Top 9 Best Hotels In Sandakan And Sepilok [2024]

Published Categorized as Sandakan
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Heading to Sandakan? Lucky you! It’s a beautiful part of the world. The next step after deciding to go is to find the best hotels in Sandakan. And that’s what we will help you with here!

Located on the north-eastern tip of Borneo, Sandakan is the second-largest city in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Tourists flock to Sandakan yearly, with many wanting to use it as a jumping-off point to get to Turtle Islands National Park. 

But there’s much more to do here than only visiting the turtles, including exploring caves, going to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and checking out the Buli Sim Sim Water Village.

A Buddhist Temple in Sandakan

So if you want to take a trip to this city on Borneo then you’ll need a comfortable place to sleep that’s filled with amenities and facilities. And that’s where we come in!

In this article, I will help you find exactly where to stay in Sandakan no matter what your budget or what exactly you are looking for. 

So whether you are looking for the best hotel near Sandakan airport or the top resort in Sandakan, we have you covered with the best place to stay in Sandakan for you.

Let’s begin!

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Comparison Of The Best Hotel In Sandakan And Sepilok

NamesStarsPrice (USD)Top FeaturesBook
Sepilok Forest Edge Resort★★★$$$Near Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, beautiful location, on-site restaurant, great room options and poolClick here
Sandakan Backpackers Hostel$Best super budget option in a central locationClick here
Sabah Hotel Sandakan★★★★$$$Tropical rainforest location, eco-tours, pool and handy locationClick here
D North Star Hotel & Spa★★★$$D’Northstar Bistro on-site, spa and massage services, WiFiClick here
Sepilok Jungle Resort★★$$Near Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, beautiful location, on-site restaurant and poolClick here
Livingston Hotel Sandakan★★★$$Clean and comfortable midrange option with a nice poolClick here
Amanson sigNature Hotel★★★$Good value for budget travellers, comfortable roomsClick here
Sandakan Hotel★★★$Great budget option in a central locationClick here
Sanbay Hotel★★★$Clean and comfortable, great price, near centreClick here

Top 9 Best Hotels In Sandakan And Sepilok

Whether to stay in Sandakan or Sepilok depends on your preferences and where you plan to do the most sightseeing.

The biggest pro of staying in Sandakan is that there are many eating and shopping options. In Sepilok, you can feel isolated but many of the accommodation options are surrounded by greenery and it’s a nicer place to be.

Getting between the two is not hard. When I was last there, a Grab taxi was around RM40. These prices vary depending on busy the network is though.

Sepilok Forest Edge Resort Review

Sepilok Forest Edge Resort pool
Plunge pool in the rainforest

Address: Mile 14, Jalan Rambutan, Sepilok, Sandakan, Sabah

Near: Walking distance to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Room Types: Chalets, glamping tent and mixed dormitory 

Top Features:

  • Beautiful rainforest location close to top Sepilok attractions
  • Interesting private chalets and a glamping tent with its own plunge pool
  • Dorms for budget travellers
  • Pool and restaurant on-site
  • Fantastic service

Boasting a list of private chalets that’ll sleep up to three people, Sepilok Forest Edge Resort is another fantastic option for those who want to stay close to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and other top Sepilok attractions.

Each chalet has a private bathroom with hot and cold water, air-conditioning and tea and coffee making facilities. Some have indoor and outdoor showers or a jacuzzi as well!

Want to try out glamping? If so, there’s a two-bedroom glamping tent at this resort that’ll sleep up to four people. It is self-contained, boasting kitchen facilities, a living area, outdoor deck, a private bathroom and a plunge pool.

But don’t worry. There’s a plunge pool for everyone else as well.

If you want to get the jungle experience but you’re on a strict budget, there’s a mixed dormitory as well. 

You won’t need to walk too far to get to the popular Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, and you’ll be able to dine on-site at the property’s restaurant. 

And just because you’re in the jungle doesn’t mean you have to be disconnected. There is free WiFi in the restaurant that is super fast.

Click here for more information.

Sepilok Forest Edge Resort twin chalet
Inside my standard twin chalet

Best Parts?

It’s in a fantastic location for outdoor adventurists. The resort is beautiful with stunning grounds, and the pool comes in handy after some sweaty sightseeing! I was also very impressed by the top-rate service at this hotel and enjoyed the restaurant.

Worst Parts?

There is no WiFi in the rooms, only in certain public spots. Some of the cheaper room types need renovating. You are in the jungle and the animals can be a little noisy when trying to sleep 🙂


If you want to be near the main attractions in Sepilok, this resort is a top pick. When you’re not out and about, this resort has some great chalets to call home and all the facilities you need. It’s really an oasis in the rainforest, and I loved staying here.

Click here for more information and the latest prices or read my full review here.

Sandakan Backpackers Hostel Review

Address: Lot 108, 1st Floor, Block HS-11, Sandakan Harbour Square, Sandakan, Sabah

Near: Situated right on Sandakan Harbour in the centre of town

Room Types:  Dormitories and private rooms

Top Features:

  • Central location, steps away from multiple eating options
  • Cheap accommodation
  • WiFi throughout the property

If you’re on a shoestring budget, or just living a backpacker’s lifestyle, then you can stay at the Sandakan Backpackers Hostel. It’s right on Sandakan Harbour and this hotel provides six-bed mixed and female-only dormitories, as well as private rooms. 

Guests have access to shared bathrooms which have showers. No rooms have private bathrooms.

There is a common area at the hostel with a fridge and TV, and there’s WiFi throughout the accommodation including in every room. There’s also a shared kitchen and BBQ facilities.

If you walk three minutes from the property, you’ll find yourself at the Sandakan Harbour Mall. There are plenty of eating options nearby.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

This is a very cheap option relative to many other places in Sandakan. The location is very central.

Worst Parts?

Like most hostels, you won’t have access to as much privacy, unless you rent a private room. You also have to share a bathroom with other guests. Rooms are basic.


You know what you get with a hostel. By sacrificing a bit of privacy, you’ll save a lot of cash! This is one of the better hostels in Malaysia and a great choice for budget travellers.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Sabah Hotel Sandakan Review

Address: KM1, Jalan Utara, P.O.Box 275, Sandakan, Sabah

Near: Located right by the Jalan Sapi Nangoh highway just 1.5 kilometres from the centre of Sandakan.

Room Types: Suites, deluxe and superior rooms with different bed options

Top Features:

  • Nestled in the tropical rainforest
  • Four-star hotel
  • Eco-tours available through the property
  • Pool and other facilities

If you want a luxurious stay while you’re on Borneo, Sabah Hotel Sandakan promises you that. This four-star hotel is nestled right in the beautiful, tropical rainforest even though it’s only a kilometre and a half from the centre of Sandakan. You can take eco-tours with this accommodation, or walk around yourself and take in the scenic views. 

There are several rooms for you to rent, including deluxe and superior rooms with different-sized bed options. And if you want to put your stay over the top, there is also an executive suite available with a large bathtub. 

Rooms have a very high cleanliness rating, and the hotel staff are great to deal with. Each unit has air conditioning, a satellite TV, as well as a minibar and a coffee maker with tea options. 

You’ll get breakfast every morning with your reservation, as well as daily housekeeping and free parking. There’s WiFi on-site, as well as a restaurant and an events hall if you plan on hosting something. 

Take a dip in Sabah Hotel Sandakan’s pool, relax in its sauna and work out in the hotel’s gym. 

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

The hotel’s property is genuinely gorgeous as you’re surrounded by a dense rainforest while still being close to the city.

Worst Parts?

The WiFi connection is not the best sometimes, as it can be slow or spotty. Rooms are a little dated (but well maintained, clean and comfortable)


It’s not every day that you get to stay in a tropical rainforest paradise, so here’s your chance! It’s also well located and has some great facilities.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

D North Star Hotel & Spa Review

Address: 28-33, Jalan Utara, Bandar Prima Square, Sandakan, Sabah

Near: 8 kilometres from the centre of Sandakan, this hotel is surrounded by shops, banks and busy local life, less than 6 kilometres from Sandakan Airport. 

Room Types: Deluxe and family rooms, a suite option

Top Features:

  • D’Northstar Bistro on-site is excellent for dining and drinks
  • Spa and massage services on the property
  • Several room options
  • WiFi is available

Situated around eight kilometres from the city centre is Hotel D’Northstar, a three-star accommodation that is ready to welcome you with open arms. There are three room types here, a deluxe unit, a family room (with bedding for three) and a suite. You’ll have a choice of several bed options, as well as in-room perks like couches and cooking facilities. 

You won’t go hungry at the hotel. Sabah, Sandakan, has a bevvy of food and drinking options, but the D’Northstar Bistro is on-site and has a great menu. 

If you’re looking to pamper yourself, there’s also a spa service on the property that offers relaxing massages, among other things. 

There’s free WiFi at the property and parking is available. 

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

You don’t just have to go to the spa to get a treatment, they’ll also come to your room!

Worst Parts?

You’re further away from Sandakan’s centre compared to other places. 


If you’re looking for a solid, midrange hotel that’s a great price, it’s hard to beat the Hotel D’Northstar. 

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Sepilok Jungle Resort Review

Address: Mile 14, Jalan Rambutan, Sepilok, Sandakan, Sabah

Near: Steps away from the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Room Types: A range of double and twin rooms as well as dorm beds

Top Features:

  • Very close to the top Sepilok tourist attractions
  • Outdoor pool
  • On-site restaurant
  • Dorm beds for budget travellers

As given away in its name, Sepilok Jungle Resort is right by the rainforest with beautiful surrounds. The famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is within close walking distance. 

Rooms here are on the smaller size, and you can choose between two single beds or a queen bed. Cheaper rooms are only fan cooled. More expensive rooms have air-conditoning, tea and coffee making facilities, TV and a private balcony. Dorm rooms are particularly basic.

Breakfast is included in some room rates or you can buy it on-site. You can also buy western and Malaysian meals at other times from the on-site Banana Café & Restaurant.

There’s a nice pool in beautiful gardens with seating areas.

There’s an outdoor pool with seating options all around. Internet is available and there’s also a tour desk.

If you love bird watching, keep a look out. There are many bird species around, including hornbills.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

This property is very serene and the outdoor pool provides a refreshing option after a day of exploring. It’s location is great for exploring Sepilok’s top attractions.

Worst Parts?

The rooms are on the older side, and the shower facilities aren’t the best. 


If you want a true nature experience in Sandakan, the Sepilok Jungle Resort’s location is very hard to beat. The pool area is great, and it’s easy to enjoy a stay here.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Livingston Hotel Sandakan Review

Address: Jalan Utara Mile 4, Sandakan, Sabah

Near: Not too far from several food and shopping options

Room Types: Twin and double rooms

Top Features:

  • Outdoor pool
  • On-site restaurant 
  • Clean and comfortale rooms which are a good size

The Livingston Hotel Sandakan is a three-star hotel that’s well priced and located about six kilometres from the city centre. There are plenty of restaurants and shops in the surrounds.

Air-conditioned deluxe-sized rooms are available for rent with a choice of a large double bed or two singles. Each room has a private bathroom with included toiletries. There’s also a couch and a television in each room, tea and coffee making facilities and a desk. 

You’ll also get either a street view or a view of the property’s outdoor pool, depending on the room. There’s a restaurant on-site as well. 

Staying connected online is possible at the Livingston Hotel Sandakan as there’s WiFi throughout the property. There’s also free parking and several reception services, including luggage storage, a 24/7 front desk attendant and room service. 

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

Having a pool at a hotel is always a fantastic perk. The rooms are clean, comfortable and this hotel receives consistently high reviews.

Worst Parts?

It’s location is not central. It is on the road between Sandakan and Sepilok though.


The Livingston Hotel Sandakan is a solid midrange option with a nice pool and comfortable rooms for a good price.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Amanson sigNature Hotel Review

Address: Lot 82 – 84, Block Mile, K, 4, Jalan Utara, Bandar Pasaraya, Sandakan, Sabah

Near:  Not far from several shopping and dining establishments

Room Types: Double and twin rooms

Top Features:

  • Budget accommodation
  • Great hotel service options
  • WiFi throughout the property

Another prime budget accommodation in Sandakan is the Amanson sigNature Hotel. This three-star property is cheaper than most places on this list, but it has a lot of the same services available, including daily housekeeping, safety deposit boxes and a 24-hour check-in. 

Rooms are basic with twin and double bed options. Each one has WiFi as well as coffee and tea making facilities, air conditioning, free bottled water, a private bathroom with toiletries and blackout curtains to ensure you get a restful sleep. 

You’re very close to several food options. There’s also a convenience store right on-site. 

If you’ve rented a vehicle, you can park it at the Amanson sigNature Hotel.

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

The price. It’s nice and low and the rooms are small but comfortable.

Worst Parts?

The service could be improved. This hotel is not in the centre of Sandakan.


This is a solid budget option on the main road between Sepilok and Sandakan. It’s close to eating options and is a good deal for this price.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Sandakan Hotel Review

Address: Block 83, 4th Ave, Town Centre, Sandakan City Center, Sandakan, Sabah

Near: Located right by the city centre

Room Types:  Standard-sized rooms and suites

Top Features:

  • Central location
  • Great price
  • Restaurant and cafe on-site

Another money-saving move is to stay at Hotel Sandakan, located within walking distance of the city’s business centre. 

Out of 104 rooms at Hotel Sandakan, 14 are suites and the rest are regular sized. Regardless of the room type, you’ll have a TV with satellite channels, air-conditoning, a safety deposit box, mini-fridge and internet access. 

Rooms also have a desk and coffee and tea facilities. For families, there is a family room option with two double beds.

Rooms are dated but clean and comfortable.

You can enjoy Malaysian cuisine and western food at the Palm Cafe, which is located at the hotel. The Palm Garden Chinese Restaurant is also on-site, serving Chinese cuisine. 

Parking is free for hotel guests and there’s WiFi access as well. 

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

There are several food options on-site which can be very convenient. It’s a great price for a central location.

Worst Parts?

The rooms are dated.


Hotel Sandakan has everything you need to have a comfortable and convenient stay in the city when you want to save money for other things.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Sanbay Hotel Review

Address: Mile 1 1/4, Jalan Leila, P.O.Box 211 , Sandakan City Center, Sandakan, Sabah

Near:  Two kilometres from the centre along the coast

Room Types: Double and twin rooms

Top Features:

  • Clean and comfortable rooms
  • On-site cafe
  • Well priced
  • Plenty of parking

If you want to hop onto a boat and head out into the sea to do some fishing, you’ll be close to multiple fishing shop options while staying at the Sanbay Hotel. This three-star property offers budget accommodation with 58 rooms.

You can pick between a double and a twin option. All come with desk, air-conditioning TV, tea and coffee making facilities, a small fridge and some toiletries. Rooms are clean and comfortable and staff are helpful.

There’s plenty of parking, a spacious lobby area as well as a restaurant on-site with Malaysian and western options. There’s also regular hotel services like daily housekeeping, laundry, luggage storage and safety deposit boxes. 

Click here for more information.

Best Parts?

The price of staying here is low compared to many other places on this list. The hotel offers a lot for the price tag.

Worst Parts?

It’s a budget hotel, so don’t expect anything too fancy. 


Sanbay Hotel will cover all your bases, from eating to getting a good night’s sleep. And, you’ll hold onto more cash relative to other places in Sandakan.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Map Of The Best Hotel Sandakan, Sabah

Best Hotels In Sandakan map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

I hope you found this guide to the top hotels in Sandakan useful. Read our list of the top things to do in Sandakan Borneo during your visit here, all the top Sandakan tours here or exactly how to get to Sandakan coming from Kota Kinabalu here. Find our full travel guide to Sandakan here.

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon is a certified Malaysia travel expert and can't get enough of travelling and talking about Malaysia since she first visited 21 years ago. She travels around Malaysia multiple times a year both alone and with her kids. She used to call Penang home and especially loves this food paradise. Sharon also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and has been certified by Tourism Malaysia as a Malaysia Travel Expert. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to this amazing destination.