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“An interesting experience”
Review of Nipah Lodge

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Nipah Lodge
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“An interesting experience”
Reviewed July 18, 2010

The lodge itself is just fine, the cabins are adequate and have air condition (which is such a plus in this part of the world). Because they are still trying to develop tourism in Labuk Bay - it offers an opportunity for a very quite stay (only one other party the night we were there). The food was not great but adequate, staff was friendly but at times seemingly uninterested.

The larger issue here is whether or not this is worth an overnight stay, and it's tricky as it largely depends on how much time you have. We opted to stay one night, and visit Sepilok for one feeding before heading to Kinabantagan. Because we were going to the lower Kinabantagan - and with a relatively limited amount of time, I think I would have preferred to just come into Labuk Bay for just one feeding, and spent more time in the Kinabantagan, but you may find you may need at least one night at Sepilok/Sandakan/Labuk Bay for logistical reasons. It is a fantastic experience to watch the Proboscis monkeys up close.

I hope that the intentions of the palm plantations owners are good here, as with any wildlife lodge or sanctuary there is a fine line you are walking when you bait the widlife. At this point, Labuk Bay is not a rehabiliation center like a Sepilok - so I find it more difficult to substantiate feeding wild monkeys. The thought is that it is necessary to feed the wild monkeys so that tourists can get an up close look, which subsequently gives the owner of the palm plantation reason to carve out a sanctuary amongst the palms. Personally, I would hope to learn that they are taking on legitimate research projects within the sanctuary in the years ahead -- to this point, there are apparent funding issues.

At the lodge itself, they are clearly baiting (very) large monitor lizards which live around the property. Interesting to see them up close, but I always find it hard to see a wild animal become reliant on kitchen scraps. Unfortunately, the night walk was also a bit of a let down - it's a walk amongst the palm trees, so you're likely only to see fireflies.

All that said, there is no question that the guides I spoke with during our stay were sincere about the long term intentions, and the lodge does offer a quiet, comfortable experience.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Keith B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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UK
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed May 26, 2010

This accomodation is within the plantation attached to the Proboscis sanctuary labuk bay. We stayed in the very reasonably proced chalets which were newly built, the best quality room we stayed in v good showers hammocks on your own little deck, extremely comfortable and no mossies to be seen. The food here was good particularly the set meal we had in the evening. Staff v friendly and informative. We got a shuttle to collect us from Sepilok and back to Sandakan then you get shuttled between the 2 feeding areas. The best reason for staying the night was the morning feed - nobody else there , we also saw kingfishers there when it was quiet. The proboscis come really close and at one of the platforms there are also lots of silverleaf monkeys which come very ( too!) close. We stayed for 2 full days of viewings which might be too much for some people but you can easily do 1 day stay the night then go back in the morning. Excellent

Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Milotheclimbingcat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
53 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2010

We stayed here as part of a Borneo trip which involved cruises in the jungle where we saw proboscis monkeys in the wild, as well as LOADS of other brilliant wildlife, including crocs and orang utans. Still, we were glad we went to this place too as it's part of the Labuk Bay Monkey Sanctuary. Firstly as it's good to support such a project where they have chosen to PRESERVE part of the rainforest, secondly these are fascinating creatures which exist only in Borneo and it's a fantastic place to view them.
The whole experience with the Lodge was generally good - the staff really lovely, the rangers / guides very knowledgeable and patient. The rooms are 2 rooms to one 'chalet' which are in a lovely setting, off wooden walkways. Great night's sleep and really nice room. Really peaceful. Great night walk, seeing the fireflies lighting up the trees like Christmas trees. The way it works with the sanctuary being so close is great, and the guides let you stay and watch the monkeys for as long as you like. However, the one thing I would say is that maybe the management could try and do something extra to persuade people to make that extra step to come to stay at the Lodge, rather than just catch the shuttle bus or taxi from where they are already staying, in Sandakan or near the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
Management, if you read this, here are a few pointers to make the experience even more special:
- your staff were very lovely, but maybe need some training as to how to welcome guests? Not a lot of 'atmosphere' there (not that we wanted a lot of noise or anything, but where we had stayed already in Borneo, we felt more welcomed and the experience more personal). When we tried to check in, around 1pm, we were told first of all to wait while someone ordered their lunch (from the receptionist, when there were kitchen staff walking around?), then we were asked to wait at the desk and then were left there for 20 minutes. Tum te tum ... ! We then decided to go to the restaurant ourselves and order (before checking in) as we did not want to miss the afternoon feeding session. This is not a critique of the staff themselves - more of the training that they have received.
- The food was really not that great I'm afraid. I know we were there to see the monkeys, but the accommodation was not really that cheap to justify it. Breakfast the worst. Don't mind paying the extra for fresh fruit juice, but when it's not fresh, the cost is not really justified.
- Showers terrible. The heat is not a problem for me as I love cold showers. The amount of water coming out was. 4 teeny weeny single needlepoint jets of water is hard to wash under!
- Sounds as if I am a big whinge but after all the entrance fees (we had to pay twice as we were there over 2 days), transport, food, etc the cost of 1 night was RM 911 which seemed a fair amount. I KNOW I said that the main reason you are there is to see the monkeys, which were brill, but maybe something extra could be done to make it really worth people's while to stay at the Lodge...

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank JSCandCO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wirral
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2010

We stayed at Nipah Lodge for 2 nights in April, and it was brilliant, there seemed to only be the 3 of us staying, myself, husband and 13 year old son. It was very quiet, and no much to do at night there is a TV room, and a pool table, but as there was only the 3 of us we tended to have early nights, as we had just come from the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge where we got no sleep at all due to the heat. The Rooms are spacious with a front veranda with chairs, and a bank veranda with 2 hammocks, and had air conditioning. The showers are a little feeble, but hey, we went to see the monkeys which we certainly saw lots of. On our 1st night we went for a guided night walk, to see the fireflies, and to look for wild pigs, unfortunately we saw a wild pig hole, but no pig, but we did see lots of fire flies, lighting up the trees. In the morning we were driven to the feeding platform in the truck with the food, and discovered that it was just the 3 of us, with our own private viewing, and as such the big daddy proboscis decided to come onto the viewing platform to show us how big and strong he was, it was a fabulous sight. We then went to the other platform, where we saw more proboscis monkeys, and some very cheeky silver leaf monkeys, who come and sit next to you to eat their green beans. Again I can't say how great the whole experience was, even the giant monitor lizard, that made me jump was great, and the driver, would stop the truck on the way from the accommodation to point out animals on the way. I highly recommend that people stay, as I'm not sure how they will keep it going if people don't, we actually went to the viewings for 3 separate days in the end it was so good..

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ssk1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nipah Lodge

Property: Nipah Lodge
Address: Labuk Road, Sandakan 90000, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan Division > Sandakan
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 29 Specialty Lodging in Sandakan
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The best kept secret in Borneo...Nipah Lodge is surrounded by nature with mangrove paths. A perfect retreat place to get away from busy hostels and lodges. It is the only accommodation within minutes to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary.The view from each private chalet balcony and dorm rooms are overlooking to a pure serenity of a low land forest. It is like being part of a scene from National Geographic rainforest. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Nipah Lodge Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

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