Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria In Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

It has always been high up on my bucket list to go and see Orangutans in Borneo but the thought of having to trek through the jungle and drive for hours had put us off slightly until we came across the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria resort after a recommendation from some friends.

Not only is the Rasi Ria resort in Kota Kinabalu a 5 Star hotel, it also has a nature reserve next to the resort that helps to look after baby Orangutans.



lush forests in borneo

We flew with Singapore Airlines. Going to be honest, I had heard so many good things about Singapore Airlines but I wasn’t that impressed.

The flight was a bit of nightmare going out. We were delayed for 2 hours at Heathrow which ment when we finally landed in Singapore, we had missed our connecting flight to Borneo and had to get a flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpar and then another flight to Borneo!

This did mean we missed a half a day out of holiday but these things can’t be helped. They just didn’t seem that bothered about you and only really cared about the business passengers.



ocean wing pool at rasa ria resort borneo

When we got to the Rasa Ria resort we were pretty tired and annoyed from the delays but that changed pretty quickly once we saw how impressive the hotel was.

As your driven down the road leading up to the hotel your first see the huge golf course with lots of lush exotic trees and plants before arriving at the hotel entrance.

The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. They couldn’t do enough for you.

We had a problem with our toilet one night as it would not flush and we reported it to reception and the handy man had fixed it within 30 minutes of reporting the problem. At no point did I feel ignored or pressured to buy anything.



ocean wing jacuzzi at rasa ria resort borneo

On arrival we were offered the opportunity to upgrade from the Garden Wing to the newer Ocean Wing and were so glad we paid the extra money.

The Ocean Wing is the exclusive part of the hotel that is much newer and more quieter away from the restaurants and bars of the resort.

The rooms are more spacious by the looks of it and we had a jacuzzi on our balcony!

But the best part which really made paying the extra money worth while was the exclusive pool which is only for Ocean Wing guests. You get hardly any kids in this part and most of the time there was 10 people at most using the pool so you could really relax and chill out. The other pools are next to the kids pool and can get quite noisey.



sunset at rasa ria resort beach in borneo

The resort has a beautiful beachfront that has a white golden sandy beach. We didn’t venture into the sea apart from the obligutary ankle dip as there were quite alot of huge washed up jelly fish and I didn’t fancy my chances of getting stung.

It didn’t look like the sort of water you would see much if you were snorkling either. It wasn’t dirty by any means just not that clear. It also had a life guard at all times.



monitor lizards at rasa ria golf course in borneo

I have never played Golf in my life and I don’t think they would of appreciated my Happy Gilmore approach on their luxury course.

We did get up early one morning and hire a buggy to go around the resorts Golf course as staff and guests had told us you can see Monitor lizards and sometimes beavers.

Sure enough we saw about 10 absolutely huge Monitor Lizards. 1 popped out of the water right in front of us whilst we were trying to look for them, which scared the living daylight out of us but they are more scared of you and run away as soon as you see them.

If your a keen golfer I would image this course is a absolutle dream to play on with lushious green grass and some of Borneo’s finest nature.



The food as you would expect at a 5 star hotel was absolutley amazing. I don’t recall having a bad meal or upset tummy at any point. The resort even delivered our food on the 1st night to our room as we were so tired from the journey. The drinks were as you would expect with a huge range of soft drinks, beers, wines and cocktails.

However, the only part of this holiday that I thought the Shangri La’s Rasa Ria resort could improve was offering a all inclusive option. We took the half board option but I would of paid more if we could of gone all inclusive.

Breakfast is a buffet with a huge range of hot and cold options, there is something for everyone no matter what part of the world you come from.

Dinner however you get MYR 80 towards your meal to spend in any of the resorts 7 restaurants and whilst there is a range of foods on each of the restaurants menu’s I found it annoying that we had to tally up as the we went along so we knew how much we had roughly spent so we didn’t get a huge surprise at the end of our stay.

It’s just so much less of worry when your all inclusive, don’t you think?



orangutan at rasa ria nature reserve in borneo

The main reason we went to Borneo though was to see Orangutans. The nature reserve next to hotel is literally a 2 minute walk from the resort.

We went to the nature reserve most mornings to see the 2 baby Orangutans they were helping to rehabilitate into the wild. It was incredible to see them in their natural habitat and to see them swing high up in the trees.

We also did a night time nature walk and saw snakes, spiders and scorpions! The nature reserve is the main reason we wanted to stayed at the Rasa Ria and we were not left disapointed.

The guides are incredibley knowledgable and point out insects and animals you might of walked straight pass without either realising.



The Shangri La Rasa Ria resort is absolutely amazing and you will have a amazing time whether your a couple looking to chill out or a family holiday exploring some of Borneo’s amazing wildlife on the door step of your hotel.



  • The only downside for me was not being able to stay all inclusive. This would of made it the perfect 10 out 10 for me.
  • It is also a long way to go, one of our furthest trips to date from the UK. If we did it again I would probably stay in Kuala Lumpar or Singapore for 1 night so we didn’t have the rush of connecting flights and could chill out and break the journey up.
  • Before booking, check if they still have the Orangutans at the nature reserve as they were talking about moving them back to the main Orangutan sanctuary in Sepilok. This is about 7 hours drive away.



We booked our trip via Virgin Holidays through Nichola at the Virgin Holidays travel agents in Tesco Highwoods in Colchester. She was incredibly helpful and patient with us and we have never had a bad experience with Virgin Holidays.



If you have any questions you would like to ask me about the Shangri La’s Rasa Ria resort in Borneo, please ask below in the comments



If you found this blog post useful, please share it using the social media buttons below


The Son Of Thom
The Son Of Thom

Daniel Steptoe-Thompson is a UK food, lifestyle and travel blogger reviewing places he has travelled, whilst writing about his lifestyle choices, combining his love of coffee and tattoos and ticking things off his bucket list.

    6 replies to "Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria In Kota Kinabalu, Borneo"

    • Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate

      Memories! We kicked off our three-week honeymoon here seven years ago. Those orangutans were BEYOND adorable!

      • The Son Of Thom

        They sure are! Worth every second for the many many hours of travel .

    • David Stephen

      My wife drew my attention to the account of your visit to the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria In Kota Kinabalu, Borneo and I must commend your ability to articulate your experience. I am a lover of wildlife and I have decided to visit the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria In Kota Kinabalu with my family for vacation next year on the strength of your article. I will call ahead to inquire if the Orangutans are still there as it will be a sight to behold!

      • The Son Of Thom

        DO IT! It is a must visit destination! I hope the Orangutans are still there.

    • Nichola Hume

      So glad you enjoyed this holiday, a great review and thanks for the mention! Always happy to help 🙂

      • The Son Of Thom

        Thanks for recommending such a great trip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.