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“Wonderful experience for wildlife viewing & relaxation” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sukau Rainforest Lodge

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Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience for wildlife viewing & relaxation”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 30, 2011

Had a great time here with my 11 year old daughter (I was actually surprised there were no other young people here) in high class accommodation. It looks like the reviews have been variable regarding the rooms, but I imagine this is due to their being refurbished in the past couple of years. It's not a resort as such in that there's no pool or mini-bar style facilities, but the rooms were very well appointed indeed, and common areas were comfortable and airy.

The trip there by boat took about 2 hours (including some monkey spotting along the way) in a very comfortable roofed boat (with luggage all loaded aboard for you). River trips (approx 2 hours at a time) for wildlife spotting were in uncovered boats, but in September this was not too uncomfortable as the boatmen tended to seek out shady routes. Take hat, sunscreen, bottled water, decent binoculars, camera, insect repellant, in a small day pack. We also went on a couple of walks of an hour each. You can buy leech socks (quite a lot of leeches around, similar to our rainforests in Australia) which the guides also wear. Not sure how much the ones at the lodge cost but we paid about $AU6 per pair courtesy of our guide buying them for us in Sandakan before embarkation. The lodge supplies gum boots which everyone wore for the walks - very muddy! I wouldn't bother taking hiking boots as the gum boots were just fine (all sizes including kids) & the mud would have wrecked the hiking boots or at least been a pain to clean. We spotted pretty much everything they promote there, though the orang utans are very elusive and were only seen rarely at quite a distance. Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre made up for this, though. One strike against the place was not so much my experience but that of another couple of guests, They went impromptu frog hunting with a couple of staff at night and were lost in the jungle in a thunder storm, thigh deep in mud for 4 hours till 1am! Not sure how this was resolved & doubt that it's usual, but I'm glad I didn't link up for this one!

Food was very good at all meals, with enough variety for all tastes including kids. Drinks were available for purchase, though wine by the bottle only.

If you're after a wildlife experience in Sabah, this place is the place to go to. Don't leave it more than a few years, though, as it is diminishing at an alarming rate.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Brislin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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606 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (115)
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Sweden
Level Contributor
21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 12, 2011

A slightly worn down resort (althoug rooms were excellent and looked newly renovated). Lounge area and dining area could use some upgrading!
We had an excellent guide (Fernando) that took us on boat trips and he was an excellent animal spotter! We saw lots of birds, crocs, monkeys, snakes and orangutans nesting, sleeping, swinging in the trees! We observed a huge herd of elephants next to the river for hours - truly amazing!
Although the spotting became slightly "touristy"... when one guide finds an animal you immediately get all the boats from other resorts as well... but I guess we got tips from them as well!
Food ok - nothing to write home about!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank FamilyofsixSweden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
69 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 8, 2011

An hour and a half up the river we didnt expect to find such a high quality accomodation facility. Staff are friendly and very helpful and added to the enjoyment of the surrounding habitat. Dining on the deck suspended over the fast flowing river as the sun went down was a hilight. Food quality excellent! Rooms are spacious and beds comfortable with plenty of hot water for a shower. A well presented duckwalk through the bush at the rear of the property with very good explanatory signage all added to the enjoyment. Come and see the orangutangs, monkeys, snakes and enjoy the comfort of a well run lodge

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Raze88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 7, 2011

The room was stunning - the bathroom was probably the best we had in Malaysia. Large and yet cosy. Atmospheric lighting in the room meant you could relax and yet still read a book in bed.

The restaurant was in a great location on the river, and you felt really special walking down the long boardwalk to dinner. The boardwalk out the back was a great addition and quite unique as far as I know. There are places to sit out and when we did we saw monkeys climbing through the branches, and birds flying through the trees. Plenty of other places to relax too.

Food was good, although they did need some nudges to remember to put out vegetarian food - it's worth reminding them before you eat each day so that you get some tasty food. The banana fritters for afternoon tea were FANTASTIC - especially dipped in condensed milk. There are actually 5 meals a day so don't expect to lose any weight.

There was a nice balance between guided trips and chances to relax. Providing us with sarongs was a nice touch and I felt glamourous coming down to dinner in mine. Not often you can feel glamourous in the jungle.

There were a couple of downsides to our stay (which is why I only scored this a 4) - we had a whole lot of ants (like hundreds and hundreds!) in our room and when we told them about it, they said that they would come and sort it out. But their "sorting it out" was giving us a can on ant spray, leaving us with a whole load of dead ants in the room, which were only removed the next day when the room was cleaned. And we did the night safari and didn't really enjoy it very much. But they were two blips on an otherwise very enjoyable trip.

The staff were really friendly and very helpful and the guides were great. I liked that they use electric motors for parts of the journey which are much quieter and greener than normal ones - the boats are a lot smaller than the boats used by many of the other lodges, meaning we could always get quite close to the animals without causing them distress.

I would highly recommend this lodge, and I think combining it with a tour to Danum Valley would be even better because the journey back to Sandakan and the day in Sandakan is not worth the money you pay for that day. Also you apparently see more large wildlife there.

Room Tip: If you want a double room, ask for it in advance as they assume you want a twin
See more room tips
Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Trurzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2011

Ours thanks to Donnie and his team. We stayed 2 nights in the lodge my husband and I and 2 boys aged 12 and 9 and had an amazing time. The rooms are comfortable and spotlessly clean. The guides where informative and friendly nothing seemed too much trouble, even my request for an extra early morning boat on our departure day. It was hard saying goodbye as you quickly felt part of an extended family. We travelled to various lodges over our trip and they all had buffet style meals, here was by far the best. The gong was sounded so everyone sat down together, the chef standing proudly in his white uniform whilst we helped ourselves to homemade soups and a variety of tastey dishes, This added to that family feeling.

We will be back

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Fiona381
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2011

We visted here as part of a tour group organised by the fabulous Adventure Company. We were unsure what to expect due to the remote setting but from the minute we arrived, we were blown away!

On arrival, we were greeted by smiling, welcoming faces, umbrellas to shelter us from the rain, juice drink and cold flannels - perfect after a 2 1/2 hour speed boat journey. We were welcomed to the lodge and told about the itinerary for our stay. Our rooms were amazing, definietly the best place we stayed during our 2 weeks travelling around Borneo. The room was modern but in keeping with the eco rainforest style. The bathroom was gorgeous and the rainforest view from the window - spectacular. Secure mosquito nets and a very effective fan aided an enjoyable stay!
The food was buffet style and very good. The jetty restaurant was very special and memorable - lovely to be with all the guests.
So, the main reason for staying here is to explore the Kinabatangan river, we went on boat trips at dawn, sunset and night - each one was incredible and we saw something different. Both Atisho our boat leader and Osman our guide were fantastic. All the staff at the lodge always went the extra mile to help make our stay memorable.
We were really sad to leave the lodge and would say this place is not to be missed when visiting Borneo. We will never forget our stay there!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rickster1506
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norfolk
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2011

My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our 3 night stay. The renovated rooms were very comfortable, the food satisfying and the staff very helpful and welcoming. Our river cruises, led by Wan, were a delight with sightings of proboscis monkeys orangutans and elephants. The later were even around the lodge trying to destroy the water pipes until scared off by Donnie!
We would definitely recommend this lodge.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank RosannaNorfolk
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

Property: Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Address: Sukau, Lower Kinabatangan River | 2 1/2 hours from Sandakan by boat, Malaysia
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 9 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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