Accommodation

What time can I check in at my hotel?

Check-in times at the Singghasana Lodge and the Village House is after 1 pm. Check out time is 11 am. If you do arrive earlier, you will be able to store your luggage with your desired accommodation and explore your new surroundings.

Can I request an early check-in?

Depending on how busy the desired accommodation is …it may be possible to check in slightly earlier but please note we cannot guarantee this without prior notification from you.
Normal Hotel practice is to charge for an extra nights accommodation should the requested time fall before 8 am.

How do I get to and from airports?

Airport transfers are included if you are taking one of our package deals. For those independent travelers, we can arrange for you or you can take a taxi directly from the airport to us at either location. Please note, the Village House may be new to some taxi drivers, even though we have been in Santubong for many years. We recommend for both properties that you write out the address and pass it to the driver to avoid any confusion. Alternatively, you can request a transfer from the airport when you book your accommodation online

Can you provide me a list of the accommodation where we are staying?

Depending on which tour, you are taking or package deal, your itinerary will list the accommodation we have reserved for you. Room upgrades may be available depending upon accommodation at that time.

What standard of accommodation should I expect?

The standard of accommodation depends on the Tour you have chosen. It may be in a Longhouse, on a beach or even five stars, like the Village House.

Does the accommodation have air-conditioning?

Whilst staying at The Village House or Sinngahsana Lodge then yes. When you are staying in areas that are more rural then they will only be fans available. When camping …just fresh air.

What type of ground transportation do you use?

At present, we are using High Top, Toyota Mini Busses, 14 comfortable seats with air-conditioning. Some tours may use smaller private vehicles depending on the tour numbers.

Is tipping commonplace in Kuching? 

No, you do not need to tip in the bars and restaurants but if you feel you have had a good service then please do but it is not expected.

When visiting any of the homestay/ Longhouse style programs then it is expected but not compulsory to bring a gift?

Your guide will advise you or if you can maybe bring something from your own country but please no sweets.

 

Tour

Who are Borneo Experiences?

Travelers, with travelers in mind, have established Borneo Experiences. Travelers with a desire to go places, on and off the map, looking to experience new things and meet people from a different culture. We will cater to young and old, solo travelers and those that have no idea what Borneo is about. All of our tours require a small amount of participation from you, whether that is turning up on time from a tour or requiring you to carry your own backpack. No special qualifications are required for any of our tours, just a sense of adventure and an open mind. Our guides will show you the way we do things here in Borneo so no previous experiences gives our guides a blank canvas to work with.

Which style of trip is right for me?

Our tours offer a varied style of experience’s – Wildlife, Trekking, Birding, Cycling, Kayaking, Culture, Climbing, Walking, Camping etc. There are many to choose from  – you need to look at the tours and ask yourself

“Is this for me”?  Are the trips physically demanding?

Looking to spend all day watching the world go by until the bar opens, then we can accommodate you. If you want to spend the whole day climbing a mountain then this to is possible.

Without being able, to access your level of fitness then it is hard for us to choose for you. No one knows you better than you do and you need to know your limits. Some of our tours ask you to give the smallest amount of effort, while others require you to be physically fit to get the most out of this experience.

Can I go on tour with my children?

Depending on the age of your children, then many of our tours are possible. We do have a recommended age cap for some of our tours as they may be too strenuous for small children. The reason we have an age limit is due to health and safety and the child’s physical abilities. If you are not sure about touring with your children then please ask. Only a few of our tours may be out of reach to them but again it depends on their age and physical ability.

We can put together a bespoke tour/package, which we believe would be suitable for all ages. We do not recommend you bringing any children under the age of 0-3years of age due to the high humidity and constant temperature here in Malaysia, 35c all day and night…but people still do so that choice is down to you.

Will I be traveling in a big group? 

Our more adventurous tours are capped at seven pax.  Our Wetland tours can accommodate up to fourteen pax on the boat.

How difficult is the trek on my trip?

Our tours range from very easy going to difficult so be careful what you choose, check the itinerary and ask before you book.

Do I get any free time?

For tours that involve staying overnight then you will have free time every night after the tour unless the guide has something planned for you such as longhouse visit or night walk. Your itinerary will specify when you are free and easy.

What if I arrive late and miss part of the trip?

If you are late due to unforeseen circumstances or flight delays, please call our contact number on your sales voucher. Borneo Experiences cannot reimburse you for any portion of the trip unused, but this can often be claimed back on your travel insurance depending on the circumstances.

Are there western toilets available?

Generally, the more remote the place the less likely you are to find western bathroom facilities but you may be surprised.

Will I need a sleeping bag or a tent?

Only for our camping tours, where we recommend a light tog ratting or even just a sleeping bag liner. We do provide ground sheets and a basic local tent like situation.

Are there age restrictions on your tours?

For the majority of our trips, the minimum age is 6 years of age. An adult must accompany all children under the age of 18. Some of our more adventurous adventures have a minimum age of 14. Younger children can join on our Bespoke Family tours but please check each tour for its suitability regarding your children. This also applies to adults, we have tours that any age can join in but some of the physical tours require you to be of an age where you will not slow the group up. For those you at an age where you have to think twice before booking a tour with us then please ask first about the physical attributes required. Fortunately, only a few of our tours require you to be “Rambo”

Who will be my guide?

Your guide will be local, born and bred here in Borneo, and be able to speak English as well as the local languages. Your guide will be chosen for you specifically for that tour and will be versed in many subjects; we can tell you they will be awesome. Our leaders are experts in their regions, some because they have been traveling there for years, others because they are local to the region and cannot wait to show you around. On longer journeys, or ones that travel through more than one country, you may change leaders part way through – but this just means double the awesomeness.

What happens if I do not like the tour and I wish to leave early?

Although you will not be reimbursed for any portion of the tour unused unless the tour that was sold to you was not what you were expecting ie: beach tour as opposed to a jungle tour.

if you need to leave a day or so earlier due to unforeseen circumstances then your travel insurance should cover you for such an event. Check with your travel insurance company before you sign up.  Depending on your location at the time, we will do our utmost to return you to your point of departure within Kuching. Should you be in this situation then let your guide know ASAP so he can make the necessary arrangements for you. Unfortunately, some of our tours are off the beaten track and an extraction may not be possible for a few days.

Can I make any changes to the itinerary of my tour, either before or during the trip? 

Please make sure you have read the tour itinerary before booking. If it is a tour with a large group then it will not be possible because we are unable to change them for individual travelers. We can, however, tweak a tour to your requirements providing we have enough time to make the changes. Any changes made to a set tour will incur extra charges, depending on your requirement. We will classify the tour as Bespoke.

Can I add an extra night at end of the tour?

This is possible providing the rest of the people on the tour are of the same opinion, the location at that time, food and equipment allow to be possible. We will need to be given enough notice in advance to make the necessary changes to your pre-booked accommodation after the tour and any transfers. Any changes made to a set tour will incur extra charges, depending on your requirement. We will classify the tour as Bespoke.

I am a solo traveler, will there be any additional supplements charges?

As a solo traveler, we will try to hook you up with travelers of the same mindset, on tours, which will be the same as your requests but we will need to know in advance. We will try our best to add you to a tour on the dates you require but this may or may not be possible. (you may need to be a bit flexible with your dates)  As a single traveller joining a tour, which already covers the minimum number of pax, then no extra charges will be made. However, should you which to book a private tour solely for one person then you will incur single persons supplement charges, which will depend on which tour you require.

I am an independent disabled traveler what tours can you offer me?

Borneo Experiences is committed to giving everyone of any ability or disability a fair chance to explore Borneo. Depending on your level of disability some of our tours will be possible for you to do. Please seek your doctor’s advice before booking any tours, not only with us, also advise us if you have medication that needs to be kept cool whilst on tour. Ice packs are ok for 24hrs but you may be in places where there is no electricity or use of a fridge is unavailable. Regarding medication, always ensure you can find the medication here in Borneo. Some items may not be available so you may need to bring extra supplies with you. Do not forget to declare these items when you arrive here in Kuching. Please contact us in advance with your wish list and we will see how best to serve you with such things as ground floor accommodation, pharmacy, tours and transfers.

Please Note: All prices mentioned are in USD unless otherwise stated. 

Food & drink

Being how Malaysia is an Islamic country, is all the food there halal.

Malaysia is a multi-racial country and the food on offer here in Kuching will suit all types

Is the food always spicy?

When ordering your meal you ask the waiter to either make it spicy or just leave it natural…there will be at least one waiter if not all of them that can speak English.

Can I buy English/European food in Kuching?

Yes, you can, although only in select restaurants or cafes.

I have dietary requirements, will this be a problem?

We can accommodate most dietary requirements but in some out-of-the-way places, it can be very limited but we can always provide the required diet as long as we are given enough notice. To date, this has never been a problem… Please let us know at the time of booking of any food requirements or allergies and we will pass the information onto your group leader or guide.

Flashcards are a great way to get your point across in a strange country when you do not speak the local language but do enjoy their food.

What will the food be like on my trip?

Each tour comes with its own itinerary and its own set meals. The meals provided may be either simple breakfasts and “on the go” lunches. To experience what its like to live as part of a tribe then we try to get you to eat the same food that they eat…this won’t includes the local wildlife…Vegetables etc. will be taken in to supplement your diet but to make the tour be as authentic as possible and to give you a better understanding of how these people survive in such seemingly, harsh conditions, most of the food will be grown locally, as in from the jungle. Vegetarians need not worry.

Can I drink the water in Borneo?

There are only a few places in the world where the water is safe to drink straight from the tap. Bottled water here is relatively inexpensive and when on tour we will provide a certain amount of it. The local people always boil the water from the tap first, let it cool down and then drink. Vegetable or food cooked in water should be ok depending on the source of the water.

Is tipping commonplace in Kuching? 

No, you do not need to tip in the bars and restaurants but if you feel you have had a good service then please do but it is not expected.

When visiting any of the homestay/ Longhouse style programs then it is expected but not compulsory to bring a gift.

Your guide will advise you or if you can maybe bring something from your own country but please no sweets.

 

Connectivity

Will I have Wi-Fi?

Around Kuching, it should not be a problem, depending on your network. Maybe a bit slower or faster than you may be used to but defiantly useable.
Outside of the city then things get little slower, in the rural areas the Internet can be either on or off, depending on your location.

Is there electricity in the Longhouse?

Some of our Longhouse tour locations are hooked up to the main grid, others rely on small generators which are turned on only for a small amount of time in the evening to provide light and a chance for you to charge your phones etc.

Is it 240v?

Yes, from a 3-pin socket, which also accepts two pins with a bit of a wiggle.

Will I need a special adaptor?

Depending on your place of departure, Malaysia uses the same type of sockets and plugs as are available in the UK.

Should I buy a local SIM card?

Before you buy a local sim card, make sure your phone is not locked into a specific provider. It may pay you to have a second phone like a Nokia 3310 for such a purpose

 

The Legal bit

Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is necessary for all Borneo Experiences tours. You should take out travel insurance before you leave home or book any tours. You must provide proof of your travel insurance when you arrive, register and before you go on tour.

What does my policy need to cover?

Your travel insurance should be ‘comprehensive’, providing full cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability, with a minimum coverage of US$200,000. We also strongly recommend it to cover cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you obtain travel insurance through us, you acknowledge that you are satisfied with the level of insurance we have arranged.

How do I find out about the visa requirements?

We always recommend that passengers check with their local embassy as visa rules can change without warning. Embassy websites in your home country will always have information about requirements, visa costs and will provide the required forms. Please note: No refund is available to any travelers attempting to enter Malaysia without the necessary documents.
VOA or Visa on Arrival is possible in Malaysia; depending on which country, you are departing from.

How do I organise my Visa?

Please contact the relevant local embassy.

 

Money and Security

Please Note: All prices mentioned are in USD unless otherwise stated. 

What is the currency of my destination? How much should I take in credit cards/cash? Can I use my credit card during my trip?

The local currency here in Malaysia is Ringgit. You will see it abbreviated in a few different ways RM or MYR…RM is the most popular symbol used here in Borneo. Our bank notes come in denominations of
RM100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and RM1. Coins or Sens as it known as locally are available from at 50, 20, 10 and 5 Sens. Older coinage such as 2 and 1 Sens coins are hardly used due to their lack of monetary value and shopkeepers generally round up the price to make it easier for both parties

Traveler’s cheques are not widely used here, a better idea is to bring your credit or ATM card. Visa cards are more widely accepted here.

I am concerned about the political stability of Borneo?

Here at Borneo Experiences, safety is paramount to guests, our leaders and operators. With this in mind, we monitor Borneo’s political situation very closely. Should the political climate here become unstable for any reason, then we will make operational decisions based on what is happing on the ground here in Borneo. Should for any reason your scheduled the tour suddenly becomes a “Hot Spot” then we will have to cancel said tour and make alternative arrangements for you. You can check several travel advisory websites before you decide to leave and whilst you are on tour. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malaysia

How safe are my belongings whilst on the trip?

Whilst we take all the precautions, we deem necessary to make sure your belongings are safe; we cannot look over your shoulder all the time. We require a certain amount of participation from you. Please do not leave money lying around or “Flash the cash”.  You will be going into some areas where the local population manage to get by on the bare minimum. A newly purchased camera or handphone, left out on a table in a café may be too tempting for a local thief so always be aware of your surrounding. You would not act like this at home so please do not become a statistic here and stay vigilant at all time. Travel insurance may replace the item but not the photographic memories. Carry with you, a money belt, padlock and spare key for any lockers that maybe available and zip locks for your bags.

What is the best way to carry money?

Cash is always king but ensures you keep it safe. Use a money belt or take out just what you need for that day, leave the rest back in the hotel’s safe or in the room’s safety deposit box. Try to use small dominations of cash if you can. Leave money of high denominations for booking tours, paying for accommodation or that souvenir you just must have. ATM’s are dotted all over the city and available at the airport but make sure you understand the charges that may incur when you use your cards abroad. If your cards carry a Visa sign then you should not have a problem obtaining cash.

 

Moneychangers are available in Kuching but they are not open 24hrs

ATM’s are many in their numbers and require your cards to display the Visa sign for them to work. Kuching airport also has a couple of ATM machines.

Money (cash/credit cards)
Travelers’ cheques – keep a note of the serial numbers of your traveler’s cheques, also the emergency contact numbers.
Keep these details separately from the cheques.
Money belt/ pouch or wallet.
Pocket calculator (useful when exchanging money)

 

What essential documents do I need to bring on tour?

It is important that you always travel with your current passport, visas, travel insurance and Borneo Experiences documentation. We recommend that you take photocopies of all of these items just in case you lose or damage any of them…especially your passport…a person without a passport abroad is a person without a country. Keep records of your flight details to hand, local and home contact numbers, your accommodation address (you may need to pass it on to a taxi driver to make it easy for him to understand) and any medical notes you may have.

Where do I go if I lose my passport or wallet?

As soon as you are aware something is missing make sure you inform your guide, he will di his utmost to retrace the steps prior to you misplacing it/them. Should you lose them outside of the tour, then go directly to the local police station where they will ask you to fill out the appropriate form.
Where passports are concerned, contact the local embassy in relation to your country of origin. Your travel insurance company may cope with the type of situation with just one phone call…

What do I do if I miss my airport pickup due to a late flight?

Please keep in constant contact with us if you feel you may have an issue regarding arrival times or if you have a scheduled airport transfer. Taxis are available at the airport but we will not reimburse you for any delays, missed transfer or alternative transport involved in situations that are out of our control.

What do I do if I miss my flight there?

Please keep in constant contact with us if you feel you may have an issue regarding flights and arrival times. We cannot reimburse you for any accommodation or tours book due to missing your flight, regardless of the situation at the time. For information on reimbursements, please contact your travel insurance company.

What do I do if I miss my flight due to the tour being late back?

If, you off the grid on one of our Longhouse/ jungle adventures we always recommend that you allow at least one day after the tour if you are flying out direct to your next destination. This also gives you some flexibility should your flights have been changed, whilst you were out of contact. For information on reimbursements, please contact your travel insurance company.

 

Personnel & Medication

Will refrigeration be available for medicines?

Availability of refrigeration cannot be guaranteed due to some of the locations of your chosen tour. When trekking or in homestay environments, you cannot rely on access to refrigeration. Please advise us in the first instance that you are traveling with medication that requires refrigeration.

What are the medical and vaccination requirements?

Medical and vaccination requirements differ between nations and as we are not medical practitioners, unfortunately, cannot advise on this issue. Please see your local GP or travel doctor for details and advice about current vaccination requirements.

What if I get ill or injured on the trip and unable to continue?

Our leaders are trained to deal with these situations and we will endeavor to get you help as quickly as possible. If you must leave the trip early due to illness, our local offices will help you find appropriate medical care and ensure someone at home is aware of the situation. We will do whatever we can to get you home or on your onward journey. Depending on your travel insurance status, which is compulsory on all our trips, they should cover any costs incurred should this situation arise.

Can I buy insect repellent out there?

Mosquito repellent containing Deet is not available in Malaysia, so we suggest you bring enough for your vacation away. Local repellents are available and work quite well and can be purchased from the local pharmacy.

What happens if a snake or any of the smaller bugs bite me?

Depending on the type of snake or bug bite you may incur, help is at hand. The local people have their own way of dealing with this type of thing. Should the bite be more serious or you have an allergic reaction, then the Batang Ai Tropical Medical Clinic is just over an hour away from any of the jungle tours that we send you on. There they are used to dealing with a wide range of medical issues that may occur whilst you are in the jungle. From here, they will assess the situation and decide if you require further treatment. They will keep you there until you are stable enough to relocate to the closest hospital to your location.

Will there be a first aider on hand?

All guides have had to take a basic first aid course. Just basic skills to look after you until they can get you to a hospital if required.

 

Personal Health Check List

  • Personal First aid kit (plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, etc)
  • Personal medication/prescriptions Prescription glasses
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • High protection sunscreen (25+)
  • Lip balm/lip salve
  • Hat/wide brim hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Antihistamine/insect bite cream
  • Antibacterial gel/wipes
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Travel vaccination certificates
  • After-sun moisturiser
  • Anti-malaria pills (if recommended by a doctor)
  • Aspirin and/or Paracetamol
  • After Bite
  • Rehydration powder (salts & glucose)
  • Anti-diarrhoea pills (consult your doctor for more detailed advice)
  • Water purifying tablets

 

What to bring

What type of luggage do you recommend?

You may be, trekking through the forests or simply taking a boat tour, either way, you will need a backpack or day-bag to carry your personal belongings. A 70-80litre backpack should suffice for your main luggage depending on what you pack and the time you are away. For the daytime, you will need a day – bag to carry such things as water, food, camera, chargers or spare batteries. Along with, wallet, passport and anything else you feel you need.

When we take you trekking or off on an overnight adventure you will be required to carry your own luggage, so pack accordingly. Your main bag can be stored in our baggage room at the Singgahsana Lodge.

Where can I store excess luggage?

The Singgahsana Lodge our backpackers’ hostel has a baggage storage facility that is free of charge to all our guests and those that travel with us.
Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?

We recommend that you bring along a silk sleeping bag liner only. The temperature at night can drop quite quick but if feel safer or more comfortable in your own sleeping bag them make sure it is compatible with the 26 to 35c temperatures that we experience out here.

What clothes and footwear should I take on treks?

None of our tours will be experiencing extremely cold weather but you still need to bring along plenty of socks for the daytime use. Good strong, light, walking boots are better to hike in than open-toed attire. Bring with you a pair of lighter footwear for after you days hiking so your feet can relax a bit. Ensure that any footwear you bring along is waterproof. The humidity is quite high here and getting things dry, like socks, can take some time.

Please see our shopping list for what we consider you should bring along but you may want to add some more personal items as well. Just remember you will be carrying this bag(s) so pack and repack several times.

Luggage

  • Soft luggage, backpack or bag with wheels and straps
  • Daypack
  • Padlocks (and keys) a daypack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for daytrips.

Clothing

Both of our accommodations, the Village House and Singgahsana Lodge, offer a laundry service but if you are going on tour overnight or longer we recommend you choose clothing that is easy to wash and fast drying. Women should bring a skirt or sarong that covers their knees and a headscarf if you decide to visit some of the many mosques, churches and other places of worship. (Men also need to cover their knees in the mosques) If jungle trekking, or on a safari, it is recommended you wear beige, light green or light brown clothing. It is also a good idea to bring some smarter clothes for those nights when you fancy a night on the town. Cloths in Kuching are readily available and it may save you a lot of money by buying them here and donating them to a local charity when you leave. Just make sure you bring enough for the first few nights. Leech socks are available from the Singgahsana Lodge. You may find the sizes displayed on the garments here are one size under the European scale, so either try on first or buy the next size up ie: M to L

Warm fleece, Long-sleeved top (for evenings when mosquitoes are out)
Long trousers (zip-off trousers are very versatile) Jeans/trousers/shorts

T-Shirts/cotton shirts Socks/underwear
Biodegradable washing detergent

 

Camping

  • Inner sleeping bag
  • Travel pillow
  • Ground sheet (or polythene sheet) if your tour requires you to sleep under the stars.
  • Head torch, Spare torch & batteries.
  • Wet Weather
  • Light Raincoat
  • Small Umbrella
  • Waterproof cover bags for protecting your day bag while trekking
  • Waterproof & windproof jacket
  • Light Waterproof trousers
  • Sleeping
  • Eye mask
  • Alarm clock
  • Earplugs
  • Night clothes/sleepwear

Walking or Hiking

  • Comfortable walking shoes with good grip Sandals/flip-flops
  • Hiking poles/walking sticks
  • Maps /GPS
  • Trekking socks
  • Leech Socks
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Waterproof pouch for your documents

Sightseeing

  • Binoculars / Mono-scope
    Camera equipment: Film or memory cards. Spare batteries and charger,
  • Dust / waterproof camera bag. Moisture absorbent sachets, Camera cleaning equipment
  • Spare Spectacles / Glasses
  • Travel Accessories
  • Electrical Adaptor
  • Spare Leads
  • Thumb Drive
  • Media Storage Device and Bungi straps / flexible hooked straps
  • Waterproof Self Adhesive Repair Cloth Tape / Gaffer Tape
  • Super Glue
  • Luggage Name Tags
  • Padlocks & Spare Keys

Personal items

  • Toiletries
  • Travel hair dryer
  • Shaving equipment
  • Small Bath towel or Micro Towel
  • Mobile phone – check you have international roaming access
  • Rubber flip-flops for showers
  • Small mirror
  • Small sewing kit & safety pins
  • Sun Blocker
  • After sun
  • Water Bottle
  • Basic Medication
  • Brush
  • Comb
  • Razor Blades
  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Diary
  • Notebook
  • Address Book
  • Sun Glasses
  • Torch/flashlight

Personal Health

  • Personal First aid kit (plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, etc)
  • Personal medication/prescriptions Prescription glasses
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • High protection sunscreen (25+)
  • Lip balm/lip salve
  • Hat/wide brim hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Antihistamine/insect bite cream
  • Antibacterial gel/wipes
  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Travel vaccination certificates
  • After-sun moisturiser
  • Anti-malaria pills (if recommended by a doctor)
  • Aspirin and/or Paracetamol
  • After Bite
  • Rehydration powder (salts & glucose)
  • Anti-diarrhoea pills (consult your doctor for more detailed advice)
  • Water purifying tablets

Swimming

  • Swimming Costume
  • Micro Towel
  • Snorkel & Mask
  • Rash Vest.
  • Sun Cream
  • Blocker

Extras

  • Scissors
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Comfortable day bag
  • Local language phrasebook
  • Personal audio player
  • Portable games (playing cards)
  • Reading material
  • Photos or postcards of your home country, family & pets to share with locals.
  • Tin Opener
  • Knife, fork and spoon
  • Spare bootlaces
  • Tweezers