I had the chance to spend a couple of hours in Sim Sim in September 2013 with my girlfriend. Our Bradt guide gave a nice description of it and we decided to go there in late afternoon to take some good pictures and having dinner at pier 8. We didn't expect much but this water village was surprisingly nice, the highlight of Sandakan for me, together with the market. For us it was even difficult to imagine something like this. There are several piers with many houses raised on wooden sticks. Just take some time to walk until the end of some piers, if you like to take pictures it is a very nice place to do it. The people there are extremely nice, some kids asked us to take a picture of them and almost everyone welcomed us saying hi.
I think the village is very safe. a couple of tips: go by taxi from Sandakan because it is not a nice walk till there and if you have the chance have a dinner at the seafood restaurant on pier 8, the one on right because there are 2 with a very similar name.
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