My First Time Travelling in Sabah, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu

My friends and I went to Sabah in 2010 and we visited Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu. The 2 cities were beautiful. Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu have very hot weather, so it is advisable to apply sunblock when you are going around these two places.

Sandakan was the former of British North Borneo from 1884-1946. Sandakan was one of the largest towns in Sabah but after the world war II, Kota Kinabalu or formerly known as Jesselton, became the capital of Sabah. There are many Chinese in Sandakan as they came through the port. Sandakan was called “Little Hong Kong” once upon a time.

SandakanFrom the Tanah Merah Hilltop, you could see the sea. The water is crystal view. Many come here to enjoy the awesome panaroamic view apart from religious duties. I enjoyed the scenery but i did not stay long due to the weather. It was super hot!!! When visiting Sandakan,


1. Wear sunblock! Just in case you come here in the afternoon.Trust me, Sandakan is super hot.

2. Wear comfortable clothes. I prefer wearing a singlet and long pants.

3. Bring an umbrella or raincoat. The weather is unpredictable. It might rain and you dont want to get wet don’t you?

4. Enjoy the morning or evening view. I came in the afternoon, so the weather wasn’t pleasing at all.

We went to Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple in Sandakan. It was pretty indeed and we took some photos as well. Since Buddhism is quite strong in asia, so its pretty normal to see Buddhist temples here in Asia. I admired the architecture, with chinese designs and dragon symbols. The temple was officiated by YAB Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan on the 26th of September 1987 who was the Chief Minister at that time.

When visiting Sandakan, DON’T forget to visit Sepilok, an orang utan’s rehabilitation. It was established in 1964 and opened specially for the “orphans”. It was upgraded soon after and has become a tourist attraction today. The centre aims to educate the public, giving them an awareness about the endangered species. Orang Utans are so unique and they are the only species of great ape found outside Africa. The males are impressive indeed, with am armspan of 2.25m and guess what? It can weigh up to 144kg!! They have wide cheek pads and they swing a lot, which is the reason why monkeys are meant to have long hands. However, due to deforestation, their habitat is destroyed and it is up to us to save them from extinction.

Orang Utan Sepilok
When I visited Sepilok, there were only 2 of them that showed up, Where were the others?! Orang utans are pretty shy animals, so be nice to them=) Tourists get to watch the rangers, feeding the orang utans. Orang utans love bananas and to be honest, they were too busy eating bananas to even notice us! I was so happy to see them since it was my first time seeing one. Do visit Sepilok today and you will get to see them there.

How much per entrance? Well, the admission fee is RM30 for adult and RM15 for children. If you want a photo of the orang utans, you can get it for just RM10.

If you are interested in rescuing these wonderful creatures, you are welcomed to volunteer in the centre’s volunteer programs in supporting its efforts. We also visited one of the Anglican churches there, St Michael Cathedral. I wanted to enter the church but it was closed. I shall visit it again next time. The church took almost 30 years to be completed and it was designed by a a man from New Zealand, Mr. B.W Mountfort. Ironwood was used to build this beautiful building, followed by bricks and finally stones. The church’s stained glass windows were donated by the Australians to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the World War II.

Sandakan Anglican Cathedral

From the Anglican church, we moved on to St. Mary Catholic Church, not far away from the St. Micheal church. St. Mary church was established in the 19th century and it was taken care by the Mill Hill Fathers and Sisters at that time. The church is beautiful, although it looks simple. When it was first set up, it was just an attap shed but in 1961, it was then transformed into one of the most beautiful buildings in Sandakan.

Next, we went to the Crocodile farm. There were other animals as well, but the crocs were the centre of attention. Sabah’s crocodiles are huge! I was impressed and i got to watch the crocodile show too. Well, the Sandakan Crocodile farm is the largest crocodile farm in Malaysia with over 3000 of reptiles. The crocs were found along the Kinabatangan river and then they were farmed for their skins. Crocodile skins are valuable and marketable as ladies buy shoes and bags made of crocodile’s skin.

Sandakan Crocodile Farm

Visiting hours:

Weekday show times: 11.45am & 4pm (crocodile)

Sunday and Public holiday show times: 11.45am, 2pm, & 4pm (crocs and snakes)

I attended the 4pm show=) Don’t forget to watch them feed from 9.30am4.30pm


1. Never attempt to get close to the crocodiles even when they are asleep.

2. Be careful when walking on the bridge.

3. Do not feed the crocodiles.

The food in Sandakan are delicious too so be sure to try them. The seafood are fresh, you would want to eat more! I tried the steamed fish and it was YUMMY!

When visiting Sandakan, DO try some of the awesome food served here! Halal food are also available for muslims.

Eating in Sabah
List of food you should try:

1. Seafood fried noodle

2. Marble cheese cake

3. Bak Kut Teh

List of restaurants:

1. Sandakan Curry House

2. Habeeb Restaurant

3. Imperial Bay View

4. Tomato Sandakan

5. Ocean King Seafood Restaurant

After Sandakan, we made our way to Kota Kinabalu. The journey was fun and we took about 7 hours to reach our destination. Along our way, we passed by some villages. The panaroma was awesome and as the bus went up the hills, it got cooler.

We arrived the Kota Kinabalu’s bus terminal at 2pm. KK was awesome. After we checked-in the hotel in KK, we put on our shorts, ready for KK exploration! The weather was SUPER HOT! We went to a lot of places, including the sunday market. I bought lots of souvenirs for my friends and family, such as fridge magnets and postcards. My friends and I also went to the Borneo One. The mall is bigger than the ones in my hometown and it has many stores, selling branded and imported clothes such as FCUK, Levi’s, Body gloves and many more. Don’t worry about getting there as there is a shuttle bus provided by the hypermall.

Seller in Sabah

We also went to a local bar for a couple of drinks and met new friends too; all the way from the Philippines!

Nightlife in Sabah

Jenna and I had to go on stage to sing. It was an unforgettable moment indeed.

The Walking Writer
An ENTP who's always thirsty for new adventures. Apart from music and writing, I'm also passionate about travel, art and entrepreneurship.