Roomy pod-style dorms
If your budget doesn’t stretch to the pricier private rooms in Semporna, and you find dorms a bit lacking in privacy, the pod-style dorm at 2016-opened Wanderer’s Inn may be the right choice.
With an excellent location, right in the thick of the market and port area, the 28-bed male and female dorms and a 12-bed mixed dorm may seem like a large number to squeeze into a room, but the pods are roomy and private. Wanderer's Inn also offers nine private doubles, but most are windowless and not great value—either stick to a pod or look elsewhere.
Air-con dorms are clean, bright and airy with views to the sea and busy local port from the large windows. Clean white linen includes a top sheet, but you may wish to pack a light blanket as air-con can be arctic. Pods include individual lighting, international power plugs, and one tiny hook. Metal ladders to the top bunks are sturdy, and a handy hanging spot if there’s no one on top. Storage under the bunks provides a tight spot for your bags, but as the rooms are so spacious no one uses them. Small lockable lockers are available in the common area.
The two share-bathroom cubicles with hot-shower and toilet in one doesn’t seem enough for the number of beds in each room, but wasn’t a problem when we stayed and is supplemented by additional bathrooms in the common area. The bathrooms could be cleaned more regularly although they are clean once the cleaners have done their job. Some maintenance issues were not addressed as quickly as they should have been and there were problems with water and a broken toilet seat when we visited.
A terrific and vast common area enjoys a flood of sunlight and is furnished with floor cushions complete with resident kittens for cuddling and a long communal table, excellent for relaxing or meeting other travellers. Wanderer’s Inn is popular with families, and kids often commandeer the large communal TV.
A fully equipped kitchen dishes up an included breakfast—simple, but changing daily. In the evenings you’ll have to fight for space with the Chinese families cooking up storms of local seafood—you may be lucky and be invited to join them. You can refill your water bottles from the drinking water dispenser and help reduce the amount of plastic rubbish around town.
Wanderer’s Inn offer free WiFi, and can do your laundry for six ringgit a load, or you can use the washing machine yourself for free. Tours are offered but all the information is in Chinese (and nothing in Malay or English!), so if you can’t read Chinese, best to ask the friendly staff as some deals are better than travel agents around town. We think Wanderer’s Inn is a great deal, and our first budget choice in town. For a more intimate but pricier dorm with excellent common areas, try Mermaid Inn on the waterfront or less expensive, friendly Atine Semporna Backpackers Hostel in the old town.
Address: Lot D1 Seafront New Township, Semporna
T: (089) 782 689;
Coordinates (for GPS): 118º36'46.4" E, 4º28'49.73" N
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Room rates: Under 60 ringgit
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dorm air-con||35 ringgit||35 ringgit|
|Dbl air-con private bathroom|
No window. Street view: 125 ringgit. Sea view: 145 ringgit.
|115 ringgit||115 ringgit|
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Semporna And Sipadan Island