Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Lahad Datu, Sabah, Borneo
Lahad Datu, Sabah, Borneo
We are at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum valley, one of the best locations in Borneo to experience Borneo’s diverse wildlife. There are over 300 species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians including the orang-utan and proboscis monkey which are found only in Borneo. The valley is now increasingly known also for its birdlife in the rainforest.
See A mother orang-utan climbs down a tree and sits with her baby not far. Our guide stands between us and the orang-utan, as we take shelter behind another tree. There is nowhere to run as the jungle is thick but there is no reason to run either. “The orang-utans don’t attack humans” our guide assures us “but don’t try and get too close to them” he warns. “Although they are friendly, you can still get hurt by their nails” he says.
We stand firm and admire their extraordinary prowess in tree-climbing and their splendid acrobatic display of upside-down vine-dangling with their arms stretched like rubber bands in almost any direction. Surprisingly, the mother orang-utan shows no concern of our presence, while the baby plays nearby. She sits nearby and inspects us with a soulful gaze. No other primate looks at you like an orang-utan does.
Look The three-storey lodge is set along the Danum River and made of wood and stone with contemporary, colonial style furnishings. The central lodge is a large, airy building standing on columns of belian, Borneo's famous hardwood, and features a spacious veranda, dining area and well-stocked bar.
Sleep In the room, the comforts are basic but adequate for the rainforest. Each of the 31 chalets has an en-suite bathroom and hot shower. There is no A/C due to the lodge’s sustainable energy policy but a ceiling fan cools the room if you leave the windows open. There are a total of 30 chalets of which 18 deluxe chalets and 2 premium chalets feature a deck with an open pool. All rooms have verandas from which you can sit and watch the roosting hornbills and other birds.
Explore We do two nature walks during the day. In the afternoon we sit outside on the veranda and listen to roosting rhinoceros hornbills. Sometimes monkeys can be seen in the jungle. The board walk nearby crosses a path often used by the elephants. We keep an eye on the path in case we see the herd but for now all eyes are on the mother orang-utan which sits so close to us that we can almost touch her. She scratches herself, looking at us as if bored. Then suddenly she decides to climb the tree and soon the mother orang-utan and the baby were gone.
The meeting with the orang-utans may have lasted between 5-10 minutes but it seemed a whole lifetime to us. We had come to Danum valley to see the bird and animal life but nothing could have prepared us for such a close encounter.
A number of direct international airlines fly to Borneo’s two main airports; Kuching in Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. The two major airlines; Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia also operate domestic flights linking tourist destinations of interest.
The nearest town to Danum Valley Conservation Area is Lahad Datu in the south eastern coast of Sabah, which is reached via a short 55-minute flight from Kota Kinabalu or overland from Tawau or Sandakan. The Borneo Rainforest Lodge is a 2-hour drive from Lahad Datu on a sometimes rough and bumpy road.
Transfer schedules from Lahad Datu are fixed although special transfers can be arranged at an additional cost. Please note only authorised resort vehicles are permitted into the Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
Transfers from Lahad Datu Airport to the resort – 07:50AM
Transfers from the resort to Lahad Datu Airport – 13:30PM
Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL)
Borneo Rainforest Lodge has only 30 individual chalets accommodating up to only 60 guests on full-Board basis. All the Chalets at BRL are installed with ceiling fans instead of air conditioning units. The passive design of the structure is the wall and roof insulation with natural ventilation. Guests have a choice of 3 types of chalets set in natural pristine surrounding. There are two Premium Villas that offer a higher level of comfort. Each chalet has its own outdoor tub on the spacious deck with views of a river and serene forest landscape.
Premium Villa These river fronting villas have been carefully designed to offer guests efficient use of space and panoramic view of the rainforest. A private infinity pool and large balcony overlooks the magnificent Danum River. These are available in single or double storey. Total: 2 Units
Deluxe Chalet - River View Spectacularly set amidst the rainforest, these chalets feature a private outdoor tub with a private balcony with magnificent views of the rainforest and Danum River. Two Deluxe Chalets can be shared with a common outdoor tub. Recommended for families or group of friends. Total: 18 Units, Size: 30 sqm
Standard Chalet - Jungle View These are simple chalets with an outdoor deck where you may contemplate the breathtaking panoramic view of the rainforest. These have Queen size bed with Jungle view and bathrooms with overhead shower. Total: 10 Units, Size: 25 sqm
Taxes and fees:
Check in & Check out
Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Experiences Wildlife: The best time to see Orang-utans is between March and October (peak July and August) when the trees are fruiting and they come down to lower slopes to feed. This makes it easier to find them during the walking safaris.
Birdlife: The Danum Valley is a bird-watchers paradise with over 275 species of birdlife recorded. Several of the birdlife found here is endemic to Borneo; and include Bornean Bristlehead, Bulwers Pheasant, the Bornean Ground Cuckoo and the Dusky Munia. All 8 species of Bornean Hornbill are very commonly sighted.
Day Safari: You are likely to see Orang Utans and Proboscis Monkey which are found only in Borneo. Other wildlife includes Sumatran Rhino, banteng elephant, mouse deer, clouded leopard, Bornean Gibbon, and red leaf Monkey. You may also see macaques, rhinoceros hornbills, serpent eagles, and giant red flying squirrels actually flying to a civet, leopard cat, Sambar deer and more.
From your room: You are likely to see rhinoceros hornbills, sambar deer, bearded pig , gibbons calling through the misty morning and the macaques feeding in the trees around us. Sometimes, the macaques swim and dry themselves off on the side allowing you to take great pictures.
Jungle-trekking: Trekking with your guide on a nature trial can be a very fulfilling experience. Look out for animal foot prints and extraordinary plants learn the calls of birds and animals from the guide.
Canopy walk: Exploring the rainforest is facilitated by a number of easily trekked trails as well as the 300 metre canopy walkway suspended 26 metres above the rainforest floor. It is a great place to get ‘eye to eye’ with Danum Valley’s birdlife.
Night Safari: The night safari will involve travelling on an open-top vehicle. Look out for the presence of nocturnal animals & birds, many of whom you will not notice until being pointed out by the eagle-eyed guide. You are likely to see snakes, lizards, sambar deer, frogs and insects galore.
Night Walk: You can also take a night walk with your guide. The jungle in the night is pitch dark and you will be required to carry a torch light. The guide will introduce you to the jungle animals and insects that you can only see in the night.
When to go In Sabah the main rainy seasons are from October to February when the rains come with the northeast monsoon. Between March and September/October is considered the best season to travel to Borneo even though Southwest monsoon brings in short burst of showers between May to July.
A common climatic feature to the park is bright early mornings, followed quickly by clouding mid-morning, which obscures the mountains by mid-day. Showers usually occur on the upper slopes in the afternoon. Even during the dry season, a good raincoat is a must.
The distinction between seasons is not very marked and the rainfall is unpredictable. Sabah generally receives less rainfall than Sarawak. In the Sabah region, rainfall in southern Sabah is lower than in the north, and falls quite evenly throughout the year but it is lowest in between February and April.
Visa & Health British passport holders do not require a visa. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of departure. (for a maximum stay of 3 months).
No immunisations are required but it is recommended that injections for typhoid, polio, tetanus, and hepatitis are up to date. Malaria tablets may be advisable for adventurous, deep jungle treks in Borneo. We recommend that you consult your GP or a travel health clinic for advice on inoculations and anti-malarial prophylaxis.