10 independent reviews for Borneo holiday, Land below the wind

Reviews for Borneo holiday, Land below the wind

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review 7 Mar 2017

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

Seeing endangered orangutans up close in the sanctuary and watching their interactions. Visiting the sun bear sanctuary to watch the bears. Cruising up the Kinabatangan River seeing monkeys and hornbills in the trees. The night walk with Jasper, one of the guides at Mulu, with his infectious humour and enthusiasm! Watching the nightly exodus of 5 million bats from the caves in Mulu. Snorkelling with beautiful and extraordinary fish on the reefs off Manukan island.

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

Travel light, bring long sleeves and long trousers. Enjoy squelching through the mud on the night walks at Kinabatangan, for which you rent wellies! Keep close to the guides on the walks, or you won't see the wildlife and you won't hear what they say. Deet spray works well if you have a leech you want to remove. Although there weren't many leeches apparent, leech socks probably saved a few bites and the guides wear them too. Talk to the national park guides, they are interesting people.

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

It was great to be in a tiny group and not to feel we were 'invading' in a large group, so having a much smaller impact. Visiting the national parks and small enterprises provided funding to support them. We stopped en route to shop from local people for snacks, drinks, etc. We were able to support the orangutans through various projects there. I was shocked at the degree of destruction of the rainforest and the massive impact of the palm oil plantations on the wildlife and their habitats.

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

Very enjoyable! Fairly much on the go most of the time, which suited me, until the free time on the island. Transport and transfers were seamlessly efficient. Our guide was cheerful and sociable and did his best to keep us happy. A couple of our events (Garden of Eden trip and the BBQ) were cancelled and one of our meals was very poor, but the company more than made it up to us when we contacted them.

review 23 Oct 2016

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

Trekking through the Borneo rain forest and the boat trips to looking for the wild life. We saw many variety of monkeys, birds and also orangutans one of which was feeding outside our jungle lodge. Our guide was also EXCELLENT

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

Take loads of insect, repellent a good camera and binoculars . And be prepared for an adventure, if you want a quite relaxed holiday then you've picked the wrong trip!!

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

Yes, our guide, transport and meals were all provided by local people.

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

THE TRIP OF A LIFTIME. EXCELLENT (feels like a massive understatement)

review 11 Jul 2012

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

It was all interesting and exciting in many different ways.

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

Not to expect to be slumming it. And to be prepared for hot and humid conditions.

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

I feel that tourism is the saviour of the remaining wildlife. Otherwise probably the last remnants of native vegetation would be replaced with palm oil palms. Other than that, of course locals benefit by having employment.

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

It was very good. I would particularly like to comment on our guide Henry, who was with us every step of the way. He was everything one could wish for in a guide.

review 17 Aug 2011

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

Seeing the wild orangutan and the feeding at Sepilok.

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

Pack plenty of long sleeved shirts and never underestimate the effects of humidity on the system.

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

I hope so, but hard to say.

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

A blend of the wonderful and the difficult, but overall a great experience.

review 21 Jul 2011

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

So many fabulous experiences to choose. Loved Lankayan Island, and the Danum valley lodge. Homestay on the Kinbatangan river was very interesting and a totally unique experience, as was watching turtles lay eggs at Selingan.

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

Having a guide with us made the whole trip so brilliant, it meant we always ate well as Lee found good places and helped order. I think we got to know Borneo, people and wildlife so much better because of his knowledge.

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

Parts of it definitely, the homestay particularly as although, for example, the car ride from Sandacan to Billit (2=hours) was in a ridiculously small car for 6 people and luggage, it meant the "village" got the money for the transfer.

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

It was absolutely fantastic, full of variety, we enjoyed so many new experiences, and were looked after above and beyond the call of duty by our guide who became part of our family. Borneo is a great place for a family adventure holiday.

review 26 Sep 2010

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

The whole holiday was amazing from start to finish but the most exciting was spotting a wild orang in the jungle. Our guide Alex was truly fantastic and made our trip a true adventure. Danum valley is an incredible place and not to be missed by anyone travelling to Borneo. The time spent at the Nature lodge on the Kinabatangan river was very special as this is run by the local people and the passion they have for their jungle will stay with us. If you are planning a trip to Borneo then I would recommend this trip 100%

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

Pack light, take and wear your leech socks, don't miss a trip each one is different and worth the early starts. Talk to all the local people they have so much passion and many stories and history to tell.

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

Yes 100% all of our guides and drivers where local people and they loved showing us there country.

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

This was an amazing trip well paced and shows all of the best parts of Sabah, We were fortunate in that there was just the two of us so having Alex all to ourselves he made us feel like royalty. All the things we experienced just confirmed the need to help the local people in their quest to preserve this very special place. I would like to think that the way these trips are organised does help.

review 19 Sep 2009

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

The rainforest lodge and my boyfriend's proposal to me at such a beautiful location!

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

Leach socks are a definite as are tops which wik moisture. The walks themselves were easy but getting used to the humidity is what makes them more challenging.

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

I would like to think so, perhaps the amount of travelling wasn't so eco friendly but it was necessary to see the total experience.

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

I have really enjoyed the whole adventure but living with all the insects is not some people's idea of a holiday so be prepared.

review 29 Apr 2009

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

Danum Valley was the highlight - the accommodation was incredible and the walks and wildlife excellent.

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

Do everything, get involved.

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

Yes - great use of local guides.

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

Excellent.

review 9 Jan 2009

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

Lots of memorable bits but the main ones were: The leech trek on the way to Sepilok - not fun at the time but an experience! Getting to see a large wild orang-utan in the Danum Valley. The meeting with the elephant at the end of the canopy walkway again in Danum valley

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

Get some leech socks and wear them. Binoculars were really good and long camera lens.

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

Not that I noticed particularly. I wasn't sure that the lodges we were staying in were locally run or not but I guess that would help the local economy if they were.

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

It was a fantastic experience and we enjoyed it a great deal. Our guide, Henry, was great and looked after us all very well despite some challenging moments!

review 5 Aug 2008

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

I loved staying in the longhouse at the Sabah Tea Plantation, it was a real experience and the evening entertainment was fantastic too, as the local school children came to show us their national dance in full costume. My most magical moment was at Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre when I got to see the orang-utans really close up when walking back along the board-walk; I also got to see them in the wild in Danum Valley which was very lucky indeed, particularly as it was a baby with its mother. Wildlife spotting along the Kinabatangan River was superb. The area is teaming with nature, from the proboscis monkeys sitting the trees to the hornbills flying around and the wild boar and crocodiles at the edge of the river magical!

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

1) There ARE leeches a plenty on this tour! Top tip: Make sure you wear leech socks if you do any trekking; they do work, just make sure you spray your walking boots and socks with deet before you venture out into the jungle! Try not to spray the leeches directly with deet, it isn't good for the environment, you can flick them off, but use my avoidance tactics and you won't get any at all! 2) Take a sleeping bag liner, in some of the places visited, you may prefer to use your own bed linen. 3) If the itinerary says a 'stream hike', take sensible footwear, hiking sandals or something similar, flip flops don't make the grade! 4) Don't use flash photography on the wildlife, it is cruel and frightens off the creatures for other people to see! 5) Take a bag that can be carried like a rucksack, you need to carry for bag over short distances on the tour and if you aren't very strong, being lumbered with a 20kg holdall isn't fun. 6) The river trip takes 2 hours, take something soft to sit on, like a towel or pillow!

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

The holiday did benefit local people as most of the lodges were locally run and we used taxis and buses driven by local people. I thought it was good to take part in the tree planting, but planting a tree each would have been good, rather than only 5 per group (there were nine people in my group). I thought there should have been better controls on photography, as the guides allowed people to use flash photography on the night tours and this disturbed a number of birds sleeping low in the canopy - visitors should be encouraged to capture certain experiences in memory, rather than on memory card, this particularly relates to the Kintbantangan River areas and Danum Valley. Better leech avoidance guidelines should be given, so tour leaders don't end up spraying leeches with deet, as this is detrimental to the environment. Also, when swimming in the local rivers (as we could at the tree plantation and Danum Valley) people should be encouraged to wear natural insect repellents so as not to pollute the streams and rivers with deet.

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

I really enjoyed the trip but it is quite physical with lots of trekking and early starts, so having a few days rest at the end is definitely recommended. It was an absolute joy to see the orang-utans in the wild at Danum Valley but I guess I left feeling that the protected area was just a drop in the ocean compared to the area being logged or cut down for oil palm which made me feel sad. I suppose that visiting the area at least makes a statement that you think it is worth saving and might make the government of Borneo sit up and take note!

Read the operator's response here:

We would like to thank Alicia for her comments. With reference to that regarding use of DEET, many of our guides and tour leaders in SE Asia, on a personal level, would agree with her. However, it remains the case that the British Foreign Office with whom we work closely and the World Health Organisation in their notes regarding precautions to prevent contracting malaria, recommend a DEET based insect repellant as particularly effective. Our tour leaders are trained to discuss appropriate use of the products and limiting them to when they are needed, however, ultimately that is the customers' decision. We also have every sympathy with Alicia's comments about flash photography of wildlife at night - and whilst it is not ideal, there is no doubt that travellers want to see the wildlife and also to photograph it. Perhaps this is a necessary evil as a vital part of encouraging governments to stop logging or planting fuel crops and instead concentrate resources on the creation of national parks.

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