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“Can't get any better!”

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Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Aarhus, Denmark
Level Contributor
131 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Can't get any better!”
Reviewed 22 August 2013

The lodge is great, the food as well and the overall experience was fantastic!

The "rainforest" itself might be tiny and pushed out to the river but if you go there to spot monkeys, apes, birds etc. you've definitely come to the right place! And if you really cross your fingers you'll also find wild boars and elephants!

All the talk about the lodge being basic I can't quite see. The rooms (stayed in two of them and there are 20 in total) were very nicely equiped with a wonderful bed, rackes for your clothes and a nice bathroom with big showers. Yes the showers in the morning can and most often will be chilly but come on - you're in the jungle and the water is warmed by solar panels so what did you expect?

And if it's good enough for Sir David Attenborough then it's good enough for me! 'nough said :)

Room Tip: If you're planning your trip well ask when the elephants have last been spotted 'cause they...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank ceklarsen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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628 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (116)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Alton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
89 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for 2 nights as part of our tour. With three of us in the room, it was still comfortable. As others have said the lack of a/c was a challenge for us, however it is a lodge in the rainforest. The solar powered shower was great in the evenings but meant chilly showers in the morning. Our guide "Ramon" was very knowledgable, had fantastic English and enjoyed learning new words, 'unbearable and wobbly.'
We were disappointed not to see Pygmy elephants but understand nature is just that.
Note to the management, the boat we had on the way back to Sandakan with bench seating along the sides was not comfortable. In fact once we got onto the open water, most of us stood up.

Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank AliDUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
84 reviews
76 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2013

The purpose of a visit to the jungles of Borneo is to see wildlife. Given that, SRL passes with flying colors due to its top-tier guides and great location. That said, the lodge itself is far from luxurious. It does the job, and might be the best one along the Kinabatangan River, but it's not in the same league as other top lodges around the world such as Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley, Bosque Del Cabo in Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula or any of the finer safari camps in East Africa.

The rooms are a bit tight and are very basic. Despite being renovated a few years back, it didn't seem like it. The rooms are right up against the hallway, where the noise of people walking past can get annoying when you're trying to catch an afternoon snooze. It also takes forever for hot water to come out, turning showers into a prolonged experience.

One highlight of SRL is the food. It's buffet style and is excellent. There's a mix of Asian and Western offerings, and everything is tasty without being heavy or greasy. The dining area overlooks the river and is the one place where you get a sense of luxury in the jungle.

The river cruises were fantastic. Proboscis Monkeys, Macaques and Rhinoceros Hornbills were in abundance, and cruising through tiny tributaries (and not just on the Kinabatangan itself) was an experience unto itself. Be forewarned, however, that the only walking (wildlife) activity consists of a 10 minute loop around an elevated boardwalk. Excursions are pretty much all water based. Therefore, if you want to mix things up I'd suggest you combine Kinabatangan with Danum Valley or some other place that offers hiking.

One other thing to note. All of our river excursions (save for the night cruise) were private. We booked a private boat and guide through Borneo Nature Tours. There was no drop-off in the quality of the guide, since BNT owns SRL, so the personnel will be the same as you get from the lodge itself. It was not that much extra $$; I highly recommend going private!

As long as you're not expecting luxury you'll be fine.. but expect to pay top dollar regardless. In summary, I give it 5 stars for the location and guides, and 3 stars for the lodge itself.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank KI-NRT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SRL_ADMIN, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, 16 August 2013
Dear kL-NRT. Thank you for your kind comments. SRL is actually owned and operated by Borneo Eco Tours (BET) and not BNT. I guess the different companies are quite easy to mix-up. Thank you for booking with us (BET) and we're glad you liked your private tour. There are some who do request for it and it just means an extra allowance to dedicate the guide and the river boat but it does add to the mystique of being here in the Borneo Rainforest.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2013

Our friends and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay ay Sukau Rainforest Lodge. The rooms are fairly basic but in keeping with the lodge's eco friendly environment and with all the activities, you don't spend much time in your room anyway. Food was included as part of our package and was really good, buffet style on a terrace overlooking the river. I also loved how tours to the Sepilok Orangutang rehabilitation centre, canopy walk and Sandakan war memorial were included in the package and fitted around your travel to and from the lodge.

The wildlife cruises were fantastic and we were lucky enough to see a herd of Pygmy Elephants, Orangutangs, various breeds of monkeys, Hornbills, Kingfishers and even some crocodiles. If you get a chance, would also recommend the night cruise tour. Although there is a small cost for this additional cruise, you get to see birds and pythons up close and because there are no city lights, you can enjoy the true beauty of the night sky and stars!!

There are a number of lodges along the Kinabatangan River now so the area is a lot more touristy than I had expected, however I would definitely stay at the lodge again and will never forget how close we got to the animals along the river banks.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank CathElle01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
Reviewed 28 July 2013

We came looking for a wonderful relaxing experience and this is how it turned out . Staff at Sukau Rainforest Lodge are friendly and very obliging. Most staff speak English and you get the feeling that nothing is too much trouble. Rooms are clean and comfortable if not luxurious. Solar heated water is hot and plentiful. Staff are very obliging and keen to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Our guide Abdel was a great source of information and spotted Pygmy elephant, proboscis monkeys, macaques, hornbills, and was able to identify many kinds of flora and fauna. He helped make our tour enjoyable and informative. A great way to spend a few days getting to know the natural environment!

Room Tip: All rooms dare the same!
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Robyn284
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
40 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2013

My wife and I generally enjoyed our recent stay at this lodge although it could have been better. We saw some good wildlife including a wild orang and a heard of elephants. But its not a place I would over rate. Its not plush by any means even though they charge high prices. The rooms are decent but there is no air conditioning, a serious miss considering the price. Even the national park at Turtle Island provides good A/C. Their public lounge area is not very comfortable and it feels a bit like camping. The food was good although tea time was fried bananas and no milk for the tea.

Overall, we had mixed feelings. I would give it a better rating if it was better value.

Room Tip: They are all the same
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank MrBill_89509
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bali, Indonesia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 20 July 2013

We loved our stay in this authentic lodge build so unobtrusively into the jungle you barely knew it was there. Getting there is also part of the adventure, instead of going by road, this lodge brought us in via river from Sandakan in a comfortable cruise boat. We had two vibrant and well informed guides, friendly and efficient service, and great vegetarian food! The rooms were very nice and immersed in jungle with the bathroom having its own little sitting room looking out to the jungle. We loved the primordial symphony of all creatures great and small heralding in the sunrise.
There was so much to see and do we were fully occupied from morning til night of our two day stay, three would have been better. We ttried the foot spa treatment and our feet looked 10 years younger, we were mystified at the pink vibrant youth of what was our tired unattended heels.
The wild life abounded, as Sukau is the original company working for environmental preservation in the kinabatangan river, they knew where and when to go. The calm cruising in a small boat by electric motor deep in the jungle's mist shrouded morning is an experience we will never forget.
We saw many long nosed proboscis monkeys, horn bill, and myriads of bird life. Crocs often showed up at any time and on the night tour we saw nested kingfisher birds and owls with their catch in claw. We found the wine selection to be of great value and loved sitting at the riverside restaurant watching the sun go down over the jungle canopy. Then the star of the show, the male orangutan, sitting opposite the lodge just as we were leaving, he was sitting nonchalantly on the riverside in a tree in full view stripping the barks for his breakfast! Highly reccommended, Sukau Lodge is THE place to be.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank TravelBugs1010101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Property: Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Address: Sukau, Lower Kinabatangan River | 2 1/2 hours from Sandakan by boat, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Kinabatangan District
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Kinabatangan District
Hotel Class:3 star — Sukau Rainforest Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The award winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge nestles on the banks of one of Borneo's most important waterways, the Kinabatangan River, home to many of Borneo's magnificent wildlife. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the rainforest and the cacophany of its inhabitants, its majestic birds, all 7 species of Borneo Primates including Borneo's iconic Proboscis Monkey, Orangutans in their natural habitat as well as herds of Borneo Pygmy Elephants. Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers the rare comfort and luxury in the midst of the Borneo Rainforest whilst retaining an Eco-Lodge ethos, the delicate balance of true sustainability. We promise to give you and your family an experience you'll always remember and one you'll never regret. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sukau Rainforest Hotel Sabah
Sukau Rainforest Lodge Kinabatangan District, Malaysia - Sabah

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