A short drive from Sandakan airport we found ourselves at the incredible Paganakan Dii. This accommodation set in the jungle of Sepilok is rated number 1 by both Trip Advisor and Travellers Point reviews. This high rating is well deserved and it is considered to be budget accommodation but don’t let the price tag fool you.
Discreetly hidden inside a nature park, this place features 3 long houses with dorm style sleeping as well as private duplexes. The food is good, the beers are reasonable and breakfast is included every day. There is a great common area as well as lots of good spots to just hang out.
Discreet driveway leading up to Paganakan Dii.
Being tourists at the nature park.
This bird loved The Koala to bits.
View from a sunbathing deck.
A lovely morning in the jungle.
Dorms. Basic, but clean and comfortable. Windows and doors beside every bunk.
View of the jungle from bed. No glass windows, just mosquito netting and slat shutters.
My sister Joey brushes her teeth at the cool wok sinks.
A gets comfy in a hanging chair.
The top level of the common area.
The resident cat tries to fix the internet connection.
Christmas in the Jungle
When we arrived on Christmas day, we had no idea what Christmas was going to bring for us. 60% of Malaysians practice Islam so I wasn’t expecting my beloved glazed ham this Christmas. So when we saw that Paganakan Dii were putting on a Christmas dinner, we signed ourselves up.
The Christmas dinner was actually pretty close to the BBQ style Christmas we often share with family in New Zealand.
A enjoys the BBQ buffet station.
My Christmas dinner plate.
The following pictures are some of the other meals we had during our stay.
Give us this day, our daily breakfast.
Beef curry and beer for dinner. The curries here were tasty and mild. I suppose you could ask for a hotter version if you wanted, but this was perfect for me.
Sweet and sour.
Burger in the jungle.
Vegetarian curry with a fried egg. One of those rare occasions when I want some vegetables in me. This was perfect.
Starfruit that we bought from Sandakan markets.
We discovered 2 water towers at Paganakan Dii: one behind the kitchen and the other at the end of the dorms. They had covered platforms built on top of them with seating and made for nice vantage points over the jungle. One morning we climbed up and watched the sun rise over the jungle. Magic.
We called Paganakan Dii home for 3 nights and were very sad to leave this slice of heaven in the jungle.
Paganakan Dii Highlights
- Beautifully designed and built structures.
- Climbing up to the viewing platform at the top of the water tower well after dark on Christmas night and watching the lightning flash over the jungle.
- Tab system per couple/family or per person (up to you). Order food, drink, laundry to your hearts content and settle the bill at the end.
Paganakan Dii Tips
- Free transport to the Orangutan Sanctuary in Sepilok and to the Rainforest Discovery Centre.
- Dorms are very comfortable and half the price of the private rooms.
- Laundry service is quick and they charge per item.
- Cash only.
- They don’t provide mosquito nets, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.
Visit their website here for more info.