How to choose a jungle lodge in Sabah

Jun 8th, 2013, 11:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 595
How to choose a jungle lodge in Sabah

it is very difficult to figure out which jungle lodge in Sabah to choose to visit as part of a vacation on Borneo. The prices are all over the place. Some of the lodges do not include pricing on their web sites and don't respond to inquiries.

Some examples:
A 3D/2N package at Borneo Rainforest Lodge is $1646 for 2 people including pick up/drop off in Lahad Datu.
A 3D/2N package at Sukau River Lodge is $1132 for 2 people including pick up/drop off in Sandakan.
A 3D/2N package at Bilit Rainforest Lodge is $842 for 2 people including pick up/drop off in Sandakan.

I can't find a price for Borneo Nature Lodge, Abai Lodge, or Kinabatangan River Lodge.
Are there any I'm missing?

They all seem to have similar programs. But is BRL really worth $500-$800 more than the others? Can someone who has stayed multiple places give me advice as to which I should choose? Do you know of a local Sabah TA that could help with all of the options?
susiesan is offline  
Jun 8th, 2013, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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For me, the most important factor in choosing a jungle lodge was the likelihood that we could see orangutans in the wild.

Some lodges are set up to take you to orangutan "rehab centers," where you will see orangutans because they come daily for feedings. This is NOT how I wanted to see these spectacular beasts.

The best resource for answering this question was a thread on Lonely Planet's Thorntree:

I know it's a long thread, but the upshot is that the place where you are most likely to see orangutans in the wild is in the Danum Valley. The only place you can schedule to stay is the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. FOr us, that was the decision-maker. There is a small research stataion in the Danum Valley, but at present they only allow researchers to stay there.

The Danum Valley is the most protected area in Malaysia, and we saw a nice variety of wildlife. There are no feeding stations. The lodge location was carefully planned and the area immediately around the lodge was planted with native plants that offer food to local wildlife.

Sorry, I only stayed at the BRL, so cannot offer you comparisons with other lodges. I also don't know of a local travel agent, as we made all of our arrangements ourselves. Good luck to you and do let us know what you decide.
Kathie is online now  
Jun 10th, 2013, 10:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 128
I've been both at the BRL and at a much simpler place in Sukau on the Kinabatangan river. The BRL was very expesnive, the place in Sukau very cheap. I saw a lot of wildlife in Sukau:
but almost nothing at the BRL:

Add to that the fact that the BRL, despite the ridicolously high price, offers no A/C (which you will need to get your clothes dry after a day in the jungle) and lies in a very muddy area full of leeches. The BRL is a waste of time and money. Very hard to see any wildlife, because it is hiding somewhere in the jungle.
amln is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 04:01 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 783
I had the opportunity to see Orangs in the wild at Uncle Tans camp on the Kinabantangan river.some say they have wound up and other claim they have re-located,not too sure.It was a very basic 'boot camp',but inside the rain forest.Got to see 4 orangs on different occasions,apart from Proboscis monkeys and a herd of wild elephants,not to mention plenty of bird life.A 2N/3D package costed RM350 pp,this was 6yrs ago.Truly a memorable experience.Its close to Sandakan in Sabah.
The is their link
inquest is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 04:12 AM
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You could check this too.
inquest is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 06:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 595
amin: which lodge in Sukau did you stay at? I'm thinking about either Sukau Rainforest Lodge or Nature Lodge Kinabatangan. Both are far less money than BRL. Of those two, which would be the preference?
susiesan is offline  
Jun 16th, 2013, 03:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 128
It was a guesthouse, not a lodge:

Sukau B&B, RM 40 for a room at fan, breakfast included. Meals for RM 10.

There may be better guesthouses in Sukau (for instance with attached bathroom), check this blog:

The Sukau Rainforest Lodge seems to be very expensive:
Unless you insist on high end accomodation, not really worth the money in my opinion.

The Nature lodge seems to be a lot cheaper.

All these places in Sukau offer the same tours, so it's all a matter what you are able to afford and how much comfort you need.
amln is offline  
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