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“Perfect riverside experience in the jungle!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge

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Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge
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Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Sydney
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Perfect riverside experience in the jungle!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2012

Spent 2 nights here as part of the S.I. Tour of the Kinabatangan River. The tour company itself was amazing - our guide Hiro was very informative (they all were) and we saw tons of wildlife - the highlight being a herd of 30 elephants on the river bank - the closest being 2 metros from the boat!

The lodge itself is perfectly integrated into the surroundings and although the rooms are basic, they are very clean with no insects (maybe due to the creepy spray sound I heard every 45 seconds...) but regardless, it was the experience of a lifetime. The food was delicious and there were all kinds of books to read about the area in the library. I also suggest you go to the caves nearby (covered in bat poo, scorpions, cockroaches and poisonous millipedes but absolutely amazing none the less (especially when the death-defying swift nest robbers are taking the nests to sell to the chinese for soup)!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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169 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2011

We stayed for two nights in August. The accommodation is fairly basic but clean. The staff are very friendly and welcoming and everyone gets into the spirit of things during dinner by wearing a sarong. The lodge is well placed to do early morning and evening cruises up and down the Kinatabangan River to see proboscis monkeys and macaques and the Gomatong Caves are only a short distance by road. If you're really lucky (as we were) you might see wild orang-utans The food was fairly basic malaysian food but the place had a very friendly atmosphere about it and we had no complaints.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2011

Me and my boyfriend spent a couple of nights here as part of a tour and we really loved it. The setting was perfect and the whole experience here turned out to be the highlight of our trip! As soon as you arrive from the boat you are greeted by friendly staff with a welcome drink. The resort itself feels almost like it grows out of the river and the jungle, so atmospheric. The staff were all very friendly and attentive. The rooms themselves are simple but comfortable. We had twin beds and the mattresses were really comfy, I slept really well. The bathroom was quite basic but absolutely fine. The food was nice, even though there were some strange dishes included in the buffet! We had freshly caught fish with sweet and sour sauce on one evening which was delicious. You can make yourself tea and coffee at any time, and there is also a bar with reasonably priced beer (it isn't the cheapest, but we found most resorts charged a lot more than here!). There is a library where you can watch topical DVD's. This is the only room in the resort that has A/C. You don't really need A/C in your room as the temperature naturally drops in the evening; the ceiling fans were more than enough for us.

Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2011

Me and my partner spent two nights here as part of a tour. As soon as you arrive from the boat you are greeted by friendly staff with a welcome drink. The resort itself feels almost like it grows out of the river and the jungle, so atmospheric. The staff were all very friendly and attentive. The rooms themselves are simple but comfortable. We had twin beds and the mattresses were really comfy, I slept really well. The bathroom was quite basic but absolutely fine. The food was nice, even though there were some strange dishes included in the buffet! We had freshly caught fish with sweet and sour sauce on one evening which was delicious. You can make yourself tea and coffee at any time, and there is also a bar with reasonably priced beer (it isn't the cheapest, but we found most resorts charged a lot more than here!). There is a library where you can watch topical DVD's. This is the only room in the resort that has A/C. You don't really need A/C in your room as the temperature naturally drops in the evening; the ceiling fans were more than enough for us.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2011

We stayed here for two nights as part of Thomas Cook Tour's Venture into Borneo Holiday and after if we'd known what this place was like I'd have booked with a different company and avoided it completely.
I must first say that the wildlife viewing on the river from the lodge and the Gomantong Caves were amazing, the guide from the lodge was brilliant too. Saw many different kinds of birds and monkeys and had some amazing fun ( even during a torrential downpour in an open top boat, it is the rainforest after all ).
But the lodge itself let the entire experience down. It was grubby, dark ( not even enough light in the rooms to have a read before bedtime ) and downright just DIRTY ! There is no air-conditioning here but that can be forgiven. Having said that the ceiling fan provided no relief what-so-ever which made the heat unbearable and sleep impossible.
The bedding was filthy and torn and one of the pillows smelled so bad that I took the pillowcase of to look and found it was full of black mould ( picture attached ). If there was any way of getting to another hotel I would have left and paid whatever it cost to do so. I would have even prefered to have slept on the coach that in one of the rooms. When we asked for the bedding to be changed the attitude of the staff was dreadful and was the only time we saw any surliness at all whilst on Borneo.
The food here was appalling with very little choice and the mainstay for breakfast, lunch and dinner being chips !
It's such a pity that the whole Kinabatangan River experience was let down by this lodge.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
91 hotel reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2011

I would not stay here again - there are so many other lodges in the area that frequently we had 5 boats sitting in front of the same tree looking at the same monkey. It really didn't feel remote - more like a tourist spot on the river. If you want something a bit more remote, I would stay at Abai. Lodge was just ok - very rustic. We did not see any orangutans, mostly just monkeys. I felt we paid way too much money for the experience. Save your money and go elsewhere in Sabah.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
UK
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2011

My husband and I visited Borneo as part of our honeymoon in May 2011. Our trip on the Kinabatangen was organised by SI tours and our excellent guide was Leo. Our stay comprised of three nights at the Kinabatangen river lodge and one night at Abai. During our stay we went on many river trips and saw some amazing wildlife (Proboscis monkeys are now my favourite animals!). The guides and boatmen are unbelievable when it comes to spotting the wildlfe...even in the dark! My highlight of the trip was seeing a herd of ~15 pygmy elephants crossing the river, with just their trunks poking out the water.

The lodges themselves are very peaceful and relaxing places to be. On our arrival, our bed had been decorated with flowers (for our honeymoon) and our table for dinner was also decorated - it was a nice touch. When you are not on river trips, it is lovely to just wander about the lodge boardwalks and relax by the river. The lodge bedrooms are very basic and as other reviews have mentioned, only have a ceiling fan. However, from someone who really struggles to sleep in the heat or cold, I found it OK. The rooms are kept clean and the staff could not do more to help. We had to wear sarongs for dinner and, a although a little apprehensive at first, it really gave a good atmosphere at mealtimes. The food was good too,and there was plenty of it as it was served buffet style most nights. I am not a fan of prawns, but my husband nearly ended up looking like a freshwater prawn he had so many - and I have it on good authority that they were great!

I am really glad we chose to visit Borneo and to stay at the Kinabatangen and Abai river lodges. An amazing experience I will never forget.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge

Address: Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Kinabatangan District
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Kinabatangan District
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 22
Also Known As:
Kinabatangan Riverside Hotel Sabah
Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Kinabatangan District, Sabah, Malaysia

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