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“Superb Sepilok Retreat”

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Sepilok Jungle Resort
Ranked #4 of 33 Hotels in Sandakan
Reviewed November 26, 2012

I had a 5 night stay at he Sepilok Jungle Resort. I pre booked my accommodation through Agoda several months prior after reading the reviews on trip advisor. On arrival the reception staff were extremely helpful and information about the resort and local attractions. The room was big and clean, yes a bit dated, but I only planned to sleep there. The AC worked as did the shower which was nice and hot!

I had all my meals at the Banana Cafe,breakfast as part of the deal with my room. The staff were pleasant and helpful and one of the owners would always come and talk to me making me feel very welcome and comfortable. At breakfast I was given homemade lime jam by the owner, who had made it the previous day, it was delicious! The food was very good and good size portions and reasonably priced. The surroundings are beautiful, remember your strong insert repellant though, you WILL need it.

Sepilok orang-utan centre is literally 5 minutes away, the best time to go is in the afternoon, it's much quieter then, but if you pay to go in the morning u get in for the afternoon feeding free. Feeding times are 10 am and 3 pm, but go early to get a good spot for photos. You are charged 10 myr extra per camera so bare that in mind and you have to put you bag into a locker prior to going to see the feeding.

I had the best experience with the orang-utans at the Rainforest Discovery Centre, about 20 mins walk from the jungle resort. I went on three occasions, costing only 10 myr entry. On all occasions I had a one to one with an Oran-utans, I trekked around all the trails, a map is provided on entry and was lucky enough to see them up close, in there wild environment, it was truly amazing.

If you fancy doing something a bit different and treating yourself or indulging then go to the English tea house for afternoon tea. The setting was beautiful and the afternoon tea was fabulous, better then some I have had in swanky London west end hotels and it was very reasonable. Barter with a taxi or speak to reception to arrange a car for you, I incorporate a walk around the War memorial gardens which is situated where a POW camp was during the Second World War.

Overall really enjoyed this part of my trip, I rally relaxed and got to see some amazing things and then slowly unwind by the pool for a few hours before dinner.

Room Tip: Get a room with AC, the humidity is extremely high.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank Laurie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
limjohnny, Owner at Sepilok Jungle Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2012

Thanks for choosing to stay with us.

Great to hear that you have enjoyed your stay with us. We are glad that the changes we did to our menu after hearing feedback from customers are starting to generate positive outcome.

Afternoon feeding at sepilok orang utan centre is generally better because there are lesser people as the standard tour normally go to the morning feeding and do something else in the afternoon. That's why people normally only those who are staying with us will go for the afternoon feeding as they can just walk for 5 minutes to get there. Furthermore, the entrance fees is valid for one fullday so it is better to make full use of it.

We will continue to strive to be better.

Once again, thank you very much and looking forward to serve you again in the future.

Johnny

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Reviewed November 11, 2012

In our second week of our 3 week Brunei/ Borneo adventure my husband and I stayed at Sepilok Jungle Resort and celebrated our 28 th wedding anniversary. Our room had a balcony which overlooked the beautiful lush gardens and ponds . The price was very reasonable and included breakfast and free wifi . We were very happy with our evening dinners and choose local fish , rice and vegetables with a Tiger beer or lemon teas in Banana Cafe . The cafe was a good 5 minute board walk away and most was not covered . So just take your umbrella in case it rains on your walk back . We found the desk staff very helpful , had laundry done and took the shuttle to the airport when we left . Our room was comfortable with an air conditioner and jug supplied . TV was there but we didn't watch it anyway as we would rather be nature spotting . SORC (Orang utans) only 5-10 minutes walk so we visited there for day feeding time and the guided night spotting walk ( see SORC review ) . Around the Jungle Resort we watched the antics of a beautiful black and red Provosts squirrel , and bird watched around the nearby roadside with close views of Pied Hornbills . On our second day we walked up to the Rainforest Discovery Centre which took me about 25 minutes so leave early to beat the heat but once there you can enjoy the canopy walk and towers and the cooler forest and shade below . We spotted numerous birds including several Kingfisher species also saw an Orang utan swinging through trees and several Proboscis monkeys . Quite a hot walk back so again always take plenty of water , drinks . Breakfast at Sepilok Jungle resort was a little confusing as there did seem to be small bus loads of tourists arriving as part of their longer tour but in any case both staff and other travels we found very friendly . . Initially toast and tea was available which was fine for me but not long afterwards there was also eggs , baked beans and noodles . Drinks and ice creams could be bought there also and there was a small souvenier shop in the office . We enjoyed our 2 nights stay and would recommend a stay and would return their ourselves . Comfortable and relaxing with easy access to wildlife and nature opportunities .

Room Tip: Not sure of the room arrangements but we had room 38 I think . With a balcony and beautiful view . N...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Judygoodies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
limjohnny, Owner at Sepilok Jungle Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 12, 2012

Thank you for choosing to stay with us.

Glad that you have enjoyed your stay with us and we did make your 28th anniversary memorable.

Looking forward to serve you again in the future.

Johnny

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Reviewed November 10, 2012

Not much point restating what numerous other people have said (read Cherrycoke106, hackedoff69). Just one addition: the restaurant staff disposed of uneaten food from our plates directly into the creek below IN FRONT OF US. Clearly a sign that no-one is actually in charge. The management, whoever they are, needs to spend some money and resources on this place, or just close it. The reception staff politely listened to our reports of maintenance issues (locks on doors not working, exposed wiring, peeling paint etc) but one wonders if anything will be done. Best avoided, try elsewhere in the area. But Sepilok itself is fantastic, don't miss the Rainforest Centre walks and of course the orangutans. Their sister resort at Bilit was another matter - worth a visit.

Room Tip: Ask for one with a balcony
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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130  Thank Kate R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
limjohnny, Owner at Sepilok Jungle Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 12, 2012

Thank you for choosing to stay with us.

As there are a lot of fishes, some as big a s 1.5 feet in the pond, so we actually will feed the fishes with the leftover food from our guests. However, we will only select toast and water melon skin. We will not feed the fish with any kind of meat.

We will continue to remind and train our staff not to dispose it in front of tourists. Thank you for staying with us.

Johnny

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Reviewed November 8, 2012

Just had 2 nights here and really liked it - slept like a log. It's a basic hotel in lovely surroundings and in easy walking distance of the orang-utans. The staff are very friendly and helpful and there is lots of wildlife to be seen and heard. The food is fine and a vegetarian selection was available for supper.

Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
Thank JudeEB63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
limjohnny, Owner at Sepilok Jungle Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 9, 2012

Thanks for choosing to stay with us.

Glad to hear that you have enjoyed your stay with us.

we have spared 20 acres within our resort to plant fruit trees and the wildlife in the areas. After 20 years, we can see that all these fruits start to produce fruits for them. That is why it is very common to see many wildlife in the resort surrounding.

Looking forward to serve you again.

Johnny

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Reviewed November 5, 2012

We stayed 2 nights at the Resort, and as the title implies you get what you pay for, The main problem here is that the Hotel cant decide whether it is a Hotel or a Hostel. It is in a superb location and has the makings of a great resort hotel, all it needs is a bit of time and money spent to improve the rooms and facilities. Add a lick of paint and this could be a superb resort.
At the moment it is entertainig the back packing market and is more like a very good youth hostel, it is cheap, we paid 35 pounds a night for the 2 of us 17.50 each for their top grade room, it was clean and functional, but thats about all, The bar and Food here are Limited for choice, The quality of the food was generally good apart from breakfasts which were less than satisfactory, The bar choice was very poor and quite expensive for what you could get.
We visited the Rain forest Centre and the Orangutan sanctuary, both were very good and are well worth a visit.
If you visit the Orangutan sanctuary in the morning, Your ticket lets you back in for the afternoon session. We went back in the afternoon and it was a completely different visit to the morning, we had very close encounters on both visit which was amazing, they just swing down out of the trees and there they are less than a meter from you.
Over all this is a good place to stay for the local visits but dont expect 5* luxury, it is clean funtional and the staff are friendly and helpful, it just needs to decide what direction it wants to take HOTEL OR HOSTEL

Room Tip: Pay the exra for a balcony room, sit and listen to the Jungle at night.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank HACKEDOFF69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
limjohnny, Owner at Sepilok Jungle Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 8, 2012

Thank you for choosing to stay with us.

We have never marketed ourselves to be a luxury resort. One will notice it when our price is range from RM28 per person to RM170 per room per night with breakfast. And true enough we are offering comfortable. friendly and clean lodging for our guests.

Our menu selection has more than 70 selection for food and drink. As for our bar, we have 5 types of red wine, 5 types of white white, 5 different types of other alchoholic (gin, brandy, whisky) and 10 different types of beer. To us, this is very sufficient and we are only rated as a two star resort by the ministry of tourism.

We are in the midst of refurbishing our rooms and some of it should be completed by Dec. At the moment, works are going on in Banana Cafe where we will be building a new roof.

Once again, thank you for choosing to stay with us.

Johnny

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Reviewed November 4, 2012

So basically I've given the place 2 points. This is for a few things - The grounds are very pretty, a couple of small ponds and some trees are full of wildlife, the room was spacious and there is lots of information about the flora and fauna of the area, and the girls on the front desk were very helpful. Unfortunately they go home at 5.

The only other staff we encountered were the wait staff (more on them later) and a couple of the evening receptionists who seemed to make it their life's goal to sell you on their overpriced tour packages. Literally an hour after checking in for a three night stay I was asked, by two separate staff, if we would be interested in taking a trip to stay at one of their other resorts the next day. According to their information they were charging 150 RM for a day trip to the Orangutan reserve (maybe 500m from the entrance to the resort). Entry there if you make your own way costs 30RM, 40 with a camera. Even if you have lunch there (15RM) and have to get a taxi to and from Sandakan (40RM each way) it's still 135 RM for your own trip, less if you share transport.

The room was a decent size (deluxe double room with balcony, 170MR per night incl breakfast) but the ac barely moved the air around meaning it was like an oven at night, the mattress on the bed was only slightly thicker than the sheets, the sheets were so thin they might as well not even be there, and since the mattress was too light to hold them in place as soon as you rolled over they weren't there anymore. The tv only received one watchable English language channel (in our room, in our friend's room even that was tinted blue).

The restaurant - oh the restaurant. It was like the staff were physically incapable of caring less about the customers. I've never encountered more apathetic waiters in my life. The food was awful and overpriced. My fiance ordered a hot dog as a snack one night and between three of us we couldn't finish it it was so bad. Literally everywhere in Sepilok that we ate - the orangutan rehab cafe, the nature resort across the road, even the 7 ringit lunch at the rainforest discovery centre was better than this place. On the last day we had an early check out and bus to catch, with our (resort arranged) shuttle to the stop leaving at 8:00am. We arrived at the restaurant at 7:20 and waited patiently for them to bring out the usual awful breakfast buffet. At 7:40 one of the staff asked us how we would like our eggs. We said we were waiting for the buffet. ten minutes later another waiter seperated themselves from the group that were sitting around smoking and drinking coffee and informed us that there was no buffet today, that we would have to order breakfast. We did. It arrived at 7:55. The food and service at this resort was so bad it became a running joke for the rest of our trip around Sabah.

The rest of the resort is reasonably attractive, from a distance. Upon closer inspection it turns out that all the delightful wooden walkways are in fact made out of fibreglass and resin, giving the whole place an oddly creepy feel of an old themepark. Others have complained about being charged 5 RM to use the swimming pool. I get it, these things take money to maintain and it's clearly stated everywhere that this is the case but personally I make it a policy not to swim in any pool that is so cloudy that I can't see the bottom of it. In the three nights we stayed I didn't see a single customer enter the water.

To sum up: If your are on a really tight budget, and desperate to be in walking distance from the orangutan reserve and RDC then stay here, but eat elsewhere. Otherwise there are three other resorts in the same area - each of which looked nicer than this one.

Room Tip: The deluxe room with balcony has a nice view of the grounds, but it was way too hot to use it.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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131  Thank Cherrycoke106
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
limjohnny, Owner at Sepilok Jungle Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 4, 2012

Thank you for choosing to stay with us.

Please accept our apology for the discomfort that you have while staying with us.

All our A/C are serviced in every 6 months. If we were informed that it is not working for 3 days in the same room, we could have easily fix it or even change room for our guests. We have replaced the mattress in the balcony last year and so far we have not received any complaints saying that it is paper thin.

Recently we have been receiving good feedback about our menu and food after we took actions from some of the negative feedback. It shows that there are improvement but we are sorry that it did not meet your standard.

We are not selling over priced tours.Normally, the trip to Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary is offered for those who are staying in Sandakan but we are offering it in the resort because there are tourists who want to know more about the Centre and the Orang Utan and not just go there to see the feeding. The price comes with an english speaking guide and the guide will bring the tourists to go through the rehabilitation process, a visit to the exhibition hall and watching the video. As there are different times for different activities, the guide will be there to make sure the tourists have completed everything. It also includes a returned transfer.

We serve buffet breakfast when we have 40 guests and above and if it is below than that, guests could order from the waitress. Sorry that it has caused a confusion to you.

Once again, thank you for your feedback and we will continue our best to provide the best for all our important guests.

Johnny

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Reviewed November 2, 2012

I stayed in a standard room, which was quite comfortable. The resort/hotel is surrounded by lovely gardens. The staff were very friendly. Breakfast was included. The lunch and dinner menus were a bit boring for a vegetarian, but fine.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Carpaccio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
limjohnny, Owner at Sepilok Jungle Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 4, 2012

Thanks for choosing to stay with us.

We are constantly trying our best to improve on our menu choices especially for vegetarian.

Thank you for your feedback.

Johnny

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Additional Information about Sepilok Jungle Resort

Address: Jalan Rambutan | Sepilok, Mile 14, Sandakan 90000, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan Division > Sandakan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 33 Hotels in Sandakan
Price Range: $27 - $77 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Sepilok Jungle Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Just 5 minutes walk to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Sepilok Jungle Resort offers comfortable lodging for visitors around the world to get close but un-intrusive glimpse of this nature paradise. It is enclosed within a tropical virgin Borneo Rainforest in Sandakan, Sabah (Borneo), Malaysia. Let its beautiful landscaped gardens and wide expanse of lush jungle transport you back in time. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sepilok Jungle Hotel Sandakan
Sepilok Jungle Sandakan
Sepilok Jungle Resort Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

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