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Sandakan city is an intriguing town full of the colours and scents of Asia. It is a truly bustling town and at times you have to push your way through crowds and merchandise that spill over into the sidewalk from many shops, especially along Pryer Street, the road opposite the Central Market. In Sandakan town you can bargain in a happy profusion for example like clothing, cheap watches, jewelleries, birds' nests, Indonesian cigrattes, cobblers, preserved ducks and other exotic foods.

Restaurants in town serve with any kind of delicious Asian foods, from 'Coto Makassar' over Indian 'Roti Canai', and Chinese fried noodles as well as Malay 'Nasi Lemak'. The Sandakan Central market is where you can find the most amazing and largest variety of seafood in Sabah.

In the evening, Sandakan offers a variety of night markets and food stalls popping up everywhere selling freshly caught fish, vegetables, chicken wings, and all served with hot chilly sauce. The town gets quiet rather early in the evening, as its real activity is early in the morning. The busiest time is usually on Sunday.