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.
Ron Price 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?
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.