Hostels in Sabah Hostels in Sabah

You are looking for hostels in Sabah? Good news, you have come to the right place.

On this page we list every single city with hostels and other budget accommodations. helps you to find your Sabah hostel and compare its prices on the major booking sites such as Hostelworld, Hostelsclub and So you can sleep on a budget and save money while backpacking Sabah.

All Cities in Sabah

We list every single hostel in Sabah and the world. In total, we have 8 cities in Sabah for you. Please note that not all cities actually have a hostel to stay in. Below you can filter for cities with hostels and with no hostels-type accommodation, but guesthouses and budget hotels. This will help your planning.

All Sabah hostels on a map

Alright, you are more the visual type? Planning your trip with a map is always handy.

Therefore, this map shows you all cities with hostels in Sabah. It will help you to plan your trip. Just zoom in the map and click your destination for more details. Just so you know: If we do not have a hostel in a city, it is likely that there is no hostel in that city.

Our handwritten guide on Backpacking Sabah

Sabah, Malaysia, lies in the northeast of Borneo and is one of the two Malaysian provinces on Borneo (the other one is Surawak). Malaysia shares the island of Borneo with Indonesia and Brunei. Sabah attracts visitors mainly because of its easy accessible jungle, Mount Kinabalu, and the beautiful tropical islands. Most Sabah, Malaysia hostels can be found in the two main cities -- Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan; also in the smaller towns that attracts tourists, a smaller amount of Sabah, Malaysia hostels can be found. Tasty food can be found all over Sabah and some Sabah, Malaysia hostels even have their own on-site restaurant, where you can have food for a decent price.

Kota Kinabalu is the biggest city in Sabah and the port of entry for most visitors, either by plane, bus (from Brunei or Surawak), or by ferry (from Brunei). The city itself doesn't have a big amount of attractions, but plenty of restaurants and shops can be found in the centre. However, several tropical islands with white sandy beaches, crystal-clear water, and good snorkeling options are only a few minutes off the coast from Kota Kinabalu. Visitors can book a boat trip at the harbour to visit one or more islands on a day.

Climbing Mount Kinabalu is another major activity in Sabah. A typical itinerary to climb Mount Kinabalu takes two days, with overnight accommodation halfway. It is necessary to book a tour or the accommodation in advance, as places are limited and you are not allowed to start the hike without a place to stay. In the close surroundings there's an option for a Sabah, Malaysia hostel. Mount Kinabalu is located approximately two hours by bus from Kota Kinabalu, so Kota Kinabalu might as well be used as base before or after climbing Mount Kinabalu.

Sandakan Airport offers also several flights to and from places outside Sabah. Sandakan is a popular base to visit the nearby Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, which is easily accessible by public bus. From Sandakan, tours into the jungle can be booked that normally last one or two nights. You will find wild elephants, crocodiles, orangutans, monkeys, and many other flora and fauna.

Throughout Sabah, palm oil plantations can be found. Semporna is another popular destination, as it is a getaway to good snorkeling spots.

Many high-quality Sabah, Malaysia hostels can be found throughout the area. While the costs of traveling in Sabah are slightly more expensive than the rest of Malaysia, the hostels in Sabah, Malaysia, are great value for money.

expert for Sabah hostels

Handwritten by local expert for Sabah hostels Martin Straatman

Travel Tips for Sabah - from the Community

Hey fam! Here are a few more tips from the community, from them to you, and you to them. This space is dedicated for travellers to share their best tips on backpacking Sabah. Have a closer look - the Hostelz community share real hidden gems, insider knowledge and overall impressions of Sabah. Everyone is welcome to add something useful, funny, unexpected and the "absolutely necessary to know before you go" - share, share and then share a little more!

FAQ on Hostels in Sabah

There is a lot of travel planning to do. So let us help you once again by putting together the frequently asked questions:

Finding Hostels and Prices

What hostel booking sites are best to use?

There is several hostel booking sites, such as, and While every platform has its pros and cons, there is a universal truth you as a traveler should be aware of: Not a single booking site can always offer the best prices.

This is where comes in. You can compare all major booking portals with one click.

For you as a traveler, is the best booking site to actually save money.

How much are hostels in Sabah?

Prices always vary, depending on various factors. Weekends tend to be more expensive, same goes for special holidays. Please also take into account local vaction time.

You can search for exacty hostel prices in Sabah here on Pick your destination and pick a date. The system will track down the prices to give an idea of what budget and prices you can expect.

When to book hostels?

If you want to stay at the best hostels, it is a good idea to have your hostel booked around 1 month before you travel. For the regular hostels, booking one week before should be okay. Yet again, this always depends.

We dedicated a full article to the topic of when to book hostels.


Safety and Packing

Are hostels in Sabah safe?

Generally speaking, hostels are as safe as you make them. We highly recommend always to bring your own padlock, using the lockers and taking care of your belongings. Make sure you pick a safe hostel, offering lockers and a safe location. Please always pay attention to the reviews; they can give you a great insight on what to expect and safety tips.

What to pack when staying in hostels?

There is a few basics you should always pack when staying in hostels.

  1. Padlock
  2. Earplugs
  3. Sleeping Mask
  4. Quick Dry Travel Towel
  5. Head Lamp

There is more actually. We wrote a complete guide with more details. Read our full hostel packing list.

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