Experience the best of nature and wildlife at Borneo Rainforest Lodge, writes Nova Renata
IF you’re a nature lover keen on experiencing Sabaah in a setting that combines pristine nature and luxury, make your way to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley.
Set amid 438sq km of undisturbed land, 70km west of Lahad Datu, the Borneo Rainforest Lodge is nestled in a sprawling patch of nature’s jewel known as the Danum Valley Conservation Area. This conservation area boasts one of the richest conservation areas in the world, with over 200 species of tree per hectare thriving on it.
Lahad Datu is located in the east of Sabah, about 400km from Kota Kinabalu. If you are travelling from Kota Kinabalu, you can either take the long distance overnight bus to Lahad Datu, which will take about eight hours or take a 55-minute flight via Maswings.
From Lahad Datu town, the journey to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge takes circa two hours’ drive. Bear in mind that the road leading into the conservation area is rather rough. Nonetheless, your rough ride will be handsomely rewarded as you step into the lodge entrance.
LUXURIOUS NATURE ENCLAVE
The multi award-winning Borneo Rainforest Lodge stands alongside the Danum River, the main river that flows through DVCA. This luxury accommodation comprises 30 individual chalets and Premium Villas that can accommodate up to 60 guests at a time.
The Standard chalets are equipped with ceiling fans and en suite bathrooms, while the more upscale Premium Villas and Deluxe chalets also offer a private outdoor jacuzzi that are attached to spacious balcony a.k.a. viewing deck overlooking the river and the scenic forest landscape.
All chalets and villas are designed with minimalist rustic design and an eco-friendly concept, keeping the carbon footprint to a bare minimum.
On any given day, you will wake up to the chirping of birds and call of the gibbons. Sometimes, while enjoying a good soak in the outdoor jacuzzi, you may also be greeted by a passing deer or two. But worry not, they won’t be able to get into your villa.
The reception and dining area also offers a beautiful viewing deck where you can see wildlife roaming freely. Often, guests will be able to see a resident orang utan hanging on tree branches near the reception area. Basically, you don’t have to venture far to experience the best of nature and wildlife. They greet you at your door!
DANUM VALLEY CONSERVATION AREA
Recognised as one of the world’s most complex ecosystems, this forest serves as a natural home for endangered wildlife species such as the Sumatran rhino, banteng, Asian elephant, clouded leopard, orang utan, proboscis monkey, as well as a vast range of Sabah’s lowland flora.
Its remote location from human habitation and civilisation makes this place a naturalists’ paradise. There are just plenty of things to do here! You can drink in the beauty of this virgin rainforest by taking nature walks with an experienced nature guide and explore the tranquil riverine and lowland dipterocarp forest.
You can also trek to the beautiful waterfalls and rivers such as the Sungai Purut seven-tiered pools — one of the most spectacular waterfalls and pools found in the Danum Valley Conservation Area. At the waterfall, you can enjoy a cooling dip that comes with a complimentary fish massage from the friendly neighbourhood river fish.
Avid birdwatchers will enjoy the 170m long canopy walkway, which offers a peek into the abundant bird life in the forest canopy. This 27m high canopy walkway was also the winner of the 2009 Sabah Tourism Award in the Best Nature Tourism Attraction category.
If you are not deterred by height or spooked by relics, you can also trek up to the ancient KadazanDusun burial site, complete with belian coffins and ceramic spirit jars. There are three burial sites discovered within the conservation area precinct — two of them near the field centre and one below the cliff, overlooking Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
On the way down from the burial site, you can once again take a dip in the jacuzzi pool that is leech-free and safe for swimming. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also go tubing in the river. Just make sure to have extra dry clothes ready for your wet and wild adventure!
Later in the evening, after dinner, you can opt to go on a night safari tour in an open jeep. Depending on your luck, you may even catch a glimpse of some of the more elusive wildlife in the area such as the banteng, clouded leopard, the Bornean civet and certain species of reptiles.
Those planning a wildlife photography trip are recommended to stay for at least three days for better success at wild encounters. You can also make your trip more educational, especially when travelling with young children, by watching educational videos and slide presentations on nature and wildlife conservation in Danum Valley.
BORNEO RAINFOREST LODGE, DANUM VALLEY
Danum Valley Conservation Area, 91120 Lahad Datu, Sabah
TEL 088-267637 / 089-880 207
Fax: 088-251636 / 089-885 051
30 individual chalets, five room types (River View Deluxe Chalet, Jungle View Deluxe Chalet, Jungle View Standard Chalet, Single Storey Premium Villa and Double Storey Premium Villa). Decked in rustic decor and minimalistic design.
One dining and reception area serving buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Jungle trekking, wildlife spotting, nature walks, river tubing and spa.
Property location is very secluded, two hours’ drive to the nearest civilisation.
Breathtaking scenery, fresh air, pristine natural setting, wildlife encounter.
Not easily accessible via public transport, limited cell phone coverage, a bit pricey.
3D/2N package from RM3,158.80 per pax and 4D/3N package from RM4,536.80 per pax (inclusive of accommodation, land transfer, meals, permits and guides)