I can certainly cross this one off my list! I strongly encourage anyone who doesn’t mind roughing it and who loves nature to do something like this once in their lives. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.
After the camp, we headed to the Four Points Sheraton Sandakan, where were given a room upgrade and had a gorgeous view overlooking the city and harbor. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a nicer shower in my life than this one. Washing off the DEET, the sunblock, the blood, sweat and tears of the jungle felt incredible, and I couldn’t be happier for a soft, warm bed with no bugs!
Sandakan is a weird little city.
There really isn’t much to do, but that was fine, as we wanted to relax and recover from our jungle adventures – honestly, it’s exhausting being out in the heat and humidity wildlife hunting!
The hotel had a great infinity rooftop pool which we enjoyed immensely and we also had a nice time savoring the fresh fish purchased at the markets or on the street.
One evening we headed over to the Sim Sim fishing village, which is an area of town that features houses on stilts over the water. The area was kinda gross, with rats running around the muddy area below the houses, but it was a really unique spot and interesting to see how these people live.
Peeking into the houses, I saw many altars of worship and the insides of the homes were clean and well cared for.
We ate some incredible seafood at a famous restaurant near here, Sim Sim 88.
The other highlight of Sandakan was the Central Market which is open in the mornings.
Selling all sorts of things, we especially enjoyed the fish section with all the fresh catches of the day, including sharks and stingrays.
We also walked down to the docks to see them unloading all the fresh fish which was busy and interesting.
The last night, we did something very original.
We had the hotel call the Sandakan Fishing Association, which I discovered by reading obscure blogs online to reserve us a spot.
They put a few tables out of their office/kitchen and cook dinner serving the fresh catch of the day. No menus and no English!
We went and were served the most delicious crab I had ever tasted! Total bill for two for soup, two giant crabs, and a whole grouper? 12 euros. Not bad!
And after our final meal, it was time to leave Borneo behind.
My headlamp is officially packed away at the bottom of my backpack, most likely to never be used again. My galoshes have been passed down to another enthusiastic jungle trekker. My mosquito bites have since ceased to itch…did all of this really happen? I leave you now with a plethora of wildlife photos and (hopefully) a thirst for adventure and exploration and this quote:
There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. ”
– Theodore Roosevelt
Former president of the United States
Now we’re heading to Penang, so stay tuned for plenty of street art and street food!!!