Sandakhan Airport serves Sandakhan, a small town in the Malaysian state of Sabah. The airport is an important hub for the east coast of Sabah and acts as a hub for the smaller airports. The busiest time of the year is July and August when turtle watching draws in many visitors. The other main attraction is a crocodile farm about 12 kilometres away. Sandakhan is also a popular place for eco-tourism getaways and for the amount of millionaires who have chosen to call the town home.
The airport is owned by the Malaysian Government and is operated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad. In 2012 there were 834,626 passengers and 13,153 aircraft movements.
Sandakhan is one of the sites of a Japanese Airfield in World War II. The Japanese Prisoner of War camp at nearby Taman Rimba has been made into a memorial park for the thousands of people who suffered at the hands of their captors. Many of them died in the camp through beatings and overwork and many others on the 160 mile jungle march from Sandakhan to Ranau. For some reason the Japanese left behind six men in Sandakhan who through sheer determination managed to survive although they had been left to die without food or water.
Arrivals and departures are both at ground floor level at Sandakhan Airport, under the watchful eye of a high peaked roof with some colourful stained glass windows at one end.
Facilities at Sandakhan airport include restaurants, car rental desks and an ATM. There is no currency exchange bureau. The airport terminal at Sandakhan is open from 7am until 10pm. For some reason if a flight is delayed the airport will stay open until the flight departs or is cancelled.
Flights and Destinations
AirAsia – Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu
Malaysia Airlines - Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu
MASwings – Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Kudat
Tawau, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Kudat
Transport To and From the Airport
The airport is located 11 kilometres from the centre of the town but there is a bus service between 6am and 9pm, with departures every 30 minutes. There are plenty of taxis and coupons can be purchased inside the arrivals hall to your destination. A ride to the town centre is about RM30.