We visited Borneo for our 10th wedding anniversary and Mr C certainly pushed the boat out with Luxury Lodgings. Never had I stayed in such diverse and stunning accommodation! We wanted to not only see how beautiful the Country was but to quite rightly treat ourselves! None of the three disappointed and were all equally different. A holiday full of memories I will never forget!
Borneo Luxury Lodging 1 – Bunga Raya Island Resort
Set just off of the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Gaya Island has a picture perfect luxury resort. Welcome to Bunga Raya! With detached bungalows next to the beach or up the hill there is something to suit everyone. We stayed halfway up the hill as we wanted to be a little way from the main area of the resort for the quiet. Plus we wanted the views from the vantage point our Lodge offered. I had never stayed in a wooden lodge before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As I walked up our own private staircase to our chalet my breath was taken away with what I was about to discover.
But this wasn’t even the beginning, let me go backwards a moment. After landing at the airport we were greeted by our driver (not booked through Gaya Resort, but part of our whole package). We were driven the short journey to the pier where we were taken into a lovely reception to check in. We then hopped in our own private speed boat and off we went to the island (approx 20 mins). On arrival you are greeted with this! Simply amazing!
From here you are ‘golf buggied’ to reception for the last part of check-in, given a welcome drink and then driven to your Lodge.
Stunning doesn’t cover this luxury lodge!
Inside you have all the mod cons you could need in a traditional feeling luxury lodge, right off the coast of Borneo! What more could you want? On the bed we found two complimentary sarongs made from stunning material. The veranda went around two sides of our lodge and ours had a lovely view out to sea. There are two restaurants to choose from, an enormous wine cellar you can walk around and even choose tonight’s bottle from. At night wild boars come down to the beach and roam around while you have dinner.
The beach is stunning, wild and has coral off of the shore you can swim to easily. Beware of the sand flies through, we suffered with them all holiday from being bitten on day one!
There is a stunning pool right on the beach too. The fact that there is also a helipad on a jetty to the right of the beach shows the kind of clientele who stay here.
In The Area?
During our stay here we went on canopy jungle walks in the centre of the island and also a mini zip line. I believe there is another resort on the opposite side of the island where there is a giant zip line you can have a go out. Otherwise just sit back with a cocktail, read a book or do a bit of snorkelling! It is your holiday after all!
Borneo Luxury Lodging 2 – Sepilok Nature Resort
The next stop on our anniversary trip was a short flight away across Borneo to Sandakan staying at Sepilok Nature Resort. Our lodgings were not only lush but were less than a five minute walk from the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Sun Bear Sanctuary. Our luxury lodging was for just one night (unfortunately) as we had a pretty packed schedule. It was yet another lovely detached wooden bungalow overlooking the lake the resort is set around, you couldn’t ask for more!
There is a cute restaurant at the resort which I can confirm does a lovely evening meal. A delicious breakfast was included in our package before we had to leave the following day. Above the restaurant is also a chill out area to enjoy a passion fruit mojito in! On the lower decking overlooking the lake in the evening we were treated to several monitor lizards going about their business!
In the Area?
As mentioned above, less than a five minute walk away was the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and opposite this is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Both were great to spend a few hours at. We were so lucky to see four baby sun bears climbing a huge tree on our visit! Once back at your resort you can chill out on the lovely sun beds by the lake or swing in a private hammock on your decking! Sheer luxury in stunning surroundings I’m sure you would agree!
Borneo Luxury Lodging 3- Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Now to our final destination, short a five hour drive in to the Danum Valley! In hindsight we would have floated down the river over night but hey ho! Now this definitely a luxury lodging where you shouldn’t be able to achieve one! Right in the centre of Primary Rainforest is a Rainforest Lodge which is all about education and conservation. Driving in to the forest you can see the outskirts have all been previously logged. New trees and plants are being grown to repopulate the area, an attempt to undo the wrong. What an amazing place! Prince William and Kate have stayed here……just saying! I’m sure we had the exact room too lol.
The rooms were huge, with a really modern bathroom, high ceilings and ours had a jacuzzi on our veranda. Whether it was sunny or in the middle of a rainstorm it was the perfect covered place to relax.
The restaurant is in the main building where you have all your meals. The view is fantastic over the meadow (where deer graze at night) leading to the river. The backdrop of Primary Rainforest is just superb, especially in the sunshine!
What to do? Oh there is so much!
Take at look at the map at the top again. These are all the trails you can do depending on how long you are here for. We stayed two nights and on our first evening we did a twilight wildlife tour on the back of a wagon. The following day we did a five hour round trek to a waterfall and saw wild orang-utans. This was the highlight of our whole trip so far as she had a baby with her! There were also many other varieties of monkeys, insects and birds we Sawalong the way.
After lunch we had a relaxing tubing hour floating along the winding river that goes past the lodge. Half way down we had to dodge nuts being thrown out of the trees by monkeys! Thankfully nuts was all they threw!
So relaxing after the trek
There are other activities you can also safely do by yourself, and the one we chose on our last day was the canopy tree walkways up in the air. Not great if you don’t like heights like Mr C, but to his credit he just got on with it!
Do not miss out on this real treat, it was truly the best place we have ever stayed in. Not only due to the location but the staff couldn’t do enough for us, the food was to die for and the rooms were stunning. My only complaint was there seemed to be a gecko in our roof that liked to bark like a dog all night! The way to cope with this? Do so much in the day that after a gin in the evening you are so tired you will sleep through everything!
Do you enjoy staying somewhere a little more remote? Have you ever heard of Koh Mak in Thailand? If not, this could be right up your street, read more about this stunning island here.
The Kinabatangan River
I wish we had done this but the people who booked our trip never mentioned it! Floating down the river seeing Pigmy elephants & proboscis monkeys would have been amazing! Check it out here!