Anyone heading to this part of Sabah may want to know where to stay in Sepilok, as many different resorts and lodges are available around the Sepilok-Kabali Nature Reserve.
As the Borneo Bird Festival takes place here at the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) in October, many travelling birders from Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Southeast Asia will be making their way here, and the location of the accommodation is essential for many.
Where to Stay in Sepilok?
I have been coming here since 2007, mainly to do birdwatching and attend the Borneo Bird Festival, and over the years, I have personally stayed at many of the resorts and lodges here. Therefore, this time, I am creating this article for anyone who plans to visit this place.
For non-birders, there is, of course, the world-famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Bornean Sunbear Conservation Centre located in the vicinity of this place, which attracts thousands of visitors.
My Nature Resort – The closest resort to RDC and probably one of the best in Sepilok. It’s well designed and comes with a beautiful central swimming pool. You can also walk to the RDC from here and spot some birds along the way. You can read the My Nature Resort review I did in 2019.
I find that this is one of the most convenient resorts or accommodations located closest to the RDC and probably one of the higher-end places to stay in Sepilok. It’s not your 5-start resort, but good enough for nature lovers and birdwatchers.
Sepilok B&B – A commercial and budget-friendly accommodation is the Sepilok B&B, which is also very close to the RDC. Many birders, bird guides, vendors, organisers, and locals will stay here because of the distance to the event.
The Sepilok B&B also offers two types of accommodations, dorm-style and chalet units, which are decent. They also provide food here, which is local and western but straightforward and easygoing. Check room rates or book a room at Sepilok B&B.
Nature Lodge Sepilok – One of the new lodges is more of a B&B style accommodation with clean and simple rooms, which are dorm or chalet units. Aircondition is controlled from 8.00 PM to 10.00 AM.
The location of this lodge is about 800m from the RDC so walking over is not a problem for anyone. Go here to check rates or book a room at Nature Lodge Sepilok.
Sepilok Nature Resort (SNR) – One of the popular resorts close to the Orang Utan Sanctuary but a little far from the RDC. You need to take transport to the RDC from this resort. The rooms are excellent here; the food is also great. Read my Sepilok Nature Resort review, which I did some time ago.
For anyone interested in staying at this beautiful resort, you can check the rate or book a room at Sepilok Nature Resort.
Sepilok Jungle Resort (SJR) – Another well-known resort close to the Orang Utan Rehab Centre but far from the RDC and often referred to as SJR. This resort is one of the closest accommodations to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, which is about a 500-meter walk.
The concept makes you feel like you are living in a jungle, with almost everything made entirely from wood. There is a swimming pool and an open-aired restaurant with lovely views. Two options are private chalets, a longhouse with bunk beds, or dorm-style rooms. You can book a room at Sepilok Jungle Resort here.
Sepilok Forest Edge Resort – The furthest resort from everything, as the name says, forest edge, but a beautiful and peaceful place to stay. This place is also known as Longhouse Labuk B&B. You need transport to travel to the RDC, and you can walk to the Orang Utan centre.
I’ve stayed here before and managed to do some morning or evening birding around the resort. It is secluded and peaceful if you love privacy. Book a room at Sepilok Forest Edge Resort.
Borneo Sepilok Rainforest Resort – Located along Jalan Sepilok and about one kilometre to the RDC, the Borneo Sepilok Rainforest Resort is one of the new accommodations opened recently. They also have private rooms and dorms and are managed by a tour company from Sandakan.
Food is provided at their restaurant, which is simple meals, while they have shuttle services to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Borneo Bird Festival.
Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat – Probably the furthest accommodation from the RDC where you need to take a drive to the event. The Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat offers dorm-style rooms and also private cottages. There are Wi-Fi, aircond rooms and a small restaurant here.
I am unsure if there is a shuttle service to the RDC or other places, but you can always check with the retreat. You need to find out more from other booking sites for this place.
Alternative Place to Stay in Sandakan
For those who are unable to book a room or chalet around Sepilok or RDC during the Borneo Bird Festival or for any other reason, there are alternatives where you can stay in the Sandakan City area. However, take note that the journey will take around 60-90 minutes one way to the event.
Several hotels and guest houses are found throughout the city area; the 2-3 star ones are Sabah Hotel, Sandakan Hotel and Elopura Hotel. Most other hotels are budget-type or OYO hotels and guest houses.
You can also rent a car and self-drive to the Borneo Bird Festival, and again, it takes roughly 60 to 90 minutes one way, depending on the traffic. Usually, on weekends, the traffic can be quite bad on the main road.
If you plan to spend some extra time after the bird festival here, you can check out this article I did about 10 things to do in Sandakan, as it highlights all the popular places to visit here.
And if you love eating, check out this article about the must-eat food in Sandakan as I am quite a foodie when I travel, constantly exploring the local places to eat. I hope you found this article on where to stay in Sepilok helpful and have a great time if you visit this part of Sabah.