There are many old heritage around Sandakan and the best way to explore them is by following Sandakan Heritage Trail. Sandakan Heritage Trail include the following landmark– Masjid Jamek – the oldest mosque
– William Pryer Monument – Sandakan Heritage Museum – Tourist Information Centre – One Hundred Steps stairs
– Agnes Keith House
– Chinese Cemetery and Chinese WW2 Memorial, a slight walk further will lead you to the Japanese Cemetery
– Remnants of Old Staircase & Chinese Ancient Graveyard
– Goddess of Mercy Chinese Temple
– St Michael’s and All Angels Church
– Sam Sing Kung Chinese Temple – Malaysia Fountain
The signboard for Sandakan Heritage Trail can be seen everywhere around Sandakan Town area. Best way to explore the trail is by foot and it took us 4 hours to complete the whole trail. Make sure you do this early morning as it can be a bit humid and hot.
foot marker can be seen along the trail
our first stop, Masjid Jamik. we didn’t go into the compound area and just pass by the mosque
another 10 minutes walk away is the William Pryer Monument. William Pryer was the founder of Sandakan.
Just beside the nearby hill is the 100 steps staircase. I think it actually have more than 100 steps!
After an exhausting climb through the staircase and walk, we reached Agnes Keith house. Agnes Newton Keith was an American author best known for her three autobiographical accounts of life in North Borneo and one of the book titile “The Land Below The wind” is still being use to describe Sabah.
After a long walk and exploring Agnes Keith House, we had tea break at English Tea House and Restaurant located just next to Agnes Keith House. Beautiful English garden surrounded the Tea house and you can even enjoy croquet for free here.
Just below Agnes Keith house is the Sandakan Rotary Observatory Pavillion. Here you can enjoy panoramic view of Sandakan Town
View from Sandakan Rotary Observatory Pavillion. Some of the view block by the trees.
Our next stop is Goddess of Mercy Temple. This small temple is over 150 years old!
The caretaker of the Temple, Mr Leong is nice enough ask us to take some rest inside the temple as the weather is very hot outside. He told us stories about the temples and how his grandfather start building this temple.
Located at another hill is St Micheal and all Angels church. It is one of the oldest structure in Sandakan and famous for its stained glass. The entrance fees per person is RM10.Witness one of the oldest stained glass paintings inside the church donated in memory of the lives lost during WW2.
We proceed to another temple, Sam Sing Kung Temple. The name “Sam Sing Kung” means “Three Saints Temple”, and refer to Kwan Woon Cheung, the saint of righteousness, goddess Tin Hou, a deity worshipped by fishermen, and Emperor Min Cheong, a patron deity of students, worshipped for good examination results.
After visited the temples and church on the hill, we go downhill back to the town center and pass by Malaysia Fountain.
We then proceed to the same square where William Pryer Monument stand. The Sandakan Heritage Museum and Tourist Information Center is located among the other government office around the square.
The walk is long and exhausting but worth it as you can pretty much get to see and experience the old Sandakan along the trail.
Tips for exploring Sandakan Heritage Trail:
1) start early because it gets really hot in the afternoon
2) bring some water to avoid dehydration
3) best way to start is by visiting Tourist Information Center and get information from them.
4) If you have the time do the whole trail that is great but you there is plenty to see if you just do 1/2 the trail.
5) While is more comfortable to explore the trail by car, it is more fun to explore the trail by foot!