15 independent reviews for Borneo orangutan holiday

Reviews for Borneo orangutan holiday

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review 1 Aug 2018

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

The animals...the type of people we met...The world we entered...

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

Bring more shorts and T shirts then you think you need and less long pants. Remember mosquito repellent at least 30% deet. Go with the flow.. take naps in the afternoon...and ask if air conditioning is available where you are staying. Some places may not advertise it, but it's worth the expense.

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?

at least a nine out of ten.

review 14 Jul 2018

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

The wildlife! it was amazing! We were so lucky as we saw wild orangutans for 5 days straight, pygmy elephants, macaques, proboscis monkeys, crocodiles, hornbills, egrets, monitor lizards, geckos, snakes, lots of birds, red leaf monkeys, (missed a gibbon sighting!) wild pigs, flying colugo, an owl, fireflies and snorkelled a coral reef full of beautiful coral and teeming with fish, including a little shark!

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

Go now before it becomes too popular! The 1st flight from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad datu requires a very early (0345) pick-up, but if you tell the hotel, they will arrange a take-away breakfast for you to take with you. Get your leech socks when you're there - cheap and effective! Take small denomination cash for the lodges. Sturdy walking shoes for Borneo rainforest Lodge, but the holiday overall isn't strenuous at all. The transfers to gaya island only run every 2 hours, so check timings when arriving and departing and also whether or not this is included as we weren't expecting to pay the extra 300RM on checkout. Gaya Island is a busy family resort - bear this in mind if looking for a couples retreat.

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

The parts at the lodges definitely appeared to. Gaya Island resort has good credentials, however they still use a lot of single use plastic, including straws, and get through a lot of beach towels, but they employ locals, use solar power, clean the beach of plastic and debris, and provide drinking water in glass bottles in the room.

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

Excellent! Amazing!

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for submitting a review on your recent trip to Borneo. We are extremely pleased to hear that you had such a wonderful time in this spectacular part of the world and that you were lucky enough to see such an abundance of wildlife during your stay. Borneo offers such a spectacular opportunity to discover the local Ďresidentsí, both on land and beneath the waves, and it certainly sounds like you had a very special holiday. Thank you also for your helpful tips on travelling to Borneo, this will surely come in very handy for anyone considering an adventure holiday in this wildlife-rich region. However we were concerned to hear that you were inadvertently charged for your resort speedboat transfers on check out. This transfer was included in your stay and the charge should not have been passed on to you. We do apologise for this oversight and have arranged a refund of the MYR300. I would also like to thank you for your comments on the unnecessary use of single use plastic items at Gaya Island Resort. I contacted the resort to ask for their feedback on this matter and they have advised that the resort is extremely proactive in their movement to remove all plastic from the resort. As a first step the water bottles in the rooms have been replaced with glass bottles, and the Food & Beverage department is in the process of moving away from all plastic items such as straws. On a broader note regarding the resortís impact on the local environment, guests are given the opportunity to participate in voluntary work with the environmental team to do reef clean ups in the area and the resident marine Biologist Scott Maybeck and his team provide an educational programme to local schools teaching them the importance of recycling and the impact of plastic on the marine environment.

review 14 Jun 2018

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

Staying at Borneo Rainforest Lodge and on our final hike getting to see a wild orangutan waking up and having his breakfast!

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

Share with the team what you like and what you don't. We were very transparent with Stef which enabled her to literally book our dream holiday.

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

I really valued staying in accommodation where it was clear that they had a big effort on environmental pollution and/or their local community. Whether this was how the accommodation was constructed or trips and organisation with the local villages - it was really great.

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

This was a dream holiday for us. With the added bonus of getting to see some very special and endangered wildlife. I can't thank Responsible Travel enough.

review 24 Oct 2017

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

Orang-utans in the wild, - fabulous guides, the incredible beautiful rainforests - and an amazing birdlife.

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

- have an open mind - enjoy the wilderness - and get the upgraded rooms at Borneo Rainforest Lodge....

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

yes, and we were impressed by the Sanctuaries in Sepilok - the different marine research centres at Gaya Island - and the general attitude of conservation at all lodges...

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

Great experience

review 23 Oct 2017

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

Seeing the Oragutans in the wild, a amazing experience.

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

Borneo has a lot to see so make sure you pack into your holiday as much as you can.

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

Yes I would like to think that our holiday benefited the local people. We were very impressed at how much knowledge the local people had of their county and the wildlife.

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

Our holiday was everything we hoped for and more.

review 14 Aug 2017

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

Visiting different areas of the jungle and rain forest and being immersed in it. The flora and fauna is superb and the wildlife mesmerising.

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

I was worried about what to take. My big suitcase was no problem with fabulous help all the way. I was so pleased I had taken my walking boots as they were essential in the Danum Valley. A cheap, light raincoat or poncho and a light rucksack for walks would have been great. We had bigger and heavier things and it's just so hot and sweaty, you end up resenting it! Long trousers and long sleeved tops for the evenings to avoid bites. 50% jungle formula DEET (other brands are available...) and bite creams/antihistamine. Have cash to tip guides etc -they are amazing. Allow time on arrival to get over travel and jet lag - relax and enjoy a good hotel for 2 - 3 days.

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

Part of the holiday cost went to the local projects such as the orang-utan sanctuary. We were taken to a village where we planted trees and were able to buy a few things they had made. The small eco team at the Gaya Island Resort are doing amazing things but could receive more support from the hotel and probably guests. Many people we met were so pleased we had come to their country and seemed to be on a mission to get us back - with friends! They certainly know the value of tourism. Of course, the flight out there has a big environmental impact.

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

This was a unique holiday for us. It was challenging on many levels: the heat, leeches, other bites, dangerous animals and fish and the length of the journey. However, I loved it and it has given me an amazing insight into another part of the world. The people are delightful and the the chance to see such variety of plants, animals and environments was superb.

review 18 Sep 2017

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

River lodge and cruises and Danum valley - seeing the wildlife was amazing

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

Pack breathable Lycra top for excursions

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

Yes, absolutely

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

The holiday was fantastic, but the 5* resort at the end needed more research. Would also like to have been advised about snorkelling with the turtles in Borneo which I heard was amazing - would have loved to include that too.

review 28 Mar 2017

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

Seeing Orangutan up close in the wild

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

Dont be afraid of leeches - its so worth it.

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

Yes. We planted trees to help the reforestation project, supported a local village, adopted an orangutan and stayed in eco friendly accommodation.

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

Excellent on all fronts

review 12 Oct 2017

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

Probably the most memorable part was the inability of Malaysia Airlines to fly anywhere on time which spoiled the object of the holiday which was to see and observe Orangutan's in both their natural habitat and the sanctuary. Travelling over 40 kilometres up river by boat to a remote settlement has to rate as a must to do before you die!

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

To be brutally frank. don't fly with Malaysia Airlines. Not before you can organise decent air travel that avoids the delays which spoilt so much of the trip. We arrived at our first hotel late approx. 4.30am to be picked up at 9.00am the following morning having first had breakfast. It would have been useful to know that breakfast was also served on the train. Could have slept for another half an hour had we known. Also in our opinion the rushed initial visit to the sanctuary was so unnecessary as we had another when staying at the 'My Nature Resort' which was taken at leisure and was a great deal more successful. There was too much repetition involved in this particular location. The journey to the Hot Springs, or local baths as they turned out to be was a very long journey for a disappointing venue although the aerial walkway was interesting giving amazing views over the jungle terrain on the way as was the visit to the world heritage site. Our guide was exceptional and extremely knowledgeable which made the visit so interesting. One has to question if six hours traveling there and back was worth it as the next day we travelled by plane to Sandakan. Another hour or so on the previous days travelling and we could have been there already. In our opinion this part of the trip was badly organised. The plus side has to be the stay at Abai Jungle Lodge although at the speed you are travelling the chances of seeing any wildlife on the way is limited, this was not a cruise more like a race. At the resort we had a first class guide named Shiro who really knew his job and was an exciting person to be with, lucky us, a good guide is absolutely essential as one is looking for the wildlife which is as equally determined as you are to find it, not to be seen. There were other parts which seemed to be more 'wasting time' rather than moving from place to place for the benefit of the customers. These were clearly covering the gaps whilst other customers were being moved elsewhere. This was a shame as for us the local company Borneo Adventure Ltd was excellent at meeting us and moving us between venues despite the delays created by the airline.

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

We spent half a day in the local village planting trees that formed part of the income for some of the villages, we also had dinner with them which brought them into our activities which obviously benefited them financially, it was a pleasure to be able to talk and react with them. It is apparent that the local environment and the river people benefit from this interaction.

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

Regrettably it fell at the first hurdle, the airline. If you remove that from the equation and reorder the holiday then it rates highly. Apart from the airlines tardy punctuality and change of flight times which we understand changed the order of the itinerary, the journey is into another world, that of Boneo and its people was a true pleasure, we would like to return and will keep an eye on any future possibility.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Mr Read. Thank you for the feedback on your recent trip to Borneo, we appreciate you taking the time to report back on the holiday. We are extremely sorry to hear about the problems you encountered with Malaysia Airlines on your holiday. As the national carrier of Malaysia we have a long-standing relationship with the carrier and have infrequently experienced problems with them with regards schedule changes and flight cancellations. As you know we did encounter problems with your flights before you departed the UK which we dealt with as soon as we were notified to ensure the continued smooth running of your holiday. For you to experience further problems after you had left the UK is very disappointing for us and we will be feeding this back to Malaysia Airlines as soon as possible. Aside from the problems with the airline we are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your Borneo holiday and were able to experience the culture and enjoy various wildlife encounters along the way.

review 27 Oct 2016

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

Trekking from Riverside lodge up to the view point and watching both orangutan and gibbons almost at eye level in the trees before walking down to a refreshing dip in the Jacuzzi stream and waterfall. Followed by the most fantastic freshly cooked food and night walk. A truly amazing day.

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

Not to be frustrated as days there is little wildlife to see. Enjoy the rainforest for what it is.

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

We understand the fees for staying in the forest help with its conservation whilst doing no damage.

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

An amazing experience, probably the best holiday ever!

review 19 Apr 2016

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

The whole package was outstanding, with every element well thought through. If I had to identify some highlights I might pick out spotting the pygmy elephants on the Kinabatangan River, watching the flying squirrels fly at MY Nature Resort, wildlife of all sorts in Danum Valley, the canopy walk at Danum Valley and the beautiful beaches at Rasa Ria and Gaya. We saw orang-utans, macaques and hornbills at almost every location we visited, as well as mouse deer, wild boar, proboscis monkeys, monitor lizards, tarantulas and, on one occasion, a clouded leopard.

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

To cram so much in be prepared for early starts, including treks before breakfast. Also the flight schedules demand some punishingly early pick ups, e.g. 3.30 am and 4.00 am. The only way round this would have been to add extra days and expense to the holiday. But this makes the holiday very tiring. Make sure your camera is up the job, with high definition and zoom capabilities. Ours wasn't. You will need Leech Socks in Danum, but buy them there. There are surprisingly few holiday souvenir shops in Sabah and little time to get to shops in general. We had to leave present buying to the airport and there wasn't much there either.

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

Yes the holiday was very environmentally focused. The guides were all professional environmentalists and all resorts were very eco friendly. Our package included sponsorship of an orphaned orang-utan, tree planting along the Kinabatangan River and detailed information of the various initiatives to preserve what's left of the rainforest and its unique flora and fauna.

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

This was the best holiday I've ever had; it was our first 'wildlife' holiday and whetted our appetite for more, next time with a better camera. The locations, accommodation, guides and opportunities for fantastic nature spotting were superb. It was hard work and tiring, but the last few days in Gaya provided adequate time to relax and recuperate. I would strongly recommend this package to anyone with a love of nature, who is reasonably fit and active.

review 21 Oct 2016

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

Seeing orang-utang and gibbon in the wild.

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

Stay 2 nights at MY Resort (or similar) not one because there is so much to see at Siepoloc.

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

Villages local to lodges benefitted by selling fish to them and being paid for trees we planted to renew the rain forest.

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

Excellent. All the links, collections, trips and flights went smoothly

review 9 Oct 2016

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

Seeing the ornagutans, particularly in the wild at Tabin. Also pygmy elephants on the Kinabatangan river. Lodges on the Kinabatangan river were super and the food was very good. Meeting the Iban people at Batang Ai was very interesting.

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

Do not go to the Lubok Kasai jungle camp. Lights go off at about 7pm. There did not seem to be any advantage to being in a remote place. Pack light. Malaysian airlines is poor compared to other long haul carriers. My vegetarian daughter was given an apple as one of the meals! On outbound and inbound flights there were issues with the tv screens. The food is poor. Our connection time on the outbound flight was tight at KL and we missed it due to a two hour delay at Manchester. we then missed one of the activities we had planned. Gaya Island resort is very beautiful but the food is avearge to say the least (apart from the breakfast) and it is expensive. Rooms are lovely. not really suitable for children. We had problems when we were leaving Kotakinabalu to fly to KL as we did not have a stamp in our passports to show we had entered Sabah. We had understood that when we flew from Mulu to Kotakinabalu (en route to Sandakan) we landed in Miri solely to go through imigration. Our boarding card was stamped. We were not told to go thorugh immigration again at KitaKinabalu. we remained in the terminal that we arrived at to board the flight to sandakan. the staff at Kotakinabalu were very unpleasant and a number of staff were called to remonstrate with us. eventually we were allowed through. Leech socks are probably not needed. Service at the Hilton restaurant in Kuching was very poor as was the food. Each person's meal arrived at very different times so we were unable to eat together, it also then took a long time. this was on a night when there was hardly anybody in the restaurant.

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

It did support conservation as we spent money on sanctuaries etc. Employment provided in Lodges etc. However, we used flights so that will have had an environmental impact.

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

Fabulous. Definitiely recommend it. Glad we saw so many different things and had so many different experiences, but it was very tiring. Quality of guides was excellent, they were so enthusiastice and wanted to ensure we saw as much wild life as possible. The guide in Tabin went above and beyond to try and ensure that we saw an orangutang in the wild (which we did!).

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your feedback regarding your recent trip. Iím very glad to hear that you had a fabulous time on the trip to Borneo and that you were able to see a range of wildlife. However Iím sorry to hear that some aspects were not as expected. Please allow me to address the issues you have raised: Lubok Kasai Jungle Camp: This is one of the most remote camps we sell and allows for a unique insight into the Borneo jungle to discover the wildlife. As advised in our trip literature, due to its remote location it only offers basic facilities including a limited electricity supply but we think the Camp provides a remote jungle experience, however we concede it may not be for everyone. Malaysia Airlines: The bulk of our clients travel on Malaysia Airlines to Borneo as they offer a good quality service and cost effective tickets. However I do apologise on their behalf for the below par service it sounds like you received during your flights with regards meals and flight connections. I will feed back these points to the airline for their future reference. Hilton Hotel, Kuching: I do apologise for the problems you encountered with the food and service at the Hilton Kuching. This is a hotel we use on a very regular basis and is one of the most popular hotels in the city due to its excellent riverside location and standard of the rooms and service. However we will of course feed your experience back to the hotel and our local agents for their future reference. Gaya Island Resort: Itís good to hear you enjoyed this luxury resort. Again we book the resort for many clients and it always receives excellent feedback on the staff, rooms, location and quality of the food. However your points about the food quality and prices will be passed on to the resort management for their reference.

review 17 Jun 2015

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

There are too many memorable and exciting parts to mention! Watching young Orangutans playing in the trees in Danhum Valley was incredible, seeing flying squirrels and a Western Tarsier on a night walk was fantastic but then there was also the Fireflies lighting up the trees along the river. Lankayan Island was pure paradise and the Orangutans and Sun Bears at Sepilok were heart wrenching.

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

Be prepared for very early starts but they are well worth it and don't forget your leach socks and a good camera.

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

We visited the very isolated village of Abai along the river, which was great to see first hand how tourism has benefited them. We planted a tree that they had grown and chose to have our lunch there which they had prepared. Both Danhum Valley and Lakayan Island are conservation areas and obviously the work that is done at Sepilok rehabilitation centre is fantastic.

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

An incredible experience, I would recommend this to everyone.

review 2 Sep 2015

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

Seeing Animals in their natural habitat, especially the orangutans.

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

Have good hiking boots, be prepared for the heat, be camera ready & have patience in the jungle or primary forest areas.

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

Yes, in some areas more than others but yes in general.

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

Great holiday, excellent service, good communication & transportation.

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