Groups who want a complete break from city life know the irresistible draw of the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley in eastern Sabah.
It is nestled in the middle of the 438sqkm Danum Valley Conservation Area, the Malaysian state’s largest protected lowland rainforest that harbours 200 plant types per hectare and is home to more than 340 species of birds, 124 species of mammals and 56 species of amphibians. This complex ecosystem is nurtured by Segoma River, which flows through it.
The lodge is designed to blend unobtrusively with the environment. All 31 individual chalets have a balcony with an expansive jungle or river view and each unit is fitted with a ceiling fan and an ensuite bathroom. Accommodating a total of 60 people, it is an ideal base for small exclusive groups on a nature-based incentive.
Tour operator Borneo Nature Tours (www.borneonaturetours.com) manages the lodge and handles all guest transfers to the conservation area.
“Ideally, groups should plan on staying at least four days to fully experience the magical rainforest,” says George Hong, general manager of Borneo Nature Tours.
Groups can go on a self-guided nature tour along the 23km marked trails at the lodge. A day trek in the company of experienced naturalists through the conservation area – through undisturbed riverine and dipterocarp forests – is best for maximum impact.
Indeed, groups can enjoy wildlife encounters in their natural habitat. To add a dash of spice to the programme, event organisers can arrange a special night safari on big four-wheel drives.
They can further pump up the adrenaline level by organising a canopy walk that entails climbing up the man-made walkway above the trees. There are multiple viewing platforms across its 300m length, with the highest point standing at 26m above ground. Also not to be missed is a dip in the natural Jacuzzi pool.
For a touch of history and culture, groups can visit one of the Kadazan-Dusun ancient burial sites of the indigenous Orang Sungai tribe. Three of these burial caves are within the Danum Valley.
Borneo Rainforest Lodge accepts groups all year round. But with its limited capacity, it is best for event organisers to plan their trips early.