off. It caused a tiny commotion inside the bus since Mao was yelling. Finally, after several seconds of struggling to communicate with the driver to stop, we finally got out of the bus.
We stayed for a night at the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort. It's a bed and breakfast resort at the edge of a rainforest. Our mouths hang wide open when our cab got there after 10 minutes of traversing the main highway. The place which was filled with several species of plants which took my breath away.
When we checked in, we had one Long house to ourselves. One long house has about 9 other rooms and is the ideal accomodation for backpackers. It costs 65 MYR a night (net)- with two single beds with private t&b and free breakfast. They also have internet facilities with fees- about 5MYR for 30minutes. Their meals range from 5 to 10MYR. Not bad for a posh-looking resort. Aside from that, they have very accomodating and warm staff. Me and Mao felt like royalty when we were there. I can't even afford to stay in one back in the Philippines.
Several minutes after we checked in, Mao tried the jacuzzi and paid 8MYR for it. To his disappointment, it never heated like a real jacuzzi should.
The resort is also 10 minutes away from the Orangutan Rehabilitation center, where you can view the feeding of Orangutans.
That evening we had dinner at the resort's refreshing dining area. They served affordable, tasty food. Around here, your 10MYR - roughly less than 140 pesos, can buy you a good dinner which includes drinks and taxes. We also bonded with Nick – one of the jovial Malaysian staff who is a Liverpool fan.
Orangutan Rehabilitation Center:
Entrance : 30MYR for Non-Malaysians
*30 minutes of viewing the feeding of the orangutans. Recommended if you want to see the monkeys but there isn't a lot of them. We only saw 3. The path to the orangutans is nice if you're into nature. You get to walk in wooden planks situated in the middle of a forest. They have accomodations here as well.