7 independent reviews for Indonesia, Komodos & orangutan holiday

Reviews for Indonesia, Komodos & orangutan holiday

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review 9 May 2016

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

Our trip to Borneo to see the orang-utans in Kalimantan was the most memorable part of our trip. We were fortunate to be within a couple of metres of an alpha male on one occasion. While in Borneo we also were able to see a variety of other primates and to spend time in the jungle during walks where there were many species of birds, butterflies and plants.

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

The trip was very well organised and supported by the local team but those from less hot and humid climates would be advised to ensure that they arrive in as fit condition as possible in order to make the most of the walks to see animals, birds, plants, etc.

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

The trip would have been of some economic benefit to the local population but it was not easy to engage in other ways with local people other than the guides, lodge staff, etc.

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

The trip was excellent so there were only a couple of suggestions for improvement that we passed on to the organisers.

review 29 Dec 2015

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

The animals.

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

Research the food that is available.

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

I enjoyed my vacation. I wanted to explore and that is what I did.

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

I rate my experience as pleasurable and most rewarding.

review 3 Sep 2013

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

Close encounters with a large male orang-utan in Kalimantan and two rival female komodo dragons on Rimba Island.

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

If you only have time to visit one island to see Komodo dragons choose Rimba rather than Komodo.

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

Yes - the local people really welcome you as they are keen to benefit from the tourist industry. We bought locally made souvenirs and planted trees for ourselves and our grandchildren at a reforestation project. Unfortunately in order to see the maximum possible in the time available we had to make 6 domestic flights - not so environmentally friendly!

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

This was an excellent trip. We would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with similar interests - wildlife and photography. Don't go if you need some rest time on holiday though.

review 16 Feb 2011

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

I have numerous fantastic memories of this wonderful experience ... obviously the most important highlight was the privilege of visiting some of the most exotic and remote parts of our planet, a novel idea indeed! During our jungle trek on Rinca island, being so close to the Komodo dragons, and learning from the ranger and guide all about the dragons' way of life, was thrilling, educational and exhilarating (Had someone “arranged” for a dragon to be sunning itself at the end of the jetty upon our arrival at Rinca? What luck!) … and the boat ride from Bajo to Rinca was a big adventure, too. Fulfillment of a lifetime dream by spending my birthday in the jungle of Borneo with the orangutans, plus the honour of meeting with Dr. Birute Galdikas at Camp Leakey, followed by the wonderful birthday dinner celebration - and delicious birthday cake - on board our klotok under a full moon and in the company of numerous fireflies made the occasion absolutely unique! We were blessed with wonderful guides in Bajo and Kalimantan (Henrik and Pardi) who were simply outstanding in all ways: friendly, knowledgeable and attentive to all our needs, and they both contributed to making our trip so successful. We have left our two “friends” in their respective jungles, knowing future visitors will be in the very best of care … The warmest of welcomes at each of the three lodges we visited (Udayana, Bajo and Rimba) will never be forgotten; all staff on duty genuinely made us feel that we had "arrived home", and each delightful one of them is a perfect example of the graciousness and charm radiated by all Indonesians. Not only were all meals so delicious, copious, and beautifully presented (our many photos can prove this!), but the lodge staff made no qualms about cooking different dishes at the wave of a wand, or sending someone down to the local market to obtain a requested fruit, or serving meals at exceptionally early and late times to suit our programme! Accommodations were clean, comfortable and very adequate. At Udayana I had the exceptional and adventurous company of a cute frog in the bathroom during the night (I should add my newly found friend had entered via the open air – but covered shower area – to keep me company! … and this was just one of so many delightful creatures to be found in the area. The Udayana lodge driver, Santos, was sympathetic and understanding of our special wishes at all times, cared for us with security and comfort, at the same time managing to provide us with a fascinating insight into the local way of life. Special mention goes to Nyoman Martini (the Ecolodges travel coordinator), who managed to rearrange our programme - due to a last minute flight cancellation - with great expertise and infinite patience, and I wouldn't be surprised if she also had a sleepless night into the bargain! It is very evident that Meryl and Alan Wilson oversee a marvellous team within the Ecolodges Indonesia group of lodges. Their constant and caring interest and vigilance resulted in our holiday experience being better than perfect. From Spain we send an enormous “Olé!” to everyone and hope to renew friendships again in the not-too-distant future.

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

Thanks to finding the Responsible Travel web page a few months ago, quite accidentally, I was immediately put in contact with the operator. Email correspondence and phone calls were dealt with in a timely and efficient manner, and I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending future travellers to have total confidence in this company. Indonesia is a wonderful country to visit, and we particularly enjoyed being treated as VIP guests everywhere we went during the low season (January). I deduce that travelling in the off season is most likely a best kept secret! Indeed, it seemed that we were almost the only guests at the lodges visited. For experimented travellers who enjoy flora and fauna any tailor made itinerary offered by this operator will surely thrill and delight. The distance travelled, expense involved, minute organisation and planning, far outweigh any negative “mishap” that might occur. One should travel to this destination with an open and flexible mind, and be prepared to make the most of every minute – no matter what happens. Be prepared for last-minute changes to any tailor made programme (beyond the operator’s control), since the vast majority of Indonesian internal flights are frequently delayed without explanation, and there is also the possibility (and even likelihood!) of last minute flight cancellations. When our programme was in the initial stages of planning, I had no idea how complex the routing between Bali and Borneo is (depending on the day of the week - a minimum of 2 connecting flights is necessary and possibly 3!), and didn’t realise what a mammoth task had been placed in Nyoman’s expert hands. In our case, already partly en route to Borneo, we were suddenly faced with a last moment flight cancellation so, understanding of the fact that Plan A was no longer feasible, and trusting that Nyoman would efficiently be working on Plan B, I had gone along on the trip with Plan C up my sleeve. In effect this resulted in us losing one of our nights’ stay at Rimba (a great disappointment!), but we had the unexpected and additional bonus of being able to visit the Borobudur Temple in Java, plus witnessing the recent destruction caused by the recent volcanic eruption of Mt. Merapi, followed by a relaxing foot massage prior to catching a flight to Banjarmarsin (not originally on our schedule), where we spent overnight (another adventure in itself), before flying on to Pangkalan Bun. All credit goes to Nyoman for being able to rearrange our programme at the 11th hour, bearing in mind that all internal flights appear to be fully booked long in advance!

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

I find it hard to imagine that our impact on the environment hasn’t gone unnoticed, since our entire trip entailed a total of 18 flights from Malaga back to Malaga – and including stopovers of several days in both Dubai and Kuala Lumpur – at our election. Evidently many local people have benefited from our visit, in that they have had some more work in the low season. We have tried to purchase arts and crafts directly from the locals and/or in establishments off the tourist track. We tried independently to interact with the locals to provide better understanding and goodwill. However, we felt that the visit with Pardi to the village of Tanjung Harapan on the Sekonyer River – although extremely interesting – was somewhat touristic, in that obviously the locals are accustomed to receiving tourists, but the children were not overly grateful for the candies and other small gifts we bought for them in Kumai prior to travelling upstream. This is most likely an expected “routine”. Nevertheless we enjoyed a fascinating walk through the village and encountered endless photographic possibilities.

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

I don't know of sufficient superlative adjectives to describe our experience ... BRILLIANT!!! Our thanks to one and all, no matter how small or larger part they played in making our memories so positive!

review 5 Feb 2011

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

The most memorable aspect will probably be the excellent and thoughtful hospitality of all the staff at each of the three eco lodges I visited. Every detail of my trip was taken care of. I was made to feel very comfortable and very welcome by everyone. The most exciting? Hard to pick one thing from a long list: Arriving in Borneo and setting off down the Sekonyer River on a klotok; meeting Tom, the king Orangutan, in Camp Leakey; seeing crocodiles, rare birds, butterflies, proboscis monkeys, komodo dragons ...

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

Bring a lightweight poncho, some good binoculars, and extra strength mosquito repellent.

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

Yes. The lodges are genuine and knowledgeable in their efforts to be protect the environment and respect local culture. The staff and guides are all local people.

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

Excellent. It really exceeded any expectations.

review 10 Aug 2007

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

We love the Udayana folks! Egrets and other birds fill the nearby most beautiful sewage treatment plant in the world. We spent two weeks at Udayana ecolodge, and they also set us up for their Bajo Komodo lodge and trip to see the Komodo Dragons. Three days to west Bali where we visited the breeding centre for the endangered white Bali Mynahs. Drivers available to go to religious and cultural sites all over eastern Bali. Relaxing place surrounded by flowering trees. We saw 15 of the 54 birds on their list. They are close to beaches, even though on a breezy hill next to the university's conservation area, with a view up to the great volcano.

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

Whatever you want to do in Bali, they can set it up, or their other ecolodges. Give Nyoman Martini, scheduling manager, a list of what you want to do, and she'll make suggestions and set things up before you leave home. If there are other Bali places you'd like to visit on the responsible travel list, they can make arrangements.

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

Local employees and staff, solar heated water, Green Globe certified.

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

A wonderful place and very helpful. Wish it were as close to Missouri as it is to the Aussies who keep coming back. We are so glad we found it through you.


review 18 Sep 2007

My first surprise, despite being informed from the beginning that there were tailor-made departures for this trip, was that I was always alone and never in a group. This was not a problem for me but might be for a timid traveller. I visited 3 eco lodges and everywhere met very friendly people , all concerned with protecting the planet in all its bio diversity. The lodges were comfortable and are dedicated to environmental protection. My biggest disappointment was not being able to go to Borneo to see the orang utans which was for me the highlight of my trip. The reason being that the only plane flying to this isolated spot in Borneo was grounded for 4 days with no alternative means of getting there available. Everything was done to try and find another time for me to go there but as this was impossible they sent me to their eco lodge in Sumatra where I was able to go elephant trekking , travelling through the jungle by river boat and visiting a centre where they are fighting to save the endangered Indonesian rhino.. This was very enjoyable but did not compensate for missing the orang-utans. I am still trying to be philosophical about this and telling myself that these things happen especially y when travelling in places like Indonesia. I recommend this holiday for people interested in the efforts that are being made to conserve the environment and its endangered species. It is not a place to go to if you want to be sure of seeing animals in the wild. The thick jungle cover makes this very unlikely but I did see some wildlife including birds; and just being in these isolated places, travelling through dense rainforests and across the sea in small boats where they cook you freshly caught fish for lunch , made this holiday very worthwhile for me, not forgetting the wonderful people! Alan and Meryl Wilson are dedicated people who run their eco lodges with great concern and respect for the environment. I recommend this type of holiday which gives an insight into what is being done in Indonesia by courageous people fighting against great odds. I came back feeling uplifted and inspired that there are such people in the world. Alan and his wife and all their staff were delightful friendly people with whom I felt I had a lot in common and who did all they could to make my stay enjoyable. And I do intend to go back there in 2 years time.

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