A taste of Sabah, Borneo holidays

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Departure information

Everything is tweak-able, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen date. Upgrade your accommodation for all - or just part - of your trip, slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there or add a few more active adventures along the way
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Wherever possible we try to use small-scale, locally run accommodation in Borneo to make your trip even more unique and full of local flavour as well helps to keep your Carbon Footprint down. Whether it is city hotels or remote jungle lodges we want to support local people and their communities and reduce the impact of tourism on the environment during our trips.

In all our destinations we like to support a local project to give something back. In Borneo we have chosen the Borneo organisation – Reef Guardian, who help to preserve the beautiful and endangered marine life off the east coast of Sabah and ensure the safe return to the sea for the newborn turtles.

In our UK office we are focused on maintaining the environment, from recycling in the office to flora and fauna in our offices is well maintained and looked after.

All of our wildlife experiences involve trained guides, and it is important to use that the animals are treated with care and respect to keep them wild.

We work with local partners in Borneo who share our values in sustainability and they too run local projects themselves supporting local people and the environment.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

When travelling through Borneo we think it is really important to consider your impact on the communities you are travelling to. Our style of travel is all about seeing the authentic side of the destinations we sell.

In Borneo we work alongside a local partner who shares our values and passion for meaningful travel. They work closely with our Borneo Product Manager to discover new and enriching experiences that benefit the local population. We use local guides and drivers so you benefit from their knowledge and expertise and the communities benefit from tourism.

Our Travel Specialists have been to the country and know of local tips and experiences to help support the community. They listen to up to date feedback from clients and use these tips to help inform new clients travelling too.

Some of the lodges we support in Borneo are planting trees to help rebuild the devasted Borneo forest, and customers can have a go at this during their stay as well.

Our local charity project in Borneo, Reef Guardian helps sustain the protected marine park around Malaysia Borneo, and customers are able to donate to this before they travel.

Our local partners in Borneo employ only local guides, and have local offices in both areas of Borneo making them specialists in the area.

All of our customers receive a 'Know Before You Go' before travelling, with helpful tips and advice for travelling through Borneo and how to interact with the culture.

Climate

1 Reviews of A taste of Sabah, Borneo holidays

3 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 25 Feb 2020 by

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


Our experience in Borneo was great. The people were friendly and everywhere we looked was beautiful rain forest.

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


Research carefully the time of year that you are going. If seeing orang-utans is a priority, make sure to go after fruiting season so that they will be more likely
to come to sanctuaries for food. Thoroughly investigate your accommodations. We were not provided with accurate details regarding the places we were
staying and found ourselves in places with no power or hot water, which was a surprise. It would be another thing entirely if we had been prepared for that
situation.

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


I do feel that our holiday supported the local economy. The local contractors that were used to provide our experiences were great.

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


We are very glad to have gone on this holiday, however, we are quite disappointed with the operator overall. Firstly, we were scheduled to go see orang-utans at a sanctuary, only to find out that we were going during fruiting season and the orang-utans never come to the sanctuary when they can find food elsewhere. I think it is great that they are truly wild and have their own safe place to live, but it should not be billed as an experience to go see orangutans. This information was readily told to us by people on the ground. It is truly poor form on the operators part to even book this at all during the time of year that we went. We were scheduled for a bike tour of Kuching in the afternoon after the orangutan "visit". When we arrived, the tour company had no idea we were coming, as things had not been confirmed. Thankfully, the bike company was fantastic and asked if they could have 1 hour to prepare. We returned an hour later and had a really fantastic bike trip, but we felt terrible for the bike company having to squeeze us in. Next, our trip to the longhouse was truly a once in a lifetime experience that we enjoyed. Unfortunately, the operator did not prepare us at all for the accommodation. It is at a remote village with no power (a generator is on from 6:30 to 10pm) and there is no hot water, with a bathroom that is essentially that of a poorly maintained campground. Had we known this was what things would be, we would have been prepared. We had to go out and buy towels the night before because our local guide was kind enough to talk to us about the conditions for the coming days. Had he not done so, we would have been in trouble. Another major concern was that we were not able to bring more than a backpack of clothes with us to the Longhouse. This meant that we had to leave our larger luggage behind (something we were not told would need to happen). Our guides in Borneo initially asked us to leave it at the hotel, then said they would take care of it. They stored it in the back of a restaurant where we had lunch on the way to the longhouse. That meant all of our clothes, our computers and other valuables were left in a shop for 3 days. Our agent with this operator knew that we were traveling with a lot of luggage (this is part of a year long trip for
us). Either he didn't care or he didn't take the time to plan something that would have been safer and more reasonable for us. The tree house "resort" that we were booked in was in quite a sad state of repair. The bathroom had broke fixtures (toilet, washing hose) and the on site restaurant had broken down refrigerators so they could not provide cold drinks. This is something of a disappointment when it is as hot as it is in Borneo. When leaving the tree house resort, we were first told we would have to arrange our own transfer to the next hotel, then we were told by the people in borneo that the tree house resort would organize it. When it came time to leave, the tree house resort had no knowledge of a transfer and no one arrived to pick us up. Instead we walked 1.5km with our luggage to the next hotel. Again, if we knew that this would have been required it would have been fine. The problem is that the operator once again did not have their tour well organized. We travel quite a lot, all over the world. I have never been part of a tour that was a poorly designed as this trip by this operator. After reviewing how much money we paid for this trip, I am truly disappointed in what the operator provided. We specifically reached out to a travel agent to organize this tour because it is an area of the world we are unfamiliar with. Our goal was to use a service that had local knowledge and would help us avoid the very problems that we encountered. We could have organized this trip better on our own and at least then we would have truly known what to expect and I am certain we could have done it for a fraction of the cost. We feel that the operator misrepresented this tour just to get us to book it and help them earn money. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am. I will never do business with that company again and I hope that you don't either to be quite honest.We have another tour booked through Responsible Travel coming up in May in Ukraine. We are hoping that things will go more smoothly when that happens.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Casey,

Thank very much for your review, we're pleased to hear that overall your experience in Borneo was great and that you believed your trip was supporting the local economy, as well our local partners providing a great experience for you. With regards your other comments, we've very sorry to hear that you did not have an enjoyable trip to the Semenggoh Sanctuary. With any wildlife viewing, there is always an element of fortune in sighting, but we do apologise if this element of chance wasn't made clear to you ahead of your trip, particularly during the time of year that you chose to travel.

Having investigated further, the bike tour had been booked and confirmed with the supplier, but it seems they failed to record this correctly and apologise for the error. It's great that they were able to re-arrange for you the same afternoon, so that you didn't miss out on this great experience.

That's fantastic to hear that your trip to the longhouse was a truly once in a lifetime experience that you both enjoyed. We're sorry to hear that you didn't feel prepared for the accommodation. We do describe the accommodation in the Batang Ai as ‘Simple’ and in our quotation prior to your booking and try and speak to our customers ahead of their trip to run through any queries, so it’s unfortunate we didn’t get the chance to speak before your trip. I have stayed at this accommodation personally and I would certainly have been delighted to impart my experience. We will ensure that going forward we do expand on the experience at the jungle lodge in our PDF quotations in the case that we’re not able to speak to our customers before departure.

With regards taking your large bags with you on your Batang Ai trip, we do apologise for this, as usually they will either be left either at your hotel in Kuching or at our local partner office. This was an error on our guide's behalf and we will ensure that this does not happen again. We are sorry if this caused you undue concern.

With regards the condition of the Permai Resort, we are sorry to hear that this was not up to the standard that we would expect, we have passed your feedback to the resort via our local partners. Your transfer from one resort to the other had been included in your booking, however having investigated the matter further, it seems that the incorrect time had been recorded by the resort. I’m sorry to hear that they didn’t take you over to the next resort as this short transfer can usually be arranged easily at reception.
 
We're sorry to hear that you felt disappointed with the services that were arranged for you, but pleased to hear that overall you had a great experience in Borneo

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