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“Elephant man!”
Review of Osman's Homestay

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Osman's Homestay
Ranked #4 of 8 Sukau B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 December 2012

There are two things to consider when you book with Osman

1. Accommodation

This is a homestay so if your expectations are basic rooms, local style food and a friendly, fun family who enjoy interacting with their guests then you will have a great time. It's a genuine homestay experience and that for me beats a hotel anytime. Of course if you are older or used to your home comforts and modern amenities then you might be better off booking into a higher class of accommodation.

2. Boat trips

Osman is an excellent guide. He is knowledgeable, he has great eyes for spotting and he has a very vibrant sense of humour! You'll see some great animals and be entertained as well. He's also pretty flexible when it comes to timings of trips and focusing on particular animals you want to see. His speciality is finding those elephants (although of course nothing is guaranteed).

We stayed with Osman for 3 days 2 nights and had an amazing time.

Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
5  Thank Munnsy75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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73 - 79 of 98 reviews

Reviewed 28 August 2012

The place itself is basic, what else would you expect if you go on a homestay in the jungle. But Osman is a remarkable guide and his wife a fantastic cook. You really feel part of the family, you'll have to, because there's only one place for all.
For the tours, make sure you have Osman as your guide. He can spot elephants by smelling them, we got out of our boat and could almost touch them (and vice versa...). He can find snakes and monitor lizzards while we even couldn't see them when we were in front of them. An amazing guide for sure.
But as other also pointed out, the river gets crowded with tourist boats and the palm oil plantations are destroying the natural habitat of the animals. So go there before it's too late...


  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Nic V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2012

We only stayed two nights at Osman, while the accommodations were pretty basic we had a really good time here. The jungle trip/boat trip was amazing!!! This was off course the reason we stayed here in the first place and was totally worth it. During the trip we saw wild orangutans, crocodiles, and elephant with her baby and numerous (hornbill) birds and other animals. An experienced guide, Osman may not tell a lot but he will find any animal that is in the nearby vicinity.
Back at his house we played games with the children and cats, had amazing and indulgent lovely home cooking meals from his wife and oldest daughter.
although the room and indoor planning was basic we came here for the wildlife and this was everything we had expected and more!! However staying in their family is a interesting and humbling experience as well as one more you are confronted what kind of luxuries we are taking for granted!!!
Christiane and Tjitske

Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
Thank Tjits948
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2012

Well what can I say about our stay with Osman & his family.
It was definitely an experience not to be missed for all the right reasons.
We arrived about lunchtime after driving across from KK & was shown to our room which was basic as said in other reviews but that it part of the reason we went.
After some tea my wife & I went out for a trip with Osman & straight away started to see Oriental Darts, Hornbills, Macaque's, water monitors, Kingfishers & of course Elephants. On the way back the sun was setting along the river & ended a great first trip.
Another couple had arrived shortly after we arrived back & dinner that evening was great after which we sat on the front porch watching the bats flying around & listening to the sounds of the river.
The following morning we went on another trip to an oxbow lake to see the Piranha (not piranha but your still hesitant about sticking your fingers in the water) & into the jungle were we say a mouse deer, spiders, a rather large black snake, wild boar & several other things.
The afternoon trip was much the same as the first but with a lot more elephants, proboscis monkeys & a few snakes.
The evening trip was something else. His ability to spot things in the dark is nothing short of remarkable. He would spot a Kingfisher sitting on the inner branches of a tree from 100m away & we got so close that I had to get him to back up because my camera was too close to focus. He spotted an owl sitting in a tree just above the river from well over 300m away & with his torch shining right on it I still couldn't see it from 50m until it flew.
The other cool thing about the evening trip was the thunderstorm happening not too far away in the distance lighting up all around as the lightning flashed across the sky.
Unfortunately it's not all good because the reason you see so many animals is because they have less & less habitat to survive in because of the ever encroaching Palm oil plantations which are still buying the land from the locals, chopping down the forest & planting palms. Not only this but the fertilisers & pesticides they use are running off into the river poisoning the river & subsequently all of the animals that survive on it.
It's supposed to be a wildlife reserve & the animals are supposed to be protected but the elephants we saw were grazing 20m away from a plantation with not too many options on which way to go.
The other downside is that there can be 15-20 boats around the elephants (or anything else) most with 2 stroke engines & the noise & fumes can be quite bad not only for us but you have to feel for the animals that have little choice but to eat in the few locations left.
There are very few places to see animals in the wild in Borneo & this is probably one of the best but they won't be there for long unless something drastic is done to stop the deforestation & polluting of the river.
Overall it was a very enjoyable stay with Osman & his family & if your feeling brave ask him about the special coffee for woman, but suggest you do it towards the end of your stay.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank flatovercrest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2012

After reading amazing reviews on Trip Advisor (see below), we decided to stay at Osman’s. The price: 50MYR/person for a night including all food. 50MYR/person for a boat tour. This was more than we wanted to spend but Osman sounded pretty cool so we went with it.
The room was about as basic as it could be. A bed, a fan that only worked if the cord was placed at the perfect angle (we used a Band-Aid to accomplish this), a roof and floor, a door that didn’t close unless you latched it from the inside.
The rest of the house is very basic as well. In fact, our room seemed to be the nicest.
I didn’t care about the rough room though. In fact, it was kind of fun and it had a view of the river. We were there for the boat tours: one in the afternoon (we were told the best time to see animals), and one at night. Unfortunately, Osman wasn’t there. If we had known that he wouldn’t be our guide we probably would have gone somewhere else. Disappointing, but we did see some elephants, proboscis monkeys, a sleeping python, and some humans. The boat driver basically followed the other boat tours around and stopped when they stopped. He didn’t give us any information on the animals other than their names, which we already knew. “Elephant.” No [--], buddy.
The night tour was a huge disappointment. It was only an hour long. The first animal we saw was an owl in a tree that was on the property of the homestay. Then we saw a kingfisher. That’s it. You can’t blame them if the animals aren’t around but I expected a longer tour than an hour and the guide (Osman’s son) seemed anxious to go home.
The food was hit and miss. Our dinner was tasty (chicken, rice, and bok choy) but our lunch was kind of lame (eggplant, rice, and a hard-boiled egg). She apologized for it as she set it down on the table.
The children were cute at first but after making one cry we were done with them. One of the twins is evil. Try to guess which one! The neighbor kid is a huge cheater when it comes to cards. Watch out for that little bugger. It was an unforgettable experience but we probably would have been better off not booking ahead and staying at the backpacker lodge where the boat picked us up. Their tour had a boat driver and a guide, giving them information about the animals, whom we kept trying to eavesdrop on as our boat followed behind them.
The major thing that this place was lacking was Osman.

Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
2  Thank itchyfeetcheap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2012

We have just left Osmans and have to say it was incredible! If you want to get away from the big shiny hotels which don't let you see any of the real malaysia.. then this is the place. As such.. dont come here expecting posh accomodation.. this is a real home! The food cooked by Osmans wife was probably one of the best i have had in Borneo. One evening Osman went and got fresh prawns for dinner.. which were delicious. The boat trips were amazing too, seeing everything we wanted, from pygmy elephants to a orungutan.. and so close too! Well worth visiting. Rich & Lucy

  • Stayed: June 2012
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2  Thank RichSpurge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2012

We stayed 2 nights and 3 days at Osman's, which we really enjoyed!
Good food, nice rooms, lovely family and best of all awesome River cruise. We saw a LOT of pygmy elephants (50+), Proboscis apes (50+) and other types of smaller monkeys (80+)
Unfortunately we didn't see any orangutans, but the some other people we met there, saw some the day before...
We also had a very nice experience when we helped Osman bring a deer (ha had shot the night before) back from the jungle, followed by a dip in the river.

Room Tip: We didnt really see anything during the morning cruise...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank knobknob
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

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

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