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Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 30, 2010

20 out of 20 ! The lodge is located in an extraordinary place, in the middle of the jungle. The place is incredible, the chalets are great, the service is perfect. The direct contact with the jungle is so amazing ! As for animals, as says the guides "hope for everything, expect nothing !", but still we saw orang utans twice in 4 days. This place is quite expensive, but it's definitely worth it

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank CarnetDeVoyageur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 21, 2010

BRL was the very best part of our two month trip to Borneo. It is one of the few places you can travel so deep into the rainforest and stay in a 5 star resort! The guides here were the best we had in Sabah and we saw samba deer, western tarsier, hornbills, leopard cats as well as a few local orangutans who l
live there year round. The food is 5 star and was the best we ate in Malaysia. The accommodation are beautiful and there is a lot of wildlife around the resort itself. The program of activities was the best I have seen in all my travels ranging from night drives to tubing down the river to day long hikes to see wildlife. It was a very memorable stay!

  • Stayed: June 2010
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1  Thank wildlifefanatic_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2010

We spent 4 nights at the BRL in September, 2010, as part of a three week trip through Sabah. Especially given the lodge's location deep in the primary rain forest, the accommodations are very comfortable (except for the mattresses, which are thin and hard as seems to be common throughout Malaysia's smaller cities and rural areas). We had a deluxe chalet with a view across the river. From our outdoor bathtub, we could see the macaques playing by the river, and in the evenings we would often spot deer from our porch. I would definitely recommend splurging on a deluxe chalet both for the much, much nicer views than the standard rooms offer, and for the giant soaking tub. After the impossibly hot treks through the rain forest, nothing feels better than soaking in a cool bath.

Service in the lodge and the restaurant was attentive. At meals, we sometimes found the servers hovering. It seemed that after every sip of water we drank, our glass was refilled! We had a few minor issues with housekeeping, who forgot to refill our potable water or replace towels some days.

Ultimately, we did feel a bit disappointed in the wildlife viewing here. Our guide was a novice, and we did not feel that he was particularly gifted in tracking animals or noticing smaller things. Every interesting insect and reptile we saw was because WE spotted it, not our guide. We arranged for a private guide so that we could set our own schedule and pursue our interests. To his credit, our guide was very flexible about going on extra-long treks, but we wish he had shared more knowledge of the rain forest with us and followed our interests in insects and reptiles more.

A major issue is that the lodge was full all summer and the orangutans in particular have been scared off by all of the human traffic. The scientists who oversee the area have asked the lodge to close several of their trails in the hopes that the orangutans will return. We did "see" an orangutan (by which I mean that we saw a blur of orange fur in the top of a tree), but almost none of the other guests at the lodge while we were there did, and even many of the usual monkeys were scarce. The general aura among guides and guests alike was one of disappointment. We luckily also visited Sukau, where wildlife was plentiful. If you're very committed to seeing Borneo's wildlife, definitely don't put all of your eggs in this basket, but rather stay in several different areas of rain forest.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Kismet007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2010

We recently stayed for 3 days 2 nights at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge during a longer, 6 week trip in the region.

First of all, 3 days and 2 nights is enough only for a taste, so, if your time permits, DEFINITELY stay for the extra day. We are younger and athletic so were able to do most of the hiking trails even in the limited time, but even if that is possible, an extra day would certainly benefit. I would've stayed for a week if I could.

I will try not to repeat the millions of other praising reviews, but do have some additional insights/ comments:

1. The road to the lodge...is just not that bad. It is a bit bumpy, but nothing compared to wildlife or cultural experiences in some other parts of Asia such as PNG or Laos. The drivers are very careful and slow and the cars are very comfortable. Honestly, we barely noticed the road and the wildlife sightings during the drive were an added perk.

2. The guides are...nothing short of fantastic. They are young and passionate about what they do. Our guide, Ryan, was simply stellar. He was tons of fun, in shape to run through the jungle, had a great sense of humor, excellent English (he understood sarcasm, which is a very rare thing) and a keen eye for the animals. His top priority was always our safety (like when we saw a black spitting cobra) and our comfort (my wife was not a fan of the night jungle hike so he made sure she was ok). Most of all though, when we said that we would praise him on TripAdvisor, his only comment was to please make it clear that he is not special and that all of the guides are that good. That is both great humility and shows just how close all of the guides are to each other. We found that very honorable. Finally, on guides, the head guide, Edmundo, is excellent. He runs a tight ship and is a very nice guy and goes out of his way to take care of the guests.

3. The rooms are awesome. We paid the extra bit to have river views and the jacuzzi and definitely recommend it if you have the budgetary flexibility. Note, though, that these premium rooms are a bit far from the main lodge if you forget something.

4. Borneo Nature Tours (BNT), the parent company, can really come through. We decided to book with them for our entire Sabah experience, including climbing Mt. Kinabalu. We had lots of problems with Sutera (the company that runs the tourism concession in Kinabalu park), and after letting them know, BNT nearly immediately made up for it. They got us a partial refund from Sutera and then went out of their way to make sure that absolutely everything at Borneo Rainforest Lodge was perfect. In the end, their service was extraordinarily impressive. They met with us in person in KK to hear our issues on Kinabalu and then had things rectified as quickly as possible. Special compliments to Alex Wong, Aura and our very friendly and pleasant guide/ handler from BNT in the KK area, Zee.

5. The food is great - try the Rendang and Lamb Kazi!

6. The fact that there is wireless internet is just stunning. It isn't fact, BUT YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JUNGLE, so it is just amazing that it exists.

7. Vs. African safari, we thought it was just great. The added challenge of having to trek to find the animals vs. them simply hanging out on a savannah adds to the excitement in my mind.

In summary, we can not recommend this highly enough. We will back for sure both as a couple and then when we have kids. The place is just magic.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank RagnarKnox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2010

This is definitely one of the most special places we have ever visited.
The drive from Lahad Datu (where most of guest start from) to the Lodge is very long and bumpy (it took us almost three hours!) but once you get there it's totally worth it.
The staff greets the new guests with garlands made of leaves, fresh towels and a nice welcome drink. The main pagoda/hall has an incredible atmosphere something between an African lodge and a colonial style villa. Absolutely unique. The resort is properly in the middle of nowhere, just a tiny space in the middle of the jungle. The rooms (we had a deluxe) were beautifully furnished, warm and chic, and the bath tub on the balcony is a real treat: you can take a bath while listening to the rain falling on the jungle.

Meals are excellent, with a quite large choice of local and international dishes, with excellent service. And at night the atmosphere in the main reception area (where the restaurant and bar are) is really something special.

The guides are super professional and are able to give you all sorts of information: obviously they can't guarantee that you'll actually see any animals, this is no zoo so animals come and go! We were lucky enough to see a wild Urang-Utang, but you cannot be 100% sure to spot any wildlife.

We did all of the activities from the morning trek (the sunrise over the jungle is fantastic) to the night safari. Some walks (like the one to the viewpoint) are quite challenging but most of them are really worth it.
The lodge is incredibly elegant but still a place for real nature/adventure lovers: if you have issues with insects, heat, mosquitos or sudden rains, maybe you should consider somewhere else!
We were sorry to leave: this is one of those places you really can't forget, pure magic!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank roadtripping1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2010

After the bumpy 2-3 hour drive you are greeted with a jungle lei and meet the guide who has been assigned to you during your stay. The walks are great, bring Jungle Juice and insect repellant clothing--they work! The wild animals are some of the highlights, we had no expectations and thus were not disappointed. Favorite sightings were samba deer, civet cats, orang utans and red-leafed monkeys. The early morning walk in the mist on the sky canopy is incredible. The staff is extremely helpful, friendly, polite and make you feel at home. We upgraded to the deluxe room that overlooked the river with an expansive view of the rainforest -- it was well worth it. Our guide, Donnie, was great.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Rhonda123itsme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2010

The BRL was the highlight of our recent trip to Sabah. The high quality of the lodge, the food and the service would be good anywhere, but to deliver this in the heart of the rainforest is admirable. The restaurant had a stunning setting with great food, tablecloths and napkins (much appreciated after the disposable tissues which passed for napkins in most of Sabah) and wonderful service. We so appreciated the cold flannels on return from jungle treks. The absolute highlight was the tub on the balcony of our chalet. To sit up to our necks in cool water and watch macaques playing in the trees across the river and hornbills flying past was magic.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dilstonite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Address: Danum Valley Conservation Area 88100, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Danum Valley Conservation Area
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Danum Valley Conservation Area
Price Range: $190 - $265 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Borneo Rainforest Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A low density Jungle Lodge with 31 Twin Sharing Chalets located in the largest Conservation Area in Sabah which is home to 275 species of birds, 110 species of mammals & one of the oldest virgin rainforest in the world. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Borneo Rainforest Hotel Sabah

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