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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It’s the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you’re interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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Reviews

Disappointing trip

Beautiful and interesting time in Borneo and masses to see in Malaya, but spoilt by a poor guide and less than satisfactory travel arrangements . Lovely group of people.

Most Inspirational Moment

Seeing the orangutans in Borneo and the river cruises

Thoughts on Group Leader

My experience of the guide in Malaysia has been the worst I have experienced and will make me seriously question the use of Exodus for future trips. Andy was obsequious and undoubtedly the worst guide I have encountered. It started a racist joke at the airport and continued with the arrival at out hotel in Malacca where he said we were with Intrepid and went downhill from there. At the KL hotel he said the same and we questioned this and he said that Exodus and Intrepid were the same company. News to us…..but perhaps he is right, however, we booked under the Exodus name. He failed to give adequate explanation about what we were doing each day, he never learnt our names and his guiding was frankly useless. When asked a question, he would often make up the answer. We asked for a recommendation on the second night in Malacca for somewhere to eat and he suggested a supermarket! The dinner restaurant in Malacca was below the standard expected for an Exodus holiday, the toilets were so disgusting they felt to be unusable. It felt like he reached the city and called into the first place he saw. He treated the group like children and was patronising on many occasions. On the walking tour of KL it lasted for 5 and a half hours due to his poor organisation. During this activity we had a guide from the Islam temple talk to us about the history and religion, in the few minutes we spent with her she remembered all our names and was clear and informative. We finished in the Chinese temple and then caught the underground went 2 stops and then a walk to lunch. Many of our party were over 70 and this was exhausting. The lunch restaurant was little more than a canteen and once again sub standard to previous experiences with Exodus. On the transfer day to Penang we left the hotel at 9:30, we arrived at the station at 9:45, when asked why we were there an hour and 20 minutes before departure he said it was the railway rules to be there an hour before otherwise they would sell your ticket. We found a notice saying “ we recommend you be here 30 minutes before departing and the train doors close 5 minutes before” ……. Nothing said to be there an hour before. He also said we could get nothing to eat or drink on the train and in our carriage was a buffet bar. We arrived in Penang and on the coach to the hotel asked about the itinerary for the next two days. He just said we would do a walking tour but no information about what we would see. We asked about the optional tours in Langkawi, he said there were two but could give no explanation about the costs or what they entailed. His walking tours were poorly managed and his knowledge inadequate. He did not make me feel safe or as though he had any clear idea about what he was doing. Having a lovely group and going to some interesting places the holiday was very spoilt by this inadequate guide. By the time we got to Penang several of us refused to go on his walking tours and went off by ourselves. I for one could not bear his disorganisation any longer…..but that is not what I expect to do on a guided tour holiday. Malaysian guides poor performance was brought into relief by the caring and friendly nature of our Borneo guide.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be prepared for a lot of days of travelling!

Suggestions

On a positive note the restaurant we were taken to for our final night was very good, ambient setting and enjoyable food. I felt we missed valuable time in Penang as we only ended up with one day due to the travel arrangements. The hotel in Langkwaei is dingy and very disappointing after a further day of travel. Once again not the standard expected. Overall the trip feels poorly executed with too many days spent travelling at times which means that is all that happens. Travelling over lunch meant there was not time to do anything before or after the journey. The internal flights were changed without explanation. When we tried to contact Exodus about this, there was no response until after the flights and even then we were not told why this had happened.

Interesting trip

A well balanced trip combining time in northern Borneo with time on the Malaysian peninsula to experience Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi.
The accommodation was very good in most places but, whilst the hotel in Langkawi was adequate, it was in need of refurbishment and, coming as it did after an excellent hotel in Penang it was a bit of a let down.
In Borneo our guide Felix was good but unfortunately spoke too quietly at times.
On the Malaysian peninsula our guide was Andy who is an excellent guide with a wealth of knowledge that he is eager to share. He went out of his way to try to meet the various expectations of the group.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Andy was excellent and always available and helpful. Felix was good but quietly spoken. He answered questions but didn’t offer much information unless asked.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Book for the twin towers beforehand. It would be useful if Exodus suggested that everybody booked in the same time slot if possible. Our guide had his work cut out shuttling different people to the towers for different time slots and then there was a lot of waiting around afterwards.

Suggestions

We were shocked at how little of the rainforest appeared to be left in northern Borneo. On the boat trips along the Kinabatangam river in many places we could easily see through the trees on the banks to the palm oil plantations behind. We did see 3 wild orangutans and plenty of hornbills and crocodiles. We were also disappointed by the plastic rubbish washed up on the beaches of Langkawi. Every small item we bought was given to us in a plastic bag. The Exodus recommended mangrove tour was excellent with a very knowledgeable local naturalist guide. However while on that your we saw some very poor practice with boats and jet skis going close to dolphins, sea eagles being lured with chicken skin and monkeys being fed crisps by hand from other boats.

Excellent trip to Malaysia

A great trip to Malaysia , a holiday of two halves. Wildlife in Sabah, Borneo then historic cities back on mainland .
Covered a lot of ground in a packed itinerary .

Most Inspirational Moment

The amount of wildlife viewed , seeing flying squirrels, the Sepilok Orang Utans sanctuary, crocodile in river . Wandering around Mellacca and Penang old towns.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Borneo - Edwin, very personable and happy to share information regarding local customs . Clear explanations and good sense of humour. Within Borneo we were staying at wilderness lodges so there were not the same number of tourist sites etc as are available on Peninsula in second half of trip. Malaysian Peninsula - Wye , also very personable and super helpful . Ensured everyone in group looked after , always happy to provide advice regarding eateries, tourist sites, travel , costs of attractions, translating in food courts . Not sure Wye ever ate a hot meal with us as she would be busy assisting her guests with translating/recommending food ordering and following up what was delivered matched the order.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Not much cash needed for Borneo ( as staying in wilderness lodges and not many opportunities to spend. Bar bills and possibly extra food/snacks / ice creams/ drinks) . Internal flights the group total luggage allowance is 15KG x number in group . Try to keep luggage weight to 15KG but dont stress if you go over by a small amount as it might be "lost" within group overall total . Take own torches for walking on paths in Borneo and also paved streets on Peninsula towns/cities. ATMs plentiful at KL airport to withdraw cash on first entry to Malaysia , however different banks ( Maybank, CIMB, Public Bank) have different daily limit on withdrawal amount. Always answer "No" to conversion ( otherwise local bank sets conversion rate instead of using Inter Bank Rate ) .

Suggestions

Crammed in lots and saw a huge amount . Trip Notes mostly accurate ( apart from referring to Kota Kinabalu which is not visited or located anywhere near where this trip goes. Obviously copy paste form another trip ) . Mostly 2 nights at each location with some free time, can spend as much or as little with group .

An all encompassing trip

A great way to see the different parts of Malaysia, from the wildlife in Borneo to the different cultures found throughout Malaysia and finishing the tour on the beach in Langkawi. A memorable experience throughout, assisted by the knowledgeable guides on both parts of the tour and a great group.

Most Inspirational Moment

After seeing the Orangutans in the sanctuary, spotting some in the wild whilst on the river cruise was memorable.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Both group leaders were knowledgeable, I think in particular Wan on the second part of the tour excelled in helping everyone with there questions. With a full group of 16 it is nearly impossible to satisfy everyone but Wan ensured that, I believe, everyone was sad to see by the end of the tour.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Just relax and enjoy the different cultures and try everything!

Suggestions

Thank you for a great experience

Amazing experience

October trip to Borneo and Malaysia was full of adventure and surprise, wildlife, rain forest, culture, new flavours and food, big cities and beautiful beaches.

Most Inspirational Moment

Hard to choose but visiting Borneo was amazing, having seen so many documentaries on TV.

Thoughts on Group Leader

We had two group leaders, Beverly on Borneo very professional, could not fault her knowledge on all aspects of the wildlife, she was very approachable, always there, calm and gave good advice on preparation for the day's activities, she also was interesting to listen to on any bus/coach travelling. In Malaysia we had Wye, again could not fault her knowledge on the small trips and activities, again very approachable and gave good advice. Both guides were an integral part of the trip and added their own individual vibe appropriately, both very likeable, both made sure everything was smooth running. I hope their earnings reflect their dedication.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Trust the process, the tours guides make the rest easy.

A Fantastic Holiday

In the first week, great nature trips in Borneo including Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and river trips/night walks in the jungle. In the second week, fascinating journey round some of the Peninsula’s towns and cities finishing with a relaxing couple of days at the beach resort in Langkawi.

Most Inspirational Moment

Seeing three orangutans in the wild and also the numerous night walks in the jungle where we saw flying squirrels, various other mamals and brightly coloured birds.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Aldrin for Borneo and Apit for the Peninsula were both superb.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Definetely do the night walks in the jungle. In the River Lodge wellies and leech socks are available to hire (for the time that you are there (a total of MYR 10)). It saves you having to worry about leeches and cleaning your shoes! If you think that for the internal flights you will have excess baggage (above 15 kg) then speak to Exodus about the possiblity of increasing this before you leave the UK.

Suggestions

We definitely recommend this trip.

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).

Most Inspirational Moment

seeking and seeking the pygmy elephants in the wild

Thoughts on Group Leader

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

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.

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

Most Inspirational Moment

seeing the orang u

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.

Most Inspirational Moment

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.

Thoughts on 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.

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!

A varied trip of wildlife, cities, and food!

This was a highly enjoyable trip covering a wide range of different experiences. The first few days in Borneo were particularly excellent at Sepilok and Kinabatangan. We were lucky enough to see a wild orang-utan, a gibbon and proboscis monkeys. KL was also a highlight – particularly enjoyed the food tour and a (optional) trip to the PETRONAS towers. The food markets at night were also a great experience. A relaxing couple of days on Langkawi was (once we got there!) a really nice end to the trip.

Most Inspirational Moment

I particularly enjoyed the wildlife / Borneo section of the trip (and perhaps wished I had chosen a trip with more wildlife)!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Both tour leaders were excellent. Aldrin was friendly and organised and an all-round excellent tour leader. Similarly, Jeremy was helpful, enthusiastic and took us to some varied restaurants/eating places!

Advice for Potential Travellers

If the ferry crossing continues to be part of the trip - beware! The Lonely Planet guide warns that the crossing is particularly rough at certain times of year (Jul-Oct) and can be a vomit inducing experience. They are not wrong. I am never sea sick, but on our crossing almost everyone on board was sick. Be prepared!

Suggestions

Overall I really enjoyed this trip. I'm not quite convinced the travel across to Kinabalu was worth the journey. I quite enjoyed the tea plantation stay but the botanical walk was slightly underwhelming. Similarly, the city tour in KL was a bit underwhelming. We spent several hours at the Pewter factory (including a stop for lunch) which was a bit tedious. Would rather have spend more time at Batu Caves. Touring the city in a small minibus where it was difficult to see out of the windows was also slightly frustrating.