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“Felt like I was back on School Camp” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Nature Lodge Kinabatangan

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Nature Lodge Kinabatangan
2.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Kampung Bilit, Sandakan, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Adelaide, Australia
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Felt like I was back on School Camp”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

We originally had booked for 3d2n, but after the first night we cancelled our second because we weren't enjoying it.

The gong was terrible, not sure of the purpose of this. I did think I was an adult and quite capable of using a watch to keep track of time, but apparently they do not think this and instead use a gong that sounds throughout the the place (and will easily wake you up at 6am if you choose not to go on the morning boat trip, thanks for that, appreciated after the terrible sleep).

The staff were the best part, they were very nice and lovely and helpful.

The place was in a lovely location, but it just didn't feel right. It felt like it should be a relaxing nature getaway but instead was like a militant school camp. And if you like to eat more than just 3 meals a day (snacks yes please I do get hungry) then your only option is the oreos and chips and chocolate which they sell at the front desk (fruit, please, anyone?!).

The river rides were nice but we didn't see much at all, just some monkeys. I really just came to see the elephants but unfortunately they couldn't tell us where they are :(

Overall our stay was average and this place is WAAAAY overpriced, sorry.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
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English first
Sungai Petani, Malaysia
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2013

Firstly, I would like to warn you that the 2-3 hour van ride to the river from Sandakan was horrible! However, if you don't mind that then you will have a good time on this trip. We took the day trip cruise as we were a little worried about the huts and their toilets. The cruise along the Kinabatangan River was enjoyable and relaxing. Managed to see some birds and monkeys but the most exciting thing about this trip was when we got back to the lodge, a herd pf 40-50 Borneo pygmy elephants were surrounding the lodge! The elephants were very close to us and the sight was breath taking! All in all, it really depends on your luck going on this trip and I am ever so grateful to be so lucky!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

I couldn't have asked for more from my 3 day, 2 night stay here. My group ended up with an amazing guide (he'd only been in the job 6 months and knew so much!) and because of him we spotted such a wide and varied amount of wildlife.
The accommodation was ok, I had a 4 bed dorm to myself and this was only a short walk to the toilet/shower block (not so great to walk between in the rain). The staff were friendly but the routine was a little regimental (they had a gong to tell you that it was time for the next activity/meal, but I think this was the only way they could make sure everyone got to see as much as possible.
Some of the animals I was lucky enough to see included proboscis monkeys, macaques, orangutans (one closer than our guide had seen in the wild - his excited face was almost as good as seeing the orangutan itself!), a western tarsier, hornbills, kingfishers, eagles, stalks, crocodiles and monitor lizards.
I would definitely go back!!

Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
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Seattle
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

We stayed here for 5D4N. Many people I talked to were unaware you could stay more than the 3D2N package offered online. I just emailed the sales department and arranged it. I wanted to stay for this long so we had the greatest chance of seeing all of the wildlife possible. In order here is what we saw on each night, highlight only.
Day 1- Pygmy Elephants(!), proboscis monkeys, rhinoceros hornbills, black hornbills, crested hornbills and storm's stork. On the night trek rufous backed kingbird.
Day 2 - Pygmy Elephant, proboscis monkey, long tailed macaque, crested hornbills, oriental pied hornbills, monitor lizard, Brahminy kite. On the night trek - Western Tarsier, buffy fish owl, rufous backed kingfisher.
Day 3 - Jerdon's Baza, Silvered langur, proboscis monkey, black, pied and crested hornbills. Night trek - insects.
Day 4 - Organutan, proboscis monkey, silvered langur, pig tailed macaque, long tailed macaque, bearded pig, stork billed kingfisher. Night treck - rufous backed kingfisher.
Day 5 - Crocodile, wrinkled hornbill, white-crowned hornbill, white bellied sea eagle, lesser fish eagle.

Other than these we saw an ton of birds, even just walking around their boardwalk, including two kinds of broadbills, spider hunters, tons of sunbirds, the asian fair blue bird, three different woodpeckers, dollar birds, swifts, swallows and more.

To be fair the guides told us they hadn't seen the pygmy elephants for three months, and then we saw them for two days and they passed us by, so they are by no means guaranteed. Both the oxbow lake hike and the night treks are sweaty and miserable for not much to show for it. After the first two oxbox hikes we passed on the hikes and stayed around the compound. We always went on the night hikes because of the 'what if' factor. Often on this hike some groups will see awesome stuff other groups will not.

The rooms were mediocre. We stayed in the superior agamid chalets, without the aircon. If we showered when we got back to the room and laid out under the fan we were just fine. In fact getting cold in the night (and needing to crawl under the covers). For a double room they just push two twin beds together and our beds were at different levels, separated by about 2" different altitude. This made it awkward sleeping together.

The food was fine, and despite other reviews, it was always re-filled in my experience. After 5 days I was able to predict what would be served, but that didn't bother me. Breakfast was toast, fried eggs, hot dogs (or sausages), and a wildcard (fried rice, noodles, or hashbrowns). For lunch and dinner they usually had rice, a meat dish, a fish dish, a veggie dish, a soup and fruit, never a dessert. Soft drinks and beers could be purchased at reception. Beer was 8 MYR and large waters were 3MYR which were both reasonable and the same price we found them other places.

In all, the wildlife and guides well made up for any shortfalls. I would highly recommend this place to anyone thinking of going to the Kinabatangun river.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bruxelles
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

We stayed at the Nature Lodge during the month of August 2013, as part of our trip to Borneo. We had booked the three days and two nights package.

The accomodation was very decent considering the price, and the fact that we are in the middle of the jungle. Don't expect luxury, but rooms are clean and sufficiently big, the shower works well and you can have hot showers. The staff were very helpful.

The real reason to choose this place is the superb programme of activities. If you get up early enough, you can do two boat rides a day, as well as jungle trecks and other activities. the early boat rides are very good if you want to see birds. We did manage to see a lot of them, including some rhinoceros hornbills (really close, which is quite rare). We were also able to see lots of monkeys (silver monkeys, proboscis monkeys, macaques, and one ghost monkey at night) and some big lezards. A wonderful heaven if you like animals and the jungle.

Room Tip: Go for the nicest chalets: they are worth the extra ringgits.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

The resort is ok. Staff is helpful but they tend to stay apart...not a lot of atmosphere and definitely no fun after 10pm. You can bring over beers if you want.
Cabin are very small, the dorm is way more comfortable. Food is average.

You are busy most of the day: morning cruise at 5.30am, jungle walk (for those who do 3D2N) from 10 to 13am, evening cruise at 4pm, dinner at 7pm, night walk at 9pm.
Do not expect an impressive jungle however, although we've got to see animals during the river cruises. It's ok for an arm's length contact with jungle nature for a quite cheap price.

Weather is an issue, because if it rains can't do the activities.

Room Tip: Dorms are better
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Preston, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

So happy with this tour, my dream was to see orangutans in the wild, at 21 i can tick this off the top of my list. Saw 6 orangutans including mother and baby, lots of pygmy elephants (apparently a herd of 80) even more lucky to see them swimming, lots of proboscis, macaques, sliver langur, 5 species of hornbills, civet, tarsier, banded linsang, kingfishes, other bird and bugs. Lodge was what i expected for the jungle, nice enough. Food was nice :) Our tour guides 'James' was great, spoke good English was very useful. Rivers lovely, only bad thing was passing all the palm oil plantations. Also went to Sepilok and Labuk Bay Sanctuaries on the trip.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Nature Lodge Kinabatangan

Address: Kampung Bilit, Sandakan, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan Division > Sandakan
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 30 Specialty lodging in Sandakan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Nature Lodge Kinabatangan 2*
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Also Known As:
Nature Lodge Kinabatangan Hotel Sandakan
Nature Lodge Kinabatangan Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

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