Every backpacker trekking through Southeast Asia should definitely spend some time in Kota Kinabalu (aka “KK”). This awesome city is surrounded by natural beauty, and is a perfect base for adventurers looking to climb Mount Kinabalu.

There are tons of hostels and places to stay in Kota Kinabalu. This keeps the prices competitive and the quality high, so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot to have a great time.

The majority of hostels are located in the center of KK, so everything is close by. Heads up; don’t be shocked if you’re asked to pay cash at arrival – it’s the norm here.

So, let’s check out the ten best hostels in Kota Kinabalu!

Quick Answer: The Best Hostels in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

The Best Hostels in Kota Kinabalu

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    Best Overall Hostel in Kota Kinabalu – Homy Seafront Hostel

    Homy Seafront Hostel best hostels in Kota Kinabalu
    Homy Seafront Hostel is our pick for the overall best hostel in Kota Kinabalu
    • $$
    • Free WiFi
    • Free breakfast
    • Dorms & private rooms
    • Free linens, towels & shampoo
    • Shared bathroom

    Homy Seafront Hostel is our pick for Best Overall Hostel in Kota Kinabalu because it checks all the boxes for an awesome stay – free WiFi, free breakfast, privacy curtains, etc. You can choose between dorm and private rooms, both at good prices.

    Homy Seafront is a relaxed place, and the living room is the perfect spot to mingle and watch the beautiful sunsets over the sea. Kota Kinabalu is home to some of Malaysia’s best beaches, and this is the best place to enjoy them.

    Best Party Hostel in Kota Kinabalu – Faloe Hostel

    Faloe Hostel is our pick for best party hostel in Kota Kinabalu
    • $$ 
    • Free Wifi
    • Free breakfast
    • Dorms only
    • Free linens & towel 
    • Shared bathrooms
    • Free drinking water

    The Faloe Hostel is designed for people to meet each other, which is perfect for travelers who want to hit the town. The super-friendly atmosphere is a given, since dorm rooms are the only option.

    Although KK is not known as a party-destination, it does have a lively nightlife scene. The hot-spots include Irish pubs and various clubs scattered around downtown.

    Best Cheap Hostel in Kota Kinabalu – H2 Backpackers

    H2 Backpackers best hostels in Kota Kinabalu
    H2 Backpackers is our pick for best cheap hostel in Kota Kinabalu
    • Free WiFi
    • Free breakfast
    • Dorms & private rooms
    • Free linens
    • Shared bathrooms
    • Washing machine

    H2 Backpackers is the ideal spot for visitors traveling on a budget. It has all of the basics of a good stay – lockers near each bed, privacy curtain, reading light, free breakfast, and kitchen. To complete the package, there’s a washing machine for guests to do their much-needed laundry.

    The dorms have individual pods so you can enjoy some privacy. There are also some really affordable private rooms available. H2 is centrally located, so you can walk to nearly everything in downtown Kota Kinabalu.

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    Best Hostel with a Private Room in Kota Kinabalu – Dock In

    Dock In best hostels in Kota Kinabalu
    • $$ 
    • Free Wifi
    • Dorms & private rooms
    • Free linens & towels
    • Bike hire
    • Luggage storage

    If you’re looking for a hostel in KK with a private room, then you’re in luck! Unlike many other places to stay in town, Dock In has options beyond the basic dorm set-up. Privates do cost a bit more, but the price can be easily split between you and your mates.

    Private rooms can be shared by up to 8 people of the same group – perfect if you plan on staying in Kota Kinabalu with a bunch of mates.

    Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Kota Kinabalu – TOOJOU Kota Kinabalu

    TOOJOU Kota Kinabalu is our pick for best hostel for digital nomads in Kota Kinabalu
    • $$ 
    • Free Wifi
    • Free breakfast
    • Dorms & private rooms
    • Free linens & towels
    • Cafe & rooftop bar
    • Billiards

    TOOJOU is the hostel that caters to digital nomads. Yes, they have free high-speed WiFi, like most places around KK. But they understand the needs of the citizens of the digital world and add some special touches that others don’t.

    For the more serious needs of the tech-focused, TOOJOU has OPIS Co-Working Spaces designed to support a productive atmosphere. There are several places where you can access a business printer, and complimentary refreshments to recharge your batteries.

    Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Kota Kinabalu – Seaview Capsule Hostel

    Seaview Capsule Hostel is our pick for best hostel for solo travelers in Kota Kinabalu
    • $$ 
    • Free WiFi
    • Free breakfast
    • Shared bathroom 
    • 24-hour reception

    If that communal hostel-living isn’t your thing, capsule hostels are the way to go. At Seaview Capsule Hostel, the capsule closes and locks for the ultimate privacy – something you’re not going to get from normal, pod-style dorms.

    Inside the capsule, it’s like you’ve jumped into a futuristic space pod with modern technologies. Seaview is well located in KK, and provides stunning common spaces where you can get to know other travelers.

    Best Hostel for Couples in Kota Kinabalu – StoryTel

    StoryTel best hostels in Kota Kinabalu
    StoryTel is our pick for best hostel for couples in Kota Kinabalu
    • $$
    • Free WiFi
    • Private rooms – ensuite
    • Free towels
    • 24-hour reception
    • Luggage storage

    StoryTel provides spacious private rooms, ideal for couples visiting Kota Kinabalu. All the bathrooms are ensuite, so no need to worry about walking down the hall to shower.

    The hostel is centrally located in KK, so you can enjoy walks to most major attractions in town. Free wifi, adapters and towels are included, perfect if you forgot to bring your own!

    More of the Best Hostels in Kota Kinabalu

    Skypod Hostel

    Skypod Hostel best hostels in Kota Kinabalu
    • $
    • Free Wifi
    • Free breakfast
    • Dorms only 
    • Free linen & towel
    • Free shampoo & shower gel
    • Washing machine
    • Free coffee, tea, & drinking water

    Pods are the way to go! Rather than open bunk beds, walls on almost all sides separate you from other sleepers. At Skypod, you can choose a single pod – in the Superior Dorm rooms- or a double pod – in the Deluxe Dorm rooms.

    The hostel has great open social spaces, including a loft with plenty of chairs and tables. With free breakfast, hot drinks and the ability to wash your clothes, you can’t go wrong for the price.

    Dimple Life Hostel

    Dimple Life Hostel best hostel in Kota Kinabalu
    • $
    • Free Wifi
    • Free breakfast
    • Dorms & private rooms
    • Washing machine
    • Access to gym and pool nearby

    The Dimple Life Hostel is a quaint little place perfect for staying in KK. It’s in a good location and provides breakfast and laundry facilities. Although the rooms are a bit snug, it’s clean and streamlined.

    Lockers are centrally located, so you don’t have to worry about having too much of your stuff in the communal dorm. Private rooms are perfect for couples – just note that all the bathrooms are shared.

    Vibrant Hostel

    Vibrant Hostel best hostels in Kota Kinabalu
    Duvets are a rare find in hostels!
    • $
    • Free Wifi
    • Free breakfast
    • Dorms & private rooms
    • Shared bathrooms
    • Free linens & towels
    • Luggage storage

    Vibrant Hostel is a high-quality place to stay. The beds are super comfy with thick duvets, and there’s more than one place to relax and watch tv. Private rooms come with a double bed, making it another great place for couples.

    It’s conveniently located in the Kota Kinabalu Times Square, which puts you right next to major places like the Imago Shopping Mall and the waterfront. 

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      What to Pack for your Kota Kinabalu Hostel

      Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from us, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straight forward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art we have perfected over many years.

      Check out our definitive Hostel Packing list for our top packing tips!

      Travel Safety Tips for Kota Kinabalu

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      Final Thoughts

      Visiting Kota Kinabalu is a must when traveling through Malaysia. There’s so much to see and do there, and a ton of budget-friendly accommodation to match. It’s also home to some of the best diving in the country.

      We think Homy Seafront Hostel has done an awesome job, which is why we named it the best overall hostel in Kota Kinabalu. But, wherever you stay should depend on what suits your travel style and budget. Happy travels!

      Do you own or run a kick ass hostel? Want to be featured in this list? Get in touch at [email protected]


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