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“Truly amazing!!”
Review of Osman's Homestay

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Osman's Homestay
Ranked #3 of 8 Sukau B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
St Albans, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Truly amazing!!”
Reviewed 8 May 2012

The Kinabatangan River is an amzing place and worth the visit. With the destruction of rainforest for Oil Palm Plantations, it is one of few remaining places of natural beauty in the area.

I cannot recommend Osman highly enough. His ability as a spotter is truly amazing. He would spot hidden snakes, orangutans and monitor lizards, point exactly where they were and it would take my wife and I another 10 seconds to finally see it. He even does this in the dark (with a torch!)

Osman does river safaris in the morning, afternoon and night all of which are amazing with different animals about at each time. Osman is very knowledgable and understands the animals so well, as to get you very close without causing them to run and hide!

His family are also lovely. His wife is a great cook and his twin daughters are great entertainment!!

On the flip side, they live in a traditional Malay riverside home (handbuilt by Osman). It is very basic and at the time we stayed there there was no running water for the toilets. That said, you get your own room with warm and comfortable enough beds. Whilst very tasty (the best we had in a month stay in Malaysia) the food provided is Malay cuisine only. Please bare this is mind before going, I would hate to see negative reviews from people going expecting luxury!

It is incredibly cheap for what you get and I can attest to Osman going that extra mile to find wildlife for you. Our night river cruise lasted an extra hour just because we said we having a good time! The booking process may seem a little worry inducing but I assure you it will be ok when you get there!

His wife deals with the bookings and doesn't speak perfect English. Text messaging will also work. I found it easier to confirm details of the booking with a hotel receptionist in Malaysia!!

Osman Homestay - +60 19 841 5259

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Clive O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oslo, Norway
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2012

We were 6 people who met in Sandakan and decided to go together to Osmonds place. As we arrived we asked about boat trips as we all wanted to do at least 2 or 3 trips and he he gave us a price of 50 R pr. person like the luxury resort is chargin and that was a little more than expected. But he said he would take us back to the jetty after loading our luggage in his place. He did take us back to the jetty, but then he started to argue and tell us that he didnt want us to stay in his home if we didnt took the boat ride with him cus having us without taking a boat ride with him did not give him any money!. We were all a bit shocked by his attitude and didnt really know how to react or what to do. He gave us a price of 35 each and we just decided to go back , we did one boat ride and left the next day. It was not nice. His wife tho..did make us good lunch and dinner. He told us we would get eggs and bacon for breakfast but after the boat incident we only got noodles..witch was ok enough. I would not recommend this place because i dont like that kind of a greedy attitude. Lying people is just not my cup of tea no matter where i am!!! Theres is other homestays to try out.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank lali_79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 December 2011

A truly unforgettable experience with Osman and his family. From arms-length encounters with Pygmy Elephants, to spotting no less than 5 primate species, to spotting bird species beyond count the river cruises were breathtaking. Upon arrival I was given a warm welcome by the whole family and served a delicious lunch by Osman's wife who really is an incredible cook. All members of the family are charming in their own ways and it is hard not to forge a connection even in a short space of time.

While I was there Osman was busy building two boats for an impending large booking he was accommodating, so to help out his father took me on my boat trips. I figure if you can't get the best man in the jungle, the man who taught him what he knows is a pretty remarkable substitute.

The accommodation is basic, but kept clean and well presented. The food is not presented like a restaurant and not the same as menu items you would find in a restaurant but they are delicious. The family are exactly that, a family. Not wait staff. So the smile you get with your service is genuine, you can connect with what life out there is like. Being out there spending time with a genuine family and seeing wildlife in one of the worlds bio-diversity hotspots is something I shall never forget. I definitely think I made the right choice. After all, you're in the jungles of Borneo, if you are wanting resort accommodation and to be waited on hand and foot you're doing it wrong.

TIP: To get to Osman you have a few options
Get a bus to Sukau Junction and meet their driver
Get their driver to pick you up directly from the airport (ask Osman for pricing)
Get a taxi directly to Sukau Junction (to meet their driver), or Sukau Village to get directly onto the boat. Taxi ride is a couple of hours (and from memory worked out to ~AUD40-50)
Sukau Junction is literally just a junction, you turn off a main highway and there is a small stopping bay on the right side of the road and maybe a vehicle or two parked there. Sukau Village is a village with a school and a shop and houses. If you are aiming for Sukau junction and you think you might be in a village you've gone too far. Osman's Homestay is just around the bend of the river from the village. (Make sure your phone is fully charged before you embark!)

Stayed July 2011, travelled solo
Helpful?
3 Thank TheApe81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2011

We booked with Osman due to the recommendations on this site some 12 months before our trip via text message (0060198415259). After one phone call I decided text was best as it helped with language issues - though having now met Osman his English is actually very good.
I think we got the "real deal" on our trip. Our 2 kids stated that it was the highlight of their trip (a 5 week trip which included some VERY posh and exciting places) and I have to say I agree with them.
Osman's family were fantastically welcoming, our 2 kids played all day with Osman's 6 kids of varying ages (language differences just didn't seem to matter). We had lovely food and felt utterly at home immediately we arrived. Our kids even went on the school run in the boat while we were there.
The main reason we were staying though was wildlife, and wow did Osman deliver that. We had 1 trip with Osman to the Birds Nest Soup caves (can't remember the name) which was a bit icky but utterly fascinating and 2x river cruises (one to spot beasties and 1 to the oxbow lake). The evening cruise where Osman went a LONG way downriver to try and find elephants for us was something I will never forget - if you can imagine standing on a river bank in the middle of 20x wild elephants of all ages while they trumpet at you and peer into the boat, you will come someway close to what we experienced. When I say we were in the MIDDLE, I mean the MIDDLE, I was perhaps 10m from at least 5-10 meters from at least 10 elephants - some of who'm were very young. The noise and smell were over powering and I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit scared. Osman does genuinely seem to have an understanding with the elephants though and it is quite clear that no other guides will get you that close. I have some truly remarkable photographs.
Note: the BBC chose Osman as their guide when making nature documentaries in Borneo if you need any further endorsement!
Osman is a character and made us laugh a lot, but beyond that he also cares deeply about the environment he is in and what will become of it. There was talk of setting up a fund to purchase some of the remaining forest close to the river to protect it, I hope he manages to do this or reviews of this river will be somewhat less exciting in the years to come.
Personally, I would not hesitate to go and stay with Osman, clearly he can't be there every day and sometimes he has a lot of people staying, but I wouldn't risk staying with somebody else as then you are GUARANTEED not to have Osman as your river guide - and you don't want that, you really don't.
I know I will never forget my stay there!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank skiesnpies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1 review
Reviewed 1 November 2011

Osman and his family were very welcoming. The house is a traditional Malay house, not a luxury resort (for instance, the shower is without actual showerhead and uses river water). So maybe not luxury, but the bed was clean and comfy and Osman's wife is an excellent cook.
The house is not that important however, because of the surrounding nature. Osman takes you on his little boat to spot the wildlife in the jungle next to the Kinabatangan river. He goes his own way and doesn't follow the other tour companies which makes it a much more personal experience. He know's what to look for and on my trip I was very lucky to spot elephants bathing in the water. We also saw them on land only a couple of meters away. Off course it's never guaranteed, but I think your chances to spot them are a lot higher when you go with Osman.

Stayed October 2011, travelled solo
Helpful?
Thank Susan Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Osman's Homestay

Property: Osman's Homestay
Address: Kinabatangan river, a few minutes by boat from Sukau village, Sukau, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Kinabatangan District > Sukau
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Sukau
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Osman's Homestay Sukau, Kinabatangan District

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