Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley Conservation Area

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Room & Suite (409)
Dining (125)
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About

5.0
#1 of 1 lodge in Danum Valley Conservation Area
Location
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Travellers' Choice
The award winning Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL) is nestled within 43,800 hectares of protected virgin rainforest of the Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sabah. The immense biodiversity of 200 species of plants per hectare in this pristine 130 million years old rainforest is home to more than 320 species of birds and 124 species of mamals. It is also listed as an Important Birding Area (IBA MY24) as a site for international importance for conservation of birds. Accessible via a 55 minutes flight from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) and 2.5 hours overland drive from Lahad Datu (LDU), BRL has 30 chalets and a spa which adopts eco sensitivity, sustainability and minimum impact as the core principles of designs and operations. Full board packages include guides and return transfer of LDU-BRL-LDU. Reviews recommends a 4 days/3 nights package to experience the vast biodiversity of this magical 130 million years old rainforest and to pamper yourself with traditional Borneo massages at the in-house Spa.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free internet
Plunge pool
Free breakfast
Hiking
Entertainment staff
Airport transportation
Spa
Public wifi
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Breakfast buffet
Complimentary Instant Coffee
Complimentary tea
Special diet menus
Foot massage
Full body massage
Head massage
Massage
24-hour security
Baggage storage
Concierge
Gift shop
Non-smoking hotel
Outdoor furniture
Umbrella
Laundry service
Ironing service
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Room features
Bathrobes
Air conditioning
Housekeeping
Private balcony
Safe
Coffee / tea maker
Minibar
Bath / shower
Seating area
Telephone
Private bathrooms
Electric kettle
Complimentary toiletries
Hair dryer
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Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Family rooms
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HOTEL CLASS
Languages Spoken
English, Malay

Location

Danum Valley Conservation Area 88100 Malaysia
1181Reviews82Q+A100Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Elisha A wrote a review Aug 2023
Singapore, Singapore33 contributions22 helpful votes
This is a pricy rainforest stay but it is worth every cent. It is a safari stay in a rainforest. I kept thinking that every morning we have to trek a few hours into a jungle to see wild life. Finally I realized, that I am actually already in the middle of a primary forest. There is no need to trek long hours to go deep into the jungle, I am actually living in the jungle. That is the best thing. You go for morning, afternoon and night walk/treks and come back to the lodge and can wash up and relax in the lodge. The lodge is very comfortable with aircond, buffet (B,L,D) and wifi at the main lodge. Good food too.
This is a place to relax and unplug, so I am fine with no wifi at our chalet. If you need to do airline check in. Well, the Lahad Datu airport is so small, half of the passengers for our flight were from the Lodge. So you actually check in at the airport.
As I mentioned, this place is located in a primary forest. So you can hear and see wildlife at the lodge itself. We saw Sambar deer, red leaf monkey as we were walking back to our chalet. At the main lodge, we saw an orang utan.
Our guide Messi is a very experience guide who can spot a slow loris up on a tree in the dark at night and a civet and samba deer in the bushes during our night drive. He gave some valuable lessons on the some of the commonly found plants which are edible. We also saw leaf frogs and lotus that bloom at night. Million leg millipedes, hornbill, bulbul bird, pill millipede. Others saw moon rat. Heard gibbons.
Leeches are commonly found and you will have some of them attached to your pants and shoes. They are not poisonous, just a nuisance but and there is no need to panick about it. They are can be easily dealt with by just flicking them away.
All in all, it was a great experience for my family with teenagers. They loved it too being able to see the wildlife up close and for them to develop more appreciation for all conveniences of life back home. Also I like the idea that the Lodge is operated by locals and there is conservation evidenced by the presence of wildlife. The 2-3 hours ride on unpaved road is all part of the experience.
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Date of stay: July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
TrufflesSmith wrote a review Aug 2020
London, United Kingdom112 contributions150 helpful votes
We absolutely loved our stay here, really enjoying the sense of remoteness and the novelty of being right in the thick of the jungle. It does take a while to get there but totally worth it when you are met with a delightful lodge, luxurious accommodation, excellent service (including spa) and delicious, high quality food! We were very impressed with this resort and would thoroughly recommend; it is a special place to experience.

The activities on offer were great and we enthusiastically participated in everything! We particularly enjoyed the jungle trek, learning a lot about the jungle habitat and getting some fab photos. Our guide was very informative but did seem a little inexperienced, for example he didn’t seem to be too keen on working with the other guides to increase our chances of seeing an orangutan (with the result that our group was the only group not to see one during our activities – so unlucky!). Fortunately however, during a period of down time, we got a tip off from another guest about a sighting, and one of the other guides raced us to the right location to see it, which was a really wonderful experience.

One small thing we weren’t keen on at the lodge was the bare feet policy in the common areas – we understand the reasoning but it’s a bit painful when you accidentally tread on a stinging creature! Thankfully nothing serious but it would be nice to have the option to wear flip flops or similar, to avoid this situation completely.
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Date of stay: September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
minnie_globetrotter wrote a review Dec 2022
Singapore, Singapore117 contributions72 helpful votes
Long 2.5 hrs ride from the airport. They take you to a place for drinks and checking in before the long drive that serve drinks, coffee and tea etc.
For a remote location. The restaurant serves good and tasty food. Careful the package doesn’t include carbonated drinks or non-alcoholic drinks at lunch or dinner. Only OJ is served at breakfast as an option to water, tea or coffee.
The guides there are amazing and are so passionate about this place. They know where to look during the day, night walks (east to do even for my young 8yr old son). Afternoon walks are also nice!
You can buy leech socks at the shop. They are a must! Stay clear of the show washing area, that’s where people coming back from hikes wash and flick the leeches off, so there is bound to be leeches there.
Some resident orangutans live thetr as well as the red monkeys.
Overall go for the premium deluxe over looking the river.
Bring rain jackets and rain pants. It’s a rainforest so it rains alot!
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Date of stay: July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Autumn Bliss wrote a review Sept 2022
Central London113 contributions122 helpful votes
This was our fourth accommodation in the jungle and was head and shoulders better than anything we had experienced to date. Eric the General Manager and his team have a great set up; all of staff from waiting staff to guides were highly professional and customer focussed. They genuinely were interested in our experience of the lodge and its facilities.

In terms of our accommodation we had a Jungle Room which was their entry level accommodation but nothing was basic about it from the complimentary nespresso coffee, hairdryer, torches, information book, lovely bathroom etc etc.

The food was amazing - ample choices and at each meal there were a couple of chefs’ stations cooking to order Asian and western food (pasta, satay, sliders, laska etc). The bar was amazing too and they made the best ever margaritas and very reasonably priced.

Our guide Messi was brilliant - very attentive, knowledgeable and great fun to be with. The standard of guiding here surpassed that in all the other lodges we visited; we particularly valued information on the flora and fauna and medicinal properties of the plants.

We enjoyed the night walking safari (and all of the other activities) and found inter alia snakes, frogs and spiders. Our guided walks were enjoyable and diverse and the guides with their walkie talkies were able to take us to locations where animals had been sighted. It was great that all our walks were in a small group of six guests.

The lodge is some 2.5 hours drive from Lahad Datu over sometimes uneven roads but even the drivers were on the look out for animal sightings and even managed to spot orangutans for us on journey back to Lahad Datu airport. This was our first experience of Primary Rainforest which has been untouched by logging.

Our introductory briefing and the information about the wildlife and the rainforest protection programmes was highly informative. We loved the lodges’ approach to sustainability.

We stayed for two nights and our only regret is that we didn’t stay longer. Would we return? Most definitely this is one very special place. Thank you Eric and the team for a truly memorable stay.
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Date of stay: September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
tomashusek wrote a review Jul 2023
Rusovce, Slovakia70 contributions86 helpful votes
This is a piece of heaven on earth. A wonderful, immersive place where you can appreciate the jungle. An absolute highlight. The lodge itself is mere 3 hrs drive from Lahad Datu town, mostly an off road drive. There are two toilets enroute. Once you arrive to the lodge they give you briefing and you can go to your room. We had premium deluxe chalet. These chales have spacious room, full aircon, huge balcony with sunbeds from which you can watch the everchanging mist over the forest and it has also a dip pool which is perfect on any given day after sweaty walks. Accomodation is 5* also given to its remote location. The food is fabulous, a generous buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The programme arranged by the lodge is always on time and guides are friendly and know a lot. We want to thank our guide Messi for wonderful walks and his attitude towards the kids. They loved the jungle.
The lodge has a small shop where you can buy repelent and also all important leech socks!
If your itinerary allows it, spend here 3 nights and undertake as many walks as possible. The more you walk the bigger the chance to see rare animals. We managed to see even ghost monkey!
Overall we absolutely loved the place, people and jungle. This is simply a beautiful place to stay.
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Date of stay: July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Leonid Z wrote a review Sept 2023
79 contributions87 helpful votes
First of all, I have to say that all the staff without exception are going beyond limits to make stay of every guest as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Special thanks for super-talented young chef Yairey, butler Ole, who was taking good care of us nearly round the clock and, of course, our always positive and seeing everything guide Dex. Hope I didn’t misspell any names.
Couple of comments about something that no staff can change no matter how they wanted: construction of the lodge itself. We stayed in a Premium Villa, which if I got it right, is the highest one-bedroom category and which there are only a couple in the whole lodge. Another Premium Villa is located right next to one we got, both sharing the same entrance staircase. And we were lucky to get neighbors being a female company of 4. They were doing absolutely nothing wrong (otherwise, I would have asked the management to take care of it): just talking excitedly and laughing whenever they were in. No shouting, nothing like that. Just people on vacation. But the level of noise in our villa was more or less the same as if they were all sitting in the same bedroom with us. Forget about day rest coming back after night or early morning drives.
Whole perimeter of the villa has a row of glass windows just below the ceiling, which don’t have any cover: either curtains or shades. So, it was bright light inside right after 6 a.m., when the sun was up. Not very helpful, when one wants to rest. I guess by the same reason it was becoming unbearably hot in the room by around 10:00 a.m. – despite A/C working full blast during the day - when the sun was on the same side as the bedroom.
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Date of stay: September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mont1e wrote a review Aug 2023
Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom337 contributions263 helpful votes
We stayed here for two nights in between two 5 night stays in 5 star hotels in the Kota Kinabalu area. The journey from KK took about 7.5 hours, but it is well worth it.

All the staff here are brilliant - very welcoming and helpful from the meeting at the airport to everyone at the lodge.

We stayed in one of the "basic" jungle rooms, but it was very comfortable. The buffet style food compared very well in terms of quality with the other hotels we stayed in in KK - i.e. very good indeed.

We had booked a private guide, which we thought was well worth it, although none of the non private groups seemed that big. Our guide was Sher Wood, who was excellent.

We saw 2 Orangutangs and lots of other wildlife - a big tick off the bucket list!

Just do it!
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Date of stay: July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
RYOKOSURU wrote a review Jul 2022
Madrid, Spain262 contributions167 helpful votes
Our chalet was quite old and dated, with dirty walls stained with insect’s blood everywhere, some objects had not been cleaned in ages and were covered with a thick layer of dust, the ceiling fan made an annoying noise so we had to decide not to turn it on.
Food was good although the restaurant staff could be friendlier.
The guide was great.
As for the reception, it was a total mess. They didn’t inform us about anything as far as our check out process was concerned: the time we had to leave the chalet, what to do with our suitcases, pick-up time for the transfer, etc. When we asked one of the receptionists about it, she answered in a very curt and harsh way that we would be informed later and she just told us to leave the room at 11 and go to the restaurant area for lunch at 12 which we did. At 12:30 nobody had still approached us to give us any information. As we had to get a flight from Lahad Datu that afternoon, I decided to go to the reception again to ask if the driver was going to pick us up and I also complained about the lack of information. They unwillingly apologized and called the driver. I guess they had just forgotten about us and had no interest i finding us since we had no bill to settle.
In any case, not up to the standard I was expecting. Apparently there are first and second class customers. Very sad
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Date of stay: July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mulbernee wrote a review May 2022
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia233 contributions146 helpful votes
+1
Lap of luxury in the middle of wilderness. Really grateful to have experienced the beautiful virgin forest and lodge is built in a sustainable manner blending into its environment respectfully. We were very well taken care of at the lodge, from arrival till departure. Food provided were plenty and the Malay food was fantastic. Our villa was spacious and beautiful, furnished with the best quality furnishings. Really comfortable stay and all of us agreed it was a thoroughly enjoyable stay at BRL.
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Date of stay: April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Timon L wrote a review Jun 2022
Singapore18 contributions14 helpful votes
+1
All staff of BRL is trained well and takes care of you with great attention to detail. Many remembered our names and even my preferred breakfast. The lodge is well kept, modern and convenient amidst the immense primary rain forest.

Besides the facilities we most enjoyed our private tourguide Melvin, who is absolute ace. Being our private guide he completely accommodated our requests and timing, from early bird spotting hikes to late night night-walks

In case you don't have experience with wildlife spotting in rainforest, due to the dense vegetation simply spotting any animal is a challenge, therefore a sharp and experienced guide is super important. He will know where approximately animals are likely to hang around and he hears their typical sounds way before spotting them. We spotted many endemic species because of his extensive experience, which enriched our stay!

My recommendation would be to spend a little extra on a good private guide, like melvin!
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Date of stay: May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Answer from rkumar167
Chicago, Illinois25 contributions23 helpful votes
It depends. Are you really into rainforest ecology and does your private guide have a masters degree or higher in tropical forestry or evolutionary biology? Do you have a special trail you want to hike? Do you want a special birding trip? Is someone in your group disabled and in need of special assistance or a slower pace? If so then it definitely could be worth it, especially if you’re bringing a scientist from DVFC. None of the people at BRL are rainforest ecologists but most belong to the native Dusun tribe and have tremendous indigenous knowledge of the forest. Having two guides, one scientist from DVFC and one native guide from BRL is what I would do if I had unlimited money and time to arrange the tour. But it depends on what you want.
Answer from Robert
Warsaw, Poland4 contributions1 helpful vote
Hi, I had military jungle boots which I usually use during such a trips but I saw many tourist in trainers and it seemed to be ok. IMHO leech socks are more crucial ;)
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Dubuss asked a question Jul 2023
London, United Kingdom360 contributions51 helpful votes
Hello, does the BRL accept credit card? Roughly how much for a beer? Thank you.
Answer from Birdman44
Haywards Heath, United Kingdom103 contributions101 helpful votes
Yes they do take credit card. I think a beer was around £5-£6. It wasn't out of line with other lodges.
Answer from dolally
London, United Kingdom116 contributions116 helpful votes
We booked it through team amazing Borneo
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Michael Jackson wrote a tip 5 Feb
Emmen Municipality, The Netherlands7 contributions1 helpful vote
"Don ' t join trekking groups anyhow. Your are paying a lot of money for this. The management should accomodate this !"
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Walter R wrote a tip Jan 2024
Manchester, United Kingdom9 contributions7 helpful votes
"Just make the most of your stay. "
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Robert wrote a tip Nov 2023
Warsaw, Poland4 contributions1 helpful vote
"Leech socks and hand torch"
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XpuHaFan wrote a tip Oct 2023
Woking, United Kingdom129 contributions103 helpful votes
"If you are a nature lover - go!!!!"
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El Chrezidente wrote a tip Oct 2023
Cardiff, United Kingdom27 contributions10 helpful votes
"Bring leach socks!!!"
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ALSO KNOWN AS
borneo rainforest hotel sabah, borneo rainforest lodge
LOCATION
MalaysiaSabahDanum Valley Conservation Area
NUMBER OF ROOMS
30
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BORNEO RAINFOREST LODGE, DANUM VALLEY CONSERVATION AREA: UPDATED 2024 Hotel Reviews and 1,698 Photos - Tripadvisor