If there is an award for roof top bar or cafe on Borneo Island, Ba Lin Roof Garden in Sandakan will definitely be high on the list of winners. Located on the eighth floor of Nak hotel, the beautiful Ba Lin Roof Garden is a secret that is dying to go public. The cafe and bar open daily from the late afternoon until midnight. Take a lift from the ground floor of Nak Hotel and head straight up to the seventh floor where the lift would stop. Then one would have to walk up another floor to the eighth floor where a small wooden door awaits. The small wooden door acts like a password, once inside guests will pretty much feel that they are ushered into a fantasy world unlike any other places in Sandakan.
Well designed furnitures, special rooms, pockets of small garden and the rooftop views are surely going to get the guests attention. The Ban Lin Roof Garden is designed in three levels, where each level is placed on top of the other while becoming smaller in size. For drinks, guests are served with cocktail, wine, liquor, whisky and beer. Non-alcoholic drinks like soft drinks, coffee and tea are also available. To fill up the stomach, a simple western menu with items like burger, spaghetti and sandwich will do the trick. But the best things up at Ba Lin Roof Garden are the evening and night views, where guests can marvel at nature and chat the night away.
Although one can not see the sunset from here, the late afternoon sky view from the roof top is amazing. One can see the blue sky slowly turning into golden, yellow, red and eventually purple, before darkness envelopes the whole sky. The early evening view is also very interesting, where one gets to see the spotlights on the surrounding buildings and stars slowly coming into existence. At night the beautiful lights that decorate the Sandakan city, starting from the old city section and go all the way to the harbour are also very alluring. While sipping your favourite drinks, guests can also see thousands and thousands of stars on a cloud less night. For those who are good at their celestial study, the Orion Constellation, also known as The Hunter, is easily spotted in the tropical night from this roof top. On a full moon one could feel that the moon is within reaching distance.
Ba Lin Roof Garden is tastefully designed into three levels. The base level is where the kitchen, bar, washroom, special rooms are located. These rooms are well sheltered from the weather. The base level also has a long outdoor corridor where tables and sofa seats are lined up neatly. A classic iron spiral staircase leads up to the second level which has a smaller area if compared with the base level.
The centre of attention for this level is the garden deck in the middle. The garden has a small tree and plants which are illuminated by warm yellow lights. Guests can sit on the deck area around the small garden. F or the comfort of the guests small cushions are provided. Either sides of the deck have a few small coffee tables which were built with higher legs, the same are true for the stools. Sitting on the higher stools allows guests to have a better view of the city.
The third level has the highest elevation, which gives the best view on the overall surroundings. This highest level has only one table and it is surrounded by cushion seats on three sides which can sit up to ten persons. Four artfully designed bird cages, each with a warm yellow light in it, help to light up level three. Note that level two and three have no fans, so ventilation will have to depend on the natural breezes which are quite common at this height.
Ba Lin Roof Garden is highly recommended for guests who want to chill away in the evening and enjoy a good night out with friends at Sandakan city. Wifi is also available at this roof top bar and cafe. The only down side for this place is when it rains, as the second level and third level have no cover, but to enjoy a rare beauty one must be willing to take some risks.
How to go there? In Sandakan downtown search for Pryer street which is located near the waterfront. Or look for Hong Kong and Standard Chartered Bank, Nak Hotel is only about 30 metres away from these two banks. Another landmark near Nak Hotel is the Center Point Mall.
Ba Lin Roof Garden
Nak Hotel, Jalan Pelabuhan Lama
Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
tel: +6089 272 988
Ba Ling Roof Garden Gallery: