38 independent reviews for Borneo tailor made tour on a shoestring

Reviews for Borneo tailor made tour on a shoestring

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review 17 Nov 2017

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

The river cruises at Abai Lodge was the most memorable. Seeing so many of what we were told was hard to see, especially the elephants, and doing the safari with a group of people with great sense of humour, including the guide.

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

If you go alone, be prepared to have to pay a little extra for some activities because it is just you.

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

There was an element of that with the tree planting, and the tourism employing locals.

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

It was incredible. I especially liked the fact I had the transfers all organised for me so didn't have to think, and that the accommodation level just got better and better!

review 8 Nov 2017

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

Coming face to face with crocodiles, orangutans and elephants.

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

Book at the right time of year

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

Yes.

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

Fantastic. The two guides, Michael and Lat were brilliant. Both expert guides, informative and very nice people.

review 19 Oct 2017

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

Our stay at Abai Jungle Lodge was definitely the most memorable and exciting part of our trip. The location alongside the Kinabatangan River was incredible and it was a real privilege to be able to sleep on the outskirts of the jungle, listening to the sounds of animals all around us. We had proboscis monkeys right outside our lodge and macaques hanging around at breakfast, as well as Junior, the wild boar (a frequent visitor here) and his piglets. We loved every aspect of our time here, from the dawn and dusk boat trips to the night walks around the boardwalks. In addition, the lodges themselves were extremely comfortable and all the staff at the resort were brilliant. Also, as a vegetarian, I was very impressed with the food on offer for me as I had been worried there wouldn't be much choice! The guides from SI tours in particular went above and beyond to ensure everyone had the best experience - they were very knowledgeable, friendly, fun and tried extremely hard to make sure we saw as much wildlife as possible. I'll never forgot the moment they spotted wild orangutans for us on the river.

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

I would recommend that other travelers make the most of all the additional wildlife activities available at every stage of the trip. In particular, I would recommend booking the night walks at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre, as well as visiting the nature reserve at Rasa Ria Resort. At the latter, we did both a daytime jungle walk and a night walk and both were fantastic. The guides were very good and made the experience a lot of fun. Across all these walks we saw flying squirrels, a slow loris, a binturong, a stink badger and many reptiles, birds and insects. Well worth it! Also, if you have free time at Kota Kinabalu, I would recommend visiting the night market. Finally, one tip for Sepilok - try to go to the afternoon orangutan feeding if you can. It's a lot less busy as busloads of tourists come for the morning one, so we made the most of staying nearby to switch our itinerary around and start with the Sun Bear sanctuary instead.

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

To some extent, I believe our stay at Abai helped to benefit the local village. We took part in a tree planting project there, made a contribution and visited the village. As far as I understand it, the Abai resort sources fish and vegetables from the local village, which obviously helps them too and saves them from having to travel to Sandakan to sell their wares. We also adopted an orangutan from the sanctuary and our entry fees to all the sanctuaries in Sepilok, as well as at the nature reserve in Rasa Ria, also hopefully went towards future conservation. Obviously, we would have liked to have done more and tourism of any kind obviously has some environmental impact, but we were pleased to book with ethical operators.

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

For us, it was the vacation of a lifetime and certainly didn't disappoint. We would love to go back!

review 4 Sep 2017

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

The adult male Orangutan we saw on our boat trip from Abai jungle lodge to Kinabatagan jungle lodge and the pygmy elephants we saw at the riverside on our first boat cruise and much more besides!! Our paths crossed with a number of families and honeymooners on similar trips, talking to them and learning their experiences of Borneo only enhanced our enjoyment of the vacation. The local guides were extremely knowledgeable about their habitat and answered all questions regarding the environment and the wildlife.

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

You are always on the go in the rainforest with activities planned for you to do, by the time you reach Gaya island you will have earned the downtime to relax. Take plenty of mosquito repellent for the rain forest and plenty of sun cream for the scorching sun of Gaya Island.

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

We planted a tree with the proceeds going back to the local villages and a lot of the guides are from the forest. Having spoken to the guides the village way of life is declining as children become more educated and move to the cities and towns. The guides we met in the Tabin wildlife reserve were educated, from the forest and were passionate about what they did. The balance between the tourist impact and that of the palm oil companies is a fine balance but all sides appear to be working together to ensure the sustainability of the environment.

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

The whole family had a fantastic time, we met lots of different people, be it guides and fellow tourists. We are now considering where to head for next year.

review 5 Aug 2017

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

So many memorable moments - Sepilok and the Kinabatangan river trips to view the wildlife were totally unforgettable. Watching from the boat as an orangutan built its nest for the night, and the family squabbles of the proboscis monkeys. Our family (3 teenagers) did snorkelling for the first time on Gaya, and loved it. We saw so much with the help of the very knowledgeable local guides. The local transfers were all arranged perfectly - not a single hitch. We stopped over in Singapore on the way - lots to see and do, Gardens in the Bay were amazing.

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

Spend as long as you can in the rainforest. Animals don't necessarily work to your schedule! Do the night tour of the Rainforest Discovery Centre at Sepilok if you can.

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

Yes, if you don't count the air miles to get there. It was good to see how local companies were used, and they were excellent.

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

Brilliant.

review 26 May 2017

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

A herd of around 60 pygmy elephants crossing the river

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

Be prepared for rain as well as sun and take good binoculars and cameras (smart phones won't get everything you want to).

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

It certainly provides an income for local people and supports conservation, but we were concerned both at the level of rubbish in the Kingabatangan River and the huge number of tourist boats (some holding up to 100 people and others refusing to hold back and respect the animals' space) that were trying to "chase" the elephants.

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

Terrific!

review 23 Apr 2017

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

Seeing wild elephants and snorkelling with sharks

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

Borneo isn't as scary as some websites make out. The people are welcoming, almost everyone speaks English. Don't worry about leeches we saw 2 in 2 weeks. Wear deet and the creepy crawlies don't bother you. Don't waste money on clothing and shoes wear anything loose and comfortable and some old trainers. If you need wellies the lodge will have them. It's hot but once you're under the trees is comfortable. Almost every other traveler had suitcases we took backpacks and there was no need to. Enjoy every minute!

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

It supported conservation when we paid to enter spilok orangutan and sun bear center. We planted a tree and paid for a certificate which went to the locals. The people working at the lodges were locals too.

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

10/10 the only that would have made it better would have been staying longer.

review 11 Aug 2017

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

Seeing the Orangutans and other wildlife in Borneo and along the Kintabatangan river

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

Go on a river adventure, do as many activities as you can afford!

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

To a limited extent yes.

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

Wonderful experience and treasured memories.

review 14 May 2017

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

The river trips from Abai Jungle Lodge & time spent at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok.

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

Do everything that is available, such as night time walks. Make sure that you ask at the hotels if they offer any trips, as they don't always supply this information up front. Make sure you use sun cream during the day and wear a hat and use insect repellent at dusk and at night!

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

Yes, we planted a tree. Unfortunately with the number of flights involved the vacation probably didn't reduce environmental impact much.

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

There were some absolutely magical moments and a lifelong dream of seeing Orangutans, especially the wild mother and baby we saw, was fulfilled.

review 25 Apr 2017

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

Seeing the wildlife in their natural environment.

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

Look over your itinerary with a fine tooth comb; we were disappointed not to do any jungle trekking as previously requested.

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

I felt that it supported conservation in that we were able to plant a tree; as for benefitting local people and reducing environmental impacts it is hard to comment. The trip was not as cost effective as one would expect.

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

Very good; a few hiccups.

review 5 Sep 2016

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

The amazing sights and sounds of the Borneo jungle.

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

Request air con in every accommodation & book all transfers and pick-ups - it really helps when delayed and jet lagged.

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

Yes

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

10/10 - 100% - Fantastic - thank you

review 31 Aug 2016

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

All of it. We loved every aspect of our vacation

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

Do your research as prioritise your time. You won't be disappointed!

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

Hopefully yes.

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

First class. The Malaysian people are so lovely and really wanted us to have the time of our lives- which we did.

review 16 Sep 2016

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

Seeing a herd of wild elephants from 10 ft away Having a wild orangutan walk alongside us on the Boardwalk Getting chased by an irate macaque (not our fault!)

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

Bring: Repellant & anti histamine cream Immodium Light, long sleeved and full leg trousers Lots of mozzies at tree planting so dress appropriately Head torch useful for night hikes Rain gear Long lens for camera / binoculars and spare camera battery if possible Tips on the ground: Skip the video and go straight to Orang Nursery Schedule second trip to orangs / bears (which we did) as there's a lot to see and the trip on way to Abai just gives you a taster which is helpful for arranging your return trip.

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

Yes. E.g. Sanctuaries, village visit and tree planting

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

Excellent experience for anyone interested in wildlife :-)

review 29 Jul 2016

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

There were two, Tabin was amazing an oasis in the rainforest. The second was Sepilok and the Orang utans, a wonderful experience to see how they work with the animals.

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

Plan the flight times to make us of all the available time. Take bottles of beer or wine if you drink to the resort hotels as the drink is very expensive.

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

Yes, an example would be Tabin. The centre, supports the rehabilitation of the orang utans from Sepilok.

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

Excellent, although the resort stay was exceptionally expensive.

review 21 Mar 2016

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

Finding pygmy elephants in the jungle

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

Get Malaysian ringgits before entering Borneo, it's a hassle trying to find a money changer

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

Yes, we visited a local community and planted indigenous trees to replace the ones cleared by logging and palm oil plantations

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

Extremely well organised, countless opportunities to see wildlife and meet local communities, absolutely excellent all round experience

review 15 Oct 2015

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

Staying in Abai lodge and sailing up the Kinabatangan river watching wildlife in their natural habitat. It was perfect. Excellent boat driver and guide. So friendly they were like a friend. Punctual knowledgeable and even provided tea and coffee and biscuits on every boat journey. Seeing a wild Orangutan swinging through the trees carrying a baby was magical as were the elephants on the river bank, the Proboscis Monkeys, birds and night time fireflies. It was magical.

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

No shoes allowed in Abai restaurant. Make sure you have repellent on bare feet. I was bitten, the only place not covered. No need for fancy clothes. Trousers, shirts, buy Nosiguard clothing with built in repellent. Flip flops are fine in the boat. Don't worry about getting in and out of the boat, help is at hand. Try all the lodges. If you do 5 star after this you will want to be back in the sheer simplicity of the jungle life.Invest in a good camera. Digital don't capture the moment. In hindsight we wished we'd bought a bridge camera although we do have really good pictures. Nobody is touting for tips. We gave the boat driver and guide a well deserved tip.Enjoy every second. Everyone is so professional and friendly.

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

Yes. The tree planting was brilliant. I didn't understand the concept until our guide explained how by us planting the tree it gave money to the local people who grew them. They are transplanted near the river which brings wildlife nearer for tourists. We got a certificate and can check on our trees progress. The locals caught fish and prawns and sold it to the Lodge.We had lunch in the village. The food was prepared by locals and they were paid for making our lunch putting money back to the locals.

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

10 stars. Fantastic. You have to be there to appreciate it. Well organised throughout. Always someone with you explaining how the day would progress. We were accompanied to airport check in ad not left until we had boarding cards. That is truly exceptional service.

review 17 Mar 2015

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

There were so many memorable bits! Each section of the vacation was so different and varied so all had different elements to make them special. The one standout thing was being on the Kinabatangan River as night fell. Our guide turned the boat engine off and whipped out tea, coffee and biscuits! It was so tranquil and beautiful and he then took us to see a tree full of fireflies.

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

If you go to the jungle - buy the leech socks!! And be prepared to do everything that's on offer, it's worth all the early starts.

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

Yes, we felt the morning that we went to the local village to plant trees was very worthwhile and it was nice to think we were able to do a little bit to both support the local community and help in a small way with counteracting deforestation.

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

10/10!

review 3 Aug 2015

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

Bumping into some of the young semi-wild orang utans outside the Sepilok Rehab Centre one night

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

Get straight over to Sandakan and Sepilok to enjoy the wildlife and rainforest!

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

The guides were all local. The trip to the village on Kinabatangan river was interesting and not too cliche.

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

Excellent

review 26 Jun 2015

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

Seeing the stars while on the nighttime river cruise

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

Take some binoculars

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

The tree planting and visit to the Abai village was excellent and was certainly a valuable asset to the locals . Overall this vacation benefitted the local communities by using only local produce and workforce . It was interesting to hear how the guides had started out working at the lodge and been able to progress to become guides

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

Magical

review 14 Apr 2015

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

Experiencing 60+ elephants swim across the river in front of us was pretty special. Seeing the orangutans wild and protected was my husband's lifetime dream.Sitting having breakfast in the rainforest with the cacophony of sound from the insects was deafening. An unique experience from start to finish.

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

Do your research and follow guidance regarding dry bags, insect repellent, correct clothing etc you are then fully prepared for the very challenging conditions you may experience. Be prepared for some VERY early morning starts! Do not take children under 12/13 there conditions too much for them to cope with.

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

Yes very much so. taking part in tree planting is beneficial, staying in a basic rainforest lodge and accepting conditions is helping to preserve the natural habitat.

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

A very unique exhilirating experience that makes you appreciate nature more and would have been best ever but didn't have kids with us.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you so much for your review. We are delighted to hear that you had such incredible experiences and made some of your dreams come true! We look forward to taking care of you and your travel plans again in the near future.

review 10 Nov 2014

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

Seeing the Orangutans

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

Take clothes suited for very hot and humid climate

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

I would like to think so

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

9.5 out of 10

review 25 Aug 2014

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

Seeing wild Orang-utans in their natural environment! Also the Enseluai waterfall was amazing.

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

Don't bother with the leech socks, just wear long trousers and socks. Make sure you have wick away trousers and shirts. Buy rubber shoes with good grip (like crocks) sufficient to walk shin deep in rocky steams and climb up muddy banks. Buy 50+% deet insect repellent (good to remove leeches) and bite and string relief spray. A filtered water bottle is useful too. Cheap waterproof (like at festivals) is far better than a waterproof jacket.

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

Yes - I assume that this type of tourism is the main income for the Iban.

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

Fantastic if you like non commercial back to nature vacation that is environmentally friendly

review 23 Jul 2013

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

Traveling into the jungle to stay at Abai Jungle Lodge and the river cruises. We saw wild orangutans, snakes, big spiders, Proboscis monkeys and more all in our hotel.

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

Visit the night markets in Kota Kinabalu for dinner and avoid overpriced restaurants along the waterfront. We ate two fantastic fresh seafood meals in the market for a fraction of what you pay for a pizza on the waterfront.

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

Yes, all resorts we stayed in were eco-conscience and we participated in a tree planting project to help rebuild the rainforest. Local people are very keen to put anything you buy in a plastic bag and we had to keep refusing these to reduce our impact.

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

Excellent, well thought out itinerary.

review 13 Jun 2013

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

If we had to name a specific high I think it'd have to be the private river cruises that we went on from the Abai Jungle Lodge. They were each so magical, romantic and different - I can't describe how wonderful they made us feel. But in truth the trip was packed with moments like this - hearing a turtle breath, seeing pygmy elephants up close and wild!!

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

The decisions made with regards to accommodation, activity, length of time between things, choice of guide etc were all absolutely brilliant. And the organisation was amazing! We really did feel like royalty, being welcomed and helped from place to place with such consideration and seamless precision. Only thing I'd say was - this trip was so luxurious I think it's being slightly miss-sold as 'on a shoe string!' Also maybe try and give Kota Kinabalu a miss.

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

I hope so - I think the eco-tourism model is really excellent and, flights aside, I really did feel the environmental impact of the trip was minimal. Also, our money did seem to go to wicked local tour companies and hotels rather than multi-nationals and the tree planting project should hopefully build some ties between visitors and the river people living in Abai village.

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

Wonderful!

review 21 Apr 2013

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

I enjoyed every aspect of my vacation. However, diving among turtles, in the beautiful turquoise waters of Lankayan Island, was definitely a particularly exciting and memorable moment.

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

Ensure you pack plenty of loose and cool clothing. A good camera and binoculars are invaluable.

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

Throughout the trip I was made very aware of the environmental issues affecting the wildlife of Borneo. I was involved with a tree planting project and I also helped release baby turtles back into the wild. Tour guides and those people employed at the different resorts were mainly local people.

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

I had an absolutely fantastic vacation that ran like clockwork. All the local people were delightful and could not do enough to help. Borneo is a very beautiful place and I hope to go back very soon. I would not hesitate in recommending this vacation.

review 3 Feb 2013

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

This vacation provided was a fantastic insight into Borneo. Starting in Kota Kinabalu gave an insight into Malaysian Borneo, from eating wonderful local food, to seeing monkeys in the trees surrounding the town, to sitting sipping a Tiger while watching the sun set over the harbour. No time to rest as we headed to a jungle lodge, spending time watching wildlife via boat trips on the river or night time walks seeing the most amazing creatures, the odd crocodile, wild orang-utan, proboscis monkeys etc Accommodation was superb for the location and there was definitely a romantic air about the setting. At Sepilok we watched from our luxury chalet as hornbills passed the window followed by kingfishers and other colourful birds. But the highlight here was seeing the orang-utans at the rehab centre, what a great sight to see them feeding. And finally our most special time was spent on Lankyan Island, a paradise of turquoise sea and white sands, walking into the warm seas and seeing the most fantastic range of marine wildlife all feeding on the protected reefs circling the island just inches from your feet!

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

Having a skilled travel consultant with personal experience of the country you aim to visit made planning and experiencing the vacation great. She took the time to personally get to know what we wanted and expected for our trip and designed a package accordingly and wow was it great! Think about what you want and what is important to you (for us it was wildlife and the sea, opportunity for snorkelling etc) and a clear idea of your budget and talk this over with a consultant. Ethical issues are central to the companies approach and were evident in the planning and in the vacation itself. In respect of this vacation I recommend you heed advice given about what to take, what to do and not to do and you can't go far wrong.

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

In all destinations it was apparent that local people were involved in the delivery the services which made our vacation so great and inclusions of such events as planting trees to replace those lost in the rainforest at a local village is an illustration of support to the environment accommodation was sensitive to the environment eg river lodge chalet made from local resources and locally grown food served for meals. Buying handmade craft gifts from local villagers contributed to their economy, local guides with so much information were used, awareness of risks to the coral reefs were stressed to us tourists, oh and adopting a orangutan, so yes, this vacation did I believe benefit local people and their environment and support conservation by many means.

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

There are two factors to this vacation - the planning/delivery and the content, it ran so smoothly with absolutely no hiccups at all in any transport/accommodation areas it made every minute enjoyable. All those involved in the delivery were amazing people with no issue about anyone! Secondly the content.... it was amazing.. A day didn't go by without me having a 'moment' ... A time when something astounds me!!! After the wonderful 11 days we moved to independent travel to other neighbouring places/countries and this endorsed the comfort and pleasure we had had from our Borneo trip. We cannot recommend this vacation enough!

review 9 Sep 2013

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

My first boat trip and seeing Orang utans, Proboscis monkeys and Crocodiles in their natural enviroment.

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

Be prepared for the humidity which is mostly in the afternoons. You will need to bring mosquito repellent. The food as you would expect is different, most meals are cooked in oil which takes a while to get used to but there is usually rice or noodle dishes which were great.

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

Yes I took part in a tree planting programe and in a turtle conservation project both of which looked after the community and the enviroment.

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

A great vacation, seeing animals in their natural habitat is fantasic and the local people and guides were great and very knowlegeable.

review 10 Jul 2013

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

All of the time on the river lodges was fantastic. The guides were great & a packed programme allowed us 2 c as much wildlife as poss. The lodges were lovely & sepilok lodge was stunning. SeliganiSland was very basic though allowed the turtle viewing though we luckily also saw them on lankayan which was also beautiful

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

Maybe risk missing out seligan

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

Absolutely. A very environmentally aware trip

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

The city stops paled a little after the rest of the vacation

review 19 Mar 2013

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

The entire trip is memorable, but I suppose the 2 nights in the river lodge were especially good fun. We saw a lot more wildlife than I ever imagined. I particularly liked our guide Basri who took great care of us and ensured we saw as many animals as possible.

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

Take a good pair of binoculars and a telephoto lens camera!

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

Absolutely. Everywhere we went, we were taken care of by local employees. Not an expat to be seen. Protecting the environment and conservation seemed to be the number 1 priority with all the guides and hotel staff. They are proud to be educating the tourists on what is being done to preserve Borneo's creatures.

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

A memorable vacation for me and my son. I will definitely book through responsible travel again and have recommended you to many friends!

review 16 Mar 2013

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

There were so many memorable parts of the vacation it is difficult to pick just one. The most memorable elements were: Snorkelling alongside turtles and cuttle fish around Lankayan Island The evening boat trip on the Kinabatangan River seeing proboscis monkeys, orangutans, kingfishers and fireflies. The beauty of an early morning boat trip to Pitas Lake Seeing a mother and baby orangutan at Sepilok (amongst many others) The fantastic service at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort

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

Visit Manukan and Manutik islands during your time in Kota Kinabalu. Beautiful beaches and snorkelling and large monitor lizards inland. Make use of the 'Happy Hours' at Shangri La Rasa Ria resort. Drinks there can be very expensive.

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

Yes, tourism gives an incentive for the local government to restrict the expansion of Palm Oil plantations in favour of maintaining the forests and wildlife. It also provides employment to benefit the local people and increase their commitment to the wildlife.

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

Absolutely superb. Every day was memorable. Definitely one of the best vacations of my life.

review 9 Jan 2013

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

Climbing Mt Kinabalu was exhausting but unforgettable and the river wildlife spotting cruises at night were another highlight

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

Use lots of insect repellant and also travel light as you are on the move a lot

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

Money spent in markets and cafes went to local people and Lankayan island was run with consevation in mind.

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

Brilliant!

review 9 Sep 2012

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

Traveling up the Kilabatan river in the boats seeing the way of life along the river bed.

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

Don't take too much clothing, as you are always on the move.

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

Definitely. There was an air of conservation and care for the world around us on this trip and evidence that there are organisations out there really trying to make an impact.

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

Having travelled many corners of the world, this vacation / experience was the most encompassing and rewarding trip I have encountered.

review 30 Jul 2012

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

It was all amazing but Lankayan Island was a definite highlight. It looked and felt like paradise and it was great to be a part of the work they are doing to protect the turtles. Our guide for the Abai based jungle trip (Junior) was also outstanding in his strength of character and knowledge of the area and its wildlife. His enthusiasm was infectious. The riverboat cruises were a highlight- it was great to see the animals and birds in their natural habitat. We were very impressed with the efficient & friendly service we received everywhere we went.

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

Donít hesitate. It is an amazing adventure. Binoculars essential for the jungle. Smart clothes needed for Rhasa Rhia resort.

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

Yes it was obvious everywhere we went that efforts were being made in all of these areas.

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

The best vacation ever!

review 2 Nov 2012

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

Lankayan Island was idyllic. From the moment of getting off the boat and walking down the jetty towards this stunning island, seeing a shark swim by beneath our feet, I was hooked! If you love snorkelling, you'll love Lankayan. Getting up close and personal with the orang-utans at Sepilok was a highlight, and Sepilok Jungle Lodge is a lovely place to stay. An unexpected highlight was doing the night jungle walk at Sepilok. It was terrifying but exhilarating with leechs galore, snakes, hideous creepy crawlies, treacherous paths etc!

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

The boat trip to Lankayan is quite rough - take seasickness prevention measures if you suffer from that. Take long sleeved shirts and long trousers in light flowing fabrics, for night-time mosquito bite prevention. Give yourself a relaxing time for the first few days as the jet lag can be quite severe (I was a zombie for the first 3 days). If you're going to Lankayan (and you should!) don't bother with Selingan Turtle Island - you can see turtles laying and babies being released into the sea at both places but it's much more relaxed and nicely done at Lankayan. Go and have the beef/wasabi dish at BB Cafe in Beach Street in Kota Kinabalu - one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted!! There's not much to do in the evenings at any of the Jungle/island lodges so take plenty of books/games.

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

We stayed in independent, Borneo-owned lodges and of course our guides were locals.

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

It was a great vacation. It's a very long way to travel and involved 8 flights, which is quite tough, but it's a unique and beautiful place with fantastic wildlife. The company we booked through were absolutely fantastic and everything was perfectly organised - HIGHLY recommend them.

review 5 Sep 2012

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

Seeing pygmy elephants. Never expected that didn't even know they lived there. Then 10yards away there were 2 playing in the river...amazing.

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

Take cash, plenty of mosquito repellent, long trousers and tops for the evenings

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

It definitely felt like we were genuinely contributing to the community at the tree planting. Often these things your never quite sure where your money's going. You can see that things are geared up for conservation and preservation every thought aimed at no frills with max comfort approach.

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

A dream come true, seeing my favourite ape in its natural environment and so much more. I may never be able to afford a vacation like this again. It was worth every penny.

review 15 Aug 2012

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

Trips on the river from the Abai Jungle Lodge to spot wildlife. We saw Pygmy elephants, Orangutans, Proboscis monkeys, Macaques, Crocodiles, Eagles, Hornbills. The list goes on and on and on. Lankayan Island was a great way to end a busy vacation. Totally relaxing, very luxurious and mind blowingly beautiful.

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

Take binoculars! We didn't take any and wish we had. Bring a good long lens and a decent camera (and maybe an underwater one for Lankayan).

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

I don't really think a long haul vacation could really reduce environmental impact in any way, but all the lodges seemed very sustainable, and used local staff. The tree planting/lunch project at Abai benefited the local villagers directly, and was great. Seeing the jungle in all its glory has made us appreciate how important conservation of these areas is.

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

We had an absolutely brilliant time. Our teenage daughter loved it so much it even overshadowed having to share a room with us! The sheer volume of wildlife we saw amazed us. The guides were fantastic, and well...I'll stop now as I'm in danger overusing exclamation marks!!

review 8 Aug 2012

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

My personal favourite was the turtle experience, both on Selingan and Lankayan. Lankayan is stunning - the most picturesque place I have ever stayed, and to see a gigantic turtle slowly heaving her way up the beach in the dark one evening right near our chalet was magical! The staff also go around informing all guests each day when there is to be a baby turtle release so you have plenty of opportunity to see little hatchlings making for the open seas.

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

Don't forget your binoculars especially for the trips on the Kinabatangan river. Also try to travel as light as possible, it makes it much easier when moving from place to place!

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

Yes, we took part in the tree planting ceremony at Abai which helps to replace the trees which have been cut down in the jungle and Terrye, our guide, is from the village. The lodge also sources the food locally, and the villagers actually cooked our lunch one day! Also, conservation fees are paid to access some areas (included in the vacation cost).

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

A fantastic and unique vacation! All the tour and lodge staff were friendly, polite and keen to please, and all arrangements were impeccable. Lankayan was the ideal place to end the vacation - such a beautiful place!

review 10 Feb 2012

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

Spending time on the Kinabatangan River and seeing wild Orangutans.

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

Ensure you don't end up visiting the Sepilok reserve twice on your itinerary. Visiting as a day visitor and again for an overnight stop is a waste of a day.

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

Yes. All staff and employees we met were local malaysians. The river lodge we stayed in bought produce from the local villages and used natural detergents to reduce pollution in the river.

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

Excellent - we had a great time.

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