We decided to take a bus from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. 319km took us 7 hours instead of 5. The ticket costs MR48.
On the way we enjoyed European techno music from early ’90s and karate movies including:
The views are spectacular. The road meanders between high mountains and you can admire valleys covered with forests. The slopes are strengthened with concrete to avoid stone avalanches which might make the journey less picturesque at times. We got to Sandakan after dark and took a taxi from bus station to the hostel we picked from our guide (MR20). Our taxi driver was quite unusual. He told us that the government tells taxi drivers to describe their village to foreigners. “Village” is the word he used. He showed us the hospital where he was born, where the English Tea House is, Catholic Church and day market. He also told us about Orangutan Sanctuary and Discovery Center.
We got out in front of Sea View Hostel but we didn’t like it all that much. After short search for a place to stay we ended up in Borneo Sandakan Backpackers. There we got picked up by Raf (Rafael) from Switzerland. He recommended this Irish place to us called Shamrock Cafe. Hahahhaa if we were expecting Guinness we were totally disappointed. Typical Malaysian beanery. We joined a merry company already enjoying cold beer on the side walk and had a great night out.
One of the people we met was Jonathan who turned out to be a Manager of the hostel we were staying in. The other Mao a tourist guide and Jonathan’s friend. We had a really nice evening discussing culture, tourism and life while drinking cold beer. A bucket of beer (4 bottles) was MR27 and 2 large ones MR36.
Even though Malaysia is a Muslim country the Sharia law includes only the followers of Allah. Muslims have their own police. It turns out that for a wife you need to pay MR1000, the better educated the higher the price. A woman with higher diploma “costs” MR20,000. A child can only get an ID if parents are married and a wedding costs between MR40,000 and MR80,000.
There is no such a thing as Malaysian cuisine. It’s a mountain country and hasn’t develop it’s own cuisine. The food available is a mixture of Chinese, Thai and Hindu dishes. The best dishes they could recommend us was sea food and Satay.
Jonathan recommended the best satay in town to us. The picture above shows the place where it’s done. We were the only foreigners there. I can’t unfortunately say I liked it more than the ones I tried in Thailand. The main attraction in Sandakan was Orangutan Sanctuary. It turned out to be a day trip. Other than that we just walked around the city, visited market and enjoyed the sun set in the harbor. Just to warn you the food there is not great and it’s very expensive. One of the dishes that got my attention was hot pot. Looked really good but was mild not to say tasteless and I.’s lemon chicken dish had 3 pieces of chicken in it. So do go there to enjoy the view but not for the food.
Next post on Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre but for now some more pictures of Sandakan.
My favorite dish in Sandakan, Borneo
A.’s favorite car in Sandakan ;)
Sandakan city center
Doctor educated in Ireland/UK
One of 2 restaurants which I can recommend in Sandakan
Second of 2 restaurants I can recommend in Sandakan