If you are looking for places to stay in Sepilok, Borneo, this is the perfect review for you. Find out all you need to know about the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort. Discover information about the accommodation, how to get there, local restaurants and the best things to do in Sepilok.
The Forest Edge Resort is one of the best places to stay in Sepilok, if you are looking for a natural, jungle retreat close to the Borneo wildlife and local Sepilok attractions.
Sepilok Forest Edge Resort is about 16 miles from the centre of Sandakan or 10 miles from Sandakan Airport (SDK). We flew in from Kota Kinabalu and took a cab directly to the resort, which took about 15 minutes.
Alternatively, you could take a cab from Sandakan or the public bus, which runs 4 times a day to Sepilok.
Eco-friendly accommodation at Sepilok Forest Edge Resort
There is a variety of eco-friendly accommodation at the resort and something to suit every budget.
Check-in time is at 2pm, but we arrived much earlier and our chalet was ready, so we were allowed to go in.
Check out time is at 11am.
The stylish eco-chalets are made with woods that have been recycled from Chinese houses. Furnishings are tasteful and rustic and have been inspired by Malay culture. There is a range of styles and sizes, with some overlooking the lake and some the jungle.
We stayed in the superior chalet, which was quite honestly amazing. It had a double room, a lounge, kitchenette, 2 bathrooms and second bedroom with 3 four-poster beds. It was far more luxurious than we had ever expected and had more space than needed.
I loved the outdoor bathroom, as I could shower outside looking out over the jungle. I was a bit more wary at night, as I wasn’t sure what might land on me in the dark!
We opted for the top-end accommodation and appreciate that this wouldn’t be an option for everyone. However, for travellers on a budget, the resort has a longhouse with bunk beds. This is obviously far more basic and you have to share, but still a very good choice because of the jungle setting and proximity to Sepilok.
As well as the sleeping accommodation, Sepilok Forest Edge has a central area with a restaurant and lounge. Free wi-fi is available in this area.
There is also a plunge pool, surrounded by loungers. We tried it once, but the kids weren’t very keen, so we didn’t return. I guess, it’s a nice option for adults to cool off, but children prefer somewhere they can play.
Surroundings & Wildlife
As you would expect for a jungle retreat, Sepilok Forest Edge is set in beautiful, lush forest surroundings. It is great for nature enthusiasts, as you can see all sorts of Borneo wildlife , without leaving the resort.
We spotted a preying mantis on our way to the restaurant and a gecko joined us for breakfast. The staff claim that orangutans sometimes visit, but we were not lucky enough to spot any.
What surprised me most about the Forest Edge Resort was the noise at night. Of course, I’m not talking about road traffic or music and merriment from fellow travellers. No, the din came solely from the natural symphony of insects and bats who came into action at night.
Places to visit from Sepilok Forest Edge Resort
I would think the for everyone the main reason to stay at Forest Edge Resort is its excellent location. It is only 10 minutes’ walk from the Sepilok Orangutan Centre and the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
It’s a direct walk down a country lane and a good way to see a few local homes on the way. However, it was hot and sticky.
Alternatively, if a 10-minute walk is too much, it is also possible to organise tours from the resort. The downside is that you are then very much restricted to someone else’s schedule.
If you want to travel a little further, you could visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre or Labuk Bay Proboscis Centre. Alternatively, you could head back into Sandakan for a visit to Turtle Island. You would probably need to book in advance though, as numbers are restricted and it’s a very popular trip.
Kinabatangan River Cruise
After our stay at the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort, we were picked up to go on a 2-day Kinabatangan River Cruise. We had booked this in advance with Nasalis Larvatus Tours.
We did the 3 Days/2 Nights trip and stayed at the Nature Lodge, Kinabatangan. This is an absolutely amazing jungle experience, which we would definitely recommend.
Restaurants in Sepilok
The best restaurant in Sepilok for an authentic Malay experience is Mama Wati’s. From the outside, you might not even realise it is a restaurant, as it is in fact her home. However, inside you get a very warm welcome and can watch as Mama Wati cooks a tasty, traditional Malay meal in front of you.
The atmosphere is informal, but friendly and was a great place to chat with other travellers. Moreover, the food in Mama Wati’s is cheap, but tasty.
The Lake Bistro
At the opposite end of the spectrum is The Lake Bistro. This stylish restaurant overlooks a beautiful lake, in the Sepilok Nature Reserve.
The Lake Bistro serves a choice of Western and Asian food. The prices were more expensive, but the location is exquisite. You could just stop for a beer, if you didn’t want to fork out for dinner.
This is the on-site restaurant at the Sepilok Forest Edge and is where we ate every evening. The food was very tasty and there was a nice atmosphere in the restaurant. Although the other restaurants are only 10-minutes’ walk, the road is unlit and I can’t imagine you’d want to go back in the evening.
The food choice at the Nest was predominantly Asian, with a few Western alternatives. After we’d eaten, we were able to stay at our table and relax with games. The dining area was open until 10:30pm each evening.
This is also where we ate breakfast. Breakfast was average and the jams did attract a few early morning wasps.
We loved our stay at the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort. The surroundings were well-maintained and the surroundings breathtaking. The accommodation was stylish and clean and the staff were all friendly and helpful.
On top of this, you couldn’t get a much better location for the orangutan and sun bear sanctuaries.
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