Heading to Sandakan? You’re in luck – there are some excellent tours from Sandakan to choose from!
I compiled this list of the best Sandakan tours through personal experience and detailed research. I didn’t just want to find the best tour in Sandakan, but also a great range of tours that you can pick from depending on your budget and interests. Sandakan has many amazing natural and cultural tours that you can choose from.
Already know you simply want the best tour for visiting the Sepilok orangutans? Click here to see the latest prices now.
Or keep reading as below, we have listed detailed information of the best tours Sandakan offers to make the most of your visit.
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Why Book A Sandakan Tour?
Borneo tours of Sandakan make visiting this city so simple. It’s always difficult to know when you visit a new city whether you’ve seen the top sites and the attractions that interest you. This is particularly true in a city like Sandakan where infrastructure and services are more basic than some visitors may be accustomed to.
Joining one of the Sandakan Malaysia tours ensures that you are taken care of and that you’ll see the top sites in the most efficient way.
Also, it’s worth noting that some of the attractions can only be visited by tour and have a limited capacity for guests. This is true with visiting Selingan Turtle Island which only allows a limited number of guests in order to preserve the turtles’ habitat. You also need a tour for Kinabatangan River.
A tour will help you make the most of your Sandakan visit!
Compare All The Best Sandakan Tours
Here’s a quick comparison of all your Borneo Sandakan tours
|Tour Name||Best For…||Days||Price||Book Now|
|Sepilok Orangutan Centre Half Day Tour||Seeing Sepilok’s famous orangutans||1||$$||Click|
|2D1N Stay at Sepilok Jungle Resort with Sepilok Wildlife Tour||Enjoying the best natural attractions around Sandakan including orangutans, sun bears and the rainforest||2||$$$||Click|
|3D2N Discover Kinabatangan River with Stay at Bilit Adventure Lodge||Nature and wildlife spotting on the Kinabatangan River with multiple river cruises to spot wildlife||3||$$$$||Click|
|4D3N Sepilok Wildlife Tour with Kinabatangan River Cruise Experience||A complete experience visiting Sepilok’s orangutans, sun bears and rainforest before two nights wildlife spotting on the Kinabatangan River||4||$$$$$||Click|
|2D1N Selingan Turtle Island with Turtle Watching||Visiting exclusive Selingan Turtle Island to see a turtle lay eggs and baby turtles being set free||2||$$$||Click|
|Sandakan Heritage Walking Excursion Tour||Understanding the cultural and heritage of Sandakan city on a walking tour||1||$$||Click|
|Sandakan City Half Day Tour with Seafood Lunch||Exploring Sandakan city and seeing Sandakan War Memorial Park||1||$$||Click|
You can read more about each of these options below.
Best Day Tours In Sandakan
Sepilok Orangutan Centre Half Day Tour – Best Choice For Sandakan Orangutan Tours
Sandakan Orangutan sanctuary tours are one of the top reasons visitors head to Sandakan, and this is the best tour Sandakan offers visitors that want to see the orangutan.
For those that don’t know, Sepilok Orangutan Centre is a world famous rehabilitation centre helping to raise orangutans that are either orphaned or affected by deforestation, after which they are released back into the wild. You’ll see plenty of obstacle courses here to help orangutans learn to climb and survive in the wild upon release.
This is a half day tour which takes you to Sepilok (located about 30 minutes from Sandakan) and includes hotel pickup and drop off. The tour takes 3 hours and includes multiple educational opportunities, a visit to the baby orangutan room and ample time to walk around the glorious forest watching orangutans eat and interact.
This is the best way to see orangutans in their natural habitat.
Sandakan City Half Day Tour With Seafood Lunch – Best Sandakan City Tour
Sandakan is an interesting city in its own right, and if you want to see the city highlights of Sandakan, consider this half day Sandakan tours Borneo option.
Starting in the morning with a 9:30am pickup from your hotel, this tour visits numerous places of importance in Sandakan and the surrounding area. One of the most significant sites is the Sandakan War Memorial Park. This is one of the Sandakan death march tours which takes you through the British built memorial, which honours the 2,434 Australian and British soldiers who died as prisoners of war.
Complete with a tranquil rainforest, stories and war relics, this is both a beautiful and contemplative spot to visit.
You’ll also visit the St. Michael’s & all Angels Church which was built prior to WWII and is the oldest stone church in the state.
Lunch is a highlight of this tour, and includes a seafood feast at Sim Sim Water Village with a stunning view of the water. This fishing village is about 3km from the city centre, and has over 100 years of history. You’ll walk past wooden houses connected by bridges to reach the restaurant.
The tour concludes with either hotel or airport drop off.
If you want to get intimately connected with Sandakan’s heritage, there’s no better way than a walking excursion. In this tour, your Sandakan tour guide takes you for a walk around town letting you get up close to some of the most important sites.
Beginning in the morning with a 9am hotel pickup, you’ll start your walk with a group photo before making your way to some of the top spots around town, including the Heritage Museum, the William Pryer and Sandakan Liberation Monuments, as well as Tokong Kun Yam, Sam Sing Kung Temple and St. Michael’s and All Angels Church.
This is also one of the Sandakan day tours that takes you to Masjid Jamek. Dating from 1890, it’s one of the oldest mosques in the area.
You’ll also visit an English Tea House where you can stop for a bite to eat, and climb a set of stairs to enjoy a stunning view.
Of course, you can follow the heritage trial yourself, but this can be tricky. The Sandakan tour operators will explain the sites in more detail, adding charm and history to the sites you encounter along the way.
Best Sandakan Tour Package Options
2D1N Selingan Turtle Island With Turtle Watching At Sandakan – Sandakan Turtle Island Tour
One of the most unique tours you can do in Sandakan is this turtle island Sandakan tour. This two day, one night tour will meet you at the airport or pick you up from your hotel and take you to Selingan Island by boat to see turtles laying eggs and hatchlings being released into the sea.
With a 9am pickup, you’ll head to Sabah Parks Jetty and hop onto a boat to Selingan Island. This island is peaceful and exclusive. Once you arrive, you’ll check-in to your chalet, have lunch and spend some time swimming or snorkelling in the clear water.
Accommodation is at the Selingan Island Chalet which is a basic nature resort. It’s comfortable with ensuite bathrooms, air-conditioning and a cafeteria.
In the evening, you’ll watch a film about the turtle conservation program and then wait for a female turtle to come ashore and start laying eggs. You’ll get to watch this and then learn as the ranger collects the eggs to plant them in their turtle hatchery. After this, you can watch the just hatched turtles be released into the sea.
This turtle island tour Sandakan includes all meals. After breakfast the next morning, you’ll head back to the jetty for a hotel or airport drop off. This is the perfect tour for those looking for something unique and special. It’s also a crazy good price to spend time at an exotic tropcial island and then get such close-up experiences with turtles.
You can also watch this full video of the experience that we made:
2D1N Stay At Sepilok Jungle Resort With Sepilok Wildlife Tour – Best Sandakan Wildlife Tours And Sandakan Jungle Tour
If you’re looking to explore the best of Sandakan’s wildlife and jungles, consider this Sepilok tour. This wonderful tour includes a night at Sepilok Jungle Resort.
This tour starts with an 8:30am pickup from your hotel or the Sandakan airport, where you’ll then head to the Sepilok Orangutan Park for a guided tour, before making your way to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. This is located just next door to the Orangutan Park and helps to rehabilitate these cute and goofy looking bears.
After this, you’ll take a guided walk at the Rainforest Discovery Centre where you’ll see more wildlife and flora, and then enjoy a night at Sepilok Jungle Resort – your oasis in the jungle with a pool, as well as an ensuite and TV in every room. After breakfast the next morning, hotel or airport drop off is provided.
This is a great tour for short on time guests who want to make the most of the natural treasures of Sepilok.
3D2N Discover Kinabatangan River With Stay At Bilit Adventure Lodge – Best Sandakan River Tour
If you’ve got two nights to enjoy Sandakan, consider doing one of the Sandakan river tours. The Kinabatangan river is the longest in Sabah and a haven for much of this area’s wildlife.
This three day, two night Sandakan Kinabatangan river tour is super well organised and includes a total of three river cruises. Prepare to see wildlife like orangutans, monkeys, numerous bird species, crocodiles and the Borneo pygmy elephant.
This tour includes two nights at the Bilit Adventure Lodge – a comfortable oasis in the rainforest.
Breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner are all included. You’ll also get to partake in special experiences on this tour, such as a jungle night walk and tree planting activity.
On the final day, enjoy breakfast and airport/hotel drop-off – as well as an optional Sandakan city tour!
4D3N Sepilok Wildlife Tour With Kinabatangan River Cruise Experience – Best Complete Experience
If you’re looking for the best complete experience of Sandakan’s jungles and wildlife, this four day three night tour is a top choice. This could be a great option for those looking for Sandakan tours from Kota Kinabalu as it covers the best attractions in Sepilok and Kampung Bilit.
This awesome wildlife retreat begins at 8:30am with pick up from your hotel or the airport where you’ll then head to Sepilok Orangutan Centre, as well as visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center and Rainforest Discovery center for a guided walk. You can also do an optional night walk.
You’ll enjoy a night in the jungle at Sepilok Jungle Resort, before heading to Kampung Bilit for a total of three river cruises and two nights in the rainforest at Bilit Adventure Lodge.
This is among the top tours for spotting wildlife on both your jungle walks and river cruises, many of which are endemic to Borneo. Expect to see red giant flying squirrels, elephants, maroon langur, macaques, snakes and so much more.
All attractions are organised and inclusive, as well as meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
On the last morning you’ll enjoy a final breakfast before heading back to the airport or your hotel. This is an excellent tour for seeing the best of this area’s wildlife.
Endangered wildlife, diverse rainforests and an interesting history, Sandakan deserves more attention than it receives.
We highly recommend spending at least a few nights here and enjoying at least one of the Sandakan tours to get the most of your visit!
Ideally, stay long and visit Kinabatangan River for a couple of nights, Turtle island and also spend a couple of nights in the Sandakan or Sepilok visiting the attractions there. This is what I just did, and it was amazing.
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