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“OK-ish” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Sukau Rainforest Lodge

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3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Sukau, Lower Kinabatangan River | 2 1/2 hours from Sandakan by boat, Malaysia   |  
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Edinburgh
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“OK-ish”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2008

It was OK. I'm aware enough of conservation issues without having to be preached to. Food average. Though the dead festering pig behind our chalet was one experience I could have missed. As regards the lack of child-friendly entertainment moaned about above - what did you expect in such a location?!! Children's entertainers?!!! Take them to Disneyland if you want others to entertain your kids.

  • Stayed October 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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278 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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london
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2007

The whole sukau experience is great fun. The boat ride is a good way to see the jungle, and the main guides are efficient and friendly. Slightly pompous lecture on arrival by old guy and total lack of cold beer during stay (found out why when we left at 9am and was waved off by old guy with cold tiger beer in hand!! thats where they went!!) Rooms are truly rubbish - dirty, old, smelly - I know, I know, its the jungle, its an "eco-resort" but this is just lazy and poor standards set by staff. No excuse for this. We stayed one night (which is plenty if you take evening and early morning cruise too) so it didn't ruin our time there but any longer and I would have cleaned the room myself.
Guides were brilliant, went out of their way to make sure we saw what we could in our short time there. Do the night cruise, you get really close to wildlife. Overall good fun, but really let down by awful rooms - hope someone finds a way to get this through to them as with this issue solved, it would be a 5 point place. Lets hope they do!

  • Liked — location, the guides, the whole experience
  • Disliked — the rooms!!! someone please hire a cleaner and then redecorate!!
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2007

We had a fabulous stay at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge. The setting is beautiful, the wildlife amazing, the staff terrific, and the eco-principles of the lodge are admirable. This was one of the best trips we have ever taken, and we will return. Having said that, our rooms were seriously in need of cosmetic attention. No need for 5* treatment, but our bathrooms were never properly cleaned, the sheets were ancient, and the walls and ceilings need a coat of paint. I'd pay more for rooms in better condition. The public areas were terrific, though, and eating breakfast over the river is a delight. If you wake up at 5.30 , walk down to the river and watch the resident proboscis monkeys awaken and begin their day. In the back, by the gallery, the long-tail macaques start throwing things around 6.30 am. Delightful!

  • Liked — The setting, the eco-principles, the staff
  • Disliked — The rooms
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shanghai
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2007

If you go to Sabah do not expect rain forest or a natural adventure. Its all oilpalms with small conservation areas for rain forest.
The way to Sukau is a clear demonstration of what is going on. A gigantic road under construction in order to make new plantations accessible. The lodges are located at the river. Prices are per person and you will end up paying more than for an above average urban Hotel. The huts are very basic. The prices include one boat trip. The river is lined by trees. The forest is abhout 500-1000m deep. Behind that you will find oilpalms. There was seemingly an overpopulation of animals a couple of years ago. Due to extensive logging apes, monkeys, elephants etc took refuge here. Today you mainly see apes and if you are lucky some cats, kingfisher and small crocodiles.
I would not certainly not recommend this trip.

  • Liked — n.a.
  • Disliked — It is a tourist trap.
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Espoo, Finland
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
54 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
134 helpful votes 134 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2007

The lodge is situated on the Sungai Kinabatangan, which is Sabah’s longest river and the best place to see wildlife! There are two ways to get to the lodge – by boat or by road. Unfortunately the boat was full so we had to go by road. We had arranged with a driver from the lodge to pick us up from the airport and were expecting to have a four-wheel-drive waiting for us. It turned out to be a minivan! And it certainly was not built for the muddy and bumpy roads we had in store. It was a gruelling ride, which was rewarded by a peaceful 5-minute boat ride from Sukau village to the lodge. I'd really like to empasize that the boat trip from Sandakan to the lodge would be your best option.

At the lodge Winston, a 70-year-old jungle-expert, greeted us. It’s worth the trip to meet him! Make sure he tells you the story of how he met his wife, who is from a headhunting tribe from Sarawak. Winston has an extensive knowledge of the jungle from his years in the jungle combat unit and colourful tales to tell of his life from colonial times to this day.

Our room had just been refurbished and I thought it was very nice, nothing spectacular but hey, you are there to see wildlife not hang out in your room. I loved listening to the sounds of the jungle at night an early morning.

We had early morning, afternoon and evening river cruises to spot animals. We took off from the lodge on wooden boats, which are run by electric motors at wildlife sensitive areas. Our guide was an expert at finding animals (even in the pitch dark!). We were happy to see crocodiles, kingfishers, proboscis monkeys, a lone orang-utan, herons, hornbills and monitor lizards – to name a few.

An interesting experience was the guided jungle walk. Our river cruise guide and Winston accompanied us. It was the only place I saw leeches in Borneo – the place was swarming with them. No one was safe from them! The leeches seemed to jump on us!

At the lodge there is a hornbill broadwalk (surrounded by jungle), Winston guided us through it and explained all about the plants that grow in the jungle. We also did some walks on it by ourselves and saw some monkeys (which did seem a tad annoyed by seeing us).

It is tradition that guest wear sarongs (provided by the lodge) for dinner, I loved that! Almost everyone did so, even the children. I enjoyed the food at the lodge, maybe the breakfast wasn't so yummy but it was good enough to fill one's hunger. We had one very exciting dinner on our 2nd evening when dinner was served at the Melapi restaurant. As we were eating, a lizard (this was bigger than a regular gecko) jumped on our friend’s back!

When it was time to leave we were able to take the boat back to Sandakan - what could be better than jetting along the spectacular Sungai Kinabatangan. What highlighted the boat ride was seeing a herd of Pygmy elephants on our way!

I recommend the lodge to adults and children above 5 yrs old. In my opinion children don't need special play areas, they are capable of amusing themselves in the garden, etc. Most of the day is very programmed (cruises, eating, etc), so there isn't much time to get bored.

Don't expect 5 star facilites but don't think you'll have to rough it either! The MAIN reason to visit the lodge is to see the wildlife and if you're as lucky as me, you won't be dissapointed :)

  • Liked — The open "living room" where guest get together and chat.
  • Disliked — The smell of tinner in our room (which had just been renovated).
  • Stayed June 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2007

The Sukau River Lodge while staffed by very friendly folk, provides basic accomodation only and in my opinion is not suitable for children as there is no play area and nothing provided for entertainment for children. While warned by our guide to be careful about leaving any belongings outside our rooms because of the local monkeys, we were not warned about any possible danger from monkeys. I was threatened and chased by a male monkey when I inadvertantly made eye contact with it whilst taking a photo. As monkeys can give one a nasty bite I was lucky to escape up the steps back to my room.
Our tour provided a morning wildlife spotting boat trip morning and then again in the late afternoon but we had at least 4 hours to "amuse" ourselves inbetween. This could have provided problems for families with children so be warned and take something to entertain children with.

  • Liked — We had a ceiling fan!
  • Disliked — The bathroom
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2007

I can't imagine that englishmike visited the same place we did. Either that or, in the 10 months since we visited, the Sukau Rainforest Lodge has deteriorated dramatically. We were in Malaysia for two weeks and this was, by far, the highlight of our trip. Everything about the place was perfect, from the guides (who we thought were brilliant and incredibly knowledgeable) to the rooms (small but perfectly formed - who expects anything other than basic in the middle of the rainforest?!! - and 100% clean) to the food (which was amongst the best we had through the entire holiday). And this is all not to mention the incredible setting and the wildlife.

  • Liked — The wildlife of course but also the staff
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed May 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Address: Sukau, Lower Kinabatangan River | 2 1/2 hours from Sandakan by boat, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Kinabatangan District
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Kinabatangan District
Hotel Class:3 star — Sukau Rainforest Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The award winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge nestles on the banks of one of Borneo's most important waterways, the Kinabatangan River, home to many of Borneo's magnificent wildlife. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the rainforest and the cacophany of its inhabitants, its majestic birds, all 7 species of Borneo Primates including Borneo's iconic Proboscis Monkey, Orangutans in their natural habitat as well as herds of Borneo Pygmy Elephants. Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers the rare comfort and luxury in the midst of the Borneo Rainforest whilst retaining an Eco-Lodge ethos, the delicate balance of true sustainability. We promise to give you and your family an experience you'll always remember and one you'll never regret. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sukau Rainforest Hotel Sabah
Sukau Rainforest Lodge Kinabatangan District, Sabah, Malaysia

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