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Trails of Borneo 23.10.10

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 19:28

Hi everyone,

Thought I'd start a forum post to see who's booked onto the Trails of Borneo trip, departing 23rd October 2010.

Look forward to hearing from you all,


Wed, 05/05/2010 - 17:20


Yeah I am booked on this trip too. Well looking forward to it, although it is still a fair way off yet. Hoping that the volcano doesn't come back to haunt us in October.


Tue, 07/13/2010 - 16:01

Hi there,

I'll be joining this trip too and am really looking forward to it. Did the Inca Trail & Rainforest in May and had to buy all the walking gear, so might as well get my money's worth and use it in Borneo ;-) Holding onto the same anti-volcano wishes as James - we were delayed by a day getting to Peru :-(

You guys on the group flights from London or making your own way there?

See you soon!



Tue, 07/13/2010 - 18:30

Hi Gail,

Yep, me and my dad will be on the London flights. How did you enjoy Peru? I was there a couple of years ago, in the Tambopata amazon reserve and also did the short inca trail.

I'm off to Iceland in a couple of days, so will try and keep the volcano under control!


Fri, 07/16/2010 - 12:26

Peru was amazing!! Stayed at Tambopata, did the 4 day Inca Trail and then hit Lake Titicaca. Fabulous!!

I'll be on the group flights to Borneo too. I live in Luxembourg, so would probably have to travel via London anyway! Got most of the gear I need thanks to the Peru trip, but must buy leech socks!

Have fun in Iceland! (Don't you get around?!?!)

Sun, 07/18/2010 - 16:00

Hi all

 I'm on this trip too.  Not done anything like this before!  I'm booked on the group flights too...


Mon, 07/19/2010 - 22:27

Will probably see some of you at the airport, I'll be propping up the bar.  Must get a pink stetson like Steph's to keep the leeches away!! ;o)

Tue, 07/20/2010 - 09:28

Well I'm happy to bring the pink hat with me if you think it may help with leech protection (was wearing it for fancy dress)!!   I have ordered a bright pink rucksack that should go quite nicely with it.  If anyone has any tips re- vaccines/things to bring that may not be on the trip notes etc please do let me know!

Tue, 07/20/2010 - 13:10

One question I have is about sleeping bags. I was going to just bring a sleeping bag liner to save on space, rather than bring a full sized sleeping bag.  I expect it'll be pretty hot and humid most of the time, so no need for anything extra warm at night. Also, it seems that we have a 15Kg limit on the internal flights, so a sleeping bag liner should save a kilo or two. What are you guys doing?

Tue, 07/20/2010 - 16:23

Yes, it's a liner for me too, for all the reasons you state!

Anyone got any thoughts re the leeches, are they a big deal?  I've looked ont Interweb and found leech socks but I can't say I like the thought of wandering about in those!!  I'm inclined to risk it and just knock off any that do get attached.

Tue, 07/20/2010 - 17:13

I'm not going on the trip, but was just reading the thread!

Don't buy a sleeping bag liner , just use a single duvet cover!

More room inside and cheaper!!

Have fun!

Tue, 07/20/2010 - 18:23

Thanks for the tip.

As for the leech socks, I agree. They don't look like the most practical/comfortable of things! May buy myself a pair and just keep them in my rucksack during the day in case the need for them comes up. Hopefully not though. 

Vaccinations: The trip guide states "There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for this trip, however it is advised that you are vaccinated against Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid and Hepatitis A." Think I'm covered for all of those luckily. Gonna pick myself some malaria tablets up at some point though.

Not sure what to expect on the mountain hike in terms of weather. It'll probably get a little chilly during the 2am walk to the top, but I'll just bring a few layers along (lightweight jacket, fleece etc). Am also expecting a fair amount of heavy rain throughout the trip; am I right in thinking that it'll be approaching rainy season when we arrive?

One thing I was wondering about was how much of a chance we'll get to charge up our camera batteries during the trip. 

Tue, 07/20/2010 - 20:34

Someone told me to get a sleeping bag that's like a sheet made of silk type material I think and keeps you warm if it's cold and cool if it's hot?  Not looked into it though.  Not liking the thought of leeches!  Thanks for that with the vaccinations, going to have to look into what's free at the docs and what you've got to pay for..  I'll work it out!  In terms of camera battery, I was thinking of taking some throw-away ones as my digital camera battery doesn't last long.  Bought a solar powered phone charger for a festival I'm going to though, so might test it out and see if that does cameras too!

Wed, 07/21/2010 - 15:41

I'm told an umberella is a must!  Will be a more comfortable means of keeping dry than Goretex!!

Wed, 07/21/2010 - 19:21

Thanks for all the tips!  Good idea re- camera batteries Gail, I don't want to miss out taking any pics.  Be cool to meet you all in the bar to start, pink hats at the ready, white wine or vodka for me... !

Thu, 07/22/2010 - 19:40


Sun, 07/25/2010 - 18:38

To whet your appetites you could do worse than read the above by Eric Hansen.


Tue, 07/27/2010 - 18:31

Lycra underwear

Thu, 07/29/2010 - 11:26

Comes in very useful to put a bit on a Buff or tissue to hold over your nose when using stinky toilets!!

Thu, 07/29/2010 - 14:27

Just got from from a chat with my GP re the above.  Have a long and very expensive list of jabs to choose from.  Not sure I am going to bother with all and may just follow the advice I've found in the literature ie Hep A & B, Tetanus & anti malarials. 

Anyway it seems most vaccinations must be obtained/administrerd 8 weeks prior to departure gets your skates on guys and gals and start saving up!!


Thu, 07/29/2010 - 16:30

Sorry,  The comments made earlier were a reflection of what the Nurse had told me.  I have now read the docs she gave and most of what she was trying to flog me is optional, so I shan't be opting for them.  Anti malarials is about the lot for me ... £60 .... that's a slightly more attractive figure than nearly £300 which is what I thought I was looking at!! 

Thu, 07/29/2010 - 19:12

Think I'm going to have to get loads of vaccinations, my GP said to contact MASTA to see.  A tip I've heard is to rub tobacco on yourself to keep the leeches away!  Not sure if I'm up for that?!  Also, walking shoes/boots - I've been told you need to walk them in a couple of months before.  Is this true??  If so, guess I'll have to start wearing them to work tho I'll look a bit weird...

Fri, 07/30/2010 - 08:26

I've read somewhere that boots are not necessary and a friend who has visited Borneo advised shoes, suspect in the main underfoot conditions will not be challenging!  Always a good idea tho' to wear them for a while beforehand to make sure they suit/fit you, a fortnight with blisters and painful feet will not be fun!!

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 09:28

Just bought mine, Malarone 25 tablets for £56 from, you'll struggle to find cheaper.


Wed, 08/11/2010 - 10:57

I plan to take the trekking boots I took to Peru - they're really comfortable and will be good for this trip. In any case, I don't have anything else suitable without going shopping and I've done enough of that lately!! And Steph, yes, it is best to wear them in first, even if you just wear them around the house. Saves a lot of pain and problems on the holiday!! Regardless, make sure you take a supply of the Compeed blister plasters - they're great!

Don't think I need any vaccinations - had to get a few for Peru so I'm good to go. Not sure what to do about malaria tablets as I hear so many stories about how sick people get on them. Plan to investigate the ones where you only take them if you actually get bitten, rather than having to take them before, during and after the trip.

Final balance paid yesterday - yee ha!!


Sat, 08/14/2010 - 20:04

Yeah can't wait, not long now!  Paying my final balance this week.  Going to sort out the boots this week too and wear them in.  Made the mistake of ordering a 90L rucksack!  Tested it out at a festival last weekend and it was literally the size of a small person on my back.  Really impractical, will have to rethink that one me thinks!

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 14:14

Hi Everyone!

I am going to spend a bit over a week in Kuala Lumpur and around it and join all of you in Miri. The most exotic trip for me so far has been one to Kenya. Did safari and good cultural exchange in Mombasa. After that I've been wondering around Ontario, Quebec and California. Still great, but had to plan something more exciting and decided to visit the Pearl of SE Asia. :-)

Read all your posts and extracted some tips for myself. Thanks. I have taken Malarone myself with no side-effects at all. Heard of some other Malaria prevention drug you take just once a week. My travel buddy was suffering a lot from it, had even sleeping disorder / nightmares, which apparently was a direct side-effect he was warned about. Don't remember what they're called though. You should take Malarone few days before and after the trip. In all cases I would recommend seeking advice from GP.

57 days left for me, see you all in 67 days! Can not wait! :-)



Sun, 08/22/2010 - 12:03


With a weight limit of 15kg I am sure you will find a 35L sack more than adequate.

Sun, 08/22/2010 - 22:25

Hmm, I'd say 35 litres would be a little on the small side. Ideal for a daybag (e.g. for hiking up the mountain), but you may struggle to fit all you need in that. Though I guess it depends how efficient you are at packing! 65 litres is what I use as max. 

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 15:30

Thanks for all the reports on this - sounds like that's what I'll need to get. Will have to give the doc a call this week.

I agree with Gareth on bags - 35l daypack but for overall luggage a 65l should be enough. I had that size rucksack for Peru and it was fine. Am thinking to bring a wheelie bag for Borneo tho, as if the travelling is anything like Peru, wheels would be far more suitable. Ended up dragging my rucksack through numerous airports!! And of course it wasn't terribly practical when hand luggage was also a backpack!

2 months today - gulp!!

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 16:58

I'm obviously packing lighter than you guys, 35L was more than enough for the likes of Pennine Way, Coast to Coast etc,  of course having said this I will probably find myself at Heathrow with a 65L!?!? ;o(

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 21:15

Thanks for all the tips!  Paid my final balance today, bought my boots and day bag (35L)!  John - if you can do 2 weeks on 35L I'll be impressed!!  Got docs in the morning to discuss malaria.  Gail - I'd love to take my wheelie suitcase as it's so much easier, I just have visions of having to walk it up a mountain though I know it doesn't say that.  As we're moving around a lot, what was it like in Peru - is there somewhere safe to keep your bags each day??

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 14:38

.... but I'll be equally impressed if John fits all his stuff for 2 weeks into a 35l pack!! Wheelie bags are good, but go for a soft and squishy one rather than a proper suitcase type.

Steph, when I was in Peru, we basically just decanted stuff from big bags into the smaller ones that we'd be needing for the different bits of the trip. The main bags werere left in storage at the hotel we started out from.

Just reading the trip notes again, I see that although we have a 20kg allowance, one of the flights is only 15kg. Suppose we should pack to that limit, or wear everything we have on that particular flight to reduce check-in luggage weight!!!

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 14:44

Ok cool that makes sense re - the bags!  This morning I went to the doctors to get my jabs.  I got the booster and Hep A.  Also got a prescription for malarone.  Apparently in my area (London borough of Lambeth) you only need to pay prescription price for malaria tablets!!  So I'll get mine for £7.50!!  I don't think this is usual but it might be worth asking your doctor if anyone doesn't already have them as maybe your borough/district will do the same?

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 15:10


It is very unlikely you will get your Malarone for free. NHS does not cover stuff like this, that is why you had to pay £7.50 for the private prescription. You would be expected to pay full price for the tablets.

Let us know if it's different! :-)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 16:15

Well the nurse assured me when giving me the prescription that all I have to do is take it to the chemist and pay the usual charge!  Does seem too good to be true, but she said I was just lucky to live in Lambeth (that's not what many people say)!!  I will confirm though once I've picked them up....

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 18:05

Packed a dummy run last night, tight but OK!!  Guess I'm not packing (don't need to be packing) as many cosmetics as you lot!?!? ;o)

 I got my Malarone precription for free from the GP ... it was the chemist who imposed the charge.

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 19:26

Wow John I am impressed!  You're probably right about the cosmetics, though I am going to try to cut down for this trip.  I went to the chemist tonight and did only pay £7.20 prescription charge for 24 malarone tablets!  So I guess it's not a usual thing for most areas - I've just been lucky to live somewhere where they don't charge!

Thu, 08/26/2010 - 09:52

I have an appointment with my doc early October to get malaria tablets. Best he can prescribe me Malarone (never know what the Luxembourg doctors might give you!!) I'm already jabbed up to my eyeballs, so no need for more needling!!

Packing light is absolutely the way forward. Didn't bother with half of the gubbins I normally use when I was in Peru - there's no point!! You spend most of your time grubby anyway!! And it sounds like in Borneo, that kind of stuff would only melt in the heat/humidity. I just got little travel size bottles/tubes and decanted. Plus I didn't take any aerosols (deodorant for example), only stick stuff so as to avoid polluting the environment. My top tip is wet wipes and plenty of  'em!!

Fri, 08/27/2010 - 10:17

Well done Steph on saving yourself £60, first round at Heatherow is yours methinks!?

Fri, 08/27/2010 - 16:51

Sounds fair enough!!  Can't believe how quick time has gone, not long now...

Sat, 09/11/2010 - 09:17

Taking foreva, feel like a kid waiting for Christmas!!!  Roll on.

Tue, 09/14/2010 - 17:35

It's only about 6 weeks now - will pass in a flash!!

Good deal on the tablets Gareth. Mine will probably cost a fortune - most things do over here :-(

Does anyone know if we can actually get malaysian currency before we go???

Wed, 09/15/2010 - 12:21


I usually get my currencies from I order the required amount on-line, pay for it instantly and collect it at the airport. You can find Travelex kiosks in every airport in England, not sure about the Luxembourg, but you are connecting in Heathrow, so you could collect it from there. At the beginning of my travels I've been comparing prices with other companies and it always came out that Travelex offers the best you can get. It is very simple to use, check it out!

Let's not forget, we can take with us the maximum of MYR 1000,- (GBP 219.25) when entering Malaysia. Afterwards we will have to stick to ATM's or traveller's cheques that should be exchanged upon arrival, I guess, because in Borneo we might struggle finding place to exchange them for cash. Travelex also offers traveller's cheques.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 09:11

Thanks Janis - very useful info! I'll be flying into City Airport on the Friday and I'm fairly sure there is a Travelex there, so I'll get it sorted when I arrive.

Not sure how many ATMs we'll find in Borneo. Then again, doesn't look like there will be much opportunity to shop/spend up anyway!

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 11:12

You're welcome Gail! Make sure you order it before hand, it will be cheaper and it is not known if they stock it in every branch.

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 11:25

If you have not got your hands on Malarone yet, one of the cheapest places you can get it is Superdrug Pharmacy, £44.10 for 21 tablets. Some say ASDA Pharmacy offers similar price. :-)

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 15:43


Could anyone recommend a decent insect repellent that would outperform others and does not smell horrible?

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 09:37

Hi all,

just joined the forum. Philippa and I will be joining you all at Heathrow for this trip. Getting pretty close now and really looking forward to it. We have been to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand in recent years and love this part of the world - I think this trip will be quite an adventure.

Packing light is the trick but I've been re-reading all the notes and in addition to the overnight mountain climb when we need a daysac, I have only just realised we also have to carry a rucsac on the 2 night stay at Camp5 - so I may need to rethink my plan of 1 large bag and 1 small daysac because neither may be quite right for a 2-day treck.


Sun, 09/26/2010 - 10:43

Janis, I had the Care Plus Deet 50% in Peru. Don't think there are many/any that don't smell, but this one was really effective - I didn't get bitten at all.

Ian, Welcome to the chat!! The day pack will be fine for the 2 nights at Camp 5. Frankly all we'll need is clean undies, wet wipes and a toothbrush!!!

Mon, 09/27/2010 - 14:27

Hi all, the excitement is building. Went out and brought myself a poncho yesterday (big enough to cover my rucksack too), thought it would be a good idea to leave the gortex at home and go for something light and airey to combat any tropical downpours.



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