Turtle, Ecuador

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63 Reviews

  • Reviewed October 2019
    kristina kelly

    A must for wildlife lovers

    Fabulous trip , so much wildlife : insects , frogs , snakes, wonderful birds , mammals and beautiful plants and wonderful rain forests Monkeys everywhere so lucky to see Orang Utangs in the wild and a Gibbon doing Acrobats. We saw the bats coming out of Mulu cave while we were still in it - amazing Our guide found the tiny dear-mouse crouching in the forest on our night safari. Fabulous river trips at Kinabatangan Manuel our guide was brilliant too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    so lucky to see Orang Utangs in the wild and a Gibbon doing Acrobats. We saw the bats coming out of Mulu cave while we were still in it - amazing Our guide found the tiny dear-mouse crouching in the forest on our night safari.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel was brilliant wildlife guide and spotter

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring plenty of insect repellents! Long trousers an umbrella and rain coat
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Karen Morrow

    Borneo: Lovely but not quite what I'd hoped.

    I have mixed feelings about this trip. On the positive side, my husband and I joined a very lovely and friendly group and a delightful guide (Sheila). The accommodation, although more basic than on some trips we've done, was mainly fine and some of the restaurants Sheila took us to were in lovely positions and had good food - although rice did tend to dominate the menu! We also saw some lovely things, such as Lang's cave, with its stalactites and stalagmites, and Bako national park, where we saw silver leaf monkeys, proboscis monkeys, macaques and bearded pigs. I also particularly enjoyed the river trips and going to the 'sun bear sanctuary' as well as watching flying squirrels 'fly'! However, overall, there was a lot less wildlife around than I have seen on previous holidays (especially our visits to Africa and the Galapagos). On some walks we saw virtually nothing, certainly in the way of larger mammals or birds. I think the trip notes - and even the very name of the trip! - implies that you'll see a lot more. Like most groups apparently, we did not see elephants at all ('A rare thing to see around here' according to the guide). We also did not see rhinos (I've never seen one in 22 years...'), or, of course, more elusive animals such as leopards or wild sun bears.. We fortunately did see wild orangutans but only briefly on two occasions and at a distance. A necessary evil in such trips is the travelling. However, in Africa, we would often see interesting animals 'en route'. In Borneo, for a large majority of the time, we were travelling through endless miles of palm oil plantations, which have been planted where rain forest used to be, and virtually no animal life - or wildlife of ANY type except for the trees themselves - exists in these massively impoverished environments. It was very sad to see, as well as being, frankly, tedious. If you, like us, would like a trip based on special scenery and fairly frequent sightings of larger/interesting mammals or birds, then I personally feel this trip is probably not one to choose.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a few. I particularly enjoyed watching the flying squirrels 'fly' and the proboscis monkeys were lovely to watch. The sun bear sanctuary was interesting and watching thousands of bats emerge from a cave in the late afternoon and fly off 'in formation' was also fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Sheila, was very sweet and kind. She worked hard, was anxious to please and was very concerned about our safety and wellbeing. Her only slight fault was to under-estimate how long each activity would take, so we invariably were running late and time to shower, or relax, was often considerably reduced.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The animals and birds we did see could often be a long way away, so take a good pair of binoculars and a camera with a lot of zoom. We did not have a lot of rainy days, but when it rains, it POURS, so also take a good waterproof and NEVER go out without it! (We did on a visit to a restaurant and would have been soaked through, if Sheila hadn't been able to beg a lift back for us.) You will also need a lot of insect repellent, as there are many mosquitos and sand flies. In some jungle areas, there are also a lot of leeches, so leech socks (or a good pair of long socks such as football socks) are also a 'must'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a good holiday for people who are generally interested in being in a rain forest environment, or have a particular interest in insect life or plant life species. It also gives you a realistic chance to see such lovely (and funny!) animals as proboscis monkeys or the stunning silver leaf monkeys. However, if you want to see many different animals, be aware that most species are very elusive and you may see a lot less than you'd like over the two weeks.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Karie Bala

    Life Changing Experience

    Just back and can't quite believe what we saw and experienced on this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were lucky enough to see a wild pigmy elephant, crossing the river right in front of our boat. Lucky for us, we were alone on the river. Sunrise at the Wildlife Discovery Centre in Sepilok had us up close with a somewhat angry wild orang-utan, which was definitely an experience! At the Sun Bear Sanctuary we met Poppa Bear (Wong) who, if you've seen the ITV Borneo show with Judi Dench, you will know instantly. He, like every other Bornean, was extremely friendly, and happy to chat at length about about the gorgeous Sun Bears. Visiting Labuk Bay and the Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary was a special place, my favourite being the Silver Leaf Monkeys and one baby. And snorkelling off of Manukan Island was top notch, and accommodation there was lush! Could have used a few more days. Be sure to order a kopi tarik at the take away cafe toward the pool. They open at 7.30 am.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel, our tour leader, was amazing. We were such a lucky group and could have not asked for a better leader to gel our Exodus Team! He was knowledgable, compassionate, and a pleasure to be around. I'm looking forward to another Manuel Exodus tour in the future, as he really bonded with every member of our tour and we were all sad to say our goodbyes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Luggage - You have to carry your own nearly everywhere, so pack as light as possible, in a soft pack. Leech socks - I was very worried about finding these here before we left, but we found some in the Centre Pointe Mall on the ground level. They were also available to rent at the Bilit Adventure Lodge along with wellington boots! Sleep - Our entire group had problems sleeping on various parts of our tour. No way to combat it, but be ready. Bug spray - Take it with you an top up regularly, especially in the rainforest areas. Plasters - Take these too as you may have blisters. Roti cannai - Try this in the Centre Point basement Islamic Center restaurant. It doesn't look like much, but we were there every day were were in KK. You'll see red plastic chairs and know you're in the right place. 1x roti cannai costs 1.50RM, so like 30p, and it's the best we found on the whole tour. Noodles and rice dishes were great too. Laundry - Forget about it. Know by the end you're going to stink. So will all your travel companions. Use laundry services where they're available; we found the Sabah Tea Longhouse laundry to be a reprieve from the stink! The last hotels on the trip will happily take any clothes you don't want to take home with you and distribute to those in need. A good idea (stolen from travel mates) is to buy clothes at the charity shop and leave them with you. Best thing to wear would be lightweight long sleeved shirts! If you put any effort into this tour, you'll be handsomely rewarded - early morning treks provided us with a personal encounter with a pigmy elephant as well as an orang-utan. It was special!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't hesitate. I'm experiencing massive post-holiday blues as this holiday was particularly life changing for me. Amazing. Enjoy.
  • 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 June 2019
    Tracey French

    Borneo

    Borneo, beautiful scenery, abundance of wildlife, interesting food & a wonderful people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    First sighting of orangutans in their natural habitat. Surviving the bamboo longhouse. Conquering, albeit temporarily, my fear of heights on the non too safe looking canopy walkway in Mulu. Surviving the bamboo longhouse. Climbing up to, & then looking down from, the viewpoint over Danum Valley. Surviving the bamboo longhouse.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel had to leave after a couple of days due to family illness & was replaced by Talia. Both were knowledgeable, patient & extremely professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If it isn't there already put Borneo on your bucket list.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Sandakan War Memorial is very moving. I hadn't previously heard about the death walk.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Vicky Hau

    3 for the price of one!

    Literally just returned from this trip and have to say it was amazing. the kind of holiday where you get 5 days in and already feel you've been away for 2 weeks and by the end of the actual 2 weeks you can't quite believe you've only been away for a fortnight. it's a trip of 3 parts: a) jungle safari b)cultural foodie city breaks and c) a weekend beach holiday. We got really lucky and saw the Malaysian big 5 i (Orangutan, croc, proboscis monkey, sun bears and pygmy elephant) and all 6 hornbills. the Malay peninsular was a smorgasbord of food and culture (go see the Baba Nonya house in Malacca and the Blue Mansion in Penang).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    seeking and seeking the pygmy elephants in the wild

    What did you think of your group leader?

    our two trip leaders were knowledgeable, friendly, fun and fab.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    you can hire wellies for the jungle walk so no need to take walking boots, a pair of trainers is sufficient for the rest of the Borneo bit. make sure you have a waterproof, there are some heavy rain showers Be adventurous with the food - the trip leaders know what they are doing and the most wonderful food is available at the street markets - didn't get dodgy tummy.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Ronnie van der Ploeg

    It’s a jungle out there!

    A very enjoyable two weeks spent in the company of 15 other Exodus travellers who embraced the spirit of adventure and discovery in Malaysian Borneo. Together we journeyed the length of Sarawak and Sabah by minibus, coach, plane, boat and jeep visiting spectacular locations including breathtaking caves, stunning rainforests and acquainting ourselves with the local wildlife and bird life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife highlight was undoubtedly spotting our first orangutan in the wild, followed by the sight of the clouds of bats leaving their cave in Mulu National Park at dusk. Although not as imperious as the Mulu Caves, a visit to Gomanting Cave is also breathtaking, and not just because of the overwhelming smell of guano! Meet bats, swiftlets, mosquitoes, cockroaches, mouse deer, spiders... and you may also see some of the locals who have set up bases in the caves to sleep and guard the swiftlets nests. You will enjoy the thrill of the river cruises along the Kinabatangan River looking out for the wildlife before returning to the Borneo Nature Lodge to enjoy the friendly hospitality of the staff. The long journey to the Danube Valley will be worth it once you arrive at Borneo Rainforest Lodge - fantastic location, impressive accommodation.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Friendly and ensured that all the trips ran smoothly, and that everyone felt comfortable with the activities we undertook.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t touch the handrails in the Gomantong Cave! The longhouse facilities are basic and the food is ‘local’, so don’t be surprised when the fish stew arrives with a fish skull lurking below the surface - but the visit to the longhouse is actually an enjoyable experience and part of the adventure you all undertake together.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I personally would have liked some more commentary on the country, customs, language and history of Borneo as we travelled for ,one periods on the buses. Instead I read about it myself in a guide book.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Sheila Tilley

    Borneo and the Malaysian Peninsular

    A holiday of two different parts-the wildlife of Borneo was amazing and the accommodation at Sepilok was so close to the orang utang sanctuary allowing us to spend lots of time there.To see so much of Malaysia during the second week and take in the diversity as we travelled far exceeded my expectations

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    seeing the orang u
  • Reviewed January 2019
    da Lloyd

    Good balanced trip.

    I picked the trip as it balanced wildlife and the culture. It was a good mix and highlighted the differences between Borneo and 'Malaya' parts. About the right time spent in both areas.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sunset boat ride in the adventure lodge. The War cemetery at Sandakan and the food 'mekan' tour in the peninsula, watching the sunset on Petronas tower at Traders Bar.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide Wye in the peninsula was excellent. Would give her 5 stars for organisation, enthusiasm and hard work. Her suggestions for things to do and places to eat were good. I was less impressed with Aldrin, he did not seem to be as well organised, didn't know our flight times, the botanical gardens we had barely 20 minutes and then left us with a "guide" for the 'hike' who went off and left us struggling down the slippery paths without waiting for us. We ended the walk early as we felt unsafe.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take an umbrella as is too hot for rain coats and useful for the sun and frequent rain showers. Take lots of insect repellent as you sweat it off. It is not a 'leisurely' trip so if you don't like getting out of your comfort zone don't do it but for me was a great place to visit. You will be fed every couple of hours on the pensinsula so don't order too much as there will be more to come later!