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Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

Set in a remote forest reserve near an internationally-important wetland, the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort offers access to an unspoilt region populated by local tribespeople and a wide array of wildlife.

A raised walkway leads between the buildings at the resort where ten tastefully-designed twin cabins provide simple but comfortable accommodation. Spacious and bright, they have dark, wooden floors, white linens and bright bed throws and cushions in locally-made fabrics. Solar-powered ceiling fans and en suite facilities provide additional comforts.

Other facilities include an open dining area, a library and a lounge with cane and bamboo sofas. The food is good and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable about the area. The local freshwater swamps and mangrove forest are home to orangutan, langurs and rhinoceros hornbill along with a diverse mix of tropical plant life and activities include day and night river safaris, jungle walks and visits to the local Orang Sungai people. Guests can also enjoy fishing from the lodge.

Our rating: Medium

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Rooms

The simple wooden cabins are very spacious with polished, dark wood floors contrasting with white walls and linens. Local fabrics add interest in the cushions and bed throws, and a solar-powered ceiling fan helps to keep rooms cool. Large windows overlook the forest outside with the sounds of birdsong to accompany the tropical views. Rooms also have a TV and a private bathroom with a shower, though the supply of hot water can be erratic.

Location

The lodge is located in the remote Lower Kinabatangan Segama Wetlands in Sabah in Malaysian Borneo and is reached by boat from Sandakan which takes about an hour. The surrounding mangrove forest and wetlands are home to a hugely diverse range of plants, birds, reptiles and mammals many of which can be seen within a short walk of the lodge or on a river trip.

Food and drink

The glass-fronted octagonal dining area offers panoramic forest views while dining. Food is served as a buffet and consists of a variety of traditional local dishes including vegetarian, fish and meat options. The restaurant is also the only part of the resort to offer Wi-Fi. The food is simple but tasty local fare and is usually served as a buffet.

Facilities and activities

The highlight of a stay is the access to the surrounding forest and wetlands. Day and night river cruises bring the immediate area to life with guides offering insightful commentary about the region and its plant and animal life. Night walks along the boardwalk with a guide to see nocturnal creatures are also available. Guests are also encouraged to visit the local village of Kampung Abai which is home to the traditional Orang Sungai people. 

Our opinion

Although the accommodation here is simple, the wetland setting and its wide variety of plant and animal life make the lodge highly memorable. The rewarding activities and chance to meet local tribespeople are often a highlight of visitors’ trips.

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    Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.

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    • Kinabatangan River Lodge, Kinabatangan River

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    • Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Kinabatangan River

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    Experiences while staying here

    The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.

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      Guests will journey up one of the smaller tributaries of the Kinabatangan River such as the Menangol River. Wildlife abounds in this part of Borneo, and you may see chattering monkeys and many species of birds.