Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Kinabatangan River, Borneo, Malaysia

At a Glance

  • A National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World

  • Sukau Rainforest Lodge is committed to sustainable tourism, and supporting the local community

  • The Kinabatangan River has one of the highest wildlife concentrations in Borneo, and it is sometimes possible to see pygmy elephants around the lodge

  • All of the rooms have en-suite bathrooms, overhead fans and air-conditioning

  • Whilst fairly simple, the lodge has decent facilities including a plunge pool, sun-deck and riverside restaurant

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Like the rest of Malaysia, Sabah’s climate is hot and humid. Expect temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s throughout the lowlands. The state’s rainfall averages about 300cm annually and though it rains throughout the year, the heaviest rainfall generally occurs between October and January. At higher elevations the temperature is refreshingly cool, dropping to colder temperatures at night. Mount Kinabalu has its own climate and, above 3500m, temperatures can drop to freezing.

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Insider's View

My photos of the hugely comical but absolutely adorable proboscis monkeys make me laugh every time I look at them!

Call us on 020 3993 8476 to start planning your holiday to Sukau Rainforest Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Malaysia


Sukau Rainforest Lodge occupies a prime spot on the banks of the Kinabatangan River in Borneo. A National Geographic Unique Lodge, with excellent eco credentials, this is a fantastic base for wildlife spotting and exploring the surrounding area.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge has 20 rooms and 20 villas, all of which have en-suite bathrooms, overhead fans and 24-hour air-conditioning; a welcome luxury in Borneo, and something that sets the lodge apart from many others. Like most of the lodges, the design and decor are fairly simple, but of a good standard.

The lodge's facilities will also ensure a comfortable stay for a few days, with a plunge pool, sun-deck, lounge-bar and enclosed garden. The riverside restaurant, Melapi, serves western-style breakfast and Malaysian cuisine for lunch and dinner. With an aim to make the most of the wildlife-rich surroundings, there are three open decks for wildlife viewing, and a Hornbill Boardwalk with two elephant passes.

The lodge is built on stilts with wooden walkways between each area, which helps to protect the local flora and fauna. The lodge is also entirely self-sufficient in terms of processing their own water, as well as using solar power to heat the water. The boats used on the river have electric motors, which reduce noise pollution and disruption to the wildlife. Sukau Rainforest Lodge's status as a National Geographic Unique Lodge re-enforces their commitment to sustainability and supporting the local community.    

The Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia, and a hugely important part of Borneo's eco-system. The areas around the river have some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Borneo, including proboscis monkeys, Bornean gibbons, orangutans, pygmy elephants and bearded-pigs. There are also over 200 bird species, including all eight species of hornbill.


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Sukau Rainforest Lodge has 20 rooms and 20 villas, all with en-suite bathrooms which feature hot water showers. Whilst the design is fairly simple, the windows are fitted with mosquito nets the addition of overhead fans and air-conditioning provide a comfortable stay. The villas are newer and feel more polished. They are also much more spacious than the rooms, therefore this is the category that we recommend.      


Children are welcome at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, however there are no specific facilities for them. There are no interconnecting room options, although the rooms can accommodate one extra bed.  


Whilst most of your time at Sukau Rainforest Lodge will be spent exploring the surrounding river and jungle, the lodge does still have decent facilities. There is a plunge pool for cooling off, and a sun-deck for some relaxation time. The lodge's restaurant, Melapi, has nice views of the river. There is also a lounge-bar, meeting hall and education centre. For wildlife spotting around the lodge, there is the Hornbill Boadwalk, which has two elephant passes, and three open decks for clear views of the rainforest.



Given the lodge's location on the Kinabatangan River, there are plenty of boat trips which can provide excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting. There are also guided walks through the rainforest, and the chance to visit the nearby Gomantong Cave to watch millions of bats swoop from the cave-mouth each evening. The guiding is of a high standard, and at the lodge the guides will often give talks and presentations.   


  • Sukau Rainforest Lodge - Hornbill Boardwalk

    Accompanied by the lodge's in-house naturalist, take a stroll along the Hornbill Boardwalk, keeping a eye out for the wildlife that can often been seen around the property.

  • Sukau Rainforest Lodge - Kelenanap Oxbow Lake

    Start early this morning and take a boat cruise up the Kinabatangan River to the Kelenanap Oxbow Lake. The early morning is a great time to spot wildlife, and experience the rainforest coming alive as the sun rises.

  • Sukau Rainforest Lodge - River Cruise

    Take a cruise along the Kinabatangan River, keeping an eye out for the local wildlife, which can include crocodiles, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, hornbills and sometimes even the elusive orangutan.

  • Visit the Gomantong Caves

    The impressive Gomantong Caves are located close to the lower Kinabatangan River, surrounded by wildlife-rich rainforest. This limestone cave system is famous for its huge populations of swifts and bats.

Location & directions

Kinabatangan River, Borneo, Malaysia

Sukau Rainforest Lodge is on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, in Sabah, Borneo.

How to get there

17-hour international flight (one change) to Sandakan Airport. The lodge is a two-hour drive from Sandakan.  

Speak to our specialists 020 3993 8860

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Call us on 020 3993 8476 to start planning your holiday to Sukau Rainforest Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Malaysia

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