Alex Base review 6 May 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Bit tricky to say as every day/activity was different but so exciting and rewarding in its own way. Caves were amazing, landing at Mulu was amazing. Orang-utans obviously amazing, fire flies amazing as it was a clear night. Turtle beach amazing. All that super amazing stuff made Sabah Tea gardens feel a bit dated and boring. Felt rather lost in time.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Just be super aware that the accommodation throughout will be super basic, a little uncared for and maybe not what you are expecting if you've paid £1500 per person. Lots of insect relevant and just focus on the experience for that day. So much to take in. Don't worry about getting wet. No one got attacked by leaches.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Its a tricky balance. I think the homestay was a good way to benefit local people, but as our guide said they then westernise their homes, so is that good?
I think the lodges and guides had a strong respect for the environment and the fact that its amenity and the experience people got from it was what made the vacation/travel for people. Not sure that it reduced env impacts.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
It was amazing, but I would expect that for the money and place. Would recommend 100%. Would try and explain more what people will experience beforehand. The fire fly bit felt last minute, but it was amazing. Some people may be disappointed with the accommodation at the homestay and Mulu.
Reviews said turtle island was really bad accommodation, but it was fine. More
time in Sepilock rather than Sabah as most come to see Orangutans. But this is hard as you want people to also have their own experience.
Read the operator's response here:
Traveling in Borneo is wonderfully rewarding but it is absolutely fair to say that accommodation is quite expensive for what you get. Elsewhere in South East Asia you can get a very comfortable hotel with air conditioning and a swimming pool for very little money.
However, Borneo is different; our preferred accommodation is quite remote which is of course the attraction as you are in amongst the wildlife and the animals, but it is also expensive, despite the fact that rooms are simple and both the hot water and electricity are patchy. This is in part because tourism is not that developed in Borneo so there aren't a wide
range of lodges to choose from and they can each therefore charge pretty much what they like; but it is also because in many cases all supplies have to be shipped in from far away. In Mulu for example, there is no road access so all supplies have to be brought in either by plane or on a two day boat journey.
These comments are therefore completely fair! You do pay quite a lot to go to Borneo, and although the experience is worth every penny, the accommodation
at night is often simple. There are upgrades available (and particularly on the beach there are in fact some super-luxurious resorts) but these are very expensive so it does depend on budget.
However, perhaps we need to make it clearer to travelers exactly what to expect so we will take this on board for future inquiries.