- Sukau Rainforest Lodge - Malaysian Borneo

Sukau Rainforest Lodge



The inhabitants of the Kinabatangan region are mostly Orang Sungai of mixed ancestry including Tambanua, Idahan, Dusun, Suluk, Bugis, Brunei, Bajaus and Chinese.


Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is one of just two known places in the world to be inhabited by ten species of primates, four of which are endemic to Borneo. It is also one of two places in the world where four colonies inhabit the same place - namely Proboscis Monkey, Silvered Langur, Maroon Langur and Hose's (or Grey) Langur. The region has the highest concentration of Proboscis Monkeys and Orang Utans in Malaysia.

Other primates include Long-tailed Macaque, Pig-tailed Macaque, Bornean Gibbon, and the nocturnal Western Tarsier and Slow Loris. The Kinabatangan is one of the very few places where the endangered Bornean Pygmy Elephant and Sumatran Rhinoceros can still be seen.

Hoofed mammals which are mainly active at night include Banteng or Tembadau (wild cattle) as well as Bearded Pig and four species of deer namely Sambar, Greater Mouse-Deer, Barking Deer and Lesser Mouse-Deer (the world's smallest hoofed mammal).

Carnivores include the Malayan Sun Bear (the world's smallest bear), four species of feline namely Clouded Leopard (the largest wild cat in Borneo), Leopard Cat, Marbled Cat and Flat-headed Cat. Other small mammals include Hairy-nosed Otter, Oriental Small-clawed Otter, Smooth Otter, Malay Civet, Common Palm-Civet, Small-toothed Palm-Civet, Banded Palm-Civet, Banded Linsang and the strange Moonrat. Reptiles include Reticulated Python, Painted Terrapin, Monitor Lizard and Estuarine Crocodile, while dozens of colorful frog species occur in the waterways and forests.

The Kinabatangan is also renowned for its remarkable butterflies and moths, with numerous species of these often spectacular insects seen close to the lodge.


With over 200 species found in the vicinity, Sukau is a birdwatcher's paradise. All eight species of Bornean hornbill occur, with Rhinoceros, Helmeted, Black, Oriental Pied, Wreathed, Wrinkled, White-crowned and Bushy-crested often encountered in fig trees along the river. Other exciting birds which are regularly seen include Storm's Stork, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Red-and-black Broadbill, Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Hooded Pitta, Buffy Fish-Owl, Long-tailed Parakeet, Maroon Woodpecker, Rufous Piculet, Black-naped Monarch, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, White-rumped Shama, Little Spiderhunter, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Straw-headed Bulbul and Hill Myna.

An estimated two million bats, of some 27 species (mostly Wrinkled-lipped Bats) roost in the nearby Gomantong Caves. Among the famous inhabitants here are four species of swift let namely White-nest Swift let, Black-nest Swift let, Mossy-nest Swift let and White-bellied Swift let. However, only the first two species produce the coveted edible nests, which are made out of their saliva. Ancient nest-harvesting techniques are practiced in a sustainable way, with top grade 'white nest' fetching as much as US$4,000 / kg in Hong Kong.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Set amidst the tropical rainforest outside Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and winner of the 1997 British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow award for best ecology in the Asia Pacific region, Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers the rare luxury of perfect solitude and tranquility for up to 40 visitors.

Built in traditional Malaysian architecture and on stilts to improve air circulation and mitigate the annual river flooding, the lodge is constructed with hard wood species including Belian, Merbau, Nyatoh, Selangan Batu and tropical cane.

All 20 twin bedded/double rooms have ceiling fan, mosquito netting and attached tiled bathroom with solar heated hot water. Guest facilities include an open dining area, gift shop and internet room, library and lounge area, covered verandah facing an enclosed garden. An open sun deck connects the Kari Boardwalk to the Melapi jetty and restaurant overlooking the Kinabatangan River.

At the back of the lodge is the recently completed 1,500 ft long Hornbill Boardwalk, the longest covered raised boardwalk in Borneo with three open wildlife viewing decks and a rainforest interpretation centre.

Here at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, we promote environmentally sustainable development through our Code of Practice, our green policies and our community and environment projects. (Refer to our website for details).

Power, Lighting and water supply

To maintain the ambience of the rainforest, 2 units of 15KVA and 25KVA generators are used in rotation to provide a continuous 24-hour electricity supply at 240V AC at 50 HZ. Energy saving appliances are used where possible. At night recycled cooking oil lamps are also used for lighting to create a conducive ambience.

Rainwater is collected in 14 units of 400 gallons tanks and one 10,000 gallons liner tank and filtered before use. In dry season this is supplemented by river water, which is treated, and sand filtered before use. Hot water is supplied by 2 units of Solar hart 300JK solar heating systems with a capacity of 132 gallons.


Sukau Rainforest Lodge was the winner of the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award 1997 for the Pacific Region, the runners-up for the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) Green Hotelier and Environmental Awards 1999 (independent category). Together with Borneo Eco Tours it received Green Globe Achievement awards in 1996, 1998 and 2000. Sukau Rainforest Lodge was selected as one of the top ten ecolodges in the September/October 1999 issue of the National Audubon Society magazine, and it was also recognized as a "World Class Adventure Travel" destination in the September 2005 issue of the National Geographic Adventure Magazine. In 2006, its tree planting project, Kinabatangan Wildlife Corridor Regeneration Program (KW1CORP) was nominated as the runner up in the EcoClub Awards.

It also played host to the delegates for the post conference tours of the World Ecotourism Conference & Field Seminars and the WWF Annual Conference in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia in 1999. More recently, it hosted the delegates of the Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference 2002, and Borneo Ecotourism Conference 2005.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the lodge, a book "Saving Paradise" was published in 2005 co-authored by Albert Teo and Carol Patterson which has since been used by several universities for ecotourism and sustainable tourism studies.

Itinerary 7 Days : Kinabatangan Wildlife Safari

Day 01

On arrival at Sandakan Airport by morning flight, proceed to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre for video show. Trek ten minutes under the towering canopy of the virgin rainforest on wooden plank walks to witness the feeding of the orang utans at 10am. After lunch in Sandakan town, we transfer to our jetty for an estimated 2i/2 hour journey by our all-weather twin engine speed boat to Sukau Rainforest Lodge along Sabah's longest river, the Kinabatangan, with the opportunity to view birds and wildlife in virgin mangrove, wetland and rainforest habitats.

Enjoy a friendly welcome and briefing on arrival and a short relaxation. After refreshments including some local delicacies and afternoon tea break, take a two hour river cruise using electric motor in search of hornbills and some of the 10 primate species including Proboscis monkeys as they settle down on treetops along the Kinabatangan River. Return for solar-heated hot shower, candle light dinner in traditional attire (provided), followed by a slide show conducted by naturalist guide. Mingle around and exchange your adventure stories with the other guests over cold beer into the night. Overnight at Sukau Rainforest Lodge.

Day 02

Wake up to the calls of gibbons and hornbills. Take a 6.00 am morning river cruise up the Kinabatangan River to view more birds and wildlife. Proceed to the Kelenanap ox-bow lake for a short jungle walk (if weather permits). You have the option to participate in our conservation project Kinabatangan Wildlife Corridor Regeneration Program KWICORP by planting trees at our 64 acres adopted land. After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely guided nature walk at Hornbill Boardwalk and learn the uses of medicinal tropical plants.

In the afternoon, we proceed for another river cruise on the main river for more wildlife viewing or in search of the elusive Bornean pygmy elephants should they be in the vicinity. After dinner an optional (at a surcharge) night safari cruise spotting nocturnal animals, crocodiles and birds. Overnight at Sukau Rainforest Lodge. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Day 03

After breakfast, return to Sandakan by boat journey. Have lunch before we proceed for a short tour of Sandakan town including the Australian War Memorial. Transfer to airport for late afternoon flight to Kota Kinabalu. (Breakfast/Lunch)

Please bring along sun block lotion, personal toiletries, torch light, insect repellent, walking shoes, binoculars, hat & raincoat.

Lodge is accessible by:

2.5 hours speedboat ride along Kinabatangan River

135 km overland from Sandakan to Sukau including 42 km of gravel road through palm oil plantations followed by 15 minutes boat ride from Sukau village

350 km (6 hours) overland from Kota Kinabalu

5 hours overland from Borneo Rainforest Lodge (Danum Valley).

Malaysia Airlines has 8 daily flights between Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan and 2 daily flights between Tawau and Sandakan.


1. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Since you only have our word on how good Sukau Rainforest Lodge is, we will take the risk for you by offering a Money back guarantee. If upon arrival at Sukau Rainforest Lodge you are not satisfied, we will return you to Sandakan at the earliest possible scheduled transfer and refund the cost of your SRL tour. (Internet Bookings through Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge websites only)


2. Multi-Award Winners. Sukau Rainforest Lodge was named the winner of British Airways "Tourism for Tomorrow Award 1997" for the Pacific Region, and has received runners-up for "Green Hotelier of the Year 1999" and "IH&RA Environment award 1999" by the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA).


3. Our Guarantee. We offer "Window" seat for every guest during the cruise, focus on safety which includes all boats insured, licensed (when required), and equipped with radio communication. Life jackets are provided on all cruises, and we guarantee a free night cruise if you don't see proboscis monkeys during the first cruise.


4. Exotic Rainforest View. Romantic candle light dinner at Melapi Restaurant overlooking the river under the Borneo sky. One of the best views in Borneo!


5. Free Gifts. Free welcome gifts for tours, including "Saving Paradise" book (or alternative) and "Visitors Handbook on Lower Kinabatangan" for guests to Sukau Rainforest Lodge on tours commencing in Kota Kinabalu or Sandakan.


6. Our Facilities. Built in traditional "Longhouse" style, this lodge will not be subjected to annual flooding. SRL also has a large reference library. We provide satellite phone and internet connection for those who need to be in touch. A 1500ft Hornbill Boardwalk is the longest covered boardwalk in Borneo. It includes two elephant passes and is built along the elephant migration route. (http://www.sukau.com/public/facilities.asp)


7. Our Environmental Standards. We are a low impact Eco-Lodge with our own "green policies" and Code of Practice. These include offering river cruises in Sukau with locally handcrafted wooden boats (max. 8 passengers) using "silent" electric motor for close up wildlife viewing, thus minimizing the negative impact of toxic fumes on both wildlife and in-boat passengers. A list of our environmental policies can be found here at:


8. Benefits to Local Community. A chance to contribute to local community and conservation projects. For every international guest who stays with us, we will donate US$1 (RM3.80) per adult to Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) for our community and conservation projects. Unlike others, we will set this fund aside irrespective of whether we make profit or not nor do we ask our guest to donate by deducting it out of their bill. A list of our past projects can be viewed on our website.


9. Benefits to Environment. We buy tree seedlings from the local community and encourage our guests to rehabilitate 64 acre riverine site we have adopted.


10. Satisfied Customers. We have many satisfied customers including famous guests like Prince Henrik (the Prince Consort of Denmark), S Club 7 (English Pop Group) and Jeff Corwin (TV Wildlife Biologist), WWF, delegates from World Ecotourism Conference 1999, Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference 2002, Borneo Ecotourism Conference 2005, and world famous nhntographer Theo AMs.


Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST)

Established in 2000 as Sukau Ecotourism Research and Development Centre (SERDC) and renamed in 2006, Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) is a non-profit division of Borneo Eco Tours which implements both environment and community projects in Sukau and other parts of Borneo. BEST is best known for the award-winning tree planting project which received the Ecoclub Award in 2006, Kinabatangan Wildlife Corridor Regeneration Program (KWICORP) at a 64 acres adopted land in Lower Kinabatangan. Funds for BEST projects are channeled from Sukau Rainforest Lodge's internal allocation of US$1 (RM3.80) per every international guest who stays at the Lodge and donation from in house guests.

A total of over RM85, 000 has been donated to SERDC since its inception (over RM 65,000 from Sukau Rainforest Lodge itself). Our projects include:

A Kelenanap Oxbow lake weeds clearing project in 1996, Providing technical assistance to Bavanggazo Longhouse in 1996/7, Rehabilitation of birds in Sukau Rainforest Lodge in 1997/98, Mompilis Environmental clean-up in 1997, Sukau Water Tank Project (Phase 1) in 1997/98 and (Phase IIO) in 1999/2000, Commenced Sukau Tree planting Project 2000 which is still ongoing, a Medical project 2001, sponsoring the training of three local staff as nature guides (1st October 2001), Biogas Project (2002 - Not Implemented due to cultural considerations), Sukau Medical Health Check by Korean Medical Team (21-23/09/200

Beginning January 2007, Borneo Eco Tours will set aside RM8.00 for BEST'S projects for every international guest who travels to Sukau by speedboat as a part of its carbon trading program. It is also inviting its overseas partners to participate in this program.

Lahad Datu of Sabah    January 06, 2014 08:40:21 AM