Photo: Do your best to forget time at Lupa Masa.

Lupa Masa

Forget time

Jalan Hutan, Poring (45 minute jungle trek from Poring) T: (0198) 020 549 (0113) 143 2703 (0146) 697 964 F: (0109) 211 984

Lupa Masa

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Lupa Masa Rainforest Camp is more than just a place to stay, it’s a destination in itself. On the edge of Kinabalu Park set amid primary rainforest in an idyllic riverside position, open-air huts and basic facilities contribute to an authentic jungle experience.

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“Lupa Masa” means “forget time”, and this is indeed the place to snub the schedule and follow the primitive tempo of mother nature. The easy 45-minute walk into the camp from Poring Hot Springs traverses jungle paths passing towering bamboos and pretty waterfalls, there’s wildlife aplenty, but you may need help to see. Our keen-eyed guide pointed out a rather spectacular green pit viper camouflaged in the foliage as we passed.

Get some alone time, except for the bugs.

Get some alone time, except for the bugs. Photo: Sally Arnold

The camp offers a variety of back-to-basics jungle accommodation and all include vegetarian meals, locally sourced and organic when possible, plus tea and coffee whenever you like. A number of open-to-the-elements wooden and bamboo structures will keep out the rain and offer a variety of sleeping options from a row of covered tents in the “longhouse”, to quite special riverside chalets with a mosquito-netted (almost proper) bed to keep out the bugs (hopefully) and private furnished balconies overlooking the river. For any other creature comforts, you’ll need to bring your own. Go for the chalets — they are worth the extra ringgit.

Made from a funky collection of stone, wood and recycled biscuit tins, share bathrooms offer a choice of a squat or Western-style toilets (you’ll still have to do a bucket flush), and icy shower (bamboo pipe) or mandi (bucket). It's basic, but clean and not smelly.

Camping with some frills.

Camping with some frills. Photo: Sally Arnold

We love the large bamboo communal area, with a Dr Heckle-like collection of small creatures in formaldehyde to study, a selection of games, a library (always a Danielle Steel and a Paulo Coelho) and a bar that serves house-made rice wine—all to aid in the time obliterating. It’s a wonderful relaxing spot to soak up the jungle ambience or carry on with a bit traveller talk.

If you’re not just here to relax, Lupa Masa offers a variety of jungle-based activities including guided day and night walks (30 ringgit per hour per group) with a chance to spot some of the rich and diverse mammal, bird and plant life hidden within. Jungle survival courses are offered too (250 ringgit).

Hello, friend.

Hello, friend. Photo: Sally Arnold

If relaxing is really all you want to do, the pristine waterholes and waterfalls are excellent for a swim and there’s always a hammock to swing in. Lupa Masa’s pricing system is per person and second and additional nights are at a reduced rate, and really, one night is not enough.

We love it, but the jungle is not for everyone — there are critters and leeches and countless jungle noises and it’s not really comfortable. You’ll probably be sleep deprived and wish those bloody frogs, crickets and rare jungle species would just pipe down for a bit. It can be steamy in the day and freezing (or even steamier) at night and when the equatorial rains fall, you’ll know the true meaning of rainforest. But it could well be the best life-affirming experience ever, so we recommend that you go ahead and forget time.

Chill out with river views.

Chill out with river views. Photo: Sally Arnold

You’ll need to book ahead, so they can make sure you’ll be fed, and that someone will meet you at Poring to accompany you into camp.

Lupa Masa is owned and run by friends of Travelfish and was not inspected on an anonymous basis.

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Walk-in rates at Lupa Masa

Type of room
Type of room, low and high season prices
90 ringgit
90 ringgit
Includes meals, per person, first night; 70 ringgit additional nights.
Standard double room
120 ringgit
120 ringgit
Chalet + meals per person, 1st night. Additional nights: 90 ringgit.
Room: Tent, low season: 90 ringgit, high season 90 ringgit. Notes: Includes meals, per person, first night; 70 ringgit additional nights.
Room: Standard double room, low season: 120 ringgit, high season 120 ringgit. Notes: Chalet + meals per person, 1st night. Additional nights: 90 ringgit.

Where is Lupa Masa

Lupa Masa
Jalan Hutan, Poring (45 minute jungle trek from Poring)
T: (0198) 020 549 (0113) 143 2703 (0146) 697 964 F: (0109) 211 984
Coordinates (for GPS): 116º42'6.35" E, 6º3'42.85" N
Room rates: 60 to 120 ringgit

Map for Lupa Masa

Map for Lupa Masa

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