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“Take the good with the bad”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Sukau River Lodge

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Sukau River Lodge
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Take the good with the bad”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 13, 2013

I read most of the (not so good) reviews before i came here, so i knew what to expect. I wasnt as disapointed as i could have been but the service from the man who owns and runs the lodge and the trip along the river more than made up for the accommodaiton.
We stayed here for 1 night and i think i could have done a few nights but no more. The meals were all really nice and home cooked and the man was quite friendly.
We came here as part of a Gomantong-Sukau-Kinaba-Sep Tour with Wildlife Expeditions.
We went on a river cruise in a hand made boat by the man who lives next door (much better way to see the river). We were amazed by the amount of monkeys we saw and our guide was soooo good at spotting them!!!!!
This made up for the accommodation, which wasnt that bad afterall.

Room Tip: There are only cabins but dont be put off by the appearance of them (they arent very well maintained...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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Thank Tania C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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18 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Windsor, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2013

Very much like the most recent reviewer, we had read many of the other reviews and so were under no illusions regarding what to expect from this lodge. We were on a 3D 2N tour with wildlife expeditions and this was our second night, our first on turtle island.

The lodge can only be reached by boat from the main jetty. The accommodation was in small huts on stilts and was VERY basic. As alluded to by previous reviewers, the wooden walkway to the huts was perilous particularly as it was raining heavily. My husband fell through one of the rotten floorboards, but I'd like to stress that he has a normal BMI....! He also managed to slip on the intact floorboards en route to the restaurant, but was thankfully unhurt (apart from his pride) on both occasions.

Back to the rooms- these were clean as was the en suite shower room and toilet. Bottles of water (small), small soaps, hand wash, shampoo and towels were all provided. Cold water only came out of the taps and shower and the water was stored rainwater, so was a little grubby.. But at least we could have a rudimentary shower to wash off the grime of the day. The rooms are all air conditioned and there is a fan, but small cracks between the floorboards probably renders the air con less efficient and unfortunately allows the Mosquitos in.

The food was served in the restaurant/ veranda area, was local, spicy and delicious. Beer, soft drinks and bottled water were readily available and were charged for on departure. The river views from the veranda were simply wonderful- we spent the afternoon here prior to our boat trip and the evening before dinner with a few beers. The staff were all locals and were delightful and could not do more for us. Our guide Juan was hilarious and knowledgeable about the area, flora and fauna.

The late afternoon boat trip was fantastic, despite the torrential rain. As Juan rightly said, the monkeys didn't come out until around 5pm, but once they did, it was a sight to behold. We were fortunate to see the proboscis monkeys who were lovely, as well as the rather more sinister long and pigtailed macacs. There were a huge variety of birds and if you were lucky (we were not) crocs and orangutan.... The trip lasts around two hours.

Our nighttime insect walk was rained off, but frankly this was no great disaster- given the sheer number we'd seen on our earlier trip to the bat caves.... The cockroaches underfoot gave me nightmares for days - particularly when we saw some Japanese tourists going in with open toed sandals. But I digress, we've heard good reviews of said night time trek.

Ultimately, this was an excellent experience and as long as you are prepared to rough it a little, then you won't go far wrong.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank rdr30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
71 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 12, 2013

We stayed at the Sukau River Lodge as part of an excellent Wildlife Expeditions 3 night 4 day tour which I have reviewed on this site.

We had read several Trip Advisor reviews about the condition of the lodge, so we were under no illusions of what to expect. Apart from some newer (?) cottages, the lodge is showing it's age. There doesn't appear to be much maintenance carried out, but I guess there must be some basic maintenance as the buildings haven't become unliveable. The staff area is separated from the guests by an ugly corrugated iron fence. It's an eye-sore, but you aren't there for the beauty of the lodge views!

Owned by Wildlife Expeditions and helping to support the local population, the Sukau River Lodge offers very basic accommodation on the edge of the Sukau rainforest reserve. It was built around 1990 and hosted Sir David Attenborough shortly there after. Accessible only by boat, it is a pleasant get away in a fairly undisturbed environment where you can see Proboscis monkeys, Long-tailed and Pig-tailed Macaques and if you are lucky, as we were, wild Oran-Utans and even luckier still, elephants and Esturine crocs along with a wonderful bird watching experience.

Our cottage, one of maybe a dozen free standing cottages on stilts, was air-conditioned and also had a ceiling fan. The windows were well screened and could be fully opened to capture any breezes. The screening was a moot point, however, as there were many gaps in the floorboards for insects to gain access. The bathroom was basic with a western-style toilet, huge shower and a dilapidated vanity unit. We had no hot water, but in the heat and humidity, we barely noticed. Our twin beds were clean and comfortable but we took light weight sleeping sheets and chose to use them, "just in case!" We took our own mossie coils and repellant and had no trouble with insects.

The board walk connecting the cottages to the main concrete paved walk way is terrible. Be warned!! When wet and it rained several times in the two days we were there, the board walks are extremely slippery and very dangerous. There are broken boards and holes to trip you as well. The local nature trail has plastic waste scattered along it's length. It's not a tip, but it's not good enough when a half day and a couple of staff could clean it up.

The restaurant is located a couple of hundred meters from the main group of cottages. The tables are on a large terrace over-looking the Kinabatangan River. It's a pleasant environment. All meals were presented as a buffet with rice, vegetables and a couple of meat/chicken dishes. In addition, there was soup served with lunch and dinner. Enak - delicious! Beer and limited soft drinks and water at extra cost, were available at all times throughout the day and evening.

As I mentioned, we were in no illusions over what to expect. It really wasn't as bad as we were expecting, but more like 5-star camping than a resort/lodge.

As part of the tour, we were very happy with our time here but if you were going it alone, you could probably do better.

Room Tip: Make sure you get you cottage in phase 3 of the lodge. The others seemed very run down.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DiveMedic1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 12, 2013

We just returned from a one night stay at this lodge, as part of a two day tour through Eastern Sabah with Wildlife Expeditions (the same company that own this property). I agree with many of the other reviews (yes, it is falling down in places and is very basic in it's amenities) but the owners are quite open about the level of accommodation offered and it is meant to be a 'living in the jungle' type experience. Our room had AC (which is fairly necessary in this climate), which worked well and a comfortable bed for the night. The shower facilities were very rustic, but if your stay is limited to one or two nights - you can make do. They probably could fix up some of the rotting boardwalks and uneven paths - as no matter how basic the accommodation - this was a safety hazard. The positives: The place is very picturesque and literally living in the jungle was an amazing experience. The staff are very friendly and make a great effort to present authentic local food for guests to dine on. Unfortunately, in rural Malaysia - that can mean tough leathery meat and lots of bones - but there is no denying it's an authentic experience! The river cruise and the night jungle walk are real highlights with dozens of proboscis monkeys and long tailed macaques spotted from our boat. Well worth it just for these experiences alone!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank simonfox11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Benitachell Spain
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 9, 2013

We have just returned from a visit to this lodge, one night. We could not fault the staff they were lovely charming folk. The accommodation, whilst clean is VERY basic. the water is collected rain water so tends to be brownish, the shower is cold and not much of a flow, one can request for hot although we didn't bother. The food is local cuisine definitely an enquired taste. I totally agree with previous comment regarding much needed repairs. But the lodge is owned by the local villagers so I guess it is up to Wildlife Expeditions to liaise with them - it would be such a shame to let the place fall into complete ruin. We, five guests only, were taken for the river cruise with our guide Juan, who was so knowledgeable so interesting. We saw the Proboscis monkey, Macaque long and short tail. So many wonderful birds and one of the best experiences, when the bats appeared diving in and out of us, hot on their tails was the bat hawk trying to catch his dinner, swooping low over our heads it was just brilliant. We really enjoyed our visit but don't feel we could recommend, which is a shame it could be so good.

Room Tip: Wooden huts so basic no air con.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jilliand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 1, 2013

I really don't know where to start to tell you about this lodge except to say that it is falling down and needs either to be demolished or totally refurbished before accepting guests. The walkways around the lodge are rotten in a lot of places, not level and very slippery when it is raining. You definately need a torch to get back to your room at night as the path lighting is nearly non existent. The rooms were very basic, clean enough but not immaculate. We had to keep moving to get wet under the shower and if you need hot water you have to tell them what time to turn it on and then it looks like it is straight out of the river (very Muddy) My friends and I were the only guests staying at the lodge and we couldn't fault the staff. This lodge is owned by Wildlife Expeditions who also supplied our transport, guide and cook, these people were fantastic it's just a shame to see the state of the Lodge itself. Because there was only the three of us we did not have a choice of meals but the cook went to a lot of trouble to include a lot of variety in the meals so that there was something for everyone, it was typical malaysian cuisine, fresh and tasty. Our tour guide, James, could not have been more helpful. HIs knowledge and sense of humour were a delight. Our boatman was a total gentleman and went out of his way to give us some excellent trips down the river. There are a lot of lodges along the river that are 100% better than this one so do your homework. The river has an abundance of wildlife and is definately worth a visit but I suggest you don't book this lodge.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank GayeHarvey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
71 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2012

A good choice if you are cruising through this area. The rooms are good and fitted two adults and two kids. (though without AC - if you have these needs). We saw elefants and orangutans on a river cruise from this lodge! Good service from the staff. A doctor is located in the nearby village...

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank Bos_DK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sukau River Lodge

Property: Sukau River Lodge
Address: Kinabatangan River, Sukau, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Kinabatangan District > Sukau
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Sukau
Also Known As:
Sukau River Lodge Kinabatangan District

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