11 independent reviews for Sabah holiday, land beneath the wind

These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.


review 24 Jun 2014

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

Seeing the baby turtles being released into the sea

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

Dont underestimate how difficult the hike up Mt Kinabalu is. I broke my finger falling on the way down

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

Yes, benefited local people

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

Perhaps the climbing is too extreme, and the rest of the holiday not active enough. Need more of a balance on the trekking

review 27 Mar 2014

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

Scrambling to the top of Kinabalu mountain and trying to get a photo taken at the top with over 100 other people.

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

Be aware that Mount Kinabalu is quite a tough walk (11 hours on the second day) and the ascent involves ropes. Be aware the trip to Turtle Island is on a speedboat and for us involved a very bumpy ride and getting drenched with water for most of the 1 hour journey.

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

Yes.

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

I felt we covered everything on the itinerary (saw turtles laying eggs, climbed mountain etc), but most of the holiday felt like tick in a box mass tourism i.e. we we went on a jungle boat trip, but we had to compete with at least 7 other boats at the same spots, the turtle experience felt tacky (sitting in a restaurant potentially for hours until someone shouts "turtle time", comparing the hatcheling release with a grand prix race), the night jungle walk consisted of walking around in circles about 100 yards from the lodge and the mountain climb felt unsafe at times when we were competing with over 100 people for a small space at the top of the mountain.

Read the operator's response here:

Weíre sorry that Mr Price felt that elements of the holiday did not meet up to his expectations. Malaysia is a destination that is growing in popularity and as such attracts many travellers to the more popular locations on the tour. This is a tour that at times strays off the beaten track, such as our homestay in Dunsun village at the base of Mt. Kinabalu but it also aims to visit the regional highlights of this amazing country. Summiting Kinabalu for sunrise is on the wish list for many travellers to this region and while we hope that our group be will be there on a quieter day, we unfortunately have no control over visitor numbers. The boat trip taken from your jungle lodge base is taken in anticipation of seeing some of the native wildlife in their natural habitat, and as with many wildlife spotting opportunities, this can mean that everyone out looking for wildlife congregates on the same stretches of the river and banks where the animals are known to be found. Again, if itís a busy period, this can mean that there are other travellers in the same locations. Ultimately this holiday does visit tourist areas and sites; however we travel throughout in a responsible manner, benefiting the economies of local communities, creating employment opportunities through our use of guides and drivers and staying in accommodation that is locally owned.

review 2 May 2013

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

Climbing Mt Kinabalu. Staying in the jungle. Seeing local, unique wildlife.

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

It says you'll get an adventure and you do. Don't expect your home comforts here.

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

The homestay keeps alive local traditions and we must have given work through using local guides and facilities. I hope the visits up river and to the orangutan sanctuary helps the animals and local people enough to be sustainable and allay further development of the land for oil palm.

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

The holiday was absolutely fantastic. Our guide was superb, especially as he stepped in at the last minutes. Activities were full-on but worth every minute. The group was friendly and fun. My only criticism was the total lack of contact by the operator regarding major itinerary changes due to insurgency, thereby not giving time for an individual change of plan/part refund if wanted. The only time they contacted me was 3 days before, when I was already on the road and not reading my mail.

review 29 Dec 2012

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

Orangutans, Turtles, Mt Kinabalu...

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

Go with an open mind. Take it all in... there's so much to see!

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

Yes and no... I think it benefited local people. Not sure about reducing environmental impacts... Turtle Island had a huge amount of rubbish from nearby floating villages. I know this is not from our holiday, but not sure how it is being dealt with and sure it is affecting the turtles!

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

Excellent!! Amazing experience...

review 9 Aug 2010

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

Climbing Kinabalu

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

Bring a brolly

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

Yes

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

Wonderful

review 1 Jul 2010

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

Climbing mount Kinabalu and seeing the orangutans and turtle island plus proboscis monkeys feeding.

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

You need to be fit to climb mount Kinabalu. You also need to be well sprayed.

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

The holiday benefited the local people by putting some of the money into the community.

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

Very enjoyable and interesting. Met the local people.

review 24 Nov 2009

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

Most memorable was the mountain climb, most exciting was Sepilok.

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

Don't underestimate the preparation for the mountain.

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

Most definitely.

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

Excellent.

review 28 Jan 2009

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

The highlight of the trip was climbing the mountain. It was a tough climb but was well worth it to see the beautiful sunrise, not to mention the spectacular scenery every step of the way. The sense of achievement on returning made the pain of it all pale to insignificance.

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

Don't expect luxury on this trip. Remember your on holiday so go with the flow, the guides are excellent and will look after everything. People in Sabah have a very laid back attitude so patience is required, especially in restaurants. Don't forget to take your sense of humour with you! If intending to climb the mountain its best to increase fitness beforehand and be realistic about your own limitations, itís not a stroll in the park, but definitely worth an attempt.

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

The trip did benefit local people. This is most evident in Sandakan where it seemed like the entire community showed up at some stage to either entertain, guide or feed us! Also the homestays obviously benefit from tourists.

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

Overall this was a great holiday. There was a very good balance between activities and time to relax. There was endless fresh air, wildlife, scenery and fantastic people. I recommend this holiday for people who love nature and don't mind being right in the thick of it... there is a night in a hammock in the jungle after all!

review 18 Apr 2008

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

Climbing Mount Kinabalu.

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

Do some fitness training to make the ascent of the mountain more enjoyable and less painful. Pack light as there are laundry opportunities.

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

Yes I think local people would have benefitted but as far as minimising the impact on the environment I am not sure. That would partly depend on the attitude and knowledge of the traveller/holiday maker.

review 8 Nov 2007

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

Seeing the Turtles laying eggs, and climbing up Mount Kinabalu.

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

Be prepared for some tough work getting up the mountain; be prepared to be flexible, and don't expect the food to be all that great! But the experience more than makes up for the bad food!

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

Yes - we used local transportation where possible, stayed in small local hotels and people's houses, and ate in small local restaurants. The downside is the long-haul flight - but obviously unavoidable.

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

Excellent - we had a great leader and were lucky to share the trip with some great people.

review 27 Jul 2006

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

Difficult to say, climbing mount Kinabalu or seeing the orang-utangs and proboscis monkeys, I think.

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

Rent warm clothing for Mount Kinabalu, as it all takes up a lot of luggage space. Leave the tour on the road back from Sukau (i.e. don't return to Sandakan for the flight back to KK) and go to Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley and experience the rainforest with your own personal guide. Go from there to Semporna and dive and see the turtles in the water. Buy the Insight Pocket Guide to Sabah.

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

Difficult to tell, but the guides were well aware of how fragile their environment was, and the delicate balance between tourism and conservationism.

4. Any other comments?

First of all I would like to thank "David" , who I think was French, from the operator's on-line telephone service - he was more than helpful and got us sorted our quickly and efficiently after we had been let down by Vantage Tours, an American organisation who cancelled our Borneo tour less than a month before we left. The trip was organised via a Malaysian tour operator, part of the big Mayflower group. They were superb, we can hardly fault them. The guides were excellent and very flexible, willing to change schedules if possible to suit our needs, the transport always turned up exactly on time, the accommodation was exactly as described and the places visited were all breathtaking in their beauty and animal and plant life. Once again, both operators could not be faulted. Thanks for a great holiday!

Holiday Reviews

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. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.

Read our review policy

Unedited reviews from other travellers

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
Convert currencies