Whether you are cruising the Kinabatangan River, looking at surveying Mount Kinabalu or hiking the Borneo’s rainforest or want to have a meet up with the orangutans, here are 5 of the wildest hotels and beautiful locations to stay in Sabah, Borneo…
Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat, Sepilok
You can head over to Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre if you want to see the famous Orangutans of Borneo first hand up-close and personal. Visit them during feeding time, which is usually between 10 am and 3 pm. This organisation has taken it upon itself to take care of orphaned apes before relocating them back to their natural wild habitat. And its forest enclosure is always open to guests. Right next door, there is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation centre that has the smallest and cutest bear you’ve ever seen. The 2011 Wanderlust World Guide Awards Bronze award-winner Kevin Albin donated his full bursary to partly fund the centre and cause.
Borneo Nature Lodge, Sukau
The palm oil plantations have a devastating effect in Borneo with various animals hemmed in the wildlife corridors – in the jungle slices – in between endless cash crop acres. Amongst these wildlife corridors is the Kinabatangan River that provides a safe haven for animals like proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, and orangutans. This is the place you’re most likely to encounter a ‘wild’ animal in Borneo. However, this is because the wildlife there doesn’t have anywhere else left to go and seek refuge.
Shangri-La Rasa RIA, Kota Kinabalu
La Rasa RIA has its own nature reserve, which is its major wild card. This is perfect for kids gagging for a nature experience, but you aren’t ready to expose them to the jungle just yet. This resort will be ideal for them. Moreover, you’ll only take an hour to get drive here from Kota Kinabalu, which is Sabah’s capital. The rain forest escape will feel like the real deal thanks to hiking trails that wind into the reserve. It’s complete with samba deer, pangolins, bearcats, and even tarsiers.
Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley
The Borneo Rainforest Lodge is enclosed by a wonderful and wild tangle of pristine jungle. It’s a bubble of luxury for any visitor. The Danum Valley rainforest covers a vast 438km2 area, which allows the wild animals to flourish in their natural habitat without facing the threat of urban development. The lodge has rustic accommodations like compost loos and hammocks and other features that are real stunners!
Gaya Island Resort, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
Gaya Island features the habitat for Borneo’s proboscis monkeys where you can get to see their treetop acrobatics, cheeky antics, and brilliant rude-looking noses. Many proboscis clans call this isle home, and that’s why the wildlife centre has partnered with wildlife charities to help conserve these monkeys.