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“Mixed feelings”

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Nature Lodge Kinabatangan
Certificate of Excellence
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Mixed feelings”
Reviewed February 28, 2014

I stayed for two nights ,three days in a Agamid Wing at the nature lodge and unfortunately walked away with mixed feelings of the whole experience. Firstly, my guide Arshad, was amazing. Very knowledgeable and was great at spotting wildlife. On the second morning I was there, about forty of us headed out in three boats to an orangutan nest we had seen the night before. We had hoped to be there when the animal woke up., but it appeared to still be sleeping. One the lodge's other guides got out of the boat (which we were previously told wasn't allowed because it was a sanctuary) went to the tree and start shaking it and banging on it with a stick, in order to try to wake the animal up. I was appalled, and a few others in the boats were as well That sort of behaviour doesn't live up to the eco image the lodge is trying to promote. I walked away thinking that perhaps, tours were hindering the animals that are still left in the wild.
As for the lodge itself, we stayed in the Agamid wing, and I didn't expect luxury, but i was hoping for clean sheets. Ended up sleeping on my sleeping bag on the mattress. If you do decide to go, I would opt for the less expensive cabin, instead of the chalet.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jacquieb23
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 review, March 18, 2014
Dear Jaq

Thank you for taking time out to give us your feed back.

We were in fact surprised that one of our guides exited the boat to try wake the orang utan up. Upon checking with the lodge manager, the guide who did that is in fact a new staff who just joined us within a week. In his previous employment, he was not told to observe strict wildlife watching rules which include not existing the boat and certainly not to disturb the wildlife. He has since been warned.

We will continue to improve ourselves and do have a safe onward travel.

Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Regina, Canada
Level Contributor
73 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2014

We were heading into the jungle, so were not expecting nor really desiring luxurious accommodation on this venture. Even though we booked into the higher end Agamid wing, the accommodation was still very rustic. But we were not there to spend time in our room, so it mattered little. We were there to explore nature, and the excellent staff at the Nature Lodge Kinabatangan made that happen.

We booked an extra day, staying four days and three nights instead of just two, which allowed us an extra day with no travel to simply relax and enjoy just hanging out at the Lodge. We took part in two daily cruises each day we were there, one at 6 a.m. and one at 4 p.m.; one four hour day trek into the jungle; and two night walks. We were as busy as we wanted to be, but never bored. We saw much activity on the boat rides: many monkeys, two crocodiles, hornbills, and an elephant, to name a few. The jungle walks were another experience altogether - far more work, but great fun, and on the night walks in particular we saw some very exotic species. As for the leeches you will hear about - although definitely there, they sound much worse than they are, and protected with a little sensible clothing coverage and the leech socks available for purchase, plus the rubber boots provided by the lodge, you should be able to enjoy your treks without stressing.

The food at the Lodge was exemplary, and there was lots of it. Although there was no kettle provided in the lodge rooms, there was always free tea and coffee available for the guests, and the staff served everything with a smile.

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience at the lodge, both from the perspective of nature discovery and just meeting some great people there - both other travellers and staff. Our guide, Ashad, was amazing. He was not only a well spoken and extremely knowledgeable nature guide, but also a great guy and a pretty good guitar player as well. I was delighted to discover this, as I am a musician and loved the opportunity to jam with him!

Definitely consider signing on for one of the packages at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, and request Ashad if he is available, but if not, we heard excellent reports on the other guides as well from the other groups.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Bev Z
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 review, March 3, 2014
Thank you Regina for your kind feed back.

We will certainly pass on the messages to all our staff especially Arshad.

Have a safe onward travel.

Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
51 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2014 via mobile

I booked a 3D2N deal and was very kindly ungraded to a superior chalet free of charge.

Firstly the company was very well organised and we were collected from Sandakan and taken to the Nature Lodge in a very comfortable bus. The journey took us 3hrs including one toilet stop.

The location of the nature lodge is stunning! Right in the middle of the jungle, on the banks of the river.

Staff greeted us with a welcome drink and told us our itinerary for the next few days. Which includes boat tours, a jungle trek and night walks.

Staff were very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.

The chalets, on the other hand are just ok! But you are in the middle of the jungle, so what can you expect!

Our room did have a fan and a/c though! (The a/c didn't work but still a nice gesture!) The room was damp and had signs of mould on the walls. The bed sheets were clean but the pillows were again mouldy and I wasn't brave enough to look under the sheets! But I wasn't bitten by anything overnight and we put t shirts over the pillows! The bathroom was large and had a new shower which was good. There were also tea and coffee facilities in the room! Again, you have to remember your in a jungle and aren't really there for the rooms!

The price included breakfast, lunch, tea break and dinner. The food was amazing! I was never hungry, as there was always yummy food to be eaten! Very impressed with the restaurant.

We were divided into groups of about ten and given a team leader who guides you on all your activities. We were luckily given Heisen, as our guide. He was brilliant! Firstly he was friendly and helpful but his knowledge on the wildlife was amazing. He spotted so many animals from a far distance and then in perfect English was able to give us in depth information about what were seeing.

We saw tons too! Including an elephant, orang utan, tons of different monkeys and lots of creepy crawlys!

We did have ALOT of rain whilst we stayed so I would recommend taking good waterproofs, if you have them. The lodge offers rubbers boots, torches and leech socks for hire.

Overall, I had an unforgettable experience. We were able to see animals in the wild without disturbing them. The activities are well organised and the staff that guide you are brilliant. Don't expect too much from the rooms and I'm sure you'll have a great time!

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Adamb1984
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 review, March 3, 2014
Thank you for your feed back.

While it is a challenge for us to keep the sheet white (the water from the river is milky coloured), the sheets are clean nevertheless. More detergent simply more chemical back into the river system. We will more than likely move the laundry to main town in Sandakan once we have opened our Nature Lodge Sandakan (scheduled for September opening).

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

Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2014

Thank you to all of the staff at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge for ensuring that my friends and I had the most memorable experience during the Chinese New Year. We stayed in the Agamid Wing, everything was clean and well-kept. We had a tiny hole in our window screen and maintenance quickly attended to it. The food was all fresh and hot! The staff was all extremely friendly and knowledgeable.

We truly valued the expertise of Helson & Dino, our guides during our stay! They treated us like their pals, took the time to chat with us and made us feel right at home.

We loved our stay here. We saw a variety of wildlife and left with memories for a lifetime. We will highly recommend this lodge to all of our traveler friends in the future!

Room Tip: Agamid Chalets a big and spacious! Space to store your clothing and a nice balcony to watch the suns...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ashley 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 review, March 18, 2014
Dear Ashley

Thank you for your positive feedback.

We thank you for giving us encouraging words and we have since passed on the message to our staffs.

Do have a safe onward travel and please help to pass the words on for us.

Regards
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 14, 2014

We chose their 3D/2N package based on the other reviews but also the price and number of cruises/jungle walks they offered. We were transferred from downtown Sandakan on their AC-ed bus (2-hour trip).
Nice welcome with good briefing. Civet wing room is basic and small, with just enough space to put two twin beds, although the bathroom is spacious in comparison. But the overall is very clean and rather charming, right by the river. They somehow managed to keep the whole thing bugfree. Food was good, plenty and varied. Especially appreciated the hearty breakfast.
Our guide, Arshad, was knowledgeable and very good at spotting wildlife during cruises and walks. We were lucky to spot everything the Lonely Planet told us we would spot, except for the elephants, which had moved up river already. Of course, the good weather also contributed to the spottings.
We were also lucky to be there with only a small group of travelers, all of whom we got along with tremendously well.
A charming touch was the gong which announced every activity and meal. And indeed, as has been stated in a previous review, it is a very well organized place.
It was a full three days that we spent there, and we would recommend it people looking for safaris in the S. Kinabatangan area.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Meili G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weert, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
44 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2014

I stayed at the kinabatang Nature lodge for 2 nights. I slept in a dorm for 4 people. The dorms are not mixed.
The dorm, cheets, towels, toilets en shower were very clean. They cleaned the place every day.
They served breakfast, teabreak, lunch en dinner everything well organizes again. Nice food en every day different things.
They have a well arranged schedule zo that there is enough time to enjoy all there is to do.
I would stay here again.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank reizigerWen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basel, Switzerland
Level Contributor
52 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2014

We booked a 3d/2n package directly by phone and stayed in a dorm room with two other guys. The room was simple but with plenty of space. The toilets/showers are in a separate block and make sure you find the one shower with hot water (especially if the weather is cooler). We arrived in the pouring rain and got completely soaked on our first boat tour. In the evening we waded through the mud on the night trek which was kind of amusing but not helpful for seeing wildlife. There were elephants right behind the resort so that was the end of night walk and of all forest trekking for the next couple of days (better safe than sorry). On the boat tours we saw elephants, orang utans, proboscis monkeys, all kind of birds, lizards, snakes, etc. - amazing! The food was really good and there was plenty of it. They also sell beer and wine and other soft drinks (and ponchos). We were traveling on to Semporna and they booked our bus ticket and made sure we got the express bus from the main road - great service. All in all a great experience!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ronaele_N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nature Lodge Kinabatangan

Property: Nature Lodge Kinabatangan
Address: Kampung Bilit, Sandakan, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan Division > Sandakan
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 29 Specialty Lodging in Sandakan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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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