Photo: Eat and eat some more.

Accommodation

Kota Kinabalu


Hotel Eden54
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
54 Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 266 054

There's lots to love about this new boutique hotel at the commercial end of Gaya street – especially the price. A night at Eden54 ranges from 119-179 ringgit, depending whether you go for a cosy windowless room or a spacious family studio. Regardless, all rooms have a chic style with hardwood floors, bold colours and comfy beds with crisp white sheets. All the modern amenities are there... Read our full review of Hotel Eden54.

Masada Backpacker
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
9 Jalan Masjid Lama, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 238 494

If you don't mind adding five minutes to your walk to Gaya Street, the reward is staying at one of the most charming hostels in Sabah. Masada Backpacker is a cosy, family-run spot offering a mix of dorms and private rooms with cool air-con and comfy beds. Masada's dorms are some of the best in the city, and we like the private rooms too though not all have a window. The communal areas have a... Read our full review of Masada Backpacker .

Sensi Backpackers
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
No. 103 Gaya Street
T: (88) 272 796

It may not look like much from outside, but inside Sensi has been lovingly decorated and has a warm, homey feel. The air-con dorms have four to six beds and lockers big enough for backpacks bursting at the seams with trekking gear. The private rooms are more expensive than most, but offer hotel quality-bedding and are spotlessly clean. Sensi Backpackers is family-friendly and the private room can... Read our full review of Sensi Backpackers.

Akinabalu Youth Hostel
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
133 Gaya Street
T: (088) 272 188

Follow the sign heading upstairs to this popular hotel on Gaya Street. The mixed dorms are furnished with sturdy bunks and have windows to ensure they're bright and breezy whether you opt for air-con or not. Shared bathrooms are on each floor and kept decently clean with good hot showers. There's a spacious lounge with comfy wicker sofas for checking your email, watching TV or just relaxing with... Read our full review of Akinabalu Youth Hostel.

Borneo Backpackers
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
No. 24 Lorong Dewan, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 234 009

One of the many hostels at Australia Place, the main reason to choose Borneo Backpackers is the free airport pick-up if you book a private room for two nights or more. Other than that, we like the homey vibe (perhaps a little too homey when you find a cat in the bathroom) and the common spaces – a TV lounge, guest computers, reading nooks, a full kitchen and a rooftop garden perfect for... Read our full review of Borneo Backpackers.

Bunibon Lodge
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
21 Lorong Dewan, Australia Place, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 210 801

One of the Australia Place lot, Bunibon Lodge is a true blue backpackers lodge. There's a mix of dorms and private rooms on offer, all of which are cheap, cheerful and reasonably clean. We do think they cram too many bunk beds into each room, but at 25 ringgit per night including a towel, internet and breakfast we won't hold it against them. One of Bunibon's highlights is the huge common areas... Read our full review of Bunibon Lodge.

Jesselton Hotel
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
69 Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 223 333

This 32-room hotel in the centre of Gaya Street is the oldest hotel in Kota Kinabalu, built in 1954 during the British colonial era, and is one of the city's best midrange options. The rooms were fully renovated in 2008 but have kept their old-world charm with solid wood furniture, marble bathrooms and paintings that your grandmother would approve of. Deluxe rooms are significantly larger than... Read our full review of Jesselton Hotel.

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Kinabalu Backpackers Lodge
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
4 Lorong Dewan, Australia Place, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 253 385

It's nothing fancy, but you'll be charmed by Kinabalu Backpackers Lodge. It's a cosy hostel with just two dorms and two private rooms – all of which are a bargain. The dorms are air-con overnight and furnished with six or eight sturdy wooden bunks. The eight-bed dorm would be quite crowded if full, but that's rarely the case. Private rooms are furnished with a double bed and all guests share... Read our full review of Kinabalu Backpackers Lodge.

Le Meridien
Toprange - 250 to 500 ringgit
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 32 2222

If you just climbed the mountain and want nothing more a hot bath and room service, treat yourself to a night at Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu. This four-star chain hotel offers huge rooms with all the trimmings including a big-screen TV, DVD player, king-size beds with fluffy duvets and cool marble bathrooms with separate tub and shower. Since all rooms have the same amenities, we don't think the... Read our full review of Le Meridien.

Lavender Lodge
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
6 Jalan Laiman Diki, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 217 119

If you're looking for a private room for under 100 ringgit, Lavender Lodge is a smart choice. The rooms are budget hotel quality with air-con, wooden furniture, comfy beds and a piece or two of framed art and are made up by the housekeeping staff every day. Though the shared bathrooms are perfectly fine, it's worth spending a few more ringgit for an ensuite. The dorms are spacious and clean, but... Read our full review of Lavender Lodge.

le Hotel
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Lot 15-16, 3rd Floor, Block B, Warison Square, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 319 696

We're not crazy about Le Hotel's setting within a shopping complex, but appreciate it as a solid budget option along the KK waterfront which is otherwise dominated by high-priced properties. The cheapest rooms are windowless and a bit cramped, while higher categories are more spacious and some have a sea view. All rooms have air-con, satellite TV, ensuite shower and free WiFi access. Expect to... Read our full review of le Hotel.

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Lucy Backpackers
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
No.25 Lorong Dewan, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 261 495

Lucy opened her home to travellers back in 1995, making this one of the longest running backpackers in Kota Kinabalu. The vibe is more homestay than hostel with the upstairs converted into a mix of dorms and private rooms with shared bathrooms. The rooms are very simple – beds, fans and lockers – but there's a cosy reading room and a furnished balcony for chill-out time. Lucy has great... Read our full review of Lucy Backpackers.

Travellers' Light
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
19 Lorong Dewan, Australia Place, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 238 877

If you like the Australia Place location but aren't a party animal, this is the hostel for you. Travellers' Light has a more grown up feel and a beautiful wooden terrace with a view of the jungle or, if you prefer, the communal TV. Other than the fact they have a female-only option, the dorms are pretty standard with six or eight bunk beds crammed into a small air-con room. The private rooms... Read our full review of Travellers' Light.

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High Street Inn
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
38 Jalan Pantai, Kota Kinabalu
T: (88) 218 111

Ignore the posh-sounding name – this is a pretty typical Malaysian budget hotel with three floors of rooms with your choice of single, twin or double beds. That said, for slightly more than a room at a backpackers' hostel you get an air-con private room and ensuite bathroom. We'd like to rate it higher, but the rooms we saw sorely needed some maintenance to address the dribbling shower, air-con... Read our full review of High Street Inn.




Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Kota Kinabalu? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.


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