Photo: Meet Sandakan.



Harbourside Backpackers
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
Lot 42, Block HS-4 Harbour Square, Sandakan
T: (089) 217 072

We nominate Harbourside Backpackers as the cleanest hostel in all of Malaysia. The immaculate condition isn't just because it's quite new, but from the hard work of the staff who can always be found mopping and scrubbing. The dorm has sturdy wooden bunkbeds and windows that let in lots of sunlight, and the air-con is icy cold. Private rooms are great value and come in configurations to suit... Read our full review of Harbourside Backpackers.

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May Fair Hotel
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
Block 26 No. 24 Jalan Pryer, Sandakan
T: (089) 219 855

You won't find better value than this long-running Chinese hotel in the city centre. Rooms are furnished with your choice of one double or two single beds and a surprising number of creature comforts like air-con, a big LCD TV, free WiFi and free drinking water. Guests have their pick from a massive DVD collection which is displayed in the lobby and sorted by categories like Schwarzenegger Movies... Read our full review of May Fair Hotel.

NAK Hotel
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Jalan Pelabuhan Lama, Sandakan
T: (089) 272 988

If we hadn't heard great things about NAK Hotel we would have walked right past this gloomy concrete monolith of a hotel. Don't make the same mistake. The 35 rooms are spacious with soft beds and stylish accents like birdcage ceiling lamps and Chinese porcelain sinks. All rooms are air-conditioned with satellite TV, mini-fridge and en-suite bathroom with a rain shower. It's worth paying a bit... Read our full review of NAK Hotel.

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Four Points by Sheraton
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
Harbour Square, Sandakan
T: (089) 244 888

The poshest spot in town is this brand new waterfront hotel that's part of the Harbour Square shopping complex. The 300 rooms and suites tick all the right boxes with silky sheets, spacious work desks, chic bathrooms stocked with scented soaps and lotions and spectacular sea views. Remember to take advantage of the four-star facilities like the outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and free WiFi.... Read our full review of Four Points by Sheraton.

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Sea View Sandakan Budget Hotel & Backpackers Lodge
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
Lot 125 & 126, Jalan Dua, Harbour Square 14, Sandakan
T: (089) 221 221

Right across from the Sandakan central market, this friendly hostel welcomes you with a cold drink and fried bananas. The building itself is a bit rundown, but every effort is made to keep the rooms clean and comfortable. The dorms are good value and really do have a sea view. There is only one double room available with an en-suite bathroom, but the shared facilities are equally acceptable.... Read our full review of Sea View Sandakan Budget Hotel & Backpackers Lodge.

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Rose Guesthouse
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
Block 20 Lebuh Tiga
T: (089) 223 582

This simple guesthouse in the city centre is run by the charming Rose. The guesthouse benefits from her touch with its pastel painted walls and complimentary coffee and tea set out in the kitchen all day. The handful of rooms and dorm are simply furnished and there are share bathrooms, but everything is kept spotlessly clean. Rose and the staff go to great lengths to make guests feel welcome and... Read our full review of Rose Guesthouse.

Swiss Inn Waterfront
Midrange - 120 to 250 ringgit
HS12 Harbour Square, Sandakan
T: (089) 240 888

For about double the price of a room at a backpackers you can check in to this three-star waterfront hotel. The rooms are a little smaller than you'd expect but have all the mod-cons including satellite TV, minibar, coffee-maker, WiFi and en-suite bathroom with rain shower. It's worth paying a bit more for the sea view -- the town view is not pretty. The Swiss Inn has been around a while and is... Read our full review of Swiss Inn Waterfront.

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Sandakan Backpackers
Backpacker - Under 60 ringgit
Lot 108, 1st Floor, Block SH-11, Sandakan Harbour Square, Sandakan
T: (089) 221 104

Cheap and centrally located, you could do worse than a night at Sandakan Backpackers but you could also do a lot better. The rooms are gloomy and spartanly furnished with a couple beds and choice of fan or air-con. The whole hostel seems overdue for a thorough cleaning, especially the shared bathrooms. Do note that the rooms with attached shower are just that – you'll still have to use the... Read our full review of Sandakan Backpackers.


Sepilok Jungle Resort
Flashpacker - 60 to 120 ringgit
Jalan Rambutan, Mile 14 Sepilok
T: (089) 533 031

Sepilok is a daytrip for most visitors, but it's possible to spend the night at this lodge just five minutes from the orangutan centre. Budget travellers can choose to stay in the spacious dorm or simple fan-cooled rooms, or treat yourself to a deluxe room with satellite TV and a private balcony overlooking the lush grounds with ponds and fruit trees. There's also an oasis of a swimming pool with... Read our full review of Sepilok Jungle Resort.

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Where to next?

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

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