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“Sukau brings you to nature”

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Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Sukau brings you to nature”
Reviewed 17 August 2014

Another stop for our 17 strong group tour of Borneo. What can I say it was worth the trip. There has been safety concerns regarding Sandakan and Seppidan area from kidnappings etc. but this lodge's location is safe. The river boat goes through a checkpoint area manned by police and military staff. The resort is one of half a dozen in area. Our boatman stopped to buy some fresh water prawns for us to eat later in evening. We saw salt water crocs, birds and other wildlife on way in.

Arrival into the lodge was adventurous and anticipation was in the air for what we would hope to find. Good welcome from staff who supplied cold face towels and welcome drinks before introducing us to the lodge and staff. Rooms clean and comfortable, no air con just fans but that was fine as it was enough to keep us cool in rainforest. The lodge has plank walks into Forrest area and we saw monkeys up close and this was safe enough for the children in our group to explore with torches at night as long as they do not stray of the plank walk.

Evening buffet was fresh, tasty with curry, red snapper, noodles, rice etc. breakfast next morning by river was delightful. In evening go to waters edge turn off all the lights and watch the stars, an amazing sight. Also night river safari recommended. Lots of wildlife to see and picture opportunities galore. Evening dress code sarongs for men and women...supplied by resort..added to fun.

Note this is a remote lodge and so not 4 star. Wake up calls conducted by local wildlife!! The resort does very well for location and resources and staff eager to please. My friends all said the would go back for opportunity to experience the wildlife of Borneo and I would agree. Some maintenance needed in some areas but note they were in process building a pool.

Insect repellent needed.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ironman16
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 (116)
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English first
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2014

I visited the lodge for 3 nights and took quite a few river cruises to view the wildlife. The guides were great! We saw many elephants, beautiful birds, crocodiles, a variety of monkeys, and even orangutans. I particularly enjoyed the night spotting cruise to see the wildlife sleeping by the riverbanks. The staff took care of everything and made the experience relaxing and smooth. The room was very nice and the lodge itself is beautiful, especially the rainforest walk behind. Not least of all, I really enjoyed the yummy food. Thanks to everyone there for a great visit!

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ang_traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Köping, Västmanlands Län, Sweden
Level Contributor
288 reviews
86 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2014

This is probably the best rainforest lodge along the Kinabatangan River. It is about two hours boat ride up river to get there. But the chance to spot wild orangutans is big. We spotted the rainforest "big five" with help of the excellent guides working at the lodge. Asian Pygmee Elephant, Crocodile, Proboscis, Orangutan (3) and Borneo Gibbon (2). The service and food at the Lodge is excellent. But be aware that there are mosquitos and no air condition. But it is absolutely worth it.

Room Tip: Stay at least two nights
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Michael A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Middlesex
Level Contributor
46 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2014 via mobile

We stayed for two nights and had 3 wildlife boat trips all of which we're amazing. We saw so much wildlife including Orangs and Pygmy elephants.

The lodge is very well run by extremely pleasant and knowledgable staff. The food is excellent. We were staying in a room next door to the Sir David Attenborough room! He stayed there whilst filming in the Gomantong Caves a few years ago.

The rooms are very comfortable, there's no A/C which isn't really a problem as there's an efficient fan above the bed in each room. I don't think it would be right to have A/C churning away in the middle of such a natural environment!

There's also a wonderful boardwalk at the back of the lodge.

I'd highly recommend a visit to this beautiful lodge.

Stayed August 2014
Helpful?
Thank NewlandsMiddlesex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed 4 August 2014

Thank you to all the wonderful staff at Sukau Rainforest lodge for a truly unique experience. A relaxing, friendly stay highlighted by the wild life we saw. I would recommend this stay to all. Fantastic riverside location. Bonus when the pool goes in-just need to cool down in July as it was very hot and humid.

Room Tip: Rooms closer to reception may pick up wifi.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank 805Julie777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TimothyT_BET, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, 6 August 2014
Dear Julie, Couldn't agree more about the dip pool. July is certainly a bit hot due to the dry season. Should be up and running by September, fingers crossed.
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Peterborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 3 August 2014

My husband and I visited Sukai Rainforest Lodge. The boat journey was great - all part of the experience, so no complaints there. The lodge was clean, nicely furnished and the food was perfectly fine. The lodge and ambience certainly met with our expectations and I loved it. There are however 2 reasons why it gets 3 stars and not 5: firstly, when you are given the option for a price to 'give back to the environment' by planting a sapling and naming it, DO NOT DO THIS! We were promised email updates and photos of our trees, but both we and our Dutch friends (with whom we still remain in touch after 4 years), never received any correspondence. We believe that the saplings are dug up after you leave, to be replanted by the next bunch of unsuspecting tourists..The wild squirrel kept in a tiny cage at the Phillipino water village in Sandakan was eventually released by BETs after I emailed and complained about it on arrival back in England. They even sent me photos of the squirrel having veterinary checks at Sukai Rainforest Lodge. Great. However, I was unimpressed by demands by BET of paying them money ($100) for its release. It is these examples that make you think that 'eco' is not necessarily the main objective of these businesses.

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank JayneC C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TimothyT_BET, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, 6 August 2014
Dear JayneC, Thank you so much for staying with us and noted on your comments. Do be assured that your sapling or any trees planted for that matter were never dug up. We have a practice that after a portion of land has been reforested, we return it back to the wild and do not return to it as a rainforest should be. Do know that the fee you paid for the planting went entirely to our community projects under BEST Society, ie we always make a loss with the full fee donated for community work. As for the squirrel incident, i am sorry that you were asked to contribute money, if you know the name of the staff do let me know as this is definately against our policy. We never pay money for wildlife or it just encourages people to catch them and repeat the process so it is not beneficial. If I can have your email, I'll email you photos of what the tree planting site looks like now to assure you that it has indeed been reforested and not plucked out for new guests. You may email me at info@borneoecotours.com, addressed to Timothy and it'll get to me. Thanks for your feedback and there's certainly room for improvement.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
98 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2014 via mobile

I often read reviews and sometimes either think they were written by the manager's best mate or by people who go with completely misplaced expectations. (Yes you probably will get wet in the rainforest - don't be surprised ..... It was in a review!). However The very positive reviews already posted are dead on. I will try not just to repeat.

We did the 3n/4d Orangutan tour which I booked direct through e mail. From the confirmatory tel call at breakfast confirming pick up until our guide Jamil dropped us back off at hotel 4 days later everything was perfect. We never had to wait for a boat, car or minibus - not our experience at turtle island (another tour company) where we waited for everything. We have subsequently spoken to a number of people who attended different lodges and didn't get the care and attention or have the same experiences. On the safety side we also saw a number of boats where life jackets weren't being used - this was always the 1st thing offered to us. (It's not about being a good swimmer - if knocked unconscious it may just save your life. Without one and in the dark you have no chance)

Certainly worth arriving by boat up the river rather than by minibus as other lodges do. This made it feel really special. Yes I know there are are roads close as you use it to get to the caves but it just feels like you and in the middle if the forest . We loved all the trips and saw too much to list - even a wild Orang-utan with baby after visiting the caves ( not to be missed !) we really liked cruising the small tributaries with the silent electric motor watching the kingfishers etc magical. We got very wet when watching the elephants which just added to the experience though not sure when seated how a raincoat is ever going to keep u dry. Take enough clothes and bin liners etc for clothes and cameras. Things struggled to dry but we just wore them damp next day.

The staff were genuinely interested in what animals we had seen. The guides knowledgable. The botany tour round the boardwalk that extends right into the forest was fascinating .....leaves we ate, ones that give a serious rash ....to highly toxic ones. I couldn't spot the difference so won't be repeating it on my own. You can sit on the seats there quite a long way out - just on your own. A orang-utan with mother had been there the day before but all (?!) we had were the cheeky monkeys who throw things on the corrugated iron roof (they must like the noise) and get very close.

Rooms were fine, fan kept us cool enough, drinks same prices as Ibis in centre of town, food plentiful and tasty. Free water top up. Even a jar of marmite at breakfast !

We attended the Sipok Orang-utan centre through another agency but recognised the EcoTour guides from the lodge trip and noted that they were the only ones taking real interest in their clients pointing things out on the viewing platform , getting them in the right place etc. Our guide/driver didn't even come in!

So a magical 4 days with the croc, bull elephant in downpour and wild orang-utan as our highlights. We didn't want to leave. Plus of course up river you are pretty safe from the pirate risk. (More of that on turtle island review)

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Colonel-Chris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TimothyT_BET, Owner at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, responded to this review, 6 August 2014
Dear Chris, Your comment brought a smile to us. Glad you liked the small touch of the marmite at breakfast. We know that the little things matter as much as the big ones. Right on about our overcaution on safety, its so easy to become complacent until something goes wrong. We hope you'll be back one day but until then, Safe Travels!
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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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