Benerat Inn is a collection of flimsy terraced chalets elevated on stilts set into a 3 sided quadrangle about 1.5km outside the entrance to Gunung Mulu National Park. Rooms have cold showers and appear to come in twin and triple beds. It’s run by Tropical Adventure Tours & Travel (www.borneotropicaladventure.com), in Miri and they will try to sell you a 2 night package which includes a couple of tours to the main show caves and transfers to/from the airport/park, daily park fees and some meals. Most of the caves and activities within the park require a compulsory guide although this and the park entrance fees are very cheap (due to change next year). When you sat and worked out what you were actually being offered in TATT’s package and compared it to how much these services would cost if you paid them directly it worked out to be a pretty expensive package. Since the park had told us there was no accommodation within the park for the nights we wanted we opted to book a room only at the Benerat Inn without the package. This was available for cost RM 150/night (twin).
When we arrived we bought a RM 5 taxi coupon to drive us the 5 minutes to the accommodation. When we arrived a fellow eagerly carried my bag to the room but then couldn’t find anyone to provide us with a key. We hung around for 10 minutes or so and another man appeared to give us the key and not much else. This is the last we saw of any staff until our exit on the last day when a couple of cleaners appeared.
On entering the room we were instantly struck by the awful musty smell. The pillows smelled of body odour and the only covering you were given on the bed was an insubstantial blanket (, although it’s extremely hot in the day it does cool down during the night). There were no chairs or table whatsoever so you couldn’t sit out on the broad balcony that ran the length on the terrace or use them to lift anything off the ground inside the room (you do get cockroaches creeping in).
You are told before you book that you only get electricity between 6pm and midnight but on our 2nd night we stayed up after 11 pm and found that it gets cut off at 11.20 pm. It’s even more annoying when the noisy generator is nearby and that isn’t switched off when the lights are, so the noise keeps you awake. The room lights are positioned at the foot of the bed so you needed a torch to read by when you’re sat in bed (nowhere else to sit afterall). Even when it’s daylight outside it’s very dark in the room as the wall are painted (or varnished) a very dark colour so you need to keep the door open to allow enough light in if you want to read. By the way, check behind the loosely fitting flynet that your dark tinted windows are actually locked when you go out as on arrival we falsely assumed they were when they weren’t and went out leaving the room unsecured.
There was no toiletpaper, soap or towels provided which we did expect for the money we paid. There is no shop where you can buy these items. Fortunately we had a roll of paper with us or we’d’ve been in trouble. We also had one towel we’d brought with us, which we had to wash on our return as it had retained the horrible smell of the room. The shower pipe in the toilet is located so tightly into the corner that you have to practically hug the wall to get the spray.
Adding a round trip of 3km to each activity we did in the park can end up wearisome, especially if you have an activity in the morning and then one in the evening as that means you’re doing an awful lot of additional walking and in the heat of the day it can be a killer. We had hoped that we would be able to pay someone from Benerat Inn to provide some kind of car or motorbike taxi but no-one was ever around. The other hotel’s transport goes up and down the road during the day but we found them unwilling to offer we exhausted and perspiring tourists a lift, even though their buggy had no passengers.
When my other half tried to make an enquiry at the building showing a “Kitchen” sign in English he was unceremoniously shooed away and pointed to the “restaurant” at the other end of the complex. No-one was at that location either. Only an overpriced menu advertising “dinner”, whatever that might have been.
During out first night we were woken up by a torrential downpour. The only other guests there were 2 doors away although we could hear them talking and moving furniture
around through the thin partition walls. We guessed, as they were suddenly doing all this in the dark, that it might have been to move a bed to dodge a leak from the roof . We had noticed there was an old damp patch above one of the beds in our room and that it shed bits of tiny debris on you as you slept.
The room cost only slightly less than the much nicer longhouse chalet in the park itself, and a lot more than the other lodgings right by the park entrance. In UK pounds the tour operator wanted £180 for 2 nights 3 days (exluding flights) we took only their ropey accommodation for £60 for 2 nights. For what the operator wanted to charge the remaining £120 we managed to easily arrange ourselves when we got there for only about £30, and we didn’t have to eat the dreadful looking ‘packed lunch’ the other people on package tours were eating which we felt sure would be the same packed lunch made at the park HQ’s café for all these other packages. There are a couple of cheap restaurants right outside the park entrance.
In short, Benarat Inn is terrible value and their service seems non existent, they are too far from the park entrance and no transport is offered. There’s no office or reception, or anyone around so you really are on your own. If we’d have coughed up the £180 for the all inclusive ‘tour’ we would have felt very ripped off. After two nights in their dark grotty room we couldn’t wait to check out. Although we couldn’t actually check out as there was no one at the lodge to hand the key back to, so we just left it in the door. We made a bad choice, and felt if we had just turned up at Mulu, we could probably have found something better and cheaper.
Stayed October 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.