The remote location of this resort is amazing. The chalets are quite big and beautifully appointed, with private decks and a huge picture window for wildlife spotting from the comfort of your room.
The staff was super attentive and our guide (Ande) was awesome. We saw so many orangutan, proboscis monkeys, macaques, hornbills...it was amazing. He also took us out on a night cruise where we saw the "christmas trees" filled with little lightning bugs
This was an exceptional hotel in the middle of the jungle. Lovely, air conditioned, chalets. Very clean. Wonderful staff - always smiling and helpful. The manager, JR along with his staff , Nisa & Anthony to name a few, not only looked after us but also entertained us in the evenings. They had wonderful voices. The food was excellent. Boat trips with our guide, Andis along with his skipper, Salle were fantastic. Could do it all day, every day!
We had an amazing 3 day/2 night experience between Christmas and New Years. While several travel sites suggest you should do this trip in the high season of June and July and warned of low season and to wait, we found many reviews and comments saying it would be great in December... and it was!
Service: was incredible - starting with Dido, our wildlife guide who is a local born/raised guy who is absolutely passionate about his country and his sharp eye will find animals in the wild no matter what time of day or weather. The rest of the staff is equally amazing, you could see every person’s eyes a genuine commitment to making our trip great. They even have a band and will play live music every night.
Value: Cost was approximately $600 USD per day, inclusive of two 1.5 hour speedboat transfers to the resort and back to Sandakan, 3 wildlife tours per day, 3 meals per day. A very fair price IMO, given how many staff are involved, and how far from civilization the resort is, and the estimated cost of maintaining a three star resort in the jungle.
Wildlife: We saw tons of Proboscus monkeys, and 3 other varieties. We got incredibly close to them - up to 5 feet away but more likely 15-100 yards away. We saw an orangutan in a tree as he was building a nest in the evenings. Also saw crocs, tons of birds, snakes, pigs.
SUGGESTIONS: You’ll want good binoculars - 10x40, mid to high quality. Camera lenses: I had 400mm, which was adequate, wanted more. If you’re shooting iphone video, buy a good gimbal for 109 dollars. Bug repellant - lemon eucalyptus was the best non Deet product I’ve found. Rain protection: breatheable light shells are best
We had a wonderful stay at KWR for the last three days. Since it’s low season we had the entire resort to ourselves. The place is incredibly beautiful and peaceful. We were taken on multiple river cruises at various times of the day, and spotted many wildlife. Our guide is very knowledgeable and amazing at spotting the well hidden wildlife along the river. Staff at the resort are so friendly and the meals we had were fit for kings. All in all, a great experience and we would highly recommend it!
We stayed 3D2N at KWR and had an incredible time! The resort feels extra secluded, exclusive and wild given it’s remote location, and this is exactly what we wanted coming to Kinabatangan River. We would definitely recommend Abai over the busier Sukau area. The wildlife in the area is abundant - we were lucky enough to see orang-utans, proboscis monkeys and even a rhino hornbills during our river excursions.
Wildlife aside, the resort was beautifully maintained with large, comfortable rooms. We especially loved taking outdoor showers in the sun in privacy. The food quality was amazing everyday with a wide variety. But most of all, the staff team here really made all the difference. Special thanks to Andis, our guide, who is a talented spotter and iPhone-binocular photographer! And Jheyar, for being so welcoming and attentive.