Imagine a world untouched by civilization, a place so primordial and pristine it is dominated only by the forces of mother nature. At 43,800 hectares, this is Sabah’s largest protected lowland rainforest, Danum Valley Conservation Area.
There are only two accommodations to choose from at Danum Valley. For the well-heeled travellers looking for the best, Borneo Rainforest Lodge is the ultimate luxurious jungle destination. For the budget-conscious, there is Danum Valley Field Centre, a less expensive option offering travellers essentially the same wildlife experience but with a more simplistic approach in terms of food and accommodation.
Although both places focus on seeing as much wildlife as possible, here’s a break down on the differences in styles and services.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Borneo Rainforest Lodge is an award-winning 5 Star eco resort nestled in a magnificent setting alongside the Danum River. Ideal for travellers and families seeking a luxurious tropical getaway with all the trimmings.
Danum Valley Field Centre is primarily a research facility for scientists located in the upper reaches of Sabah’s longest river, the Segama River. It is not designed with the comfort of tourists in mind, but offers a wildlife and jungle experience, no frills just amazing wildlife sightings and good ol’ fashion thrills.
ACCOMODATION & MEALS
BORNEO RAINFOREST LODGE
Borneo Rainforest Lodge strikes a pleasing balance between its rustic environs and sensual creature comforts. Accommodating no more than 60 guests at a time, two single-story and double-story Premium Villas and 30 individual chalets provide a cosy haven for hardcore nature-lovers to return to after a day of jungle trekking.
All the trekking will work up a monster appetite. Worry not, a buffet spread of both international and Asian delights is provided 3 times a day, by the scenic river-side setting.
Here are some of the highlights that make Borneo Rainforest Lodge special:
Explore Borneo Rainforest Lodge’s Treetop Canopy Walkway. It extends deep into the lush pockets of virgin rainforest with multiple platforms spanning 300m in length and bringing you up to 26m high above the forest floor for a bird’s eye view of the unique habitat each layer provides for its inhabitants.
Cool off and enjoy the scenic splendours by going tubing down the Danum River in the evening.
Relax in your spacious chalet, have a relaxing soak in your private outdoor tub while you keep a keen eye out for some Sambar Deers from your River View balcony!
Chill and let all the day’s wonder and adventure sink in at the viewing platforms, riverfront
terrace, spacious open-plan bar… cosy spots are scattered throughout the main lobby.
Hop on an open-air jeep in search of the stealthy nocturnal animal
DANUM VALLEY FIELD CENTRE
Accommodation within Danum Valley Field Centre is either in a single-sex dorm hostel, a standard twin-sharing resthouse, or a twin share VIP chalet. Camping in the shelters during an overnight trek comes with an extra charge. The 48-bed dorms are arranged with two double bunks in cubicles curtained from a central corridor. Fans run at scheduled times and share facilities are cold water only.
The hostels within the field center are a mere 15-minute walk from the cafeteria, which is the start-point for treks, whereas the twin share rooms are just around the bend. Basic fan-cooled rooms in the standard twin sharing resthouse provide private ensuite bathrooms (cold water only), while the VIP chalets offer air-con and hot showers.
Treks within the field centre include visits to waterfalls, pools and a burial site, vary between two and eight hours, and all are weather permitting. There is also a free and easy program where you will be left to wander on your own on the self-guided trails. Wander all you want but please do inform the reception when going on the self-guided trails. You may be tempted to enter the greater rainforest areas, all of which requires an appointed forest ranger.
Meals are served at set times and laid out in a buffet style. Expect local dishes and be prepared to make it in time because you you risk missing out if you’re late. A packed breakfast or lunch can be provided if you plan to go trekking all day. Additional drinks including beer are available for purchase and a small shop at the office sells snacks and sundries.
Borneo Rainforest Lodge offers well-trained, English speaking tour guides—some of which are award-winning. Where as in Danum Valley Field Centre, treks and night drives within the field center will be escorted by local rangers, not guides. Rangers are subject to availability because it is first and foremost a field center, researchers will always get priority.
We highly suggest booking a full-board package inclusive of trained tour guides to make the most out of your experience in such a magnificent place like Danum Valley. No matter how you choose to experience it, luxuriously in Borneo Rainforest Lodge or in the more simplistic offerings of DVFC (Danum Valley Field Center), pieces of Danum Valley’s stupendous beauty will stay with you.
You’ll thank yourself for packing a raincoat and a jumper, Danum Valley can be quite chilly in the evenings. Besides that, you may or may not get acquainted with the infamous leeches. Depending on the weather, they can be abundant in the area. if you do not plan on donating blood, leech socks are greatly recommended. We want you to explore Danum Valley as comfortably as possible, do yourself a favor by bringing along decent hiking boots too!