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“Elephants, monkeys, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, kingfishers”

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Borneo Nature Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
The Hague, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
1,470 reviews
270 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 724 helpful votes
“Elephants, monkeys, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, kingfishers”
Reviewed 8 March 2014

The borneo nature lodge is a somewhat newer ecolodge in the Sukau rainforest on the Kinabatangan river. It can be reached by a two hour drive plus a five minute boatride from Sandakan - we had all of that arranged by Hotspot tours who did a good job. Included were two jungle cruises on the Kinabatangan river (for a one night package, unlike the previous reviewer) and one of the associated Oxbow lakes, one in the late afternoon and one in the early morning. On both cases significant amounts of wildlife could be observed including a herd of Elephants dining on the riverbank grasses. Apparantly this does not always happen, so we got lucky!

The lodge is very pleasant, partially solar powered and has airconditioning running until 10pm and quite reasonable comfort levels. A good quality dinner and breakfast buffet is served, and on the request of some Chinese Malaysian tourists from Kuala Lumpur, also fresh water fish were caught and prepared on the spot which apparantly is a rare and expensive delicacy in KL. Also we arrived in the middle of the afternoon due to flight schedules and were served a very nice light lunch made especially for us.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Hermes_NL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cesar e, Manager at Borneo Nature Lodge, responded to this review, 10 March 2014
Hi there,

Thank you for the compliment and glad that you have enjoyed your stay.

Look forward to be at your service again. Keep in touch...

Till then, take care...

Cheers!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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180 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
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English first
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 February 2014

We were so looking forward to our one night on the Kinabatangan on our way back from Tabin but were severely disappointed in our stay here. We are an easy going young couple that loves Nature.

But there is something very wrong with the 1 night package that means you only get one boat trip in the afternoon of your arrival - you pay a lot of money to stay here and the next morning when all the 2 & 3 night guests go out on the boats after breakfast it is not part of your 'package' so you have to either pack up and leave or just sit around for a few hours. We ended up then having to pay even more money (a substantial amount) to join the other guests as we wanted to go on the early morning boat cruise. Why is that when it is already an expensive place to stay and boats are going out anyways with open seats???? The 2N package get's 3 cruises so i don't understand the logic. We didn't have enough cash to pay for the boats so the manager then got annoyed with US at having to organise a transfer using our credit card details when all it took was a phone call. Can you imagine!?!?!?!

I was very disappointed and would not support this place again but stay on one of the many other lodges on the river.

On the positive side, the food is really good and the rooms are nice. Forest is mainly secondary but it is lovely on the River.

Be prepared to be ripped off though.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Linds M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
77 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2014

I found booking our activities in Sandakan a little confusing and was very glad I stumbled upon these guys – they organised everything for us and everything ran perfectly!
The fantastic service started right after we got off the plane as we had arranged to tour turtle island (though the hotel) we has a little time to spare and our guide kindly took us into town as there was a market on in the main street (Sunday I think). Our guide stayed with us the whole time out on the island, I think usually It might not always private tour, that there will be the one guide to any groups flying in on the same day (don’t quote me on that) however we had ours to ourselves and felt very spoilt. I’ll give the Island a separate review however I just wanted to point out how easy the Lodge made it to book and the fact they had arranged their own guide to take us (which we weren’t expecting)
When we got picked up from the jetty we swapped guides (not usually part of the plan our originally guide has family commitments). Not to imply that our first guide was not friendly, helpful, fun or any other of those good things but Benny, our 2nd guide, made the whole experience really special – such an amazing woman, we really loved her and the best guide we have ever had.
Next stop was the Sepilok Orang-utan centre – I’ll give a separate review of that too. Again we had our guide take us through. From information on the species and centre, stories of the individual orang-utans and even advice on where to stand to get the best picture, her knowledge was a special touch that really made the whole experience.
Next stop was the Lodge, while we didn’t have the best expectations of the accommodation we were presently surprised – for a place that obviously has budget issues the management have made a real effort to make it as comfortable as possible, everything was clean, the aircon in the room was good and the boardwalk/cabin set up gives a real “in the middle of the jungle” feel. Whilst we were there we had the first day all to ourselves they didn’t skimp on the service the meals were impressive and the girls in the dinner hall fully attended us – they even just us up to dance one evening, just for the fun of it.
Another concern of mine was that it may have been boring at the lodge but it turned out there wasn’t too much down-time at all. Benny our guide even took us down the river to the little local township – there was always something to do. The river tours were really fantastic Benny went with us each time really making the trips worth it. Both her and Chinta, the boat driver, were really amazing at spotting all of the wildlife – which there was so much of. We went on 4 boat cruises (all but the night cruise included) and each time we saw so much that was different from the time before – we were even lucky enough to see 5!!! Wild orang-utans, however even though it was mind-blowing amazing to see them, the other wildlife we saw we would have made it worth the trip. If you get an opportunity they do offer a night cruise at a small additional cost, it is a really different experience to the day cruises and I would definitely take them up on it. Also worth noting that the boats were in good condition, all fitted out with life vests and my partner, who is not a fan of going out on water, didn’t have a problem. Ooh and If you can get your hands a pair of binoculars – we left ours at home and luckily Benny let us borrow her spare pair, but I don’t think the lodge have them to borrow out, so take them with you (they are not essential, but we were very grateful that we had them)

We did the 4 day tour and we felt it really worthwhile - each time that we went out there was so much more to see than the last time – I would definitely recommend the extra night. On the last day it was in the itinerary to visit the caves however we weren’t all that keen on them, caves just ain’t our thing so it was suggested we could alternatively make a second stop in at Sepilok instead – Great service.
Such a wonderful experience in every aspect – I would not hesitate to do it again with them

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
7 Thank Tristan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cesar e, Manager at Borneo Nature Lodge, responded to this review, 10 March 2014
Hi there,

Thank you so much for the compliments and glad to hear that you have enjoyed the trip thoroughly. Appreciate if you could pass around the words and look forward to be at your service again.

Till then, take care & keep in touch...

Cheers!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schalkwijk
Level Contributor
44 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2014

This small lodge located in the jungle of Sabah is really nice. We stayed in Januari for three days and two nights. We did the jungle tour by boat three times which were very nice. We saw lots of beautiful birds and monkeys. Our guide (Kurt) took us on a walkabout through a small village nearby and told us a lot about local habits and traditions. The walk trough the jungle was nice but there were a lot of leeches. We were more busy looking for leeches than enjoying the beautiful jungle itself. The breakfast, lunch and diner were very good! The rooms are nice but a little basic. Downsides: You don´t get a lot of towels and the bathroom had some mosquitoes from time to time.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Freddie_Leeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cesar e, Manager at Borneo Nature Lodge, responded to this review, 27 January 2014
Hi there,

Thank you for the compliments and glad to hear that you have the best jungle experience.

Sad to hear though that you did not get some more towels which you could have ask from the reception/housekeeping.

Best Regards!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 January 2014

This place far exceed our expectations. The rooms are great. Hot water, very clean and mosquito/bug proof. The food here was amazing! We happen to be the only people staying the night and they asked us what we would like to eat as there was no one else around and made us what we requested and it was delicious! The guide and boat driver are both good spotters and,very knowledgeable about the animals. We saw everything we wanted to minus the Elephants on our boat cruise (apparently the heard was not in close proximity). The staff here are very friendly and accommodating and in the afternoon we had silver back monkeys running around the lodge eating the hibiscus plants and looking for food (a gang of about 25 of them with a few babies!) running around the balcony's and in the trees around the lodge. I would no doubt stay here again if i went back and highly recommend it to anyone thinking of going to lake Kinabatanga.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank trixydafairy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cesar e, Manager at Borneo Nature Lodge, responded to this review, 27 January 2014
Hi there,

Thank you so much for the compliments and glad to hear that you have enjoyed your stay.

Appreciate if you could pass around the words.

Look forward to be at your service again and just keep in touch!

Cheers!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
475 reviews
166 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2014

They have electricity, sometimes, but no Internet (it is available from Sukau post office at RM1.5 per hour). There are jungle walks from the lodge, but only when the forest is not flooded. Elephants walk past occasionally. When it rains, it really rains. And rains. I spent two days here and we got pretty wet. Some activities were cancelled due to the weather, with no replacements offered. The restaurant food is OK - somewhat Malaysian in style, but more Chinese than Malay. Bring ear plugs if you don't want to hear loud pop music all meal long. The guides are wonderful, but they are subcontracted by the lodge/operator. Bring a book (or three) because there are long hours of not a lot to do.

The beds are short - tall people will have to curl up.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank TempleofPeace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cesar e, Manager at Borneo Nature Lodge, responded to this review, 27 January 2014
Hi there,

Sorry to hear that some of your activities had to be cancelled due to the rain and we cannot do anything about it as we could not control the force of nature. FYI Nov to Feb, the North East Moonsoon brings the heaviest rain of the year.

Hoping that you managed to see some wildlife as well despite of the rain.

Cheers!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chigwell
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 November 2013

Wow! This was truly an amazing place to be and gave us a real feeling of how the Malaysians in Sandakan live.

So to get to this place, we drove through the mountains and down the dirt tracks into the place where the jetty was. We jumped on a small speed boat and were taken over to the Lodge. The surroundings were breath taking. The sound of the water and the wildlife is still with me now! It felt like you were on a set of a David Attenborough documentary (well for me anyway having not traveled very much!)

We were greeted with cold towels and a refreshing lemongrass drink but above all, the biggest smiles from all the staff. They were so accommodating and their English was very good that you were able to ask questions about the complex.

We were taken on a boat tour to see the proboscis monkeys, hornbills, macaque monkeys and a handful of other wildlife critters. After the tour, we arrived back at sunset and were informed of the sarong type robes in the rooms to put on at dinner. It really did feel that we were apart of the culture for a moment.

Dinner and breakfast was splendid. There was such a variety.

Overall, I am looking forward to my next visit there!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank rosiemaygunnell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cesar e, Manager at Borneo Nature Lodge, responded to this review, 10 December 2013
Hi there,

Glad to hear that you have enjoyed your stay with us and appreciate if you could pass around the words.

Look forward to be at your service again, just keep in touch!

Till then, take care & regards!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Borneo Nature Lodge

Property: Borneo Nature Lodge
Address: No. 41 Block 3, 1st Floor, Prima Square, Phase 1, Mile 4, North Road, Sandakan 90000, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Sandakan Division > Sandakan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 29 Speciality Lodging in Sandakan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Borneo Nature Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An eco-friendly lodge nestled along the riverbank of Kinabatangan river the longest and biggest river in Sabah.The Lower Kinabatangan is one of Sabah's most splendid natural treasures and the richest concentration of wildlife in South East Asia. The lodge has 12 rooms with an additional twin-sharing handicapped friendly room equipped with air-condition and attached bathroom. Appreciate the "Green" details practise by the lodge where at night all electrical items run on solar power. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Borneo Nature Lodge Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

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