Russian Style Concrete Block Buildings
Trip Start Dec 18, 2011
18Trip End Feb 26, 2012
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Where I stayed
Had a 7:30am bus to Sandakan and since I didnt have a ticket and wasnt exactly sure where the bus station was I decided on an early start. In the end managed to find the Dynamo bus station (same company I arrived with) without to much trouble but also realised that other bus companies had their own stations.
At the terminal managed to get a ticket (one of the last few) and waited for my bus to show up. This of course was late and it was almost 8am before we left. Found the drive to Sandakan to be nice enough though unfortunately could see lots of palm tree plantations along the way. Along the way stopped off for petrol at one town, which seemed to have a lot of interesting characters on the street. Also could see one old lady begging for change near the gas pump.
Once in Sandakan bus station I considered walking into town but since it was raining decided against it. Probably a good thing since I was over 5km away from the town center. Checked into the hostel and found I was sharing the room with only one other person.
Since I was only here for one day I decided to head out and wander the town a bit. First though I wanted to make sure I knew where I had to go on the following day for my pickup. Asked reception and managed to get a simple map and some directions. Found the place I needed was only a short walk away.
From here decided to follow the heritage trail that was marked on the map. Found that the town I was in seemed like it could have belonged to an eastern block country. Lots of square concrete block buildings full of apartments and people. Also quite a fair bit of life on the streets.
First stop in my walk had me walking past an ANZAC memorial near the museum which I decided to give a miss. Instead headed up the hundred steps and then followed the path leading up to the top of the hill. Once here decided to go and visit the Japanese cemetary.
While following the road to the cemetary found that I was walking through some interesting jungle landscape. Got me thinking that a jungle hike like the one my dorm mate was going on would have been a good idea. Pity I have a flight though so no real chances to change plans.
Found the cemetary to be quite large with lots of graves spreed over a number of hills. Wandered around a bit and since my camera battery was almost flat, didnt get as many photos as I would have liked. While here was trying to get a view of the coastline so wandered up some steps and past a few tombs to reach the top. Once up here I could see the ocean and nearby islands as well as a little bit of the city. Unfortunately I wasnt up quite high enough to get a really good view.
Didnt want to head the same way back down and while I managed to find some stairs leading down I also had to jump over graves in order to mave between stairways. Thongs had defiantely not been the best idea for this lind of walk since I had to also walk through the shrub at a number of points. Also passed a couple of large and interesting graves/memorials on the way down but didnt have any battry power left to take a photo.
Headed back to the hostel at this point to get a new battery. Normally would have a couple spare in my daypack but hadnt charged anything in Mabul and only had the battery I had left charging at the hostel with any power. After grabbing the battery headed along the shoreline and then back up the 100 steps to the heritage trail
In the end not much to see except a small cemetary and buddist temple. The walk had been worth doing though due to the people I encountered. Had lots of kids calling out and saying hello as I walked past their house without the call of hello being followed by a call for money. Found that people here seemed very friendly towards foreigners. Guess this would have something to do with the fact that not so many tourists stay or wander through the town.
After the walk wandered down to the shoreline where lots of local kids had parked their cars and were hanging out for the sunset. Once again got some hellos as I was walking around.
From here headed back to the hostel with my only other excursion for the day being a trip to the waterfront to grab some food for dinner and a quick trip to the supermarket to buy a few supplies for the following few days.