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“Our Sukau experience”

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Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Sarasota, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
72 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Our Sukau experience”
Reviewed April 9, 2014

We stayed 2 nights. The motorboat from Sandakan took about 2hrs or so-- saw one orang. in a tree along the way. I get motion sickness easily, but had no problem on the boat, the ride was smooth, even dozed off.

The rooms are not chalet style like other wilderness lodges I have stayed in, more corrider style, so they were on the dark side, as the only natural light is from the back window. The room/bath were modern and clean, and had a nice shower. (FYI, no hair dryer). There is no a/c, but with the windows open and fan on high, was able to cool down enough at night.

We had an afternoon cruise our first afternoon, the next day had an early morning and an afternoon cruise, and then we did the optional evening cruse after dinner. The day of the departure we were heading to the caves and Lahad Datu, so no activity that morning. Just cruising on the river was enjoyable, and we saw numerous proboscis monkeys, macaques, monitor lizards, glimples of crocodile, and interesting birdlife. I almost did not do the evening cruise since it was an optional cost of 60 RM ( and at other places, I have sometimes found night excursions underwhelming)-- but was glad we did it, as got to see some nice kingfishers for good photo ops.
All excursions were done with the same group/guide you are assigned to ( there were 8 in our boat).

Dining-- average, not bad, not exceptional, buffet style, with typically a soup starter, rice, potatoes, 2 vegetables, a veggie entree, and a couple of meat entrees, fruit. As another poster mentioned, flies are prevalent. I also did not like the forced assigned seating for every meal (had to always eat at the same table as your group)--- though it is nice to meet other travelers, sometimes you want the option of alone time or to not make small talk if tired . When we came back from our morning excursion, no one else was in the dining area for breakfast yet when we arrived (and all the tables were never full at meals), and we tried to eat at a smaller table, but were still directed to our "assigned" table--- being on holiday, I was not up to making a fuss about it.

Also I would suggest that unless you are a heavy napper, to bring ear plugs--- I don't know if what was just an exception during our short stay, but I found during the "down time", there was work going on around the lodge rooms that was quite noisy-- it would seem that unless an emergency, that maintenance chores could be performed while guests are out on the river.

On the plus side, the setting and facilities are lovely, staff polite, friendly, funny and courteous and I applaude their efforts to try to be eco-conscious.

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank anony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Timothy_Teo, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, April 20, 2014
Dear anony, Thank you for your feedback and comments. So glad you did opt for the night cruise. It is an optional activity as not everyone is so daring as to go out on the river in the dark but it almost always is a worthwhile and very enjoyable experience, definately one of the highlights. You are right about your comments on the table seatings and maintenance work during your downtime. Maintenance work should almost always be left till the times when guests are out on the river unless it is something urgent. We try and encourage our staff to ask what would the customer prefer but sometimes they don't, probably more to do with their shyness rather than anything else. Our apologies there.Thank you for your appreciation of our staffs and how we run the place. It's not easy but hey it really is worth it!
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2014

We stayed at this lodge as part of our Borneo expereicne managed by Rustuc Borneo. It is a 5 star but if you are looking for luxury this is not the place to stay. it was amazing for the wildlife and the river cruises and it was well organised and efficient. The food was basically asian with a twist of western which was plentiful, fresh and well done, only draw back is you eat outside under the desk and many times the flies really made some meals unpleasant and hecne hurried. i would suggest some oart could have bug screens, so that you could eat without the flies landing on everything you ate. it is however a beautiful porch with lovely views over the river. The staff were friendly and mostly efficient. The rooms were stylish and beds comfortable but you could not get away from the smell of urine which pervaded the room and the en suite due to the eco status of the lodge, but i did wonder if they could investigate some better cleaning products, the occasional roach ran by too! But this is to be expected within the jungle. I did feel it might be improved by putting in a swimming pool which some eco lodges do have. There is not much to do from the time the early river cruise comes back (5.30- 8am) until the next one goes out about 4pm, so bring reading materials or an i pad, there is internet occasionally. There are additional visits you can book, but beware if you decide to do the Bat cave. We booked this somewhat innocently to discover it was possibly the worst thing I have ever tried to done. the smell from the cave hits you before you get near it, wear wellies as the roaches run everywhere and the bat pooh is knee deep. It is in a very primitive part of town, no facilities and the cost to go was high (about $40 per person- not worth it at all) . The drawbacks were not communicated at all on the flyer in the lodge. it is for keen bat lovers only and even then its tough. However not the end of a sour note, the trip was amazing and we saw some wonderful widllife. The guides are not experts at discussing this so read up, but they were excellent at finding the wildlife and nothing felt rushed regarding taking photos either, bottom line i would recommend this place, but bring all you need and the sarongs provided for evening wear was a lovely touch.

Room Tip: No air conditioning so bring cotten light cothes and plenty of deet. all rooms were the same
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lizanner2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2014

This lovely riverside lodge gives you the best opportunity to see lots of birds and mammals. We spent the days in the comfortable motor boats which, when the boat men turn off onto a small tributaries, switch to very quiet electric motors. This enables you to slide along the river bank and see amazing views of Orangutans, large families of Proboscis monkeys, Crab-eating Macques, spectacular birds, and even a large Reticulated Python!
The lodge itself is beautifully designed with very lovely rooms with large pebble-floored showers where you can refresh yourself several time a day!
The food served on the wooden deck overlooking the river is delicious and varied and catches a cooling breeze. There is even a nice shop where you can purchase some locally made bead work jewelry. A lovely, exotic,comfortable, nature-filled lodge!

Room Tip: We had room 2 which had some wifi service
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank JaneCat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed April 3, 2014

Comfort in an interesting part of the world.
Staff were efficient and friendly and food very good.
We were able to see many different animals and birds including an orang utan with baby on a tree overlooking the lodge. Various activities are on offer including night cruises where we saw an amazing number of birds up close.
Our guide Rahman was delightful and really put in an effort for us to see all on offer.
Highly recommend a visit.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Imagesalongtheroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2014

Upon arriving at Sukau Rainforest Lodge you are handed a printed silk sarong and told, "No sarong, no meal!" Of course they won't follow through with this (although we did all wear our sarongs to dinner). I loved that everything was included in one price here - meals,
Accommodation, tours, transfers. The standard of accommodation was far better than I expected- seems you can do a little bit of luxury in the jungle! We stayed in the Agnes Keith room - all rooms are named after explorers and the like who have visited Borneo, so there was also a Sir David Attenborough room. We couldn't believe it when Attenborough himself turned up to dinner one night! He was filming a documentary for Discovery Channel in the area. Apparently this lodge does the best food in the village, hence the visit (he supposedly tried to book accommodation but the lodge was full). The tours were brilliant - we saw orangutans, monkeys, crocs, Pygmy elephants, birds, snakes, monitor lizards... This was the highlight of our trip to Borneo. They will also take you to the orangutan sanctuary at Sepilok (although we were lucky enough to see orangutans in the wild). Our guide was "Jumanji" and we would recommend. All the tours were in boats which is great if you are scared of jungle snakes like me and don't want to be dealing with leeches!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank beachchick12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
1 review
Reviewed April 3, 2014

On our way from Sandakan to Sukau Rainforest Lodge, on Kinabatangan River we saw Pygmy elephants, Proboscis monkeys and macaques. What an experience to see these animals all within the 2 1/2 hours boat ride on the first day . Our guide Dean Nexter was very knowledgeable about the rainforest. He loves his job and he has a passion for the environment. He knows his plants very well. We were hoping to see the Rafflesia plant but these are not found in that area.

The first time we saw an orangutan with her baby was from the walkway behind the lodge.
She did warn us not to come too close by breaking off big branches and throwing them down from the tree. We had binoculars to view this magnificent animal. The night river tour was excellent. We saw very colorful birds dozing off in the evening.

The meals at the lodge was very good and the daily soup was nothing less than EXCELLENT.
The staff at the lodge was efficient and very friendly. They all have a smile on their faces
which was very pleasant indeed. We had ' goreng pisang' for our afternoon tea. That was most delicious. Thank you.
It was an experience to stay in the lodge that was entirely depended on solar energy. The place was very clean and rooms were made made up every morning and given clean towels where needed.

Room Tip: My guess is each room has its own character. I have not seen other rooms but we are very happy with...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank KinabatanganRiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colonia
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2014

We had an excellent stay at Sukau Rainforest Lodge. Staff was consistently friendly and helpful. Meals always delicious. Our river excursions were led by enthusiastic guides who could spot wildlife a mile away. Our room was delightfully designed. We had a really great time.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank fredess
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 10 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 
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Also Known As:
Sukau Rainforest Hotel Sabah
Sukau Rainforest Lodge Kinabatangan District, Sabah, Malaysia

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