Turtle, Ecuador

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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10 Reviews

  • Reviewed August 2019
    Victoria Gibbs

    A brilliant experience

    An amazing trip which I'll always remember. My personal highlights were seeing the orangutans and other wildlife in the rainforest. I highly recommend the 'optional' boat trip at the end - we saw proboscis monkeys, hornbills, and then sparkly trees full of fireflys under the twinkling stars. I also really enjoyed having a day in Kuala-Lumpur and having a nice glass of prosecco on the roof of the heli-bar to celebrate the start of the holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Falling in love with the hilarious orangutans but on the way to seeing them seeing the EXTENSIVE palm plantations and our destruction of their habitat. Never have I been so motivated to only use products with sustainable palm oil and donate to rainforest conservation charities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wan in Malaysia was fantastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes - the hikes are much more technically challenging than suggested on the trip notes. Quite a bit of clambering, scrambling (especially on day 1 hike) and hauling yourself up with ropes. You definitely need gloves for hand protection. And a head for heights for the final summit day.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Michael Walker

    Epic views, rainforest wildlife and tropical paradise adventure

    A truly memorable adventure, filled with activities, sights, tastes and sounds of the jungle. Starting in KL city, the food tour was a fascinating way to see the city and sample the local delicacies. Our guide Wan took us to the best haunts, showed us hidden sights and shared his knowledge of the city and culture. The section in Cameron Highlands was a bit more laid back, with one hike and plenty spare time, which we spent perusing the shops, enjoying a refreshment at the bar, or using the hotel's excellent facilities. Then on to Taman Negara, which was my favourite part of the mainland peninsula, deep in tropical equatorial rainforest, staying in wooden cabins and getting up close to the monkeys, wild pigs, lizards and insects. The hikes here were great and the river cruise absolute bliss. Then onto Borneo itself, where we found my favourite restaurant of the trip (The White House with 10 ringgit wine!) and our accommodation at Sepilok, a short walk from the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. There were plenty opportunities to see the Orangutans (and Sun Bears) and it was so beautiful to see them playing and feeding, and see the intelligence at work behind their soulful eyes. Although sad to leave Sepilok behind, the escape from the heat and humidity was a welcome relief as we arrived at Kinabalu park and prepared for the climb. Here the accommodation is more basic but still perfectly comfortable - the hike was hard and technical (particularly the second day) and it feels like much more of an achievement than any previous mountain I've hiked. The mountain's prominence over the valley and surrounding peaks below lends to some incredible views from above the clouds. The final days at the beach resort were the perfect way to recover, and we treated ourselves to a river cruise to see Proboscis monkeys and fireflies - bring the insect repellent to this one though!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In a sad way, seeing the sheer volume of Oil Palm plantations and how these are encroaching on the last vestiges of remaining rainforest in Malaysia and Borneo. It made it all the more precious to see the Orangutans while we still can, and really brought home to me the importance of sourcing sustainable palm oil goods and cutting back on consumption in general where we can in order to do our part to save the rainforests, and the last habitats of the orangutan before it is too late.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wan on the Malayan Peninsula, and Manuel in Borneo were both fantastic guides, happy to help and share knowledge of their country. They both went the extra mile to ensure that everyone on the trip had a great time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready for the heat and humidity - regular water consumption is essential. It's not a boozy holiday by any means, and while food is extremely cheap, alcohol is not. Be ready for some technical sections on some of the walks (which means scrambling, steep inclines and limited handholds in places), and the final walk was a test of fitness for most of the group. The food available is great, but choices are limited, particularly for vegetarians. If you have any snacks you can't live without, bring them with you
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Mark Levy

    Mountain s and jungles of Malaysia

    A very we balanced trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    At the top of my Kinabalu

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both good
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Irena Rattray

    Absolutely fantastic and unforgettable experience

    Every time we go on a trip with Exodus we don't think the next can compete but this was unique and wonderful in its own way and another trip we shan't every forget. Mount Kinabalu summit was tough but well worth it and we were lucky to be rewarded with wonderful views. I never expected that we would get to see as much wildlife as we did and the orang-utans and optional visits to sun bears and probiscus monkeys were just amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The orang-utan sanctuary was really quite emotional, and I felt inspired almost immediately to adopt an orang-utan, Bidu-Bidu to support the sanctuary. Submitting Mount Kinabalu was also incredible and showed me what the mind can help the body achieve when you are determined.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both our group leaders in both Peninsula Malaysia and Borneo were brilliant. They clearly knew a lot about the country they live in and the wildlife and worked above and beyond throughout.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would take some thermals for the summit climb as these are thinner and easier to pack than a big coat. Also, definitely avail yourself of massage services in Cameron Highlands and at the Kinabalu resort as they were great value for money and so worth it. We used laundry services of several of the places we stayed in as well and these were really handy and would allow you to pack light.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Brenda Everett

    Amazing Trip

    This trip has a good mixture of sightseeing and hiking. The street food tour of Kuala Lumpur was a great start to the trip. I enjoyed the food and I learned about the cultural and religious diversity of the country. The good food and drinks continued throughout the trip. There were a good variety of hikes ending with Mount Kinabalu. Watching the orangutans and probiscus monkeys eating and playing was great fun. The accommodations were very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I have to pick two. One has to be Mount Kinabalu, reaching the summit and completing the descent. It was a tough two day trek. The weather cooperated for us to see a sunset at the mountain and a sunrise at the summit. The second is watching the orangutans. It was fun watching them eating and playing. In particular it was great to see the senior male orangutan take his time peeling and eating a bunch of bananas.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our two leaders, Wye and Rony, were great. It seemed effortless for them to keep everything well organized. They shared lots of local knowledge. We ate at a good variety of restaurants. They made sure we had opportunities to eat local seasonal fruits. They made it possible for us to take in the optional excursions of visiting the probiscus monkeys and having cocktails over looking the Petronas Towers.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for Mount Kinabalu. It is not an easy trek. Be prepared for hot, humid and wet weather. Do not be scared off by the chance of being leeched.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No, just go and enjoy it!
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Alan Colgate

    Trekking Borneo and Beyond

    Although aged 80 I was probably at least 15 years older than anyone else, however this in no way spoiled my experience of this holiday. The group was fantastic, the best I have experienced over the last 20 years of trekking. It was certainly added to by the local 'guides' who were excellent and very friendly to all the group. I and 2 others were not able to get to the summit of Mount Kinabalu as we ran out of time although we had passed the last checkpoint. We should have left the Laban Resthouse earlier. We did not sleep anyway! The whole holiday experience was far better than I expected although I did need to buy a new camera in Kuala Lumpur (a waterproof one). The humidity and going through the 'rapids' on the river was too much for my old camera!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was full of new experiences and I suppose the lasting highlight was the time at the end spent at the complex by the sea. I have never experienced such warm seawater!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As I have said above the 2 we had, the first at KL and the second on Borneo could not have been more encouraging and friendly to all the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Humidity and shooting the rapids is not good for cameras unless waterproof. I was not alone with the problem! Insects were not a problem even in the evening, in fact I don't think I got bitten at all - not like in the garden at home in the UK!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lastly I did feel that the climb was more difficult than what I experienced 18 months earlier in Ethiopia although not so high. In Ethiopia there was plenty of time to get aclimatised whereas in Borneo there was none at all. Yet this was graded 4 and the climb of Ras Dashen in Ethiopia as Grade 5. The altitude there did not seem a problem as we reached the height of 4543m over a period not 2 consecutive days as in Borneo.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Natalie Penge

    Malaysia Adventure!

    I wasn't sure where I wanted to go away this year, but the itinerary of this trip just jumped out at me and certainly didn't disappoint! You get to experience two distinct parts of Malaysia - the Malayan Peninsula and Borneo - and this allows you to see its diversity firsthand. KL is a city that never sleeps and is a treasure trove of culinary delights; the Cameron Highlands, with its rolling hills and tea plantations is a real highlight, particularly the trek with Jason. Our next stop in the Taman Negara National Park, where we were surrounded by ancient rainforest, allowed us to live with monkeys all around us and to experience some real jungle trekking and river rapids too! Borneo, is simply teeming with wildlife. You will not get tired of watching the orang-utans eating, playing, squabbling and doing ridiculous acrobatics. This goes for the sunbears and striking proboscis monkeys too. The Mount Kinabalu trek to follow is tough but totally worth it, especially when you get up to the clouds...and setting off for the summit to catch the sunrise is a surreal and exciting experience. The hotel right by the South China Sea is the perfect R&R finish to a perfect holiday!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many....the Cameron Highlands trek really let us experience nature by day, the night jungle walk showed us how the place was teeming and humming with life after dark, the orang-utans, the proboscis monkeys, the clouds at Laban Rata, summiting Mount Kinabalu, relaxing by the South China Sea with new friends...so virtually everything then!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two group leaders....Jeremy on the Peninsula and Rony in Borneo. Both were fantastic. Jeremy recommended so much great food and was so enthusiastic, especially about creepy crawlies! Rony's love for his mountain and nature was inspiring!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry about the leeches...I didn't 'get leeched' but I'm told it didn't hurt, plus they are weirdly fascinating. Definitely bring toilet paper. Mount Kinabalu is challenging, but go at your own pace and you will be fine, and you can get a massage afterwards!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'm still thinking about the trip and wishing I was there...if you're deliberating about booking this adventure, just do it :)
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Michael John

    Mike

    To be honest its a bit of a task to sum up everything that we experienced on this one. We did and saw so much. And there really were no dull moments. We were told that we were the first group to try out the all new “Trekking Borneo & Beyond” trip and I reckon that none of it really needs any tweaking for future trips. It was all good. In fact better than good at moments.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The street food tour of KL gave a little flavour of the clash between the old and the new, of one of the fastest growing economies and cities in the world. Love that or hate it, KL is a wonderfully fascinating place. The jungle treks. In between moments of deep concentration, whilst scrambling over roots and humps, you could not help but realise that… “Yes.! I really am in the jungle.” Buzzing - literally - with life. Plants, trees and vegetation like you have never seen. I didn’t think that I would, but I actually began to really like the humidity. It kinda just went so well with the environment somehow. Then there was the amazing sight and experience of walking across the other worldly plateau that sits just below the summit on Kinabalu. It really was like… well, walking on another world actually.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two separate group leaders for this trip. They were both really good, but it has to be said that Jeremy really did go the extra mile whilst we were over on the Malaysian Peninsula.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Im still digesting it all really. Long lasting, fond memories that still resonate after the event. Thats what its all about. I reckon If you are thinking about Malaysia/Borneo and fancy a real adventure then this is the one
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Mark Billington

    The holiday of a lifetime

    If you're looking forward a holiday with a nice mixture of everything then I can't recommend this trip highly enough. We enjoyed the best part of two days and nights in the bustling and lively capital Kuala Lumpur where we sampled lots and I mean LOTS of different food and drink, Opium restaurant was delicious and the Sky Bar contained stunning views of the city at night. Elsewhere on the peninsula we explored the Cameron Highlands with its nearby tea plantations, even calling in for Tea and Scones, the weather was much cooler in the Highlands and nice and refreshing after the heat of Kuala Lumpur. We also spent 3 nights in Taman Negara in the jungle, the treks here were fun, especially the swinging canopy walkway one. Our second week was spent on the Island of Borneo, which contained the two highlights of the holiday for me. The Orangutan sanctuary at Sepilok was a fantastic experience, so much so I went twice in one day, it was just so fantastic to see these apes in their natural habitats. Towards the end of the trip the trek up Mt Kinabulu is a demanding one but a thoroughly rewarding one, we were lucky enough to see a glorious sunset at Laban Rata hut the night before and got the all important sunrise at the summit of Mt Kinabulu, ending the holiday at a beach resort for two days is the perfect tonic, beach, pool, sunshine and RELAX. The perfect holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Summiting Mt Kinabulu, this was a new height for me and to share the moment with new friends was awesome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two....Jeremy on the Peninsula and Rony in Borneo. Both were very good, and exactly what you'd want from a tour leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't forget your swimwear, lots of opportunities for swimming in rivers, swimming pools and in the sea.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Fred Thurbin

    Inexperienced travellers review

    I have no idea who to summarise something that had so many unique experiences and so much variety. It's like being asked to summarise a kaleidoscope. Firstly, if you enjoy trekking then yes. Book it. The street food in KL was great, Chuck - the guide for the day - was enthusiastic to share knowledge of the area and as much food as we could eat. Jeremy our guide for the peninsula was also a big foodie and food is definitely an abiding memory. So to is Jason our guide in the Cameron Highlands, a lovely and interesting guy and the Highlands are picturesque rolling hills and the sports bar there is were team bonding started. The rainforest was tiring hiking and challenging but in a way that left you feeling all the richer for the experience and the fact you step out of your lodge and there's monkeys in your face... was rather fun. In Borneo the urang utan and sun bears sanctuary was incredible. As was the probiscus monkey visit. This is one of Those experiences. One that you'll take away with you. The trek to the mangrove is a pleasant easy stroll before the big one. Kinabalu. Wow, stairs. Relentless, but take a steady pace and you'll survive. And it is worth it. But wow. Stairs. The ending is a wonderful beech hotel and totally worth it. It's a holiday that was epic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The monkey, apes and sun bears. Incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The two leaders were brilliant. Very different but perfect for the areas they cover.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't sweat the leeches. They don't hurt. Take toilet paper, there's plenty of loos just not paper. Good boots and socks. Breathe, there's a lot of walking but absolutely no rush.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've never done anything like this and was slightly scared of travelling alone and being away from home for 2 weeks. But the people, especially in Borneo are so wonderful. The trip eases you in and yes, the mountain is hard but no one expects you to find it easy. I got altitude sickness near the top (less than 200 meters but still about and hour away) and couldn't make it up but everyone was pleased for me for getting so high and told me not to feel dissapointed. The most important thing was I wasn't alone. Everyone found it hard and I knew I'd made new friends. That's a big moment easily worth 200 meters.