If you’re roughing it in Northern Borneo, you’re in luck — we have the best picks for your stay.
Clean, cheap, and generally quiet (with a bit of token noise from the street outside), this is the hostel where you’ll be able to get some sleep. With iron-framed bunk beds, rattan-woven chairs, and free-to-use computers, this place combines simplicity with convenience and offers you great bang for your buck.
No sky here, but there are definitely “pods” to fit you and your small valuables. Stylish, urban, and super clean, each pod has a reading light and clothes-hanging area. It’s like the bunk beds in Some Like It Hot, but updated 60 years, and you probably won’t get caught for drinking indoors. If you take advantage of the hostel’s promotions, you might even get a free airport transfer.
When you’re far from home, it’s nice to feel like you’re at home. That’s exactly what Faloe Hostel offers — easy-going staff who feel like family, a help-yourself kitchen (mostly with breakfast foods and teas), a small living area with Netflix, and a strict no-shoes-indoors policy. Beds are clean, with pale wooden frames, and if you’ve packed half your house with you, the lockers are big enough to fit it all.
Featuring wood panel floors, large colorful lockers, and well-lit rooms, Halo boasts a central Kota Kinabalu (KK) location next to Padang Merdeka, and within walking distance of popular eateries. If you play nice, the staff might offer you a free city tour (so smile and say “Terima Kasih”!). There’s no elevator though — so if you have a thick suitcase or your knees aren’t so good, you might want to request a room on the lower floor.
Starting from RM 32.50 ($8.2) per night, this place is a runaway steal. Rooms are basic, with iron-framed bunk beds, but the common area makes up for it with cozy chairs and a coffee table, complete with magazines, books, and a TV. If you’re going for the dormitory bed option, why not bump it up RM5 ($1.27) for a room with air-conditioning? The humidity in KK can be unforgiving, and it’s always best not to smell someone else’s armpit sweat.
If you know of Biru-Biru and their delightful waffles, you might know of Borneo Backpackers too. Operated by the same management, this hostel adds to the chilled out, artistic experience of Biru-Biru with an airy rooftop terrace complete with potted plants and a picnic-style seating area. Wi-Fi is a bit hit-and-miss, but staff are very friendly and accommodating.
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meet our Local Insider
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WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.