Character-filled homely backpackers
Lot 108, 1st Floor, Block SH-11, Sandakan Harbour Square, Sandakan T: (0892) 11213, (0138) 787 826
Sandakan Backpackers may not be the fanciest hostel in town, but it gets our vote for one of the friendliest and has excellent sea views from the common areas and some private rooms too.
Spacious and clean four or eight-bed air-con dorms provide comfortable and solid wooden bunk beds.
Twin, double and family-sized private rooms are also available. Most have share amenities, but a sea-view double has an attached shower, although you’ll still have to use the share toilet.
Rooms are bright and airy and colourful painted walls add to their cheerfulness. Share toilets and hot-water showers are old and stained, but scrubbed clean. Cosy and unpretentious common areas are great places to chill and get the lowdown on all things Borneo from the friendly and knowledgeable hosts, Zu and Za. Feel at home, sit back in a comfortable couch to watch TV or a DVD, or grab a book from the small library. A bench by the window with bar stools looking out to sea is where we’d be eating the included breakfast of local fruits and toast. If you’d prefer to cook for yourself, there’s a kitchen too.
We especially love the semi-open rooftop terrace overlooking the harbour — grab one of the hammocks, relax and enjoy the views. Zu and Za took over the hostel in March 2016. They are really enthusiastic and we get the impression they want to offer guests a personal service rather than just a cheap bed. They can help with tours and onward travel, too. We think this comfortable hostel is excellent, but if they’re full, try Harbourside Backpackers
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: Dorm air-con, low season: 30 ringgit, high season 30 ringgit. Notes:
Room: Dbl fan share bathroom, low season: 45 ringgit, high season 45 ringgit. Notes:
Room: Dbl air-con share bathroom, low season: 60 ringgit, high season 60 ringgit. Notes: Seaview: 70 ringgit