1. Research on Areas

Read up on the areas you are visiting and on what wildlife you like to photograph before you go. Get a copy of our complementary E-book from our website on 'Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary'.

They are many books on mammals and birds. Check out the website of Natural History Publications. The office is on Ground Floor, Wisma Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu.

On birds and mammals of Sabah and Borneo, read up on the books Birds of Borneo and Mammals of Borneo by our Conservation Fellows, Karen and Quentin Phillips.

2. Ways To Reduce Noise Pollution on Land Tours

On land tours, turn off the car engines. This will also reduce noise and vibration. On long day tours, make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. All our vehicles are equipped with filtered drinking water.

3. Ways To Reduce Noise Pollution on River Tours

On river tours, avoid using two-stroke outboard engines. They are not only polluting and noisy to the passengers but also the wildlife.

Use electric motors on the boat if you have one in order to get closer to the unsuspecting wildlife and to reduce noise and vibration. (All BET boats in Sukau are equipped with one).

4. Tip For Morning Photography

Most tourists go on dawn cruises when proboscis monkeys are just waking up from their sleep on treetops at the river’s edge. The noise from the river boats tend to drive many of them into the forest.

However, when most guests return to the lodge for breakfast, proboscis monkeys become more relaxed. Bring a short zoom like 24-70mm for wide angle subject and environment shots especially in morning mist.

5. Best Time For Picture

As the sun rises and as the mist dissipates, birds like hornbills, storm stork and animals like monitor lizards, crocodiles, langurs, macaques become more active and feed on the lower branches at the river’s edge. It is best to stay with one harem group and wait for action.

Without fail, they will move and leap from tree to tree or across the river. The best photos are often taken without other boats around when the birds and mammals are more relaxed. The light is also better after sunrise.

6. Wildlife Photography

For wildlife photography, bring a 200-500mm zoom lens or equivalent and a teleconverter x1.4 and a camera with shutter speed of 10-30 frames per second.

Use telephoto lens to take photos of wildlife farther away from under the trees to reduce angle of view of subject instead of getting close to the wildlife and looking up animals on tall trees. It is against the law to ask the guide/boatman to get onto the land in the sanctuary.

7. Shutter Speed

On moving boat, increase shutter speed or ISO to reduce blur. Increase your shutter speed to 1/2-3,000 per second for birds in flight. Many of my best photographs are taken during mid-morning and before late afternoon when there are fewer tourist boats around.

Proboscis monkeys and orangutan, like other animals are then more likely to show you their front side and not their back.

8. Private Boat

For serious photographers, it is best to stay out all day by arranging for private boat hire for the whole day. Bring a packed lunch and drinks with you. We also have an optional private “In search of elephant” tour.

9. Be Prepared

Work with the weather, not just at dawn and dusk. Always bring raincoat with you. Don’t put away your camera or cut short your river cruise just because it looks like it is going to rain. The rain or storm is usually for about an hour or so.

Some of my best photos were taken immediately after the rain when birds are very active. Just take out your raincoat and wait through the storm. Use hat with string when in the boat to avoid hat being blown off by the wind. Wear sneakers and long pants to be safe in getting in and out of boats.

10. Meet Our Residents

On the river cruise, you may not see a lot of flowers in the forest as compared with those at the lodge. So you are more likely to see many more sunbirds and insects around the lodge.

Keep an eye out for our 3 resident orangutans namely mother “Lucky” with her two male teenage orangutan “Day” and sibling “Hope”. Sounds of gong being struck six times mean orangutans have been sighted outside the room.

Written By Albert Teo
Managing Director of Borneo Eco Tours

Sukau Rainforest Lodge (SRL)  is not foreign to the ears of travelers that want to discover the wildlife of Borneo. Situated along the Kinabatangan River, this lodge is an award-winning lodge.

It recently won Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN) International Ecotourism Award. Our founder, Mr Albert Teo went to Manila as Sukau Rainforest Lodge was selected among 21 member countries and its with great honour to announce that Sukau Rainforest Lodge won the Sustainable Building Category.

Behind this success, for more than 2 decades this company maintained and aspired for a sustainable lodge. At Sukau Rainforest Lodge, we choose and take part to be the solution, not part of the environmental destruction.

In accordance with our mission, we intend to excel as an ecolodge by providing a unique experience in hospitality, interpretation and conservation with the local community and leadership development. Everyone and even guests are welcome to join our journey in the green movement.

In Sukau Rainforest Lodge, sustainability policies have been outlined as an in-house guideline to direct us to our purpose in the hope to sustain our environment.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge adopts the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations as the guiding principles in developing and implementing both community and environmental projects in Borneo. We choose to be sustainable because we care for the generations to come.

Our aim is not only to provide the best service to our guests but to make a difference that would give a positive impact on our biodiversity.

Here, we will be sharing with you the 15 elements of our green and sustainable practices that we implemented in Sukau Rainforest Lodge.

Open Concept Design

Gecko Lounge

Nothing can beat the fresh air, especially with trees around you. Our lodge adopted an open concept for the design and construction of the Gecko Lodge, Gomantong Hall and Melapi restaurant. It's to allow for unrestrained air circulation and ventilation thus minimizing the use of fans.

Rainwater harvesting

Rainwater Harvesting

We have been practising rainwater harvesting, which makes our lodge 100% self-reliant on water. The rainwater harvested is filtered and chlorinated for kitchen use and washing purposes. Guests are also advised to be aware of their water usage during their stay here. This method will promote both water and energy conservation.


As a part of our Green & Sustainable practices, littering around the lodge is strictly prohibited. Guests are encouraged to recycle items and place them into the respective recycling bins located on the open deck. Plastic waste is one of the biggest polluters here in Malaysia, where some would simply throw them away into the river or ocean to avoid high recycling costs. Saving the ecosystem by recycling one item at a time!

Rubbish picking

Students from Curtin University, Australia.

One of the simplest way to start saving the planet is rubbish picking! Our team organizes rubbish picking during river cruises from time to time to keep the surroundings clean. The rubbish that is thrown at the river may put the life of the animals at risk. Plastic waste will turn into micro-plastic and if the aquatic or wildlife consumes it, it will degenerate their health.

Energy saving (lightbulbs & air-conditioners)

In our lodge, all rooms and villas are equipped with energy-saving bulbs and inverter air-conditioners that consume less power, making it more environmentally friendly compared to the usual ones. Guests are also advised to switch off all lights and the AC before leaving their room to save energy.

Water dispenser

Instead of buying bottled water on a regular basis, we encourage visitors to bring their own water bottles, which they can refill for free from the water dispensers situated throughout our resort. As we are moving towards a single-use plastic-free environment, we want our guests to join this movement with us.

Organic waste

Organic waste from the lodge is turned into compost while non-biodegradable materials are separated and sent to Sandakan for disposal and recycling. To minimise the impact of water pollution, a modern environmentally friendly system called BioSolv Treatment System is used as a greener and better alternative in sewage treatment. With this, zero waste is thrown recklessly into the river.

Powered by electric motor, reduce noise

Electric motor

As we care about the environment and wildlife, we ensure that not only our lodge, but the accommodation is also top-notch. The boats used for transportation and safari river cruises are equipped with outboard engines and electric motors (Evinrude E-TEC & Yamaha Portable Outboard Engine) that meets the European Union’s and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) most stringent emission standards. Its low-noise efficiency and zero-emission decrease pollution and stress on wildlife.

No TV & radio

Who needs the TV when you have a magnificent view just outside your room? Radio and television are not provided for energy saving and we want our guests to enjoy the surrounding nature.

Recycling cooking oil

Yes, we recycle our cooking oil too! Do you know that after the recycled oil is filtered it can be changed into a product like bio-diesel? We will use the recycled oil to light up lamps in our restaurant, bar area, and oil lamps in the yard and hallways to create a charming and cosy atmosphere.

Employment opportunities

Borneo Eco Tours & Sukau Rainforest Lodge Staff

We try our best to provide employment opportunities for the local community whenever possible and currently 80% of our team members at the lodge are locals. Some of the facilities in our lodge are testimony of the local skills. For example, the jetty, plank walks, wooden benches, deck tables, and chairs.

To ensure that our lodge provides consistent services, we recruited senior staff from outside to transfer their skills to the locals. In terms of communication and English speaking skills, most of the staff had low efficiency in English when they first joined us. As a result, we have implemented training and brought in foreign tourism students to assist them in understanding various cultures and the requirements of visitors and developing communication skills.

Crystal solar

Thanks to our higher efficiency and greener power production of  4 crystal solar heating system, the guests are able to enjoy a hot shower even in the middle of the jungle! Not just rooms, all hot water in the lodge is currently supplied by the crystal solar totaling 78.69 gallons.

Septic tanks

We equipped our lodge with septic tanks in an effort to preserve the river. Since the Kinabatangan river is home to a number of wildlife, we ensure that nothing is discharged into the river to preserve and keep the river clean. With the help of septic tanks, not only is it cost-effective, but most importantly it is environmentally friendly.

Towels & linens

 To reduce the carbon footprint, we have stopped daily towel and linen changes and typically do not replace the towels and linens when the guests are staying at the lodge for only 2 nights. Instead, we will change them upon request. These are some changes that we made for our housekeeping to be greener and this consequently saves water and energy.  

In-house naturalist

In SRL, we have our very own in-house naturalist to provide education and interpretation regarding the surrounding habitat and wildlife. In terms of providing education, we have set up an information gallery on the local flora and fauna, while our naturalist guides can provide additional interpretation of the rainforest around the Hornbill Boardwalk.

In the words of Jane Goodall the famous primatologist, “What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Hence, we are striving to incorporate the green practices mentioned above to be better in sustainability and our main objective is to protect our natural wonders and our majestic wildlife before it is too late.

Experience this hidden gem in Kinabatangan with the best travel deals in 2023. Entice yourself on this journey and embark on the highest concentration of wildlife and breath-taking nature scenes that never fail to delight the heart. The nature and wildlife experience will surely be one of the greatest trip you have ever been. Tick off your bucket list on this limited time offer packages.

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