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“Peace + tranquility on the kinabatangan river”

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Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 14, 2012

Stayed 2 nights at the sukau, everything there was great, did 3 daylight cruises + and 2 opotional + cheap night cruises.Picked up from our hotel and brought to sepilok orang utan rehab centre by Fernando our friendly + very informative guide. Watched an interesting film about the orangs then off to the viewing platform what a great experience 2 young adults a mother + baby + a pig tailed macque turned up it was great to watch them feeding + see the hierarchy. We then set off for the lodge by fast launch a 2,1/2hr trip, we saw long tailed macques + proboscis monkeys on the way. The lodge is very nicely laid out with the restaurant built out over the river, the rooms are not plush but very clean cosy food is excellent (so good i couldnt resist eating too much) the staff are so friendly and gentle our guide Fernando was top class. We saw proboscis monkeys + long tailed macques, red leaf + silver leaf monkeys an orang utan, 2 monitor lizards and a large array of birds, eagles, hornbills + many more, unfortunately the pigmy elephants were too far up river. Part of our trip was to agnes keiths house (never heard of her) +the ozzie war memorial, we asked fernando if we could get a taxi to sepliok after the tours end and he offered to bring us there instead of the rest of the tour so went went back for no extra charge and it was even better than the1st time top man Fernando.
Unfortunately palm oil is destroying the rainforest which you can see in places but if more tourists go to see the wild life there will be more incentive for the locals to preserve the forest if you can my advice is go soon

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank premierman801
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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539 - 545 of 718 reviews

Reviewed October 10, 2012

Took the 3D/2N safari package. Saw the resort pix online and was impressed by the rooms and facilities. Didn't think much about it cos pictures can be deceiving. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the resort.

2 1/2 hours by boat along the Kinabatangan River, past villages, palms and mangroves, the occasional crocodile and even a herd of pygmy elephants!

The rooms were really nice – kinda like a boutique hotel's. Fab hot shower, some amenities, etc. But if you're one who only survives on airconditioning, dream on. The rooms are aired by a 3-speed ceiling fan. So can be a tad bit stuffy but once you sit still, it's fine. can be chilly in the morning too! One gripe: the paper-thin walls. Can't really speak in normal tones cos we could hear our neighbors' conversations. So we kept our chatter down to whispers. (Kinda nice for a change! LOL!)

The staff were awesome. All are employed from the nearby villages. They're very sweet and accommodating. Always ready to go the extra mile for you. (Check out the foot scrub spa! Same girls who do housekeeping are also trained to ease those tired feet!)

The food was fab! Wasn't expecting much from a 20-room resort. But their simple buffets put the lavish 5-star outfits to shame! You just wanna taste everything! (No, they don't do room service or have a la carte menus.)

The tours were amazing! Our guide was a local Bajau tribesman named Fernando. Pretty funny guy who also knew his stuff – amazing how one can remember those Latin names!

Wildlife is also abundant on the resort itself. Flocks of hornbills, egrets, macaques and even a pair of orang utans who forage in the trees at selected times. Even heard a solitary elephant trashing through the jungle only metres from the boardwalk!

Although this is considered the "most expensive" resort – others are more basic – it was worth every penny and some!

Yes, I am so going back!

Room Tip: All 20 rooms have the same layout. And even the farthest room is a mere 100 metre walk to the recept...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank ninamn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2012

We chose Sukau Rainforest lodge because of the good reviews and we were not disappointed. The trip to the lodge is a 2 hour boat ride and because we saw a herd of pygmee elephants and we watched them for ages, it took about 2 1/2 hours. The boat ride is quite pleasant. After we arrived we only had about 20 minutes before we were going on a small boat to see if we could spot any wildlife. The guide and the ranger are so good in spotting animals and birds. The boat will stop and you have plenty of time to look and take photos. The night boat ride is extra (RM60) but well worth it. We saw a 4 metre long crocodile and birds, but the atmosphere in the dark night was great. The next day we went out early in the morning and later in the afternoon again and we saw so many monkeys and birds. The lodge is a nice set up. The rooms are quite comfortable. At the back of the lodge is a boardwalk and we watched 3 urang utans for ages and a few hornbills. The food is allright. All the staff were very helpful and friendly. The only negative we found was the attitude of the Australian guy who seemed to be the manager. He can learn a lot from the staff regarding hospitality towards the guests!!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Qcruiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2012

I spent a lot of time researching the lodges and trips at Kinabatangan River. I read so many reviews of lodges that were basic and uncomfortable but were much cheaper than the Borneo Ecotours trip. However, following the recommendation of a friend, I opted for 3D2N trip booked through Borneo Ecotours at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge and i'm so glad I did.

The lodge was very comfortable, the rooms perfectly designed for the setting, the food was great and the service was excellent. Our tour guide, Jumandi, was excellent and really cared that we had a great time and saw as many animals as possible - orangutan, crocs, monkeys, birds and snakes.

I would highly recommend this trip and this lodge. It was well worth the extra money. Our time was well organised yet relaxing.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Tango008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2012

We selected an itinerary with Borneo Eco Tours at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge for two main reasons - we'd heard the wildlife viewing was better than even Danum Valley, and we loved the eco-tourism concept of this lodge.

Be prepared, there is no A/C, which makes for toasty nights with the heat and humidity. That said, given their use of solar, recycled rain water for showers, very well appointed rooms, and delicious meals, particularly given the remote location, this was a great place to be.

Wildlife included crocodiles, birds, gibbons (a rare sighting for which we felt lucky), several types of monkeys, including a showdown between two proboscis monkey tribes, and a brief orangutan sighting, among many others. Take the night tour if you can, we saw a wide variety of creatures and critters, from snakes and frogs to owls and flying lemurs.

There was also a day tour of Sandakan the day we left, which included the Alice Keith house, the WWII Australian Memorial, and afternoon tea.

If you go expecting wilderness and a river safari, and just enjoy what you see with no requirements of what you must see (we missed pygmy elephants by an hour or so, given their footprints), you'll have a great time.

I rated this 4 stars due to the guides' seeming universal willingness to get much closer to the wildlife than seems appropriate - having safaried around the world, there were a couple instances where we were uncomfortable with the distance from unpredicable wild animals.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Boskk69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2012

We normally stay at five star hotels and to be honest they're all a bit the same. You could be anywhere in the world. Sukau Rainforest Lodge on the Lower Kinabatangan river made me remember how nice it is to be a bit more adventurous. This is adventure with a luxurious edge. The rooms were lovely with comfortable beds, ceiling fans to keep cool and stylish bathrooms. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (all very appetising) are included in the cost and you eat on the jetty overlooking the river. For me one of the best things was the wooden walkway through the jungle at the back of the hotel so you could potter off and do your own bit of private wildlife viewing.

Our wildlife spotting started on the boat journey down from Sandakan, with an introduction to proboscis monkeys (of which we saw many more but they were very entertaining) and we were lucky to spot a herd of pygmy elephants right by the river, so the boat stopped to allow us to have a good look at them. The hotel manager knocks on the bedroom door at 5.30 so you can get out early to spot the animals and birds waking up, and then you go out again in the late afternoon to catch them getting ready for bed. We saw lots of different sorts of monkeys, many types of birds and also some wild orang utans, which was so much better than seeing them in Sepilok (which felt like a glorified zoo). We had three nights at the lodge, so on our last day we arranged to go to the Gomantong caves. This was hugely expensive - the driver who took us couldn't believe how much we paid for the trip but I have to say it was worth it. The caves themselves were disgusting - think bat guano and cockroaches (the lodge handily provides wellies)- but we walked through the forest afterwards and saw some chameleons, a flying squirrel and two orang utans, and then in the late afternoon we saw the bat exodus from the caves, which is as biblical as it sounds. If you saw Lost and remember the black smoke, this was what the bats were like - an endless grey ribbon twisting and twirling throught the sky as three million little flying things came hurtling out in search of dinner. But they don't always come out so I think we were lucky.

Our guide, Fernando, was great, able to spot things that we totally missed and being very knowledgeable about all the wildlife. The lodge is run by Borneo Eco Tours who arranged all the excursions on our holiday and were unfailingly brilliant.

I can't see how you can be anything other than enchanted by this magical place (but take insect repellent and a pair of binoculars each!)

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank rosiefromlondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

We booked the trip by Borneo Eco Tours, the owner of the lodge, for two nights.

Things I did not like:
-The trip was not carried out like the tour description noted.
-only a short trip on the Kelenanap ox-bow lake (because of low water level)
-no jungle track
-no Menanggul river
-No air conditioner and a lousy fan in the room (too hot to sleep)
-They advertise with boats with electric motors. The boats do have them but on our four trips they only used it ones for a short time (when many other noisy boats were around).
-At day time at the lodge a lot of noise of a mowing-machine and timber work. It did spoiled the atmosphere.
-obliged life jacket; to hot (several other boats did not use them)
-the most common seen mammal we saw was “tourists in boats”.

Things I did like:
-night boat tour; optional 60RM (15euro), recommended!
-Borneo pygmy elephants
-several proboscis monkey and other animals (no Orang Utans)
-view from the diner place at the river (no other building in sight)
-reasonable prices for drinks
-walk on the boardwalk
-peace at night time

The two hour boat tour from Sandakan to the lodge and back does not stop or slow down to view animals. It is full speed except by buildings when the boat goes very slow.
All meals where reasonable good.

This tour should have been the main highlight (and most expensive) of our holiday but it was not, it wasn’t bad either. There were too many tourist on the river to give this trip a real jungle feeling. But it was still a very nice place to be and it is always good to view animals in their own habitat.

Gps lodge: 5.498169 / 118.28096

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Jan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SRL_ADMIN, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded September 5, 2012

Dear Jan T,
Sorry to hear about your less than satisfactory trip. Our deepest apologies. I will follow up on your complaint regarding the modified itinerary as our guides are given strict instructions not to modify any itinerary without proper reason and without communicating to you, our guest, the reasons behind such a change. If there were no reasonable reasons, we will compensate you accordingly for this. Glad that you got to see pygmy elephants as only lucky guests are witness to such a spectacle. In regards to the life jacket, unfortunately tourists have drowned before (other tour companies) and as such we wanted to take strict safety precautions. As you'll know, the river can be very murky and drowning is a constant hazard. Just 2 weeks ago a village person drowned when he fell into the water while being drunk. Our experience is that once the boats are moving, the breeze should keep you nice and cool but obviously this may not always be the case. Take care and we do sincerely apologize for your unpleasant experience. We will strive to keep improving ourselves.

Kind Regards,
Timothy Teo
Owner and Director

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 or overland, 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 10 Specialty Lodging in Kinabatangan District
Hotel Class:3 star — Sukau Rainforest Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A founding member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, 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. We've just opened 20 of our brand new Villas in addition to our 20 Superior rooms. What better way to enjoy the Borneo rainforest and its wildlifes than in wonderful Borneo themed comforts. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sukau Rainforest Hotel Sabah
Sukau Rainforest Lodge Kinabatangan District, Sabah, Malaysia

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