Travel Budget for Sandakan Visit Sandakan on a Budget or Travel in Style

Sandakan, State of Sabah, Malaysia

How much does it cost to travel to Sandakan?

You should plan to spend around $58 (RM275) per day on your vacation in Sandakan. This is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.

Past travelers have spent, on average for one day:

  • $19 (RM88) on meals
  • $33 (RM155) on local transportation
  • $40 (RM189) on hotels

A one week trip to Sandakan for two people costs, on average, $809 (RM3,856). This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.

  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
  • One Week Per person
  • 2 Weeks Per person
  • One Month Per person
  • One Week For a couple
  • 2 Weeks For a couple
  • One Month For a couple
This data comes from the travel budgets of real travelers - How it works. Put these numbers on your website.

How much does a one week, two week, or one month trip to Sandakan cost?

A one week trip to Sandakan usually costs around $405 (RM1,928) for one person and $809 (RM3,856) for two people. This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

A two week trip to Sandakan on average costs around $809 (RM3,856) for one person and $1,619 (RM7,712) for two people. This cost includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

Please note, prices can vary based on your travel style, speed, and other variables. If you're traveling as a family of three or four people, the price per person often goes down because kid's tickets are cheaper and hotel rooms can be shared. If you travel slower over a longer period of time then your daily budget will also go down. Two people traveling together for one month in Sandakan will often have a lower daily budget per person than one person traveling alone for one week.

A one month trip to Sandakan on average costs around $1,734 (RM8,263) for one person and $3,468 (RM16,527) for two people. The more places you visit, the higher the daily price will become due to increased transportation costs.

Independent Travel

Traveling Independently to Sandakan has many benefits including affordabilty, freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to control your own experiences.

All of the travel costs below are based on the experiences of other independent travelers.

Is Sandakan expensive to visit?

Sandakan is a reasonably affordable place to visit. Located in Malaysia, which is a reasonably affordable country, visitors will appreciate the relatively low cost of this destination. It falls in the average range in the country for its prices. If you're traveling on a budget, then this is a good destination with affordable accommodation, food, and transportation.

Within Asia, Sandakan is a moderately priced destination compared to other places. The overall cost of travel here is fair for the region and comparable to Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) or Yichang.

For more details, and to find out if it's within your travel budget, see Is Sandakan Expensive?

How much money do I need for a trip to Sandakan?

The average Sandakan trip cost is broken down by category here for independent travelers. All of these Sandakan travel prices are calculated from the budgets of real travelers.

Category Cost
Accommodation 1 (Double Occupancy) RM189 ($40)
Local Transportation 1 RM155 ($33)
Food 2 RM88 ($19)
Entertainment 1 RM34 ($7)
Tips and Handouts 1 RM9 - 28 ($2 - 6)
Alcohol 2 RM16 - 47 ($3 - 10)
Accommodation Budget in Sandakan
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

The average price paid for one person for accommodation in Sandakan is $20 (RM95). For two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room, the average price paid for a hotel room in Sandakan is $40 (RM189). This cost is from the reported spending of actual travelers.

  • Accommodation1 Hotel or hostel for one person
  • Accommodation1 Typical double-occupancy room

Hotel Prices in Sandakan

Looking for a hotel in Sandakan? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options.

Find the best hotel for your travel style.


Actual Hotel Prices
The average hotel room price in Sandakan based on data provided by Kayak for actual hotel rooms is $31. (Prices in U.S. Dollars, before taxes & fees.)

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world.

Recommended Properties

Transportation Budget in Sandakan
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The cost of a taxi ride in Sandakan is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $33 (RM155) per person, per day, on local transportation in Sandakan.

  • Transportation1 Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.

Flights to Sandakan
How much does it cost to go to Sandakan? Naturally, it depends on the dates. We recommend Kayak because they can find the best deals across all airlines.

Rental Cars in Sandakan
The price of renting a car in Sandakan will depends on dates, the type of car, the location, and your age. We recommend Kayak because they can find the best deals across all car rental companies.

Food Budget in Sandakan
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • While meal prices in Sandakan can vary, the average cost of food in Sandakan is $19 (RM88) per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Sandakan should cost around $7.42 (RM35) per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Sandakan is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

  • Food2 Meals for one day


Entertainment Budget in Sandakan
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • Entertainment and activities in Sandakan typically cost an average of $7.20 (RM34) per person, per day based on the spending of previous travelers. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

  • Entertainment1 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.

Recommended Activities

Tips and Handouts Budget in Sandakan
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The average cost for Tips and Handouts in Sandakan is $3.93 (RM19) per day. The usual amount for a tip in Sandakan is 5% - 15%.

  • Tips and Handouts1 For guides or service providers

Alcohol Budget in Sandakan
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The average person spends about $6.60 (RM31) on alcoholic beverages in Sandakan per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

  • Alcohol2 Drinks for one day

Sandakan On a Budget
Sandakan Sandakan, Malaysia
Located on the Northeast side of the state of Sabah in Borneo is the city of Sandakan, which is the 2nd largest city in the country. Sandakan was a prosperous port town in the 1800s because of its exports of tobacco, timber, pearls, and ivory. However, this booming town that was formerly the administrative capital in North Borneo was bombed practically out of existence at the end of World War II.

Today, the modern town of Sandakan has been rebuilt on the reclaimed land and its economy is now based on cocoa and palm oil. Unfortunately, the mass deforestation for palm oil is causing many problems to the environment and wildlife.

Most travelers do not visit Sandakan for the city itself, but rather, for the nearby natural areas, such as wildlife preservation centers, caves, and rivers.

If you're going to visit Sandakan, weather will be generally consistent throughout the year with average temperatures in the 80s, but be aware that rainfall changes drastically with wet season from November to February. The wettest month is December and the driest in April. Regardless of the time of year, Sandakan is humid year round, so pack light, breathable fabrics and don't forget the sunscreen and insect repellent.
Within the city, check out Agnes Keith's House. Keith was an American author who lived and wrote three autobiographies of her life in Sandakan in the 1930s.

History buffs may be interested to visit Sandakan Memorial park, which commemorates the many Australian and British prisoners who died at the former site of the World War II prisoner-of-war camp.

Meanwhile, if you want to go off the beaten tourist track, head down to the waterfront for the daily fish market, at the end of the enormous Sandakan Central Market. This is the largest in Sabah and draws in hundreds of locals to buy fresh seafood. If you see turtle eggs for sale, do note that even though they are legal in the rest of the country, they are prohibited to sell in Sabah.

While Sandakan has a few offerings in town for tourists, daytrips to nearby sites will undoubtedly be the highlight of your trip.

The Sepilok Orangutan Rehab Center, just 14 miles east of the city, if one of Sabah's biggest attractions. One of the four in the world, this center cares for abandoned and injured orangutans with the goal to reintroduce them to their natural habitat after equipping them with skills to fend for themselves.

Turtle Island National Park, about 25 miles north of Sandakan, is made up of three small islands: Selingan, Bakungan Kecil, and Gulisan. Visit between July and October for a chance to see turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.

Divers will want to head to Pulau Lankayan, just a 90-minute boat ride from the city. This island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, making for an ideal and uncrowded diving destination. Visit during April and May to see black-tip sharks.

Sungai Kinabatangan is the largest river in Sabah, at 348 miles long. It's no surprise that is also the largest habitat for wildlife in the country. Much of the region was established as the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Take a river boat trip to spot wildlife such as Proboscis Monkeys, hornbills, crocodiles, and Macaques.

Check out the Gomantong Caves, the largest limestone caves in Sabah and home to a large population of bats and swiftlets. This is also a site where locals harvest swiftlets' nests to make the much sought-after Chinese delicacy, Bird's-nest Soup.

The Tabin Wildlife Reserve, about 137 miles Southeast of Sandakan, protects endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros, Borneo Pygmy Elephants, giant flying squirrels, orangutans, and hornbills.

Food and Dining
Malaysian food, at its best, offers a variety of culture for any palate,including Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western cuisines and Sandakan is no exception.

Don't leave without enjoying the fresh seafood offered on the waterfront as you take in views of the ocean at Restoran Seafood Sim-Sim 88.

Head to the Sandakan Central Market for even cheaper eats. Malaysian cuisine on the first floor and Chinese food on the third. Try the Original Homemade Kueh Teow with Deep-fried Pork, served dry or in soup on the third floor.

Bridge No. 7 is a traditional coffee shop in the Buli Sim Sim Water Village, which specializes in prawn balls, thousand-year-egg dumplings which are also stuffed with pork and fish paste, and a variety of noodles, including fish head noodles and curry noodles.

For a quick bite or even an easy food crawl, stop by the food court in Pasar Kim Fung, which has a variety of vendors coming and going throughout the day. Popular offerings include dim sum, potstickers, chicken rice, and tofu pudding.

Sandakan Airport is connected directly to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, and Kudat and AirAsia offers plenty of low-cost flights. To get into town from the airport, you can take a cab or walk to the main road past the roundabout and catch a local bus before nightfall, as they usually stop running between 5 and 7 p.m.

Kota Kinabalu also has a direct road to Sandakan which will take a 6-hour drive at a little over 200 miles. Drivers, beware of potholes and be sure to fill your tank at Ranau because it's the last gas station before you get to Sandakan, which is about 150 miles away.

You can also opt to take a bus from Kota Kinabalu to the Sandakan bus station on Jalan Utara, which is about 15 minutes away from downtown. Tung Ma Express, Sida Express, and Bunga Raya Express each serve this bus station between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Ferries run from Zamboanga in the Philippines on a weekly basis, but call ahead to confirm schedules.

Within the city, you can easily walk because it is so compact, but to take a daytrip to the other points of interest, hire a motorbike or a taxi. Note that meters aren't common, so be sure to negotiate prices before getting into the cab. Otherwise, you may also opt to take a bus or van to get to nearby stops like Sepilok or the Buli Sim Sim Water Village.


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We've been gathering travel costs from tens of thousands of actual travelers since 2010, and we use the data to calculate average daily travel costs for destinations around the world. We also systematically analyze the prices of hotels, hostels, and tours from travel providers such as Kayak, HostelWorld, TourRadar, Viator, and others. This combination of expenses from actual travelers, combined with pricing data from major travel companies, gives us a uniqe insight into the overall cost of travel for thousands of cities in countries around the world. You can see more here: How it Works.

1 Categories averaged on a per-item basis.
2 Categories averaged on a per-day basis.
For example, the Food2 daily average is for all meals for an entire day, while Entertainment1 is for each individual purchase. Thus, the overall daily average cost is not a summation of the individual categories.