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.

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Clear sky indicates the smoothness of the excursion

Have you ever explored the rainforest at night? On a boat? Do you know what species of animals lurk around at night? Let's take you on board as we cruise along the Kinabatangan river when the night unfolds.

When is the best time to do it?

Of course, at night. As the sun sets down behind the horizon and the dark start covering the sky, the night creatures start to dwell among the darkness. Before that, make sure the weather is on our side. If there is no sign of heavy downpours will drop anytime soon, and the sky is filled with stars. Then it's going to be a perfect time to do it.

What do you expect to see?

Forest along the Kinabatangan river is home to some of the most elusive nocturnal animals on this island. From the island's elusive wild cat Bornean Clouded Leopard, the ferocious Estuarine Crocodile, to the rarest nocturnal primates, such as the carnivorous Horsfield's Tarsier and others. Cruising at night in these waterways offers you a chance to see all these nocturnal animals. Of course, all sightings depend on luck, as all these animals mentioned are strictly wild, and some luck is needed.

Common sightings usually crocodile, an owl, and roosting birds like the kingfisher that can generally be spotted along the riverside. While the uncommon one, on the other hand, includes elusive animals such as the Bornean Clouded Leopard and nocturnal primates such as Loris and Tarsier.

From the top left to the right: Estuarine Crocodile, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Stork-Billed kingfisher and Buffy Fish-Owl

Is it safe to do?

Yes, our boat is made of fibreglasses and has all the necessary safety features, such as a life vest and fire extinguisher. Participants must put the life vest on during the excursion. Boat skippers also act as a spotter, equipped with high-power flashlights to assist during the cruise, not just for spotting purposes but also to ensure the safety during the excursion.

How do you spot all those animals?

The cruise boat is equipped with a high-powered spotlight; usually, the boat skipper and spotter rely on an eyes reflection of the animals. This eyeshine is produced by a special membrane called Tapetum Lucidum, a reflective surface of the membrane located directly behind the iris. 

To master this art of spotting, the spotter learns more than just spotting. They need to know how to differentiate the subject or the animals based on the eye colour reflection. Other knowledge, such as where and how to look at certain animals, is also crucial for the spotter to know.  

Top: Our boat skipper scanning the nook and crannies of the forest. Below: Our lodge guest taking part the search as well.

What to wear or bring?

Wear comfortable clothing, as at night the temperature is low compared to day time. Don’t forget to bring a long jacket to keep warm, as it can get chilly. Rain gear will be one of the essential to bring along, as weather can change in split second sometimes.

Make it as light as possible. Torch or flashlight can bring along, but during the cruise, advisable to switch it off to avoid attracting any unpleasant insects, such as wasps. Other essential items to bring such as a phone and cameras if you wish to do any photography and dry bags to keep your valuable things or equipment safe and dry.

The do’s and don't?

Observing animals in their natural environment requires proper guidelines that must be practised and adhered to, as we try to minimise our disturbance in their surroundings while awarding ourselves with the experience.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

⁃ Maintaining a safe distance from animals. Some animals will do their routine without disturbance if the distance is appropriate.

⁃ Never feed the wild animals

⁃ Lower your voice

⁃ Do not attempt to lure or attract the animals by getting their attention for your viewing or photography purposes. 

⁃ Avoid using strong-smelling substances. Such as perfume, as the animals are sensitive to this unfamiliar scent.

⁃ Flash photography is not recommended. Although it has never been proven scientifically to harm animals, please keep the well-being of the animals in mind and foremost.

Night cruise along the Kinabatangan river offers you a unique look into the world of nocturnal creatures that only can be found lurking at night. Its is the only way to experience this mysterious world of darkness.

Our lodge located in one of the “Biodiversity Hotspot” in Sabah. The area harboring a exceptional diversity and abundance of wildlife. We do arrange this nocturnal excursion every evening with minimal surcharge, and of course don't forget it all depend on the weather and sighting are unpredictable. 

It has got to be hands down some of the most magnificent places. If you'd like to go on the adventure this coming holidays, Kinabatangan is a place to be.

0800-1800hrs (Mondays-Fridays), 0800-1200hrs (Saturdays)

Sundays & Public Holidays

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