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Overwhelmed planning - Borneo, Sri Lanka, elsewhere?

(15 Posts)
Sortingfinances Wed 07-Mar-18 18:55:02

Help needed!
We are hoping to have a big trip this summer and after too much googling I need some suggestions.
It's just me and kids. Booking independently, as cheaply as possibly without missing out on 'must do's.
My bucket list includes Borneo and Sri Lanka. Sabah is what I've been researching.
Borneo - orangutans, nature
Sri Lanka - nature
Kids want beach time and snorkeling.
Beach bungalows would be fab but I'm struggling to find.
Any recommendations? We want to be outdoors, exploring and relaxing on beaches.
It will be august.
Budget island in Sabah for snorkeling?
Should I be looking elsewhere instead?
Thanks for any recommendations and apologies if this is a bit muddled.

OP’s posts: |
ShanghaiDiva Thu 08-Mar-18 11:34:31

Weather is great in July and August in Borneo. I have been to Kota Kinabalu to the national park, plenty of islands just off the coast of KK and not too busy during the week. There is an orang utan centre at the shangrila hotel ( the one outside the town) which is the same organisation as the centre at sepilok (sp?).
I prefer Sarawak to sabah and IMO Kuching is much nicer than Kota Kinabalu. Nice museums and restaurants. We also saw orang utan in the wild there, went kayaking and visited long houses.
I think some parts of Sri Lanka may be wet in the summer (visited 20 years ago in feb). We did a tour for a week - galle, Kandy, sigirya, tea plantations and hill top area, elephant orphanage, Safari etc - was fabulous.

Fintress Fri 09-Mar-18 07:27:06

This will give you an idea of the weather in Sri Lanka www.selectiveasia.com/sri-lanka-holidays/weather. We went a few years ago and did all the things ShanghaiDiva did and it was amazing. We saw all the elephants from the orphanage going for a swim in the river, a memory we will never forget.

We haven't been to Borneo but would love to.

Mercurial123 Fri 09-Mar-18 14:11:03

Borneo was a huge disappointment they've destroyed the country driving for a long time only seeing palm plantations was soul destroying. There are beautiful parts but I would go to Sri Lanka.

Sortingfinances Fri 09-Mar-18 15:37:58

Thanks! A friend threw sumatra in to the mix today too. Anyone any experience of there? And snorkelling in sri lanka? I need to commit to somewhere soon or it wont happen!

OP’s posts: |
swimster01 Fri 09-Mar-18 17:11:35

Borneo is amazing. The Orangutan sanctuary does not exist at Rasa Ria anymore, but in any case, you should be aiming to see them in the wild. I would give Sepilok a miss too.

There are lots of palm plantations but this isn't a reason not to go. It makes it even more important to go and support the areas that are conserving the rainforest.

Highly recommend Kinabantangan river and Danum valley.

ZombieHunter Sat 10-Mar-18 06:08:00

We loved Borneo!

Go to Sandakan for the orang utans. We stayed at Sepilok Jungle resort which is only 5 minutes walk from the reserve and you are pretty much in the middle of the rainforest.

If you want excellent snorkeling in Borneo I can highly recommend Mantanani Island. Very budgety (I think it was something like 20 quid a night) beach bungalows and it was divine. We booked a trip with them: mantananiisland.com/ from Kota Kinabalu. Wish we had stayed longer, we will definitely return. We stayed at the Mari Mari Backpackers lodge.

If you want to add Sumatra to the mix, you can fly to Banda Aceh (Boxing day tsunami centre, really moving and interesting museum there) and from there you can take the daily ferry to Pulau Weh for more superb snorkeling and beaches. There is even an active volcano that you can snorkel over, we stayed at the Casa Nemo and loved the beach and the town.

feesh Sat 10-Mar-18 06:13:06

There is a political situation in Sri Lanka at the moment with a government travel advisory - it’s confined to one area but it might be worth keeping an eye on things as summer approaches

Fintress Sat 10-Mar-18 06:34:12

If you are going to Sri Lanka during the summer months I think you would have to go to the east coast for snorkelling. As feesh said keep an eye on the political situation. You can set up alerts with the FCO - Sri Lanka.

Mercurial123 Sat 10-Mar-18 06:38:19

Sepilok was so crowded it was like being in a very busy zoo. Thankfully we didn't watch the adults feeding and walked further on to see the babies playing. There were only about ten people watching, it was a good experience. Around half an hour later it got really crowded as people came after the feeding.

Kalinka16 Sat 10-Mar-18 06:46:26

Another recommendation for Kinabantangan river and Danum valley. Happy memories of that holiday!

Sortingfinances Fri 11-May-18 23:31:51

Thanks for the replies.
We have decided on sabah.
Zombie - I've heard sandflies are a problem on mantanani, did you find this?
Has anyone done a homestay on the kinabatagan river?
Thanks for any tips!

OP’s posts: |
ZombieHunter Sun 13-May-18 01:07:03

We didn't have sandflies on mantanani, but it was jellyfish season. However, it won't affect you, we were there last year April and by summer they are gone.

Another possible option that I came across recently (but haven't been yet) is Semporna and / or Tawau in Sabah. Some more expensive though, but possibly something to consider?

Sortingfinances Sun 13-May-18 09:53:01

Thanks! Semporna looks great but yes expensive! I'll look up tawau now.

OP’s posts: |
MondayTuesdayWednesday Thu 24-May-18 14:19:21

I would highly recommend Malaysian Borneo but if you are going to go on a trip into the rainforest like the Kinabantangan River and Danum valley it can be really expensive,. I would research this more before you book flights.

This is where you will see orangutans in the wild. Also elephants, all types of monkeys, crocodiles, hornbills etc.

Beaches and snorkelling are better in Sri Lanka.
Personally I wouldn't go to Borneo just to go on a beach holiday as the beaches can be nice but also can be quite dirty. Borneo is more expensive than Sri Lanka too.

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