Another of those transitory days that are an inevitable when travelling. Today we have the last flight out of Sandakan at 7:50pm, but due to a desperate need to get some washing done ahead of further trips in Borneo we head into town early (when we would have preferred to have had a lazy day in the beautiful park surroundings of our accommodation).
On the face of it Sandakan is not a particularly impressive town, and we have 2 large rutsacks which could make travelling round it less appealing that it already seemed when we first arrived. However a really nice backpacker hostel near the seafront allows us to store our bags for the day without charge, fills up our water bottles and directs us in the direction of a same day laundry service (based on what we saw anyone looking at staying in Sandakan should check them out http://www.tripadvisor.com.my/Hotel_Review-g303997-d3731141-Reviews-Borneo_Sandakan_Backpackers-Sandakan_Sandakan_Division_Sabah.html).
With chores done and less weight on our backs we head off to see what Sandakan has to offer and are pleased to find it has a heritage trail so pop off to see what it has to offer.
To be honest it doesn’t offer that much. Our first stop was the “Heritage 100 Steps”, though unknowingly at the time it also took us past one of the other 14 ‘attractions’ it has to offer in the (I’ve seen more impressive hosepipes) Sandakan Fountain.
I have two issues with the “Heritage 100 Steps”. Firstly there are not 100 steps, not even close to 100, with the real total being closer to 200. Secondly the term ‘heritage’ would intimate that they are old and impressive, again not even close. I think I have shoes that are older than the newly laid concrete and pristine green corrugated roof that covers them. Though given the heat and humidity, this is a welcome addition.
From the top of the steps you do get a chance to purvey the town below you. After which we decide we are done with the Sandakan Heritgate trail and decide to stop for lunch at an old British colonial building that is now home to the English Tea House.
This was an absolutely stunning location, and provides to large groups of well-dressed Malaysians (plus some tourists) an authentic British Afternoon Tea experience plus other English culinary options. It even offers the chance to play croquet on the lawn!
You can get crumpets (which are amusingly described for the locals), you can get fish ’n chips, you can get traditional deserts (spotted dick, bread & butter pudding, fruit crumble), and you can get afternoon tea! We order the latter and are treated to a silver triple plate with egg sandwiches (sans crust of course), salad sandwiches, and cakes – all served with a perfect cup of tea! A gin and tonic to wash it down plus a good WiFi signal and the afternoon turns out to be very relaxing indeed before we need to head to yet another airport.