Gather all your thoughts about hostels — the rowdy roommates, the unsanitized toilets and zero privacy — and throw it out the window because at Toojou, it’s more than just a hostel. The recently opened hostel is the new social hotspot in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah as it combines accommodation, cafe, a co-working space and a funky rooftop bar.
Located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu, only a 10-minute walk from Gaya Street, Toojou is a home away from home for wanderlusters looking to kickstart their Borneo adventure. Wanna know what’s in it for you? We flew to Kota Kinabalu to bring you this review!
Previously known as Century Hotel, the building was given a makeover, complete with colorful murals and it’s been renovated to suit the modern traveler’s needs. If you find yourself struggling to give direction of the hostel to the taxi driver, just say, “It’s the new colorful building in town,” and they’ll know where to go. Standing tall at the end of a row of shophouses, the hostel is hard to miss.
Stepping into the lobby, we were impressed at how the hostel has changed so much from its olden days. It’s hard to even believe it’s the same building! Decorated in warm soothing colors, mismatched furniture, and completed with a neon sign that says “You look lovely today”, this hostel will satisfy any Instagrammer’s dreams. One thing that stood out, and probably the only hostel in Malaysia to feature it, is the spiral slide that takes center stage. It’s definitely the most photographed feature, for sure!
Another focal point furniture (one that we wished we could take home) is the sampan-shaped couch, a nod to Kota Kinabalu’s close proximity to the sea. Instead of Reception, the hostel has a Guest Happiness Station where you could check-in. After being greeted by a warm and friendly receptionist and a smooth check-in process, we knew it was going to be a pleasure to stay here!
As for the rooms available here, it depends. Are you in the mood for socializing and meeting new friends? There are capsule beds with a choice of four, six and eight-bed configurations as well as a female-only dorm room. Or, if you prefer to take a break from the rest of the world, there’s also the option of booking a studio room with a double or twin beds.
During our trip, we were lucky enough to stay in the Studio Double room that overlooks lush greeneries. The 25 square meters room is spacious enough, even if there are two of you! The room is complete with a comfortable queen-sized bed, fluffy pillows and a thick blanket to keep you warm. The room is designed to be minimalist but at the same time, functional.
The en-suite bathroom might be a bit compact, but it’s clean and fitted with shower gel and shampoo. A full-length mirror and hairdryer complete the room. We think the room is sufficiently furnished with every modern travelers’ needs! But, that’s not all, the room is also fitted with a Bluetooth speaker so you can listen to your favorite music!
The hostel is also a digital nomad’s heaven. On the first floor is KK’s first co-working space, affectionately named Opis, a Malay slang for office. There are beanbags, comfortable couches, and if you need some alone space, there are also individual booths that you can work in. There’s a free flow of coffee, tea and snacks that you can enjoy while you work. The best part is, Opis is free to use for hotel guests and it’s open 24 hours, so, it’s perfect for those night owls!
If you’re feeling hungry, slide down to Tamaha Cafe, a popular hangout spot for locals and travelers alike to have a cup of coffee or lunch. The cafe also serves breakfast for guests, where you can have a choice of the local favorite nasi lemak or the American breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, toast and hash browns.
So, if you’re on a hunt for an affordable, versatile, comfortable and Instagrammable stay in Kota Kinabalu, Toojou is perfect for you! Whether you’re a couple or a family or a group of friends, everyone will enjoy a truly relaxing and bespoke experience here.
See and Do
Visit the City Mosque
From a distance, Kota Kinabalu City Mosque seems to be floating on water. Don’t be fooled though, as the optical illusion is created by a man-made lagoon nestled around the mosque, giving the mosque an air of mystery and beauty. Built in 2000, the mosque was designed to resemble the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. The mosque is a must visit, so make a stop during your visit to KK! Entrance is free for Malaysians, and RM5 for foreign tourists.
Ride the North Borneo Railway train
Go back in time and ride the North Borneo Railway to experience the bygone era of the British colonial days. The British Vulcan steam locomotive will take you to witness the lush landscape of the coastal and rural regions of Sabah. The train will also stop in Kinarut where you’ll visit the Tien Shi Temple that’s well known for fine statues and Papar, where you can mingle with the locals at the wet market and marvel at vintage shophouses. Don’t worry about going hungry in the train because a light breakfast and a nostalgic tiffin-style lunch will be served to you.
Choo-choo! What chu waiting for? Get your tickets on Traveloka!
Try white water rafting at Kiulu River
Had enough of sightseeing in the city? Come aboard on this unique water activity and experience a mild rafting adventure at the Kiulu River with rapids of grades 1 – 2. Enjoy a fun time with your loved ones, accompanied by a certified guide so you don’t have to worry about not knowing the tricks of rafting. Have your (waterproof!) camera ready as the views of the surrounding nature is stunning and you don’t want to miss the chance to capture a memorable scene!
Have a stress-free trip and get your tickets on Traveloka now!
With such a wide range of accommodation options across the country, it can be a challenge to pick the one that’s best for you. To be in the know when it comes to Malaysia’s outstanding stays, keep your eyes peeled for Traveloka’s ‘Super Stays’ posts, a bi-weekly hotel special featuring our top picks!