Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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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  • Reviewed September 2018
    ROBIN JONES

    borneo

    Very enjoyable well organised trip to a fabulous country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Orang-utans and proboscis monkeys.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ronnie was super.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to experience high humidity - book extra days before and after if you can.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only small problem was that certain travelers we very selfish in take the best coach/boat seats repeatedly without considering treating others fairly. Stay at Myan 'Resort' was disappointing (poor food and no room servicing).
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Patricia Ratcliffe

    Borneo wildlife discovery

    The trip started a little slowly but after a few days was just wonderful.nthe exodus guide, Maniel, was superb. We saw all of the wildlife anticipated - and more!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wonderful local guides who were incredible at spotting wildlife including the nocturnal tarsier.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Maniel cannot be praised highly enough for his organisation, knowledge and patience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just follow the advice of the group leader and go at your own pace. Take plenty of insect repellent and travel everyday with a small towel because of the extreme humidity. Carry a cheap, light plastic poncho to cover up quickly when the rain begins. Take a good camera and binoculars.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Susan Mann

    Excellent wildlife

    A fantastic trip to a beautiful country. My main purpose was to see orang utans in the wild, although I was prepared to be disappointed. However expectations were exceeded and we saw several in the Danum Valley and at Kinatabangan. Also many monkeys, birds, amazing insects and reptiles. Seeing the pygmy elephants was the icing on the cake, although it was a it disturbing to see how close all the boats got to the elephant that was in the river - I think they stopped her going where she wanted to go.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick one as always, but watching a couple of orang utans making their nests for the night and the next day watching a mother orang help her baby by holding onto tree branches so you could get from one tree to the next are both special memories

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Beverley was very good, extensive knowledge of Borneo culture and history that she shared with us. She went out of her way to organise extra activities for us to increase our wildlife spotting. She took us to some excellent and very cheap restaurants that the locals frequent, which is actually what we want as tourists.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    July is the dry season so our trip was not affected by the few torrential downpours that we had, most of which happened during the evening/night. Maybe that's a good time to go. Even so, a poncho is a must. When it rains, it rains! I was glad I took my walking boots, though I had thought long and hard about it. Prepare to be hot and very sweaty a lot of the time! I'm not a mad-keen photographer myself, I think you can spend so much time and effort trying to get a photo that you don't actually watch. However, if you are a photographer, remember the light is low in the forest and also a lot of the wildlife is high up so a good zoom is needed for good photos!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Make the most of it and join in with everything on offer! This is a very enjoyable trip
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Maureen Pinder

    Great trip to Borneo

    I've been on plenty of Exodus hiking holidays, but this was my first wildlife trip. I was a bit nervous in case my fellow travellers were a bit serious about both wildlife and cameras, but they weren't at all. I bought a new bridge camera for the trip, but found some people just had compacts and I needn't have worried. We were lucky and had great weather throughout apart from one of two quick downpours. We saw loads of orang-utans, proboscis monkeys, various langurs and macaques, pygmy elephants, squirrels - flying and otherwise, a crocodile, 4 types of snake, monitor lizards, and loads of birds, bats and insects. All the destinations were great - Bako, Mulu, Sepilok, Danum Valley, Kinanbatangan River. We did definitely see the highlights. We spent more time in Sabah than in Sarawak, but I guess that's the most dramatic bit. All the accommodation was excellent - Danum Valley reminded me of a game lodge in Kenya. Got to admit I skived watching the second orang-utan feeding session at Sepilok and spent a couple of hours by the pool instead. The food was very good throughout, and I probably put on half a stone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Rushing through a villager's house to catch sight of pygmy elephants in the back garden. Or, seeing a flying squirrel glide from one tree to another (at Sepilok).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Beverley Chin was great. She knows the country inside out, is unflappable, and a great organiser. She's travelled a lot herself, and thoroughly understands what westerners need.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took football socks to act as leech socks, but we were lucky and didn't really see leeches because it had been dry. The shop at Danum Valley does sell leech socks. Ponchos seemed to be the thing for keeping the rain off. You definitely need a sun hat for the river cruises at least. I'd agonised about taking trainers or hiking boots, but was glad I decided on hiking boots. Take your swimming costume - I swam 4 times in various places. The Deet was disgusting, so most of us gave up trying to use it after a few days. We only got a few bites, again maybe because it was dry weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I stayed on for an extra week after the holiday ended and climbed Mount Kinabalu with a local agency (Amazing Borneo). It was very good, but very steep - wish I'd trained more beforehand!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Joyce Cheyne

    Awesome adventure

    If you want to see the best of Borneo this trip's for you. Beautiful country, great food, lovely friendly people and oh boy did we see wildlife! So many highlights. The incredible proboscis monkeys were hilarious and so much fun to watch, silver leaf langurs including a mum and baby, red leaf langurs, long tailed and pig tailed macaques, pit vipers, monitor lizards, orang utans (of course) in Sepilok and also in the wild (very special moments), Bornean sun bears at their rescue centre (definitely worth a visit), mouse deer, Northern Bornean gibbon family in the wild (utterly brilliant to watch), Bornean colugo (flying lemur - which isn't a lemur), red giant flying squirrel which we watched flying with a beautiful sunset backdrop - really special, slow loris, leopard cat - what a find! - sambar deer, loads of frogs, lizards, the most amazing insects ever, a huge 3m long salt water crocodile, baby salt water crocodile, flying lizard, bats galore in the most amazing caves at Mulu and Gomantong which also has the swiftlet nests and of course the bat exodus from Deer cave at sundown, had the most amazing experience watching Borneo pygmy elephants swimming in convoy across a river, young ones too with trunks up, heard them trumpeting and watched two mums with young ones feeding right at the water's edge - so special. Then there's the birds! Hornbills galore, eagles, hawks, Buffy fish owls, sunbirds, kingfishers, broadbills, storks, egrets, flycatchers, bee eaters, flowerpeckers, bulbuls, kites, sandpipers, herons, doves, mynas and more. The bird watchers were very happy. Night walks and the night drive were a revelation, so much comes out at night from scorpions to stick insects. Not scary at all just fascinating. Boat trips were excellent, saw so many birds and monkeys in the trees. Loved staying in the longhouse, an experience not to be missed. The Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley was exquisite, 5* in every way; the rooms, the food, the attentive staff, the massage, the local guides, the drivers who also spotted wildlife and the red leaf monkeys in the forest having their breakfast at the same time as us.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the wild gibbon family and orang utans in the Danum Valley was pretty special. It was a hike to get there but the guides pace the walks so well pointing out all the wildlife, birds and important trees/foliage used in cooking and medicine so always interesting, worth every step. Watching the pygmy elephants swimming across the river in convoy, trunks up, babies in tow and feeding at the water's edge while others were trumpeting was an extraordinary experience. Bat exodus from the Deer Cave in Mulu was pretty special, waves of bats that went on for ages. Watching the flying squirrel. An experience I'll probably not repeat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb trip and we were very fortunate to be in the hands of a truly exceptional trip leader in Rony. He went the extra mile every hour of every day to make sure we had the trip of a lifetime and he succeeded. We all trusted Rony completely, he earned that trust daily.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do everything! Even if you don't particularly like insects or bats by a few days in you'll love them, they're so incredible. Drink loads of water! Makes all the difference in the heat and humidity. I was a bit worried about that before I went but it's fine, doesn't stop you walking up hill just take your time, everyone did. There's plenty of air-con or fans to give you a break from it. Trip notes advise cash to take. I adopted an orang utan at Sepilok, had a fantastic massage in the Danum Valley, went snorkelling, bought a few souvenirs and still came home with £120. Rony found us great food and beer at local prices so it's very cheap to eat. He also told us the best snorkelling trip for value for money. Take videos on your phone and camera. They are so good to watch when home and convey behaviour that a photo doesn't. Get your laundry done it's so cheap. Got all mine done before I came home for £4 and that was with a tip! (Not at the Sheraton!)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go! So many species endemic to Borneo, you won't find them anywhere else so you need to go. You'll be glad you did.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Pat Rumpus

    Wildlife and More

    We knew December was the wettest month, but hearts sank when our first wildlife trip had to be abandoned as the river was too high for safety to take us there. However, our guides had a good backup plan and took us to the Sarawak Cultural Village where we were able to see some traditional longhouses and experience a display of spectacular tribal dances - including one of the group having a go with a blow pipe. We were lucky enough to see the bat exodus from Deer Cave at Mulu before the rain started again and forgot to stop. We were evacuated from our comfortable lodges while it was still daylight, wading through above-the-knee water to the restaurant. As it got darker, and the water deeper we expected to spend the night elsewhere than our comfortable beds. However, the rain did stop and the river stabilised so we were eventually boated back. The poor villagers further up the river didn't come off so easily in the worst floods for 14 years. All praise to the Garden Park staff and our guides for their excellent control of the situation, and their help to their neighbours as well as us. Don't forget your PONCHO! Preferably a discreet colour. A wading nature walk next day turned up a scorpion, various lizards and skinks as well as a Paradise Flycatcher and the sunshine brought back the butterflies. From the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary on, the mammals were amazing. The monkeys are real characters with such expressive faces and it was good to see so many mums and babies. Great photo opportunities. Sepilok was a mixed experience. The youngsters are kept the other side of a glass wall and they didn't care for the pouring rain much either - rolling around trying to don sacks and holding leaves over their heads in attempts to keep dry. Although it was disappointing to only see one adult orangutan, it demonstrated how successful the rehab programme has been as far fewer babies and adults are coming in for care. However, moving on to Danum Valley, our outing turned up a mother and youngster orangutan yards from the centre. And they didn't stop coming. Five in a couple of hours. Even the guides were amazed. In all we saw ten or eleven over the whole of the trip, just doing their own thing in the trees. We were lucky enough to see a herd of pygmy elephants on our Kinabatangan river cruises. Again, loads of babies. There were a lot of boats vying for the best position so unfortunately the disturbance to the animals from noise and diesel was to be regretted. The birds were spectacular here too, hornbills, hawks, eagles and little flowerpeckers in the garden as well as more butterflies. Take binoculars and a camera with a good zoom if you want to get any animal shots. You don't need huge lenses - I got some great shots with a compact. And discreet colour clothing. Pack light. It really is 'deal with your own luggage' on this one and there aren't big retail opportunities so small is beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the interactions of the proboscis monkeys Seeing the orangutans wild in the trees Fabulous birds - amazing hornbills and bulbuls Pygmy elephants - adults barely taller than the tall grasses they were eating

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He organised things well and was a good birder which suited myself and my friend. He seemed to lack confidence in dealing with a group and found it difficult to address us all in one go. He really wanted us to see everything we came for but when things went against us weather wise, he found it hard to deal with. Unfortunately he did lose it with one of the group after a long day when it looked as though a river trip wouldn't be on because of continuing rain and went on a rant 'why don't you like me', 'I'm trying to do my best' and such like which was well out of order and had nothing to do at all with the group member.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Poncho! Umbrella. Waterproof shoes/boots (jungle walks need more than walking sandals). I dubbined a pair of cheap, microfibre lightweight, non waterproof boots and that really did do the business as I didn't want to take heavy leather boots. So can recommend that as a solution. Plenty of good mossie repellent as it gets washed off in the rain. Incognito is a good natural (non Deet) one. Discreet colour clothing Long walking socks and spray them with anti mossie to deter the leeches. I took gaiters and some managed to creep under so wouldn't recommend. Something simple to change into for dinner. Nowhere's 'dressie'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Can thoroughly recommend this trip but possibly not in December. It is so different and truly exciting. All the variety of creatures and plants are wonderful. I thought ginger was just 'ginger' but not in Borneo - there are tomes on the different varieties. And so it goes on - 4 or more huge volumes on orchids - and that's only the ones that have been discovered. It was such a pleasure to see orchids and other colourful, unusual to us, plants growing in the gardens. I loved it all, despite the rain!
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Cathy Lawlor

    WOH

    Great taster for the delights of Borneo.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The jungle sounds when we arrived in Mulu; plus those enormous, beautiful butterflies! That's when I knew I was really going to enjoy my holiday.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel is my favourite guide! To say he went above and beyond the call of duty is to put it mildly. Always knowledgeable, approachable, friendly and funny. He was an integral part of my enjoyment of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring long trekking trousers, 3/4 lengths and shorts. Accept that you're going to be hot and sweaty most of the time. Don't bring Deet in an aerosol or you will inhale and choke. And remember: 'go when you can, not when you need to'...

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We expected a lot of rain but saw little, except for our rained out beach day. So you have to roll with the punches!
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Barry Cooper

    Borneo Wildlife Discover

    This is an excellent trip to discover the wildlife and to explore the jungles of Borneo. The trip is well planned from the modern bustling cities of Kuching, Kota Kanabalu and Sandakan to the jungle resorts of Muli and Borneo. The opportunities to see wildlife are many and often you see it in the least expected way for example, a python curled up on the back of a truck in the Hotel Yard!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I can never answer this question because these trips are a continual mixture of high points but possibly just sitting alone in the Borneo Forest Lodge looking at the birdlife with Orangutans in the nearby forest, a moment of quiet reflection in the middle of a busy trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel was excellent His knowledge of the wildlife was superb and when asked for a particular birdsong, he could identify it immediately as well as the vast number of insects which we saw. On a personal note, I arrived separately from the Group as I had been travelling in Australia and on the day before the main group arrived, I fell heavily on a wet marble pavement in Kuching bruising ligaments in my leg. I realised that I was unable to participate in some of the more strenuous activities on this trip and Manuel arranged for me to visit a Doctor and throughout the trip, he could not have been more supportive. Manual reported the problem to Exodus and their support and help was gratefully appreciated. I felt that travelling with Exodus you were not another client but an individual and you were to receive personal attention.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a busy tour but with two nights in most locations you do have time to relax. Costs are low so you can eat well and cheaply. If you are interested in wildlife, this is an excellent well planned and managed trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As a result of climatic changes, I was planning to be in Borneo in the dry season but this was not the case and we had very heavy rain. We did not see the mass exodus of bats from the cave at Muli because of the torrential rain and one day of the trip was lost because of twenty hours of continuous tropical rain. Ensure that you have waterproof raingear with you.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Caroline Woodall

    Borneo Wildlife Experience

    Two weeks of wonderful wildlife, rainforests, enormous caves and much more. We were extremely lucky to spot Proboscis monkeys on our first morning at Bako National Park - and then we saw wild Orang Utans later on our trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Driving 82km off the main road in a convoy of 4x4's on an unmade road to reach the most wonderful 5 star hotel in the middle of primary rainforest - and then a wild Orang Utan appearing in a tree just outside the hotel restaurant whilst we were eating lunch.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel was extremely well mannered, sociable, & very knowledgeable about all forms of wildlife - especially the smaller types - snakes, frogs, spiders, etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be disheartened if you don't get to see all of the wildlife that you expect to see - birds were particularly difficult to spot in the rain-forest - they are up in the canopy & often quite small to see. The first few days in Sarawak - we saw mostly insects, spiders, etc - and were beginning to worry that we wouldn't see much else - but Sabah made up for it - the second half of the trip we saw wild Orang Utans, two types of Macaques, many Proboscis monkeys & finally three of us managed to spot a Borneon Gibbon.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We took our ponchos out with us every day - but luckily never needed to use them. The mosquitoes are ferocious - we have never been bitten so much - and we were using insect repellent. Use strong repellent and keep re-applying it.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Laura Jones

    Brilliant Borneo

    Wall to wall wildlife! Each place had its own wildlife and ecosystem - all of them were amazing. The people were friendly and the wildlife was prolific - a great tour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a number of highlights to this trip: -the bat exodus from the caves at Mulu - getting close to proboscis monkeys at Lahad Bay - Danum Valley (all of it!) - boat rides on the Kinatabangan River -wild orangutans (particularly at the Gomantong Caves)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel was a fantastic group leader. He was calm and organised. He was very tuned in to our needs and made sure that we all knew what we were supposed to be doing, when and what we would need (i.e. head torch or long trousers etc). He was enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable. He was obviously respected by the local guides he worked with at each place. He was brilliant at spotting animals. Nothing was too much trouble. Manuel made our trip relaxed, comfortable and truly special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When it rains it really rains so take a poncho as this covers both you and your rucksack. Take a water bottle which you can refill. Leech socks are available in Kota Kinabalu at a reasonable price so there is no need to buy them at great cost before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We loved this trip. It exceeded all our expectations. I would highly recommend this trip.
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