Tuesday, August 14, 2007

About Sandakan

From Wikipedia & Malaysiana1.

Sandakan is the second largest city in the state of Sabah, East Malaysia, on the north-eastern coast of Borneo.

It is located on the east coast of Sabah and is the administrative centre of Sandakan Division.

The British colonialists made Sandakan the capital of Sabah, before Kota Kinabalu replaced it after World War 2.

Sandakan is known as the gateway for eco-tourism destinations in Sabah, such as the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, the Turtle Islands Park, the Kinabatangan River and the Gomantong Caves (famous for its swifts).

The town was also infamous as the site of a World War 2 Japanese airfield, built by the forced labour of 6,000 prisoners of war. In 1945 the surviving prisoners were sent on the Sandakan Death March and only 10 of them survived.

Sandakan gets its name from the Bajau word which means “the place that was pawned”.

It refers to the Sultan of Sulu’s act of ceding Sabah to the British in return for protection against Spanish aggression from the Philippines.

Sandakan’s original name Elopura meant Beautiful City.

Sandakan was one of Southeast Asia’s major timber cities in the 1930s and boasted one of the highest concentrations of millionaires in the world.

It was also nicknamed the Little Hong Kong of Southeast Asia for the same reason.

Sandakan remains Sabah's second most important port, after Kota Kinabalu. The port is important for palm oil, tobacco, cocoa, coffee, manila hemp and sago exports.

In recent years, businesses have shifted their operations away from the town centre to the suburbs.

In January 2003, the Sandakan Harbour Square, an urban renewal project, was launched in an attempt to revive the town centre as the commercial hub of Sandakan.

It will feature a new central market and fish market, a shopping mall and hotels. It is due for completion in 2010.

Sandakan’s people are mostly Chinese, Bajaus and Kadazan-Dusuns.

Here are some of Sandakan’s tourist attractions:

Pu Ji Shih Temple - This is a hilltop Buddhist temple overlooking the town centre. It was built in 1987.

Agnes Keith House, also known as Newlands - This is the two-storey home of American author Agnes Newton Keith and her husband Harry Keith (once the curator of the Sabah Museum) from 1930 to 1952.
The house was destroyed in World War 2 but was rebuilt.
Mrs. Keith wrote several books about Sabah and its people, including Land Below The Wind, Three Came Home and White Man Returns.
The Keiths survived a stint as prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation of Malaysia.

English Tea House - Located in the grounds of the Agnes Keith House, this restaurant serves traditional English cuisine.

Sandakan Memorial Park - This is a museum dedicated to prisoners-of-war who died in the Death March. It was built on the site of the Japanese POW camp.

Japanese Cemetery - This is a cemetery of the Japanese expatriates and soldiers who lived in Sandakan.

St Michael's And All Angels Church - This granite church was built in 1897 and is one of Sandakan's few surviving pre-war buildings. It was recognised as a world heritage in 2005.

San Sing Kung Temple - Completed in 1887, it is the oldest temple in Sandakan.

Sandakan Mosque - Completed in 1988, it lies next to the Bajau water village of Buli Sim Sim.

Buli Sim Sim - This Bajau water village was the original site of Sandakan town.

Sandakan Market - This is one of the largest and busiest wet markets in Sabah.

Crocodile Farm - Located 12 km out of the town centre, it houses more than 2,000 of the reptiles in concrete pools.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary - The country’s foremost proboscis monkey observation spot.

Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary - The country’s foremost orang utan sanctuary.