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“Nice Stay Along the Kinabatangan River” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sukau Rainforest Lodge

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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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Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Nice Stay Along the Kinabatangan River”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2013

We enjoyed our 2 night stay at Sukau Lodge, while there we spotted proboscis monkeys, orangutans (mainly well hidden), crocodiles, macaques (long tail and pig tail), owls, kingfishers, mangrove ring snake, hornbills, monitor lizards, eagles, frogs, silver leaf monkey, egrets, storks, pygmy squirrel, and herons. We enjoyed both our daytime and nighttime (not included in the price) river boat safaris. The food was good and the room was very nice (no A/C, but it cooled off by around 9 pm). The guides were very good at spotting wildlife!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (47)
Date | Rating
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English first
Paris, France
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013

Staying at Sukau Rainforest Lodge was the best part of my trip to Borneo. The rooms were spotless and really rather luxurious. Something which was slightly worrying me was the insects. However, the only insects I saw were outside, which given we were in the middle of the jungle, was reassuring for me! The cleaning team do a good job! Do take insect repellant though, as there are some mosquitos.
All staff were friendly and very helpful. The tours along the river were stunning and the guide made a real effort to find the animals the group wanted to see.
All meals were included in the tour (drinks were extra), the tour groups ate together, so there was a nice atmosphere.
Overall, this was such a great trip to just switch off and unwind (no television) and clear your head while seeing some amazing wildlife. There is quite some time between the guided tours, which can be used walking around the jungle boardwalk or reading/playing some of the games in the lobby.
I would highly recommend this to anyone travelling to Sabah.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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The Hague, The Netherlands
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2013

We (couple) stayed at the lodge for 3 nights, while enjoying our 4 day tour with Borneo Eco Tours. The rooms are great, really clean and well set up. Very comfortable jungle stay. The staff is great, very polite and helpful. From beginning to end we felt very at home here. The combination with the tours is great, real professionals. Also the food is fantastic, very diverse menu spread over the days. The only downside here is that they don't have a swimming pool, that would have been nice after a long boat-trip. But to be honest we didn't really need one, had a very nice shower in the room.
All in all this was probably the best place we stayed at over our 3 week Malaysia trip, big kudos to all the staff and organization. It is quite expensive, but it's absolutely worth it! You won't regret it.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Perth, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013

As part of an ecotour including an one night tour to Turtle Island and other activities in Sandakan, we went to Sukau Rainforest Lodge for 2 nights in October. It took about 2.5 hrs by boat to reach the Lodge from Sandakan. The setting of the Lodge is very good, much better than some other newly lodges in the same area. Guests should be prepared that the main attraction of staying at this Lodge is to see the wildlife around the Lodge which was proved to be not disappointing. The morning and after cruises organised by the Lodge and the guides were excellent and they are very friendly and knowledgeable and are the real asset of the Lodge. Because the Lodge is supposed to be eco friendly, the room is a bit dark inside. The rooms are still fairly new and clean as they were renovated 2 years ago. I think a sky light on the roof would have done the job of improving the lighting inside the room without using too much electricity. Overall, I have no hesitation to recommend people to stay at this Lodge to get the chance to see the birds and animals in rural Borneo up close. Because it is supposed to be environmentally friendly, just don't expect the setting similar to some other luxury resorts or lodges in other places.

Room Tip: All rooms are similar and those closer to the reception area may be slightly quieter because the mon...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

Plus points:
The journey by boat up the estuary is more interesting than the road option and takes about the same time
Friendly welcome
Agree with the ethos of the lodge - sustainable accommodation benefitting locals
Rooms were clean and shower was powerful and warm
Better standard than other lodges along the river appeared to be
Free wi-if in lounge area
Nicely situated with trees behind and board walk where we spotted monkeys

Negatives
Bathroom smelled of urine and drainage system appears to be insufficient
Vegetarian food limited to vegetables served as side for meat eaters and rice
Room was quite dark and smelt musty but couldn't be aired due to mosquitoes - suggest more fly screens
You feel like you're on a miniature train zoo tour on the river with a multitude of other boats bundling into you if you spot any wildlife. Didn't feel like you were in the middle of rainforest with 20 camera flashes going off in five boats and I'd like to see a unbiased study that demonstrated wildlife behaviour is not affected by this 'Disney-like wally trolley' that I'm guilty of joining!
There were quite a few conflicting statements from the guides and staff. We didn't use locally built wooden boats as advertised, drivers went at speeds where the wake of the boat impacted bank erosion, lights were left on in vacant areas & we were not shown any evidence of the 'good work' that was being done in the area such as tree planting. Rather worryingly, the rainforest appeared to be a thin buffer strip along the riverside in many areas with lifeless palm plantations behind.
The rather regimented and short lived activity timings made it feel less like 'our' holiday and we were placed at the same couples table for each meal and for the boat journeys. Probably as annoying for them as it was for us! Give us some freedom!
We really wanted to see wild orangutans and advised that we were active when booking so it was very disappointing that we were not offered the orangutan trek and spotted it too late in the lodges booklet to request
The other 'trek' mentioned for our itinerary was a 10-minute walk on an elevated boardwalk! More of a stroll than a trek. We would have appreciated a more customised stay to suit our interests rather than being easy and following the masses along the river every day

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2013

I have always heard about good things for Sukau, and I finally had a chance to experience it personally. Being a seasick person, I always concerned about taking any boat rides. However, when I asked the tour guide about how rough the boat ride could be, he assured me that it would not be rough at all. True enough, I had a short pleasant ride from the jetty to the hotel. We were welcomed by a group of friendly staff, and served with refreshing drinks upon arrival. Then, the staff briefed us on the hotel facilities. The rooms were neat and clean. Even though there was no air conditioning, the room was cooling with fan only. The house keeping came everyday, and the food was delicious. The chef also came out and talked to the guests. We had both day cruise and night cruise, and were amazed by the varieties of wild animals. The boatman was very sharp to spot the animals among the bushes and trees. It was an excellent experience overall.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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maarheeze
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2013

We stayed at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge for 4 nights in october. We were surprised by this place. The rooms are great and newly renovated, with a very good shower.There is no ac in the room, but that is definitly not a problem. We used the fan every night and it is really enough. The food is great, it is served as a buffet. The guides are very good in spotting wildlife. The staff is very helpfull. We liked our stay very much and would surely come back.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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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