This Borneo Rainforest Resort Is Backpacker Friendly & Has A Jungle Boardwalk

Malaysia is one of only two countries where it is possible to go orangutan trekking (the other is Indonesia). It is a stunning tropical country split between the peninsula (where the capital is Kuala Lumpur, which is home to the gigantic Petronas Towers) and the northern Malaysian part of the massive island of Borneo. When visiting the peninsula, one of the main eco destinations is the remote and spectacular Cameron Highlands.

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Borneo was once almost completely covered in tropical rainforest, and while much of the rainforest has been cut down, there are still large chunks of the island covered in jungle. One of the best places for backpackers to explore the Malaysian Borneo jungle is at the Sepilok Jungle Resort.

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Sepilok Jungle Resort Boardwalk
Aaron Spray

Sepilok Jungle Resort Boardwalk

Why Sepilok Jungle Resort is an excellent Jungle Retreat

Sepilok Jungle Resort is located in Sabah (one of the two Malaysian states that make up the Borneo half of Malaysia). Sepilok Jungle Resort is the ideal destination for backpackers, couples, and retirees. It is the oldest resort in the region, with its own charm.

Sepilok Jungle Resort is nestled next to tropical artificial lakes with an abundance of fish. It is completely surrounded by the jungle and the call of the forest, and yet it is in a convenient location.

The resort also has a restaurant that offers breakfast (included), lunch and dinner. The cost for lunch and dinner is very reasonable (about $5-6 for dinner), and beer is about $3 (wine can only be bought by the bottle). The resort has an open-air setting where people are protected from tropical rain while enjoying the air and the calls of the forest.

The tropical jungle can get hot and humid, so luckily the resort also has a large swimming pool for guests to cool off.

Baby Monkey in Borneo
Aaron Spray

Baby Monkey in Borneo

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Tropical rainforest attractions around the resort

The gateway to Sabah’s tropical rainforest attractions is the city of Sandakan – the second largest city on the east coast of Sabah. Most people choose to fly in from Sandakan, and from there it’s only about a 30-minute drive to the resort.

The resort is just a short drive from the main attractions of the region namely the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, and the Rainforest Discovery Centre. The resort is in the center and the gateway to the ecotourism of the region. From here people can also arrange to go to the lodges that are in the forest on the river in front of the gate. There, people organize jungle trekking and river cruises in search of orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, hornbills, crocodiles, and scores of other monkeys and birds. River cruises and expeditions in Borneo are a must – as are river cruises in the Amazon rainforest.

Attractions of the area:

  • Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
  • Turtle Island Park
  • Kinabatangan River and Gomantong Caves
  • Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center
  • Rainforest Discovery Center
  • Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center (Most Popular Attraction)

Orangutan In The Tropical Rainforest

Orangutan In The Tropical Rainforest

Although it is best to get around Sabah with your own rental car, no one needs a car when staying at Sepilok Jungle Resort. If you need transportation to get to the resort and local attractions, email them and they will work to arrange transportation for an extra but reasonable fee.

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The accommodation at Sepilok Jungle Resort is suitable for backpackers and couples

The resort’s accommodation is spread throughout the tropical Virgin Borneo Rainforest with beautifully landscaped gardens. The various accommodation blocks are connected to each other by an elegant elevated boardwalk, which is beautiful during the day and the flavor of the jungle at night as the night sounds of the forest permeate the air. Much of the boardwalk is covered to protect walkers from tropical rain.

Sepilok Jungle Resort Banana Cafe
Aaron Spray

Sepilok Jungle Resort Banana Cafe

What makes Sepilok Jungle Resort’s accommodations suitable for backpackers to retirees are the reasonable price points and range of accommodations. The resort attracts western backpackers, couples, and retirees in almost equal measure creating a very warm and friendly atmosphere.

For backpackers, the resort has a choice of dormitories – with 3-4 beds per room. The rooms are basic but have everything you need and a comfortable common area in the dormitory block. The bathrooms are shared and outside.

Accommodation prices (may change seasonally):

  • Bedroom: RM55.00 ($13)
  • Standard Aircon Double: RM160 ($37)
  • Deluxe Double: RM245 ($57)

Then there are the standard rooms with fans. These rooms are affordable – especially for those traveling as a couple. Only it can get a little warm at night (but not too bad).

Deluxe Room At Sepilok Jungle Resort
Aaron Spray

Deluxe Room At Sepilok Jungle Resort

For those looking for a good level of comfort and convenience, they have their superior and deluxe rooms. These are fully air-conditioned and have their own verandas from which one can sit out and watch the evening fireworks while listening to the calls of the rainforest.

Borneo is a tropical destination with only rainy and dry seasons. Probably the rainy season (December to February) is the best time to visit as it is the low season – as mentioned, some hiking trails and other attractions may not be open.


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