Sabah on a shoestring

Sabah on a shoestring

Compiled by Tharanie Rajendran
Photos courtesy of

Sabah, also known as the Land Below the Wind, has a lot to offer from its beautiful mountains to exotic islands.

It is a place where every nature lover belongs. As it is situated on the northern island of Borneo, the most viable way to get to Sabah is by plane.  With the idea of flying in mind, many people think a visit to Sabah can burn a hole in their pocket.

That is not exactly true and Where2 would like to share how you can explore all the goodness of Sabah on a shoestring budget!

Flying to Sabah

While everyone knows that Air Asia has low airfares to Sabah, you should check out Jetstar, Malindo Air and Firefly to compare rates too?

Pro Tip
Always go on incognito mode on your browser to check on flight ticket rates. This will not record your frequency on visiting the page and it will show its lowest rate.

Staying in Sabah

Why stay at posh hotels when you’re already spending many hours out there to explore the city? Sabah, especially its capital Kota Kinabalu, is a haven for backpackers as there are over 30 hostels to choose from, especially along Gaya Street and Lorong Dewan.

Prices at these backpackers’ hostel can range from RM20 to RM35 per night and the best part is these hostels are situated strategically close to eateries, internet cafes and sundries.

Pro Tip
Always book ahead! You will never know when these places are going to run out of spaces, so drop them an email or call before showing up.

Moving around Sabah

Why worry when Grab is there to save the day? Grab is a car-booking app that anyone can install in their smartphones to find private vehicles to drive you around.

Pro Tip
Socialize and make the Grab driver your friend. Exchange phone numbers and you have a driver to drive you around for a good rate!

Places to visit in Sabah

 Dive in at Sipadan National Park

It is one of the top diving destinations in the world in the Indo- Pacific basin and being part of one of the world’s richest marine habitats. Sipadan National Park is every diver’s dream comes true. Even if you’re not a diver, there is no harm in giving a shot at snorkeling there as you will come back with amazing memories lasting a lifetime.

What about hiking up Mount Kinabalu?

So what about seeing the world from 4,101 metres above sea level? Definitely the trek is not for all out there but going up the summit of Southeast Asia’s highest mountain would definitely make a good profile picture on your Facebook!

Visit Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary

Learn about the wildlife and orang utans at this orang-utan rehabilitation sanctuary which aims to rescue orphaned orang-utans from plantations, illegal hunting and logging sites. There some 80 orang utans are roaming freely.

Snorkel at Manukan Island

This is one of the very few beaches that you can see fish swimming while you’re on a boat, as the water is crystal clear. Snorkelling to view the coral, the reef, and the colourful fish underwater is simply stunning.

Explore culture at Sabah State Museum

A walk through the museum provides you an intimate knowledge of the rich history and culture of Sabah. For only RM2 entry fee (for MyKad holders), you get to visit the exhibition hall and an outdoor cultural village, where the background of each ethnic group is showcased.

Pro Tip
Be aware that entrance fees during school holidays or public holidays may differ, A LOT!