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Reviewed 21 March 2018

Upon arriving at Sukau Rainforest Lodge you're immediately met with refreshments by the friendly staff who help with all the luggage to the reception area. The property is set amongst riverine forest that spans back a few hundred meters with raised boardwalks connecting the lodge, allowing easy access to view nearby wildlife. The boat trips along the river operates numerous times throughout the day and around this area there are less tourists compared to other properties. SRL really made you feel like you were in the middle of nowhere.
The rooms were nicely fitted and comfortably equipped with everything you need. The food is o...k, but with being one of National Geographic's unique lodges it could be done a little better. But at the end of the day you're there for the nature fix and wildlife encounters that the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary as a whole, is teeming with. The guides and spotters were very experienced and we saw loads of wildlife; red leaf monkeys, silvered leaf monkeys, orangutans, gibbons, pygmy elephants, 5 species of hornbill, crocs on the banks, and many more.

The new rooms look great and I highly recommend staying here!

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Sonny R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2018 via mobile

We wouldn't normally sign up for an 'organised tour' as part of our holiday, but thoroughly enjoyed this and thought it was really well organised.

Our guide for the 3 days was Jameil, so was with our group from when they collected us from the hotel until they dropped us back off again. Our package included visits to the orangutan rehabilitation centre and sun bear conservation centre on the first morning. Then we had a quick pits top for lunch before heading to the jetty for the boat ride out to Sukau.

We stopped in one of the new villas (3 or Dr Arthur Cheung) during our stay - the villa was clean, spacious and had fab air con which was welcome after the heat and humidity of the rainforest!

We were lucky enough to spot all of the Borneo Big 5 during our various river safari and the boat ride to/from the resort. When you have a little downtime, there is a small pool which was the perfect way to cool down.

After the boat ride back to Sandakan, we also had chance to visit the War Memorial in Sandakan and the Rainforest Discovery centre with the guide, so we actually saw all of the main 'tourist sites' as part of the package price.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank Jayne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2018 via mobile

I love this resort! The staff are friendly and helpful and really go out of their way to make your stay warm. The trip out to Sukau provided us a glimpse of the nature and on the subsequent days we enjoyed 3 days of guided boat trips in the early morning and late afternoon. We saw 6 different kinds of monkeys, tons of hornbills, crocodiles, otters, etc so definitely a worthwhile stay.

Pygmy Elephants are rarely seen (we heard 3-4 times a year), and we did not see them.

Now, onto the accommodations....we stayed in a superior room and these rooms are in significant need of a refurbishment. The rooms were built 20 years ago, and our room upon arrival did not have working hot water and the toilet for the duration of our stay required multiple flushes to make it work. Further the King sized bed was in fact two beds pushed together. Also, walls are paper thin....the staff did fix out hot water heater, but it does reflect the age of the rooms.

However, they are working hard to upgrade their facilities and have new Villas that are beautiful. And are building more! Had I known about this option, I would have chosen Villas. They are set in the jungle and are little cottages. Stunning!

Stayed: March 2018, travelled with family
Thank TravelingJ2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2018

We started off our honeymoon at this fantastic eco-lodge that was a complete adventure to travel to. After all, any time you need 2.5 hours on a boat, that's a unique way to begin!

Stayed a total of 3 days, in retrospect, we should've stayed 6. Here's why, in no particular order...

The food was great. There's one general area to eat & its open-air, adjacent to the river. Perfect setting. They even had snacks available in the late afternoon, in case you were hungry. The different curries, seafood, the fresh food, the great service, etc., we loved the food for every single meal that was offered during the day. The staff was always right there to take your plates away, also.

Our villa was beautiful - everything was thought of that we could possibly need. The best part, in my opinion - we had a nice deck with a few chairs & a table that let us take in the amazing sounds of the rainforest, but we also had a screened door. Therefore, we could open our doors, but keep the screened door which enabled us to not let the insects whilst still listening to the forest.

The staff was helpful, kind & considerate at all times. They always said 'hello' & attempted to make sure your stay was a fabulous one.

I have 2 recommendations :
*Don't raise the prices, if you can help it. I think that if you raised the prices, you'll drive away potential customers that are on the cusp of coming & experiencing your fantastic place.
*Customers come from all points of the globe to experience & see this beautiful part of Borneo. They want to see birds, bugs & animals, including things that they won't see at home, but they didn't know existed. They come to hopefully catch a glimpse of an orangutan or pygmy elephant, etc. Well, there's still a bit of a poaching problem in this part. So, my suggestion is, why not have the Sukau Rainforest Lodge attempt to recruit some of the local poachers. Turn around & hire them as your guides. If you're able to do that, you not only get the poachers out of the forest & killing animals that customers come to see, but you're also employing local residents. You're putting money in their pockets for them & their families, but as guides they'd be perfect - they know the rainforests - they also have a knack of knowing where to spot animals.

Back to our stay, with some other random notes...the drinks were nicely priced. It was cool how they rang a bell for everyone to be notified that it was time for dinner. They had a boardwalk that extends 1,200 meters away from the river. So, if you were in the mood to go for a safe walk without your guide & still maybe see wildlife, you could. They had a small pool, they had some board games & you could even get a massage as well.

The highlight of any trip to this particular lodge is the fact that you're on the river every morning at 630am searching for birds & animals. Usually, when you're on your honeymoon, you don't have the desire to do this, however, we did & I'm glad we did so. By the way - this is also a great trip for families!

For 2 hours, every morning &, late in the afternoon, for 3 consecutive, we were paired up with one of their many guides, Raman had us on a small boat & he was amazing.
He's been a guide on the river for about 5 years & his knowledge & experience showed constantly. He was able to detect a particular song of a bird & identify the bird accurately within seconds. Or, as we were all looking into the trees searching for animals, he was able to find animals, miraculously. I swear some of the orangutans he'd seemed to be 99 kilometers away! He was articulate, funny, "Look, there's a croc!" he said - even though it happened to be a singular, random baby shoe in the water.

Raman made our trip as we truly looked forward to both of our tours with him each day. He was intelligent, had enthusiasm (on 1 of our river trips we spotted 8 orangutans - he mentioned that seeing 12 is his record & typically he'd see 1 or 2) & got excited when we saw a particular primate - just the 3rd time he's seen it in 5 years. He was always safe with us, not a risk-taker, on-time, cool, calm & collect.

A couple of things I learned on this trip :
*You should always tip your guide,
*A knowledgeable, experienced guide who can point out wildlife can make or break your trip.

Raman was amazing - if you get a chance, I'd highly recommend that you request him.

More importantly, don't miss out on a stay at this magical spot! It may be a bit pricey, but its SO worth it.

Room Tip: All of the rooms are amazing; zero complaints.
  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank David H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2018 via mobile

Spent 3 nights there arriving late afternoon and leaving after an early morning cruise and breakfast.

First the resort. About 20 rooms and a number of villas. We took a room and spent little time in it - mainly to sleep! Comfortable enough, plenty of room, A/C thankfully, and decent bathroom. The remainder of the resort is expansively laid out, nice central bar and admin area, and nice restaurant overlooking the river. All meals a buffet and very good accommodating various tastes.

Typical day included tours along the river, by boat, before breakfast and dinner. The night cruise came after dinner. There was a boardwalk through the rainforest.

The real magic was on the river slowly cruising along its banks. Monkeys were easy to spot and prolific - mainly proboscis and macaques - a few silver leaf. We spotted orang utangs near the lodge itself. Many birds visible from the boat. On the way in we watched a herd of pygmy elephants and then saw a medium sized crocodile. Flying squirrels, civets and so on.

Our guide was Jonathan and was superb - great English, spotted lots, and a deep knowledge of the flora and fauna. Plus a lovely young man.

While not as up market as Borneo Rainforest Lodge the wildlife viewing was far superior and convenient.

Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank mhharvey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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