Want to explore one of the most concentrated areas of wildlife while you are in Sabah? Great choice! Visiting Kinabatangan River is the way to do this.
Of course, if you want to get the most from your experience, you need to stay overnight at the river so you can experience the wildlife on it shores in the early morning, late afternoon and evening.
One of the places where you can stay is the Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort. This is the perfect place to relax and eat in between your nature cruises with plenty on offer for a great stay.
How do I know? Because I stayed here myself. Below is my full review of the Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort including lots of photos so you can make the decision yourself about whether this is the best place to stay here.
There’s also a full video walk through at the bottom of my experience staying here including inside the accommodation as well as the river cruises.
Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort Review
I visited the Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort alone. I booked a two day one night package which you can find here.
For this resort, you definitely want to book a package (which is generally the only option) rather than room only as you’ll want to eat here and do regularly river cruises to get the most out of your stay by the Kinabatangan River.
The resort is built on wooden stilts and various boardwalks between the little villas and the main resort area. It all fades into the surrounding rainforest and river nicely and has a great, chill-out vibe in a very beautiful way.
The Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort Sandakan Sabah Malaysia is located by the Kinabatangan River about halfway between where the main highway crosses the river and where the river branches into wetlands by the coast.
It takes about 2 hours to drive here from Sandakan and it’s easy to drive here. Some patches of road could do with some maintenance when I drove along it, but it’s fine and easy to navigate.
To get here, it’s best to book a transfer through the resort which is easy to do via the message function in Booking once you have booked. This is usually included in your package.
Check-in was super smooth. On arrival, I was greeted by the resort and given a quick briefing on what I would be doing during my time here. It was very useful.
Soon enough, I was walked to my room where I got an excellent shock as it was so much nicer than I would have expected.
There are a few different room types here to choose from. All rooms are primarily made in wood and feature decor hand-crafted by local tradesmen.
Budget travellers will love the dorm rooms. These have three bunk beds and their own bathrooms as well as air-conditioning.
For more privacy, there are cottage rooms and deluxe rooms (much nicer) which come with twin beds, private bathrooms, air-conditioning, fans, desks and clothes rack. There is also a similar triple room which has a queen and single bed.
All rooms have balconies.
I didn’t realise I was staying in a deluxe room so I was super happy when I walked into one. It’s gorgeous!
On entry into the room, my bathroom was on the right. It has a toilet and basin and then a whole separated area with a shower. It felt quite luxurious having so much space in the shower actually! There’s hot water.
In the main bedroom area, there were two single beds with mosquito net canopies. There was also a small hanging space and a desk with stool as well as two small shelves.
There was a ceiling fan and air-conditioner.
The best part, however, is definitely the balcony out to a lake area. So beautiful! The only thing missing was some chairs which I found quite strange. It seemed a waste to have this great balcony with no way to enjoy it properly.
The room itself is somewhat basic, but the views make it beautiful. The beds were super comfortable and the only noises I heard were the wildlife.
Packages tend to include all meals, transfers, accommodation and activities during your stay so you have nothing to worry about.
Activities can include afternoon and morning cruises, evening walk into the local village to understand their cultures and a night walk to see nocturnal mammals. The longer you stay, the more options there are.
Because I did a one night package, this included transportation to and from the resort, two river cruises, afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast and a night walk looking for nocturnal mammals.
I thought it was a great deal. While I wish I had been able to stay two nights instead to experience more (and because I loved it here), I did get a great experience with this package, and I highly recommend it if it’s all you have time for.
There is a restaurant and seating area on-site with great views over the river. I hung here writing some of this article between cruises! It’s a lovely spot.
You can also rent items like binoculars or buy things like big socks (which they called leech socks but they were actually football socks). There was a couple of different drinks for sale but not much. I recommend you bring your own drinks (beyond water) and snacks.
There is filtered water that you can help yourself to.
Keep a look out when you are walking round this resort for the local wildlife. It’s not just from the boat cruises that you can see proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants and more.
There are plenty of monkeys around, so be careful of your belongings.
There is no wifi, but I did have cell coverage with Digi.
You are no doubt primarily coming here for the river cruises. So are they good at this resort?
Short answer: YES!
I had a river cruise at 4pm on my first day and at 6am on my second day. It was an early start, but worth it.
The resort has different boats leaving depending on if it’s your first day there or a subsequent day. We headed upstream on our 4pm cruise, hoping to see pygmy elephants near where they had been spotted the day before. Unfortunately not, but we did see various types of monkey, crocodiles and hornbills.
The morning cruise at 6am was great. Everything was so calm and cool and wildlife spotting seemed easier. We spotted many types of monkeys, both a teeny tiny baby crocodile and a big crocodile and more birds.
Our boat driver/guide was knowledgeable and great at spotting wildlife. I was very happy with this.
The restaurant is the place to be at breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. It serves tasty, but limited options, buffet-style.
I started with afternoon tea which was a couple of Malaysian cake-like things which tasted great.
Dinner had a beef and tofu option as well as some vegetables, salad and rice. There was fruit and what looked like some type of custard for dessert.
Breakfast was plain noodles, hard boiled eggs, baked beans, sausages, toast and salad.
The food wasn’t that exciting, but it did the job.
Tea, coffee and water were available, and they can cater to any dietary requirements. I didn’t see anywhere else to eat in the surrounds.
This should be included in your package price.
Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort Video Walk Through
To get an even better idea of what you’ll do and what to expect at the Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort, watch our full video walk through below.
It shows you everything from the journey here to inside a resort to the animals we saw on the cruises.
I had a great stay at the Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort and I think the prices are crazy good for everything you get.
I absolutely loved my deluxe room so stay in one of these if you can. The whole package from the room to the cruises to meals was great.
Staying here and experiencing the Kinabatangan River should be number one of your list of things to do in Sabah!
Want to learn more about visiting the Kinabatangan River? Find our guide to tours here or the river itself here. Looking for accommodation options around Sandakan? Find our full hotel guide here. You can also find our full guide to visiting Sabah here.