11 independent reviews for Borneo vacation, Land below the wind

Reviews for Borneo vacation, Land below the wind

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review 6 Aug 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Our guide Edwin was fantastic! This was a vacation of a life time seeing the orangutans and the elephants in the wild.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

To go for it! Even if you have little ones! You will not be disappointed.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think it supported conservation by us learning more about palm oil and visiting the sanctuaries

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

This vacation was literally a vacation of a life time! Fantastic company to book through and our guide was just fantastic. Couldn’t ask for a better service!

review 14 Aug 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing an orang-utan and Pygmy elephant in the wild.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

It’s very hot and humid so plenty of clean clothes. You cannot prepare yourself for the humidity. Take a copy of your itinerary to make sure it’s the same as your guides. Take good mozzie spray with you and use liberally. Extend your stay by going to Manukan island, you will not be disappointed.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Benefited local people as it was a local guide, although all the tours used local people other than that, not really

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Highs and lows. We had a different itinerary to our guide which lead to some misunderstanding at the beginning as it came across to us that he possibly hadn’t done it before (he had it wasn’t until we compared itineraries we realised the misunderstandings!). Do feel we could’ve been given more helpful information for transfers (when transferring to Manukan island they had no booking for us, except they did but it was booked under Big Adventure (think it was) and not the operator). Luckily everyone over there are so nice, kind and willing to help so it got sorted but it was unnecessary stress we could’ve done without.

review 5 Oct 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whole trip was wonderful but my highlight was the second day at the Bilit Adventure Lodge. We woke up early to the sound of the jungle and had a cruise along the river. The light quality at that time was really beautiful and we saw a surprising number of animals. We came back had a delicious breakfast and then went for a walk through the jungle. We'd done a Night Walk the previous evening so it was interesting to see the contrast. We didn't see a lot of wildlife but the complexity of the jungle and the sounds and smells were so enjoyable - even on trails that were very well worn. We had some free time to relax on the sun deck that afternoon and then had another trip on the river. Due to the excellent skill of our river guide, Kalo, over the whole stay we saw orangutans, an elephant, crocodiles, a gibbon, macaques, proboscis monkeys, rhinoceros hornbills and many more animals. Due to Kalo's reaction I think we were particularly lucky to see so much but just traveling down the river is a joy itself. We stayed on the river until sundown and saw the most spectacular sunset (that was a real 'pinch me, is this real?!' moment), and then celebrated the day with a bottle of Merlot back at the lodge. An unforgettable day.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Bring binoculars, a couple of long sleeved tops and full legged trousers. We were lucky to see a lot from the boat with the naked eye but binoculars would allow you to see a bit more detail. Although it was very hot in September under the canopy of the trees it was a lot cooler and the protection of long clothing just gave me a bit more confidence when walking through the foliage.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes definitely. All of our guides, drivers and our tour leader lived in Borneo. They were able to give us a much more authentic view of the country and they were all so helpful that I was happy to tip almost everyone. Tipping is not a common custom but is appreciated from tourists. Our guide advised around 5 ringgit but some of the people were so helpful I gave up to 50. Our leader encouraged us to reduce our plastic use for the tour - there is a lot of plastic in the water surrounding the island and it's only recently become an environmental concern for the country so it was stressed to us that we should play a part. Most of the hotels had kettles so it's easy enough to boil some water, leave it to cool and refill bottles for the day ahead.We drove through a large area of palm oil plantations and our leader gave us a lot of information on the industry and the impact it has had. It's definitely encouraged me to be more aware of the ingredients in the products I use now I'm back home and I encourage others to do the same. All the interactions we had with wildlife were done respectfully and on the river our guide was very aware of not stressing any of the animals and moving away if our presence was causing upset.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I can't rate this vacation, the company, our tour leader or the country highly enough. I had an unforgettable time and would have done the whole trip all over again without any hesitation. When I'm traveling to this part of the world again I will definitely travel with Responsible Travel and this company.

review 2 Oct 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeng the Orangutans in their natural habitat. Also the lucky sighting of the Borneo Gibbon and Pygmy elephant.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Read up about your itinerary and enjoy every minute.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Our vacation was certainly environmentally friendly. We tried to support local activities as far as possible and bought their produce when available. I was aware of the impact of the Palm Oil industry but I am certainly leaving Borneo with a more informed commitment to avoid products containing Palm Oil.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I had planned this vacation for post retirement and to see my adopted Orangutangs. The vacation far surpassed my expectations- and this was made so special by Sheila (our leader)’s passion and commitment to her “work”.

review 10 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Probably seeing orang-utans in the wild and up very close at Sepilok rehabilitation center but the whole trip was both memorable and exciting!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

No need for any warm clothes. The temperature doesn't drop much at all at night. Shorts are fine most of the time - we took too many long trousers.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely supported local people and that was stressed by our guide. although our guide encouraged us to refill our water bottles - which we did when we could - there were always extra plastic bottles available in the rooms. Water coolers in all hotels/lodges would be better.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Wonderful! A really inspiring, eye-opening trip.

review 7 Mar 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing endangered orangutans up close in the sanctuary and watching their interactions. Visiting the sun bear sanctuary to watch the bears. Cruising up the Kinabatangan River seeing monkeys and hornbills in the trees. The night walk with Jasper, one of the guides at Mulu, with his infectious humour and enthusiasm! Watching the nightly exodus of 5 million bats from the caves in Mulu. Snorkelling with beautiful and extraordinary fish on the reefs off Manukan island.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Travel light, bring long sleeves and long trousers. Enjoy squelching through the mud on the night walks at Kinabatangan, for which you rent wellies! Keep close to the guides on the walks, or you won't see the wildlife and you won't hear what they say. Deet spray works well if you have a leech you want to remove. Although there weren't many leeches apparent, leech socks probably saved a few bites and the guides wear them too. Talk to the national park guides, they are interesting people.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It was great to be in a tiny group and not to feel we were 'invading' in a large group, so having a much smaller impact. Visiting the national parks and small enterprises provided funding to support them. We stopped en route to shop from local people for snacks, drinks, etc. We were able to support the orangutans through various projects there. I was shocked at the degree of destruction of the rainforest and the massive impact of the palm oil plantations on the wildlife and their habitats.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very enjoyable! Fairly much on the go most of the time, which suited me, until the free time on the island. Transport and transfers were seamlessly efficient. Our guide was cheerful and sociable and did his best to keep us happy. A couple of our events (Garden of Eden trip and the BBQ) were cancelled and one of our meals was very poor, but the company more than made it up to us when we contacted them.

review 23 Oct 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Trekking through the Borneo rain forest and the boat trips to looking for the wild life. We saw many variety of monkeys, birds and also orangutans one of which was feeding outside our jungle lodge. Our guide was also EXCELLENT

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take loads of insect, repellent a good camera and binoculars . And be prepared for an adventure, if you want a quite relaxed vacation then you've picked the wrong trip!!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, our guide, transport and meals were all provided by local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

THE TRIP OF A LIFTIME. EXCELLENT (feels like a massive understatement)

review 11 Jul 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

It was all interesting and exciting in many different ways.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Not to expect to be slumming it. And to be prepared for hot and humid conditions.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I feel that tourism is the saviour of the remaining wildlife. Otherwise probably the last remnants of native vegetation would be replaced with palm oil palms. Other than that, of course locals benefit by having employment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was very good. I would particularly like to comment on our guide Henry, who was with us every step of the way. He was everything one could wish for in a guide.

review 17 Aug 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing the wild orangutan and the feeding at Sepilok.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Pack plenty of long sleeved shirts and never underestimate the effects of humidity on the system.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

I hope so, but hard to say.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A blend of the wonderful and the difficult, but overall a great experience.

review 21 Jul 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

So many fabulous experiences to choose. Loved Lankayan Island, and the Danum valley lodge. Homestay on the Kinbatangan river was very interesting and a totally unique experience, as was watching turtles lay eggs at Selingan.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Having a guide with us made the whole trip so brilliant, it meant we always ate well as Lee found good places and helped order. I think we got to know Borneo, people and wildlife so much better because of his knowledge.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Parts of it definitely, the homestay particularly as although, for example, the car ride from Sandacan to Billit (2=hours) was in a ridiculously small car for 6 people and luggage, it meant the "village" got the money for the transfer.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It was absolutely fantastic, full of variety, we enjoyed so many new experiences, and were looked after above and beyond the call of duty by our guide who became part of our family. Borneo is a great place for a family adventure vacation.

review 26 Sep 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whole vacation was amazing from start to finish but the most exciting was spotting a wild orang in the jungle. Our guide Alex was truly fantastic and made our trip a true adventure. Danum valley is an incredible place and not to be missed by anyone traveling to Borneo. The time spent at the Nature lodge on the Kinabatangan river was very special as this is run by the local people and the passion they have for their jungle will stay with us. If you are planning a trip to Borneo then I would recommend this trip 100%

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Pack light, take and wear your leech socks, don't miss a trip each one is different and worth the early starts. Talk to all the local people they have so much passion and many stories and history to tell.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes 100% all of our guides and drivers where local people and they loved showing us there country.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

This was an amazing trip well paced and shows all of the best parts of Sabah, We were fortunate in that there was just the two of us so having Alex all to ourselves he made us feel like royalty. All the things we experienced just confirmed the need to help the local people in their quest to preserve this very special place. I would like to think that the way these trips are organised does help.

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