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“Fantastic lodge with amazing guides in a magical location”

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Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 30, 2010

We had the experience of a lifetime at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge with our spectacular guide Vivian Rudolph. The wildlife was spectacular, the food fantastic and the accommodation was very comfortable. We'll return as soon as we can! Beth

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BethToron2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 20, 2010

We stayed at the BRL lodge last month whilst we travelled around Borneo., At first we thought it was very expensive for a few nights stay but we decided to go for it based on some of the reviews we read and stayed for 3 nights/4 days.

The cost is partly due to the fact that in order to reduce the number of people going to the valley they need to make the lodge economically viable. The BRL is run by an NGO and works very closely with the WWF and the field research centre. We were luckly that it was just the two of us and our guide, we went off season during what everyone told us was the rainy season however it rains at whatever time you go it just rains a bit more from Oct. However we didn't miss a single trek due to the weather and trekked from 6.30am to 9pm every day doing as many long treks as we could.

Because so few people get to go to this part of the world your chances of seeing animals are high. We also went onto Mulu where you will see no animals because the number of people staying and walking around the trails has meant they have all moved further into the rain forest. The BRL is very careful to close trails down for months on end to encourage animals to stay near.

The service is second to none, at the end of every trek you are greeted with a cool towel (much needed after three hours trekking around!), the staff are very friendly and go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The food was the best we came across in Borneo with a great selection of local cuisine.

We stayed in a standard lodge which was perfect, we weren't in it too much but the lodge was refurbished earlier this year so all have been refitted. BRL also tries to make a possitive impact on the environment and the lodges have been build so air con is not required to keep the lodges cool and everything is recycled - a rareity in Borneo.

Our guide Amrafel was wonderful and has worked at the lodged for 10 years, he was very knowledgeable and helped us find some amazing finds - including wild orgautangs.

Be aware this is the jungle and it isn't sanitised. You will get leeches everywhere - I got bitten but the worse thing is the amount of blood - but it kind of adds to the wildness of it. Be prepared with wick clothing, good shoes which dry quickly and allow you to scramble, first aid kits, leech socks, hats and full length trousers. If you have a problem walking or can't deal with uneven walking terrain really consided if this is the place for you - the lodge is beautiful and it's great to stop in during your breaks between walks but you will be missing the point of going to the BRL which is being previledged to be able to get right into primary rainforest - something which even in Borneo is very hard to do now.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gstoat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2010

BRL is a wonderful place! The rooms are spacious, especially the luxury rooms overlooking the river which also have hot tubs on the verandah. Although there is no air conditioning the passive cooling system is surprisingly effective. The food is excellent and the restaurant area beautiful. The guides are very knowledgeable, and both the walking and driving safaris very good with a high chance of seeing a variety of animals. Large number of staff keeping the place clean and providing excellent, friendly service.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank MyReview186361
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2010

Stayed 2 nights at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley as part of our tour of Sabah.
It is along, nearly 3 hours, drive along dirt logging roads into the primary rainforest, but well worth it. A very warm welcome awaited us at the lodge which is quite spectacular in a clearing in the forest on the bank of a river, with the forest rising sharply upwards on the other bank. The semi-detached chalet, on stilts, was very large, clean and comfortable with a large well appointed bathroom with shower (no bath). There was a large open balcony overlooking the river and rainforest which had a double bath in which to soak after a trek in the jungle and enjoy the sights and sounds (e.g. gibbons) of the rainforest; lovely.
We enjoyed guided walks within the extensive grounds of the lodge, both during the day and at night, and saw some wonderful wildlife including : Orangutan, ref-leaf monkeys, owls, numerous frogs and spiders, leeches, millipedes, wonderful birds including : rhinoceros hornbill, oriental darter, white crested sharma, swifts and buff necked woodpecker. Also there were some spectacular flowers and butterfilies. There was also a night driive safari on the back of a truck when we saw the most spectacular flight of a flying squirrel and other nocturnal wildlife such as owls and a civet. An early morning walk to and across the high canopy walkway in the rainforest mist was yet another memorable experience.
The food and service were first class and the people are extremely lovely with always have a smile for you.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CaseyGarden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2010

Near the end of our 2 1/2 hr. bumpy ride on an unpaved road, a family of pygmy elephants came into view. Two adults, a teenager and 3 babies. We stopped but did not take photo's as advised by our driver. A civet cat also scampered across the road. And so began our rainforest adventure! Out of the darkness appeared Danum Valley Rainforest Lodge. We were greated by lei's of intertwined leaves a refreshing lemon grass tea and cool towels. Because of the lateness we went directly to the buffet dinner and were amazed by the selection of Malaysian curries, redangs, vegetables, and fresh fruits. Whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, the food was delicious and service was excellent under the direction of Henry Llames who seems to be there 24/7! Our room w/a view of the river and outside soaking bathtub was perfect. This is a green eco-lodge, solar powered. No a/c but a fan circulates the air. There is a contraption to keep away the mosqutoes but there weren't very many on property.
But the main reason to escape to this piece of heaven is to tour the rain forest canopy...high above the forest floor. Under the excellent guidance of Calixtus Laudi we discovered a world of red leaf monkeys, birds, fauna and silence. It was a magical journey across several well placed and maintained suspension bridges spiralling higher and higher over the mystical primary forest over 500 years old. I felt as if I was taken to the land of Avatar as red and black birds soared by.
We also trekked to the "jacuzzi"--actually a falls where people can swim or get a fish massage as fish nibble off old skin and tickle your feet. I thought the leech socks just a gimmick but one of our group did get "leeched" so it may be worth the investment.
One of our group had a special diet request. The chef was fantastic as he prepared the same vegetable and fish combination for breakfast, lunch and dinner altering the plating each time. Such creativity and accomodation is beyond par! Overall, highly recommend visiting the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. It was a nice vacation away from technology even though they do have internet connection in their business office. And it was re-creating to breathe the fresh air, to be in the rainforest, and to just be.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with friends
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7  Thank taraspirit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2010

We stayed here for 3 nights in September 2010. We came here after relaxing at the Rasa Ria and we loved it just as much, although was quite different and more hard work, but we expected that!

We got very lucky and got to see a group of 3 orang-utans, the first sighting in a week. That truly did make the tour for us but all other parts were great. The night drives, all the walks, the food, the staff, the welcome.

Our guide was fantastic, his ability to spot wildlife was simply amazing. Even when he’d point things out to me and I was a few cms away, I often couldn’t see things he’d spotted! He was a great laugh too and spoke the best English of any non-native speaker I’ve ever met! He understood all the jokes I made to my wife etc, was quite incredible!

The management were very nice too, when they realised it was our honeymoon they got us some free wine and decorated our room. The room was a deluxe room, which was very pleasant but we’d probably been spoilt by the Ocean wing at the rasa ria. I’d say it was 4 star, very nice but not amazing, but the view of the rainforest and the river was 5 star. Some red leaf monkeys even came to play opposite our room! But ultimately you don’t come to the middle of the rainforest to just sit in the room so it really was fine.

It was expensive at the outset but you don’t spend anything really when you’re there. Our bill on leaving was only £40 which was just drinks in the bar at the evenings, all soft drinks and food is included…also some of the money you pay goes towards the conservation of the area too. I think a 2 night stay would have been fine too, but 3 nights was very nice also and meant we got a few more walks and got an afternoon to relax.

Oh and the 2.5 hour bumpy road really isn’t bad at all…try travelling along the back roads of Uganda and Rwanda! Another couple we met even saw elephants on the journey! But the drivers are very good and safe and the transport comfortable so don’t let that put you off.

All in all a great and unforgettable end to our honeymoon.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank sparky_jim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2010

This lodge is very remote and deep in the rainforest, which is excellent. The drive to get to it is along a bumpy road, but if you have done much wildlife/nature travel, you will consider the condition of the road to be very, very good! Not a problem and well worth it.

The luxury of the lodge was a shock! This is a very gorgeous, service oriented place. Since it is the only lodge in this location and is essentially run by the government with the tourist revenue going to the people, I would not have been surprised to find not great accommodations - instead it was the best food and service of the entire trip, and a beautiful setting in every respect. The room had a ceiling fan and was very comfortable and clean with fluffy towels, drinking water provided, and even a mini fridge stocked with 4 sodas a day.

The food was the best we had the whole trip. Excellent offerings, variety and preparation. The service of the staff was incredible.

We had a great guide and although it can always be tough to see wildlife on foot, we did see many things. You need to bring leech socks or get them in the gift shop there. Bring a swimsuit so you can enjoy the jacuzzi pool (natural, under a waterfall) and tubing. The hiking varies from easy to harder, so be prepared to hike or to let them know your limitations. I had a foot injury and so some of the hikes were hard for me and the staff was kind enough to provide me with ice for the injury, and they have on site massage, which also helped alleviate the pain in my leg and foot after a lot of hiking.

Overall the only thing that could make this place better would be a room safe - and as we were leaving, there was one outside my door that appeared to be getting installed! Really a lovely experience in every respect. Memorable and highly recommended if you love nature and wildlife!!!

  • Stayed: September 2010
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1  Thank DAEsmae
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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