Meet the extraordinary wildlife of Sabah, a place where orange orangutans move through the rainforest and elusive sun bears hide out in the safety of dense canopy. Join the extraordinary animals in rehabilitation centres, where they are lovingly cared for, before often being released back into the jungle's interior. Coming face to face with orangutans is a moving experience for many - afterall, these animals are some of our closest cousins, sharing 97% of our genetic makeup. You'll also have the chance to encounter one of nature’s more unusual creatures, the bizarre proboscis monkey, named after the bulbous, swinging noses they sport.
Sandakan stretches along a scenic bay, looking out over the Sulu Sea. A former trading hub, ships voyaged here seeking riches from the thick jungle, especially sought after bird nests. Nowadays, the city has found its niche as a major palm-oil and cacao exporter. Bridges, creaking planks, and wooden walkways form an elaborate floating maze over the waves at Sim-Sim Water Village. Visit this fishing hotspot to sample some of the succulent local fare, tasting freshly prepared meals like butter prawns, seafood broths and fried squid snacks.
Having served as the British capital of North Borneo, there’s always time for an afternoon tea, to keep you refreshed during your explorations. World War II history hangs heavy around the city’s neck, and Sandakan was heavily shelled during the hostilities when it was occupied by the Japanese. Visit the Memorial Park to learn of the horrifying Sandakan Death Marches, which killed thousands of Allied prisoners of war.