17 independent reviews for Borneo tailor made holidays, wildlife & beaches

Reviews for Borneo tailor made holidays, wildlife & beaches

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review 20 Oct 2022

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

Datum Valley is another world. Seeing wild Orangutans was the reason for choosing the trip and we achieved this.

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

Expect the unexpected. You will see a wide variety of unexpected wildlife. Datum Valley is intense in the best possible way but throw everything at it because the Kinabatangan River is so relaxing!

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

You could see the benefit to the local community in Abai which in turn helped the local community to preserve the environment and wildlife. It was clear we were supporting conservation at all locations. The water bottles provided were a visible way in which the tour sought to reduce environmental impacts.

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

10/10!

review 23 Jun 2022

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

Seeing orangutans in the wild and watching turtle eggs be laid and releasing baby turtles.

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

Wash all your clothes at Borneo Rainforest Lodge (if halfway through trip) so you don't need to take as much stuff. Your phone camera will definitely not be enough but you can hire cameras/lenses.

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

The people were so pleased to have tourism back. Our money will hopefully go towards future conservation and education about nature.

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

Amazing, breathtaking, memorable.

review 17 Nov 2019

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

It's hard to tell as the whole vacation was amazing! The agency was fully professional in booking and arranging everything for me so I did not need to worry about anything. Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a place to visit for everyone, the guides were really inspiration in their love of nature, the place where you can really get close to the animals... seeing the monkeys cross the river above my lodge or spotting an otter from my balcony is hardly an experience you can get anywhere else. My other favorite was the Abai Lodge, where you can walk around the broadwalk on your own... spotting an orangutan with her baby just above my head was such a hearth-warming feeling for me. Finally, spending the last few days in the Gaya Island Resort gave me the lost paradise feeling, beautiful beach and super nice view again with the options to snorkel and kayak in the mangrove forest.

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

Make sure to travel with light clothes as you are going to get soaked! Bring plenty of insect repellent to avoid leeches in Tabin and mosquitoes along the river. A good binocular is a must but if you don't have one its possible to rent. I started in Tabin, and then stayed at Kinabatangan Lodge, Abai Lodge and MY Nature Resort. In this order Tabin is the wildest after which Sepilok felt a bit like a zoo, you might want to do the itinerary the other way around and start from Sepilok, end at Tabin. Kinabatangan is a bigger and more modern lodge, but there is no option to walk around a lot there, you can only go exploring with boats so if you'd want to explore on your own, make sure to stay one or two nights in Abai.

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

At Abai lodge the showers were operated with rainwater and when looking down the drain, you could see the ground under the lodge... at the same time they provided eco-neutral shower gel to make sure that we do not cause harm to the nature around us. This gave me a really good feeling. We did not plant any trees but that did not take away anything from the experience. Especially at Abai I felt that the tourist coming here help local people a lot. Landing at Lahad Datu when going to Tabin all you could see was palm oil plantations. Responsible tourism gives people a chance to work outside of the palm oil industry that is very prominently present in the region. Being at Tabin also made me feel like I am supporting a very important cause as they are having the last Rhino in Malaysian Borneo in their reserve and trying everything in their power to make sure that they are not going extinct. Also, our guide told us a lot about how they are trying to make sure that the surrounding palm oil plantations do not have a harmful effect on the animals. I expected to see a bit more however from the Gaya Island Marine Reserve efforts as what they do over there is not visible at all. My only negative feelings came from the fact that almost all lodges/cars had airco and they use it extensively which is a huge waste of energy in my mind.

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

This was my first time outside of Europe and not only did it live up to my expectations but totally exceeded them. The places I saw were amazing and I'm sure that this is an experience I am going to take with me for the rest of my life. Local people are super friendly and everybody speaks a good level of English so its not a problem to get around on your own in KK. Spending time in this country lifts your spirit as people are optimistic, happy with their lives and welcoming to foreigners.

review 15 Sep 2019

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

Experiencing wildlife in their natural environment and of course seeing a wild orangutan.

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

You need better clothing if you are going to be walking in the rainforest than if you are viewing wildlife from a boat. For great photographs, you need a zoom lens than is at least 250mm.

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

Not 100% sure but it was clear that the local people were happy to have tourists visiting.

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

Excellent

review 18 Aug 2019

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

The amazing trip down the kinabatangan river and seeing the wildlife and conservation projects.

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

Internal flights are easy to book on air Asia. Big hotels in KL not as responsive as smaller places in the jungle. Travel light. Leeches were not a problem for our tour and this time of year. Ask yourself exactly what do you want to see? The beach in KK was nice but very busy hotel. I wonder whether East malaysian coast would have been better Home work if you have anyone with allergies (coeliac)

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

Yes. Lots of local projects and insights into the everyday problems faced. Environmental solutions are not black and white and one heard both sides of the story.

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

10/10. Wonderful experience and the company was fantastic in knowledge, help and pricing.

review 8 May 2019

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

The houseboat & crew were awesome! And we were able to be with so many magnificent orangutans!! WOW!! Being IN nature like we were was amazing! A once in a lifetime experience for sure! We would highly recommend this trip.

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

DO IT! ??

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

Yes, it was only locals we encountered so our financial resources were going to them & itís great to expand awareness of the Borneo jungle & all of itís inhabitants so that it can be preserved.

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

It was fantastic! Our guide was so nice & educated about the jungle. Our cook was amazing. The support staff was incredible & our experience of the jungle & being with the orangutans was beyond our expectations! We saw so many!! The houseboat was great! Clean, comfortable & well maintained. We didnít like Rimba Lodge so much as the rooms were moldy & not very nice, but considering itís location, it is understandable. We did however see the most proboscis monkeys & gibbons & macaques there so that kinda made it worth it.

review 8 Apr 2019

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

There were so many but probably seeing orangutans in the wild, one of which was making its nest for the night.

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

Don't take too many clothes as you really don't need to dress up in the evening and most places we stayed offered a laundry service. If you are by the sea and enjoy swimming, check which time of year jellyfish are likely to be around.

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

Yes, very much so. All of the staff at the lodges and our guides were local. They went to great lengths to protect the primary rainforest in the Danum Valley and the animals who lived there. The Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok provided a valuable shelter for orphaned or injured orangutans and also sun bears. On Gaya Island there was a Marine Ecological Research Centre which propagated giant clams and coral. At our resort the beach was cleared of plastic every day. We were given stainless steel water bottles by our tour operator and also at the Bunga Raya Resort on Gaya Island so that we would not need to use plastic bottles.

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

Excellent! The guides were very knowledgeable and everyone was so friendly. At most of the lodges we were offered jungle treks or river cruises up to three times a day. The wild and bird life was fantastic and very varied. The standard of accommodation was very good and the food was interesting and varied. All of the transfers worked like clockwork and everything was so well organised.

review 13 May 2019

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

George Town was fabulous and we loved the street art, the street food and in particular the people who were so welcoming and friendly. The service we had at The Edison Hotel was better than anywhere else we have ever stayed.

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

Be prepared for heat and humidity- an umbrella for shade as well as rain, a fan and possibly a hat, plus keep drinking plenty of water

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

Local guides were great and made a large effort to let us know about their country. The Eco Hotel in Belum Rainforest encouraged us to be environmentally friendly, although the number of small plastic water bottles we got through on our trip without any obvious recycling made us feel a little uncomfortable. Conservation seemed high on the agenda in Malacca and George Town with regards to buildings in particular.

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

We had a fabulous time and the itinerary suited us well, plus the guides and drivers were always on time, extremely helpful and courteous.

Read the operator's response here:

George Town was fabulous and we loved the street art, the street food and the people who were so welcoming and friendly.

review 4 May 2018

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

The people, land and wildlife!

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

There are parts of the itinerary that are quite busy and others that are more relaxing. Know what you want and what you are getting.

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

Yes. In hiring local people at the lodges, they benefit and we certainly do as well. I think Borneo is trying to reduce environmental impact but we all have a long way to go.

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

Our holiday was a truly beautiful journey and I would highly recommend it. We spent two nights at Tabin and I think it would be better to do three nights and spread out all the activities a bit more. Gaya Island Resort was a piece of heaven.

review 15 Jul 2017

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

Difficult-there were many. Seeing a wild Orangutan, just outside the cave at Gomantong, close up and "posing" for us, or rounding a bend on the Kinabatangan river to see 30-40 pigmy elephants of all ages on the bank. A set of experiences rather than just a holiday.

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

Be clear what you want from the holiday/what you would like to see, but wildlife isnt predictable. Take a camera with a good zoom if identifying birds/insects is a priority and an ID book or note names as you go along as when you get home it is difficult to remember. Allow time to relax afterwards -early starts, multiple flights and living out of a suitcase can be very tiring. The leeches are manageable without socks if you are careful and not nearly the "horror" I was expecting! Don't expect to do any shopping unless you plan this in to your trip -but this wasnt important to us.

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

Yes all local companies used, planted a tree, and money given back to different projects

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

Perfect! The highlight was the Borneo rainforest lodge which must be in the most beautiful place in the world. The guides used throughout the trip were knowledgeable and flexible to what we wanted to see and do and special thanks to Acoh, Freda, Rose and Denny. All the transport arrangements went well and service at hotels excellent.

review 12 Jun 2017

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

There was not one thing that was the most memorable or exciting about this trip, it all was memorable and exciting. Night time was like Christmas Eve and being excited about waking the next morning to see what was under the tree, or in this case, what is in the tree. I met so many Borenians that had no formal education, that spoke very good English, were extremely knowledge about their country, and were passionate about their wildlife. If they were bored with their jobs or the tourists you would never know it. They made my husband and I feel so welcomed. Other guests said the same thing. Every spotting of the orangutans, gibbons, birds, lizards, or even pigs was delightful. My husband and I adopted an orphaned Orangutan At the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. All along the way of our safari, the guides told us how we would recognize the child Orangutan. I spotted her immediately when she came out for the 4 pm feeding. Our last morning in Sepilok, my husband and I went back to the sanctuary to see that child Orangutan for the last time. She did not disappoint us. She acted just like a 3-4 year old that wanted to get dirty, had a temper tantrum when she didn't get her own way, played on the jungle gym. It was hard to leave. I almost forgot the Sun Bear Concervation Center. Do not miss it!

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

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

I felt that our vacation benefited the local people very much. The group participated in a tree planting project along the river banks. The small trees are being grown in the small village of Abai. Our group also had lunch in the village, made by local women. There was a small handicraft table where we had lunch. None us went home without something from that table.

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

Borneo was a big surprise to me. This was a very organized trip. Each guide either handed us over to another guide, or driver, that handed us over to another guide or driver. There was always a report given to the next person. It was a well oiled machine. They paid close attention to the details.

review 5 Mar 2017

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

Wildlife encounters

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

If a special diet is required, take a card giving requirements in the local language. Take food supplies with you.

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

Not really apart from employment opportunities.

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

Very good.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear John, Thank you for choosing us to take you to see Borneoís Wildlife and Beaches, we are pleased that you rated your holiday as Ďvery goodí, and had exciting wildlife encounters. We are sorry to hear that you didnít feel your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation. Whilst on holiday it may appear that the benefits are minimal, however by booking with us through Responsible Travel, you contributed in the following ways: Yes, as you mentioned, tourism provides a lot of job opportunities in the areas you visit, and the local community directly benefits from your visit through the employment of the local guide, hotel staff and entrance fees to sites. We try to take our clients into areas that directly help the local communities there by supporting local trade and livelihoods, bringing economy to rural villages. As well as this, it benefits the local people to get a better cross cultural understanding between the local culture and visitor so that tourism can impact in a positive way. By interacting and contributing to local communities and projects we aim to minimize any negative impact tourism may have on the local environment. Where possible, we focus on locally owned and managed accommodation, but of course this is not always possible in all of the locations of our tours. You stayed at Abai Jungle lodge which is an eco-lodge built by the villagers and today is run and operated by local people with all the food coming from the surrounding area, wherever possible. Some of the accommodation on your holiday was within protected nature conservation reserves, for instance at Sepilok, Selingan, and Tiga Island Park. Tourism here contributes to maintaining natural environments and protecting rainforests and marine life from deforestation or destruction. You also visited Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre and the Sun Bear conservation centre where money youíre your entrance fees is used to help protect and care for endangered and threatened wildlife in Borneo. We give our guests the option to adopt and orphaned orangutan which provides money for medical care for the wildlife affected by burning rainforests for palm oil. And we offer a tree planting scheme in Abai with the locals at the village to help with reforestation. One element of your holiday was to enjoy scuba diving in the beautiful reefs of the coast of Borneo. Through the efforts of Sabah Parks the islands off the coast of Kinabalu are under protection to preserve the unique flora & fauna and marine life which includes Tiga Island Park, a protected forest reserve covering 158 square kilometres of mostly ocean. As a result, reefs around Pulau Tiga island where you stayed are in excellent condition and attract divers from around the world. Without the regulations and protection in these areas the coral beds would be destroyed, there would be over population, over fishing and developments on the islands, instead accommodation is basic and made from wood with a low impact on the environment and tourism is limited in some areas of the parks. You also visited The Turtle Island Park which is a safe haven for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles. Where you stayed was on the largest island of Selingan, which houses the park's headquarters, tourist accommodation and basic facilities, however the other two islands within the park are more for conservation activities which goes on behind the scenes and not for tourism. We thank you for travelling to Borneo on holiday with us, and hope to welcome you back again sometime soon. Warm regards, Liz

review 1 Jan 2014

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

Seeing the Pygmy elephants on the banks of the Kinabatangan river playing, tugging up plants and placing them on their head. Abai was superb, with Orangutang, Pygmy elephants, Rhinoceros hornbill and Crocodiles all being seen. The local people were very friendly and made the trip extra special.

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

Book it, it really was exceptional.

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?

10 out of 10, first class service all the way.

review 25 Apr 2014

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

First sight of Borneo Pygmy Elephant and of wild Orangutan. Also the lodge in Danum Valley

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

If returning, we would probably include Tabin in our itinerary and exclude Shangri-La, Rasa Ria

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

Yes, the tree planting scheme is specifically designed to help local communities

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

We really enjoyed it and it lived up to expectations.

review 18 Mar 2014

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

100 pygmy elephants on the bank of the Kinabatangan River.

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

Tabin Wildlife Reserve - You need at least 3 nights there. We preferred it to Danum that feels more 'commercial' and where there were more people.

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

Yes, particularly at Abai Jungle Lodge where we planted a tree in Abai village.

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

Brilliant. Would do it again, and spend more time in each place.

review 14 Feb 2013

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

Seeing the orangutans, proboscis monkeys and all other wildlife in their own environment. On the boat going up river in the evening. Fantastic. There are so many exciting and memorable memories of the holiday.

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

Beware the leeches ha ha

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

Yes I do think so. I believe they are trying to balance the wildlife with the palm oil companies. I was really concerned over what I had seen in the television before I went to Borneo but feel much better after seeing and hearing what is being done to conserve the wildlife.

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

It was a fantastic holiday and done so much and met so many lovely people. My sister and I were totally overwhelmed with the holiday. We felt like royalty while we were there.

review 15 Apr 2013

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

Lots of it but especially seeing the orangutans in the wild and spending time on site with the Iban people

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

They were well detailed .

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

I believe so

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

Excellent

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