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“Great place to see wildlife”

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Nature Lodge Kinabatangan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 25, 2013

I choose an airconditioned cabin which was very comfortable. While the furnishings are basic its more than adequate for your stay here.
The food was great, staff very friendly and helpful and the tour guides very knowledgeable.
I booked on line through INSabah tours - a 3N2Day package. This was a good tour and included other sites and transport to the lodge.
The boat trips and walks were great and I saw lot sof great wildlife including Probiscus monkeys plus two more types of monkeys, pygmy elephants, crocs and lost of birds.

Room Tip: I recommed airconditioning, but there were lots of younger people in the dorms and fan rooms.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Sheila000_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 14, 2013

I stayed in a dorm for the 2D/1N package.
The dorm was in a rustic wooden building and VERY basic. It smelled a bit funny (not in a good way) and when we arrived, there were dead flies and bug poop on the beds. We are in the jungle after all, so I did not fuss about this. The toilet/shower is another building. So make sure you go to toilet before you go to sleep.
The toilet/shower facility wasn't too clean - but again, it is a jungle facility.

The food was decent but I wouldn't say it was good. Coffee in the morning was quite atrocious. It didn't even taste like coffee.

The river cruise was great, but because you are on a boat in the river, you are quite far from the animals that are in the trees (monkeys, birds). So make sure to bring a binacular or a camera with great zoom! I did 2 river cruises and we saw proboscis monkeys, macaque monkeys, crocodile, monitor lizards and various birds. We were not lucky to see the elephants, although we saw footprints and there was a sighting a day before. Our guide Max had fantastic eyes for wildlife and also described a lot about each animal.

The staff were friendly and the resort schedule (meals,jungle trek, cruise) worked seamlessly.

I would recommend that you do 3D/2N program to have enough opportunity to see more wildlife. I felt that 2 river cruises were not enough and wished I stayed extra day to do a jungle trek.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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Thank darwin11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

We booked our tour from Sandakan and were picked up at a meeting point with other travellers. We are 63 and 67 yrs old but the majority of the travellers were mid 20's. We chose a cabin with attached bathroom and a/con but there are all types of cabins available from dorm types upwards. The staff were all lovely. Our guide in the boat was knowledgeable but on our first trip up the river announced that we didn't have enough petrol to go further to where the Pygmy elephants had been seen but would take us the following day. Was disappointing for us because we only did the 2 day/1 night stay, so we missed out. Having said that, it is a nature excursion with many noisy speedboats and the rarer animals are only seen on the odd occasion apparently, according to our guide, so, you need to be aware that you may not see a lot. We did see a lot of small monkeys, lots of large crocodiles,, snakes, monitor lizards and birds but they are quite a way from the rivers edge and it is hard to see them upclose. Overall, it was an extremely relaxing afternoon trying to find the elusive animals. The European tourists loved it. Of course Aussies have a lot available at home to see, so maybe that is why we weren't overly impressed with the wildlife that we did see. In the evening we went on a short jungle trek. We saw 1 bird and 1 snake. It had been raining and it was quite an arduous walk in deep mud. A few of the young guests fell into the mud because it was hard to remove your foot from the sucking mud. I think a certain amount of fitness is needed to make sure that you can keep up with the activities. The lodge has a lot of activities and they all run on time and a gong is struck 5 minutes before they begin, including meal times. Meals are adequate. Overall, I think it is an enjoyable experience, especially for young people and people that have never had the opportunity to savour nature at its best.

Room Tip: It is quite inexpensive for the air/con rooms. Take a torch. Electricity is a bit erratic, althoug...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank phantomrose101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlexanderYee, General Manager at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, responded to this reviewResponded June 25, 2013

Thank you for taking time to give your feed back.

The sighting of wildlife can always be a touch and go thingy and while we do plan to show our guests as many as possible, sometimes, we do get one of those trips where the animals are "elusive".

I am glad you did have an relaxing trip though. Do have a safe onward travel and pass the words around for us.

Warm regards

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Reviewed June 4, 2013

Great for wildlife - 5 stars for that and the activity schedule / 3 stars for accommodation so averaging at 4 stars.

The activity package is excellent - multiple wildlife spotting boat trips, day forest walks and night forest walks. Our guide was very knowledgeable. From the boat we saw wild elephants, Orang Utans, hornbills, proboscis monkeys and so on. Well worth the trip to Kinabantagan. Well organised transfers on comfortable buses.

Location - great quiet jungle location right by the river. Feel really away from it all.

The accommodation - a little tired and musty, and the food whilst plentiful is not great. Appreciate its a budget lodge - but a little more attention to detail would improve both.

In summary - poor food and average accommodation are more than compensated for by the great wildlife and good value for money.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LondonM_and_l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlexanderYee, General Manager at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, responded to this reviewResponded June 25, 2013

Thank you for your positive feed back.

We will certainly look into the state of our bed rooms and the food offered. Seems our new staffs required more training to bring them up to the standard normally given by us. We will certainly work harder.

Have a safe onward travel.

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Reviewed May 26, 2013

We visited Borneo last year and had a 3d2n stay at at a nearby lodge booked through a travel agent. This year we discovered your could book the Nature Lodge direct which saved quite a bit of money for us. We stayed in the Agamid Wing without any air con but the fan was very powerful and more than adequate. Room was large and comfortable. Bathroom was adequate if not pristine. The food was much better than anticipated. Good quality and lots of it - buffet style at breakfast and night with served plates at lunchtime when very few guests in lodge - 8 of us.

Unfortunately we did not see the elephants last year so we came back this year for another try. We were excited when we arrived and heard that we could not go on the planned night walk or ox bow lake walk as the elephants were around our lodge - it would be too dangerous. Alternative excursions were provided.

On our first afternoon cruise we saw the elephants. It was about 5.30pm and we stayed with them until the light faded and we had to leave to get back to the Lodge before darkness fell. The grass was very tall and if we went too close we could not see the elephants so we had to sit slightly back on the river. There were several other boats there but we all had a good view and changed positions for a better view.

The following morning we seemed to be the only on the river when we came across the elephants on the opposite bank. This time they were not hidden. We had a very clear view of a young male with tusks and a mother and baby. Very cute. She knocked down a tree to give us a better view of her!! It was awesome. There were several other elephants behind the ones we could see. I got some really good photos even on a my small instant camera. Large special cameras and lenses were not required.

We also saw 3 crocodiles, wild orangutans, lots of eagles, hornbills, monkeys (proboscis and Macaques) etc. We even saw a very rare helmeted hornbill. Our guide was very excited and showed us the picture in the book to match the bird.

Highly recommended. Make sure you take waterproofs and mosquito repellents or buy a poncho there. It rains a lot. We missed the leeches as it was unsafe to go off the boardwalks inside the electric perimeter fence.

Thanks to Dalton for all his help in planning the trip and to Aljun who was our excellent guide and wildlife expert. He was happy to answer all questions and seemed to be almost as excited as us when we spotted the elephants and the orangutans/crocodiles etc. Keep up the good work.

We also met some very interesting people on the trip even if they were much younger than us. Yes there is life after 50 and you can still have adventurous holidays!!

Our only slight concern when booking was that we were to be dropped off at a coffee house on the main road between Semprona/Tawau and KK in the hope that a bus would pass and take us back to Kota Kinabalu. We needed have worried. We were told a bus should arrive within 30 minutes after we were dropped off and a coach appeared 20 minutes later and took us the 6 hour trip back to KK for only 42 ringitts. A bargain. A very comfortable journey and I would not hesitate to do it again. Much cheaper and more fun than flying.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank EvelynEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlexanderYee, General Manager at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, responded to this reviewResponded June 13, 2013

Thank you for your positive feed back.

Its always an awesome experience to come face to face with the elephants. Its however a "luck" element as to if a guest will see the elephants and I am glad on your second visit, you have met them. I only see them after my 30th plus trips into the Lodge!

Have a safe onward travel and I will pass on your regards to Dalton.

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Reviewed May 20, 2013

Nature at its best, lovely staff, welcoming environment. I culdn't have asked for anything more. It was beyond my expectations. I look forward to a secnd holiday in the future.....I strongly recomend it

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank john1983bayer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlexanderYee, General Manager at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, responded to this reviewResponded June 13, 2013

Thank you for your feed back John.

We anxiously await for your return visit and we trust it will be another unforgetable holiday.

Take care.

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Reviewed May 14, 2013

It was a two hour land transfer from Sepilok to the jetty at Kg Bilit, where we took a boat across the Kinabatangan to Nature Lodge Kinabatangan. We stayed at the rustic and charming Agamid chalet, one of the only two that faced the river. Comes with twin beds, an attached bathroom and fan. We ended up selecting Nature Lodge Kinabatangan as we felt it gave more value for money - it packed more activities in a day without extra costs. Certain tour operators made certain activities optional such as night walk with a surcharge. We enjoyed 2 morning & 2 late afternoon river cruises, 2 guided night nature walk and 1 guided trekking to Danau Bilit, the oxbow lake, with two friendly guides, Arjun and Dino (3D/2N). Very happy with our choice.

Wildlife spotting at Kinabatangan is a leisurely affair and is best described as a river safari – you just sit on the boat and coast along the Kinabatangan and its tributaries. We had a small binoculars but a more powerful binoculars would have been made it a more enjoyable experience. Wildlife are naturally shy. One of the guides let us use his from time to time throughout the three days of river cruise.

It was quiet this time of the year in Kinabatangan - Nature Lodge Kinabatangan only had two boats out at any point in time. Not many boats out on the river so never felt crowded. We enjoyed all the activities. The breaks in between activities passed really quickly. We noticed that the variety of food at mealtimes was not much and was skewed to suit foreign tourists, though always enough and filling. It would be nice to have something a little special and more 'Malaysian' sometimes - say 'satay' or 'ayam percik' :) I am sure the other guests would love this too.

Location: Bilit along Sg Kinabatangan, Sg Tenagang Besar (a tributary) and Danau Bilit.

What we enjoyed: Seeing animals in the wild, beautiful scenery of the river, forest and the evening sky; and the cool mornings. However, it is disturbing to see the encroachment of oil palm plantations very near to the river bank. The authorities should come down hard on these encroachers by taking them to court.

The night walks and day trek were good fun. The mud could be as much as 6 inches deep. Wellington boots are absolutely essential - rented them at RM10 a pair. The Lodge even rent out torches and binoculars.

One may or may not encounter wildlife on this trip, it all depends on luck. What we saw: Crocodiles, proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaques, orang utan, common palm civet, giant tree squirrel, kingfishers, egrets, storm's stork, oriental pied hornbill, black hornbill, white crowned hornbill, brahminy kite, millipedes, butterflies, moths, spiders, preying mantis, tiger leeches, toads, snails, yellow ringneck snake and water monitor lizard.

What we wished we saw too: Bornean pygmy elephant, western tarsier (or ghost monkey), flying lemur (or colugo), slow loris, otter and clouded leopard. A little disappointed that we did not get to see any Bornean pygmy elephants while we were there. Heard the herds of elephants were at the area between Abai and Sukau at the time. Better luck next time ...

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank lunarJade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlexanderYee, General Manager at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, responded to this reviewResponded May 28, 2013

Thank you for taking tim to write such comprehansive feed back.

I usually stay at either one of the two agamid chalets besie the river too! And my trip there, though its part of my work, tend to help me to relax and I usually get back to my office in Kota Kinabalu, a much more refreshed person, and all ready to take on the whole world again :)

You have an eye for detals and you have summed up most of what we have been trying to do (meals prepared on time and tasty, guides and staffs have enthusiasm and facilities well maintained). And we will continue to work hard so that Nature Lodge Kinabatangan can always help visitors enjoy the lower Kinabatangan area.

Do help us to pass the words around and have a safe onward holiday.

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Additional Information about Nature Lodge Kinabatangan

Address: Kampung Bilit, Sandakan, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan Division > Sandakan
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 29 Specialty Lodging in Sandakan
Price Range: $76 - $287 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Nature Lodge Kinabatangan 2*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rustic chalets and dormitory rooms set in Kampung Bilit Kinabatangan, be ready to watch abundance of wildlife from the comfort of boat rides. Transfers to and fro Nature Lodge Kinabatangan and meals are included in the tour prices. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Nature Lodge Kinabatangan Hotel Sandakan
Nature Lodge Kinabatangan Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

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