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Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 April 2014

If you are in Sabah you must visit Sukau. The place is perfect for wildlife watching. The prices are a little high but it is worth it. We saw Oran Utan, crocodiles, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elefants and alot more.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jonas N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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432 - 438 of 696 reviews

Reviewed 22 April 2014

While you can have a very nice trip to this lodge, there is much that needs to be improved, and there is a strong sense of a very popular resort resting complacently on its laurels and slowly going downhill. On the plus side, it is nicely situated on the river in the trees, and there are daily activities on the river and a nice road trip to the local bat caves. But the rooms are small and cramped and, in some cases, unbearably hot (there is no air-conditioning, and the fans may or may not work very effectively, depending which room you get). This was the only place in our three weeks in Borneo where one met (some, by no means all) staff who were grumpy and lazy, clearly fed up with tourists. The bar was often unstaffed and no sign of where anyone might be found to help. The shop advertised leech socks for sale, but didn't have any in stock. Coffee and tea were meant to be available all day, but it depended if anyone could be bothered to replenish the supplies. Milk was sometimes left out, at other times not. Meals could be decent, but were variable in quality. Breakfasts were uninspiring, and offered horrible coffee and orange squash rather than fresh juices. Although on our arrival there was a herd of (rarely sighted) pygmy elephants down the river, the lodge sticks to a rigid routine of where you visit, and unluckily our schedule did not coincide with the animals, who were accordingly gone by the time we were allowed to visit that part of the river. The much-vaunted electric boats are hardly ever used. Night cruises were surprisingly effective, however, with good bird sightings, and we saw orang utans on all 3 days we stayed here. The so-called jungle is, in fact, a very narrow strip of trees on the border of the river. Just a few yards beyond the river banks are miles and miles of palm plantations, where the jungle habitat has been totally destroyed. Overall, while a stay here has much to offer, the resort disappoints and needs some urgent management attention.

Room Tip: The lodge is generally full, so it's hard to choose your own room but, if possible, demand to ch...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank weltravelledofSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Timothy_Teo, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 April 2014

Dear weltravel, We apologize if your trip to Sukau was disappointing. It would be more beneficial if you could write to us to let us know which of our staffs were rude as all comments we've received about them have been positive thus far and such a comment is unfair to them. Do understand that most of our staffs grew up in the interior with little education and training. We do our best to make the atmosphere pleasant and do know that we are fully committed to Sukau Rainforest Lodge in every way. The management has and will always have Sukau Rainforest Lodge at the foremost of our minds. We wish you the best of travels.

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Reviewed 17 April 2014

Everything about Sukau - from the staff to the food to the accommodation was excellent. I've already recommended it to three people. Our guide, Hamit, found us a herd of pygmy elephants, five orangutans in the wild and lots more wildlife from proboscis monkeys to crocs and birds. He had a lovely manner and was an expert. Everyone treated us wonderfully and we had one of the best holidays ever.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank LEB1983
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Timothy_Teo, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 April 2014

Dear LEB1983, Wow! Thank you for recommending us to your friends. It means a lot to us when you've had a great time but when you've recommended us to your friends, it really tells us what a great time you had. We're so glad to be a part of creating special memories of your time here in Borneo. Safe journeys and do come back someday :)

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Reviewed 10 April 2014

This was our first visit to Sabah. We loved it. We booked through Borneo Eco Tours. I had expected a much rougher jungle experience and at first I was annoyed by how easy it all was, including the boardwalks, but appreciate that they are to protect the forest from tourist foot-traffic. The boat trips were excellent. Our guides were very well informed and fantastic wildlife spotters. We had a very relaxing four day visit that included early morning and afternoon boat trips, and a trip to a bat cave where we also saw monkeys and raptors. Identified approx 30 bird species on the boat trips and we saw two orangutans in the wild as well as crocodiles, snakes, proboscis monkeys and macaques. Excellent catering, very friendly staff. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: If you are a couple but have different surnames, make sure they know you are a couple. We were given...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Alison M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Timothy_Teo, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 April 2014

Dear AlisonM, We can't wait to have you back at Sukau Rainforest Lodge. We'll continue to keep improving and upgrading the facilities so hopefully the next time you're back, it'll be even better with more varieties of activity, especially during the early afternoon downtime. Appreciate your kind feedback. Until we see you again!

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Reviewed 9 April 2014

We stayed 2 nights. The motorboat from Sandakan took about 2hrs or so-- saw one orang. in a tree along the way. I get motion sickness easily, but had no problem on the boat, the ride was smooth, even dozed off.

The rooms are not chalet style like other wilderness lodges I have stayed in, more corrider style, so they were on the dark side, as the only natural light is from the back window. The room/bath were modern and clean, and had a nice shower. (FYI, no hair dryer). There is no a/c, but with the windows open and fan on high, was able to cool down enough at night.

We had an afternoon cruise our first afternoon, the next day had an early morning and an afternoon cruise, and then we did the optional evening cruse after dinner. The day of the departure we were heading to the caves and Lahad Datu, so no activity that morning. Just cruising on the river was enjoyable, and we saw numerous proboscis monkeys, macaques, monitor lizards, glimples of crocodile, and interesting birdlife. I almost did not do the evening cruise since it was an optional cost of 60 RM ( and at other places, I have sometimes found night excursions underwhelming)-- but was glad we did it, as got to see some nice kingfishers for good photo ops.
All excursions were done with the same group/guide you are assigned to ( there were 8 in our boat).

Dining-- average, not bad, not exceptional, buffet style, with typically a soup starter, rice, potatoes, 2 vegetables, a veggie entree, and a couple of meat entrees, fruit. As another poster mentioned, flies are prevalent. I also did not like the forced assigned seating for every meal (had to always eat at the same table as your group)--- though it is nice to meet other travelers, sometimes you want the option of alone time or to not make small talk if tired . When we came back from our morning excursion, no one else was in the dining area for breakfast yet when we arrived (and all the tables were never full at meals), and we tried to eat at a smaller table, but were still directed to our "assigned" table--- being on holiday, I was not up to making a fuss about it.

Also I would suggest that unless you are a heavy napper, to bring ear plugs--- I don't know if what was just an exception during our short stay, but I found during the "down time", there was work going on around the lodge rooms that was quite noisy-- it would seem that unless an emergency, that maintenance chores could be performed while guests are out on the river.

On the plus side, the setting and facilities are lovely, staff polite, friendly, funny and courteous and I applaude their efforts to try to be eco-conscious.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank anony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Timothy_Teo, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 April 2014

Dear anony, Thank you for your feedback and comments. So glad you did opt for the night cruise. It is an optional activity as not everyone is so daring as to go out on the river in the dark but it almost always is a worthwhile and very enjoyable experience, definately one of the highlights. You are right about your comments on the table seatings and maintenance work during your downtime. Maintenance work should almost always be left till the times when guests are out on the river unless it is something urgent. We try and encourage our staff to ask what would the customer prefer but sometimes they don't, probably more to do with their shyness rather than anything else. Our apologies there.Thank you for your appreciation of our staffs and how we run the place. It's not easy but hey it really is worth it!

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Reviewed 5 April 2014

We stayed at this lodge as part of our Borneo expereicne managed by Rustuc Borneo. It is a 5 star but if you are looking for luxury this is not the place to stay. it was amazing for the wildlife and the river cruises and it was well organised and efficient. The food was basically asian with a twist of western which was plentiful, fresh and well done, only draw back is you eat outside under the desk and many times the flies really made some meals unpleasant and hecne hurried. i would suggest some oart could have bug screens, so that you could eat without the flies landing on everything you ate. it is however a beautiful porch with lovely views over the river. The staff were friendly and mostly efficient. The rooms were stylish and beds comfortable but you could not get away from the smell of urine which pervaded the room and the en suite due to the eco status of the lodge, but i did wonder if they could investigate some better cleaning products, the occasional roach ran by too! But this is to be expected within the jungle. I did feel it might be improved by putting in a swimming pool which some eco lodges do have. There is not much to do from the time the early river cruise comes back (5.30- 8am) until the next one goes out about 4pm, so bring reading materials or an i pad, there is internet occasionally. There are additional visits you can book, but beware if you decide to do the Bat cave. We booked this somewhat innocently to discover it was possibly the worst thing I have ever tried to done. the smell from the cave hits you before you get near it, wear wellies as the roaches run everywhere and the bat pooh is knee deep. It is in a very primitive part of town, no facilities and the cost to go was high (about $40 per person- not worth it at all) . The drawbacks were not communicated at all on the flyer in the lodge. it is for keen bat lovers only and even then its tough. However not the end of a sour note, the trip was amazing and we saw some wonderful widllife. The guides are not experts at discussing this so read up, but they were excellent at finding the wildlife and nothing felt rushed regarding taking photos either, bottom line i would recommend this place, but bring all you need and the sarongs provided for evening wear was a lovely touch.

Room Tip: No air conditioning so bring cotten light cothes and plenty of deet. all rooms were the same
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Lizanner2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2014

This lovely riverside lodge gives you the best opportunity to see lots of birds and mammals. We spent the days in the comfortable motor boats which, when the boat men turn off onto a small tributaries, switch to very quiet electric motors. This enables you to slide along the river bank and see amazing views of Orangutans, large families of Proboscis monkeys, Crab-eating Macques, spectacular birds, and even a large Reticulated Python!
The lodge itself is beautifully designed with very lovely rooms with large pebble-floored showers where you can refresh yourself several time a day!
The food served on the wooden deck overlooking the river is delicious and varied and catches a cooling breeze. There is even a nice shop where you can purchase some locally made bead work jewelry. A lovely, exotic,comfortable, nature-filled lodge!

Room Tip: We had room 2 which had some wifi service
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank JaneCat
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

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 
Also Known As:
Sukau Rainforest Hotel Sabah
Sukau Rainforest Lodge Kinabatangan District, Malaysia - Sabah

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