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Saturday December 25, 2010

Sandakan to be revitalised when heritage trails are completed

SANDAKAN: A well known tourist attraction here has been given a new lease of life.

The Sandakan Heritage Trails (SHT) took visitors to some of the oldest landmarks around the town dating back to nearly a century including a mosque, a few temples and a church.

The unveiling of a new giant SHT billboard at the open space next to CIMB Bank in the heart of town by Sandakan Municipal Council president Datuk James Wong marked the beginning of upgrading works on trail to be implemented in stages.

A place in history: Wong (fourth right) with Lai and other members of the Sandakan Heritage Trail Committee.

Besides the new signage, several smaller ones would be placed at selected heritage sites to guide visitors using this trail, SHT Committee 2010 chairman Lai King Hang disclosed this after the launch of the new billboard.

Lai said there would be floor indications and logo of the Sandakan Heritage Trail along the way as additional guidance.

He added that a literature called ‘Guide to Sandakan Heritage Trail’ would also be published in due course detailing the stories and significant of each individual heritage sites.

“When fully completed, SHT will be one of the best walking trail in Sabah.

“It is a unique representation of Sandakan being the former capital of British North Borneo which was almost totally destroyed during World War II,” he said.

Lai added that history and past memories would be revealed through these heritage sites, so that more visitors could appreciate their place in the history of Sandakan’s town.

The 11 sites under SHT are Masjid Jamik next to Wisma Sandakan, William Pryer Monumentat Sandakan Municipal Council Square, 100 Steps, Agnes Keith House, Old Stairs, Goddess of Mercy Temple, Singapore Road, St Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sam Sing Kung Temple, Malaysia Fountain, Tourist Information Centre (Wisma Warisan) and Sandakan Heritage Museum (Wisma Warisan).

When it was created and launched in June 2003, a heritage trail map and brochures were printed together with the installation of signage at selected sites.

SHT has become a popular activity for many foreign tourists coming to Sandakan as well as the local population especially schoolchildren.

It would take at least two hours to complete the trail depending on how long each individual wishes to spend at the various heritage sites.

The project was originally intended to be a community awareness programme for heritage and history of Sandakan as well as an additional tourism product in Sandakan.

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