Due to my lack of research when we went to Kota Kinabalu, I didn’t have time to find a good hostel for us. It was a good thing that Yancy, Renz’s friend had already booked Borneo Backpackers Beach House Hostel, located near the beach for us. While the hostel wasn’t in the city center, it was a good alternative for us, especially because we were arriving pretty late at night.

But the next day, we all decided to head to the city center where most of the action takes place. Despite the number of choices we had – heck we had a whole street of backpacker hostels! – we chose the one which was recommended to us by Josh Uy.

After getting down somewhere in Wisma Merdeka, we walked straight into the streets, until we reached Jalan Gaya. From there, we followed the map until we reached a crossing. I was the first to see it.

From afar, Sensi Backpackers Hostel looked like a small boutique. Its sign was huge and yellow, but I didn’t doubt its cleanliness – not even once. And especially when we got to its door.

Unlike other hostels, Sensi Backpackers Hostel is locked by a special type of machine, so if you want to go in, you have to be opened by someone inside or you need to know the code in order to get in. Very high tech for a hostel, right?

Once inside, we were greeted by the hostel managers, who were all Filipinos as well. It’s very welcoming to see someone from your country in a different country. The hostel was very charming, very clean and we couldn’t even bring our shoes upstairs. They had a footwear cabinet where the guests can leave their shoes.

where to stay in Kota Kinabalu

The hostel had about 5 rooms I think. I’m not sure about the other two rooms, but I’m pretty sure one of the rooms have dorm beds for 6 people, one has dorm beds for 4 people while another room has a double bed. They had separate bathrooms, one for the ladies and another for gents. Each bathroom had two showers and two toilets. They even had a place where you can hang your wet clothes. Very convenient. Not only that, they also provided free towel, shampoo, toothpaste, soap and even female wash. Complete bathroom requirements.

We stayed at the 6-person dorm room for only RM 30 a night. The beds had white sheets, with thick foams, very comfortable for a hostel. The dorm room was also air conditioned, especially at night. The hostel provided everything – from extensions to adapters, blankets, sockets, tables, the dorm even had lockers for each guest. The room had a very homey and comfortable feel to it. One where you wouldn’t feel awkward staying in with a bunch of people you never knew.

 where to stay in kota kinabalu

Best of all, however was the common room. Inside the common room was a big television, a huge table with a basket of fruits, a refrigerator, water dispenser, a cupboard for all the utensils and plates, and a toaster. We also had free, unlimited coffee and tea too.


The ambiance inside the hostel was also very accommodating. They had gorgeous paintings, a soft cream paint and mirrors that make the hostel look a little bigger. Despite its small size, there’s definitely something cozy about the place.

Ooh, and not to forget, they also have Wi-Fi access. Personally, I thought that it was faster if you accessed the Internet from the common room.

accommodation in kota kinabalu

Conveniently, Sensi Backpackers Hostel is located in the middle of Jalan Gaya. If you go right from there, you’ll reach the Jesselton Port within 5 minutes of walking. If you turn left, you’ll reach Beach Street, the City Hall and Justice Court and the bus stop to Brunei within a few minutes too.


Maybe I haven’t had enough experience with hostels. And compared to the one I stayed in Kuala Lumpur, this was definitely an upgrade.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our stay in this very homey, very comfortable place to stay in Kota Kinabalu.


For more information:


or email – tt_april24@yahoo.com – which is the manager’s email.

Brenna is the sole owner of The Philippine Travelogue, an online journal of her travel adventures and experiences. Brenna is a freelance writer, online marketing and social media specialist and a blogger with a constant itch for adventure and thrill. For inquiries, suggestions and invitations please send a message.

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