Borneo holiday, Land below the wind

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Date
Price
Basis
30 Dec 2016
£ 1100
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 30 Dec 2016 departure
17 Jan 2017
£ 1150
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 17 Jan 2017 departure
17 Feb 2017
£ 1150
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 17 Feb 2017 departure
24 Mar 2017
£ 1150
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 24 Mar 2017 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

This is a 'small group adventure' - you will be sharing your experiences with like minded people. Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 11 persons, a genuinely small group. Experience has taught us that smaller groups are less intrusive to local cultures and environments whilst allowing more interaction with local people. Furthermore it means greater flexibility on a day to day basis and on a social level it proves to be fun. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends/family its good value, and a great way to meet new people! The intention is to travel as a group of friends rather than a typical tour group, so don't expect stick-on name badges or any following the umbrella.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Borneo holiday, Land below the wind

Environment

Information: Providing suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning, genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes. To be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment, and to behave and dress appropriately with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travellers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices.

Destinations: We combine the well known tourist sites with many off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited destinations thus diverting tourist revenue and contact with responsible tourism into areas not usually benefiting as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.


Local Awareness: By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them local agents, guides and hotels are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect. We carefully select the places we visit to ensure that none are involved in exploitative practices of people or animals.

In addition, some of the specific initiatives for this tour include the following: We work closely with The Penang Heritage Trust to organize our tour of some of the sites of Chinatown. The Heritage Trust provides a sensitive look at the culture and the history of the region. By our continued patronage of the service we contribute to the upkeep of the organization, which helps preserve the country's culture and educates its visitors to understand the genuine Penang.

We fully support the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sepilok by sending our guests there for a visit. The centre’s primary function is to create public awareness and appreciation of the importance of conserving forests, as well as the sustainable use of forest resources. This is one of the projects developed by the Sabah Forestry Department. The minimal entrance fee paid helps in funding the centre.

We also visit and contribute to Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre, considered to be the largest orang-utan rehab sanctuary in the world. The entrance fee our guests pay goes to the badly needed fund to run this huge operation of saving and rehabilitating orphaned and confiscated orang-utans, in the hope that one day every single one of them be released to the wild. Even sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and elephants get treated here.

The Kinabatangan Nature Lodge in Bilit, Sabah, as part of their ongoing contribution to the environment, is possibly the only lodge in Asia to use FSC-standard certified timber (recycled wood) for building their facilities! (FSC is Forest Stewardship Council). The lodge have environmentally aware and environmentally friendly policies on amongst other things, waste disposal, reusable materials, involvement of the local community and care for the environment. They are also a partner of the ‘Corridor Of Life’ vision project, brainchild of the WWF-Malaysia. This project, formulated towards sustainable development, addresses the issues of reforestation, protection and management of the lower Kinabatangan (among their chosen locations). The lodge is also very actively involved in and committed to raising funds for the Voluntary Conservation Levy to establish fund to finance the cost of protecting and reforesting the area. They are also in the process of setting up a Grey-water Project to use recycled bath water for gardening. In our continual support for all these endeavours, we are sending clients there.

We stay at, and support, the Sabah Tea Plantation and learn about it’s organic, pesticide-free tea production. We are happy to use their accommodation, restaurant and guides as well as educating our travellers as to the methods of producing organic tea.

We participate in tree replanting scheme in the Kinabatangan River. Deforestation due to the rapid recent increase in planting palm trees for oil has meant that many of the natural flora is being destroyed along with wildlife habitats of more than just the orangutans. Tree planting is very labour intensive and the locals need all the help they can get, so tour participants dig a hole and plant a sapling.

Use of local transport (bus) for most part of the tour. The production of the tour is assisted by a small, locally based operator and using native Sabah guides only.

Community

Group Sizes: By limiting groups to small sizes we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater genuine interaction with said communities. It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allows us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators perhaps not otherwise well equipped for larger groups.

Local Products: As much as possible we aim to employ local personnel, (guides, drivers, agents etc), use local restaurants and smaller privately owned accommodation. Customers are also encouraged to buy and use local products and services as much as possible in order to support and stimulate the local economy. They are also advised against buying prohibited items and products made from parts of wild animals or plants.

We have included destinations not part of standard itineraries. In this way we spread responsible tourism into areas which do not get much income from tourism or awareness of responsible tourism practices. .

Reviews of Borneo holiday, Land below the wind

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 23 Oct 2016 by

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


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 travellers booking this holiday?


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

3. Did you feel that your holiday 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 holiday overall?


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

Reviewed on 11 Jul 2012 by

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


It was all interesting and exciting in many different ways.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


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

3. Did you feel that your holiday 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 holiday 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.

Reviewed on 17 Aug 2011 by

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


Seeing the wild orangutan and the feeding at Sepilok.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


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

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


I hope so, but hard to say.

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


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

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2011 by

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


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 travellers booking this holiday?


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 holiday 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 holiday 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 holiday.

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2010 by

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


The whole holiday 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 travelling 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 travellers booking this holiday?


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 holiday 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 holiday 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.

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2009 by

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


The rainforest lodge and my boyfriend's proposal to me at such a beautiful location!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Leach socks are a definite as are tops which wik moisture. The walks themselves were easy but getting used to the humidity is what makes them more challenging.

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


I would like to think so, perhaps the amount of travelling wasn't so eco friendly but it was necessary to see the total experience.

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


I have really enjoyed the whole adventure but living with all the insects is not some people's idea of a holiday so be prepared.

Reviewed on 29 Apr 2009 by

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


Danum Valley was the highlight - the accommodation was incredible and the walks and wildlife excellent.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do everything, get involved.

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


Yes - great use of local guides.

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


Excellent.

Reviewed on 09 Jan 2009 by

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


Lots of memorable bits but the main ones were: The leech trek on the way to Sepilok - not fun at the time but an experience! Getting to see a large wild orang-utan in the Danum Valley. The meeting with the elephant at the end of the canopy walkway again in Danum valley

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Get some leech socks and wear them. Binoculars were really good and long camera lens.

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


Not that I noticed particularly. I wasn't sure that the lodges we were staying in were locally run or not but I guess that would help the local economy if they were.

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


It was a fantastic experience and we enjoyed it a great deal. Our guide, Henry, was great and looked after us all very well despite some challenging moments!

Reviewed on 05 Aug 2008 by

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


I loved staying in the longhouse at the Sabah Tea Plantation, it was a real experience and the evening entertainment was fantastic too, as the local school children came to show us their national dance in full costume. My most magical moment was at Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre when I got to see the orang-utans really close up when walking back along the board-walk; I also got to see them in the wild in Danum Valley which was very lucky indeed, particularly as it was a baby with its mother. Wildlife spotting along the Kinabatangan River was superb. The area is teaming with nature, from the proboscis monkeys sitting the trees to the hornbills flying around and the wild boar and crocodiles at the edge of the river – magical!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


1) There ARE leeches a plenty on this tour! Top tip: Make sure you wear leech socks if you do any trekking; they do work, just make sure you spray your walking boots and socks with deet before you venture out into the jungle! Try not to spray the leeches directly with deet, it isn't good for the environment, you can flick them off, but use my avoidance tactics and you won't get any at all! 2) Take a sleeping bag liner, in some of the places visited, you may prefer to use your own bed linen. 3) If the itinerary says a 'stream hike', take sensible footwear, hiking sandals or something similar, flip flops don't make the grade! 4) Don't use flash photography on the wildlife, it is cruel and frightens off the creatures for other people to see! 5) Take a bag that can be carried like a rucksack, you need to carry for bag over short distances on the tour and if you aren't very strong, being lumbered with a 20kg holdall isn't fun. 6) The river trip takes 2 hours, take something soft to sit on, like a towel or pillow!

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


The holiday did benefit local people as most of the lodges were locally run and we used taxis and buses driven by local people. I thought it was good to take part in the tree planting, but planting a tree each would have been good, rather than only 5 per group (there were nine people in my group). I thought there should have been better controls on photography, as the guides allowed people to use flash photography on the night tours and this disturbed a number of birds sleeping low in the canopy - visitors should be encouraged to capture certain experiences in memory, rather than on memory card, this particularly relates to the Kintbantangan River areas and Danum Valley. Better leech avoidance guidelines should be given, so tour leaders don't end up spraying leeches with deet, as this is detrimental to the environment. Also, when swimming in the local rivers (as we could at the tree plantation and Danum Valley) people should be encouraged to wear natural insect repellents so as not to pollute the streams and rivers with deet.

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


I really enjoyed the trip but it is quite physical with lots of trekking and early starts, so having a few days rest at the end is definitely recommended. It was an absolute joy to see the orang-utans in the wild at Danum Valley but I guess I left feeling that the protected area was just a drop in the ocean compared to the area being logged or cut down for oil palm which made me feel sad. I suppose that visiting the area at least makes a statement that you think it is worth saving and might make the government of Borneo sit up and take note!

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Alicia for her comments. With reference to that regarding use of DEET, many of our guides and tour leaders in SE Asia, on a personal level, would agree with her. However, it remains the case that the British Foreign Office with whom we work closely and the World Health Organisation in their notes regarding precautions to prevent contracting malaria, recommend a DEET based insect repellant as particularly effective. Our tour leaders are trained to discuss appropriate use of the products and limiting them to when they are needed, however, ultimately that is the customers' decision. We also have every sympathy with Alicia's comments about flash photography of wildlife at night - and whilst it is not ideal, there is no doubt that travellers want to see the wildlife and also to photograph it. Perhaps this is a necessary evil as a vital part of encouraging governments to stop logging or planting fuel crops and instead concentrate resources on the creation of national parks.

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