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Borneo Off The Beaten Track

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1. Posted by brassjc (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,

I'm a seasoned traveller and love exploring alone with my gf rather than booking a tour of somewhere, in fact I hate tours!

I'm visiting Borneo mid this year, does anyone have any places they loved or wished they had more time at, yet not too touristy? I'm especially interested in the ecological and botanical side of things, don't mind a trek, and have my dive licence.

Thanks in advance.

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5642 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Haven't bee to Borneo yet, but did some reading in the past (guidebooks etc), and I think the Maliau Basin might be something for you!
It is located along the untarred (plans to tar it though are there!) southern road from east to west Sabah.

Just my 2 cents;)

3. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1116 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Its SCARY, when the term OFF THE BEATEN track is used by everyone... Like its the cool thing to do, and so everyone is in search of the places where tourist don't go to. Its Borneo, that whole island is like an OFF BEATEN TRACK zone. People should be satisfied with its touristic spots, because there are great reasons why they are touristic. Unless you are there do some job for the national geographics or the sociology department of some university.

Borneo is the 3rd largest island in the world, and it is so beautiful. But the demand for the so called OFF BEATEN will threaten its wonders. I want to revisit that island, so I can visit Brunei and the Kalimantan section, Indonesia.

People should decide if they want to be a TOURIST or a cultural anthropologist with imaginary degrees.

I am not a hypocrite, I do get the whole, "travelling to non touristic places." But I am very careful that my presence or my behaviour does not rob the place of its natural beauty or ruin its culture.

4. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I think Swept Away missed the whole point of what Brassjc was trying to explain. The heading may be misleading. but what he is trying to tell is that he is interested in "not too touristy" places that have elements of ecological and botanical side to them. (not "travelling to non touristic places" as stated by Swept Away!There is a huge difference !!! Anyway, there is such a thing as psychocentric and allocentric traveller and it has nothing to do with a person being a cultural anthropologist with imaginary degree!).

Back to brassjc...what you can do is visit Danum Valley Conservation Area, 70km into the pristine forest from Lahad Datu. You can stay in dorms at the Danum Valley Research Centre. DVCA is superb place for your to enrich your ecological and botanical knowledge. There are well-trained guides to take you on the trails...short, medium or long. The rhino trail is a real challenge and it will test your trekking skills! The Royal Society of London is directly involved in the DVCA, and you have researchers who will be more than glad to take you along during the daily outings.

In addition to DVCA, you can also visit Malua and the Tabin Wildlife Reserve (close by to DVCA). The guys in DVCA will help if you are keen to visit these two places. Well, while in DVCA, you might also bump into researchers from Maliau Basin!


5. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1116 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Quoting danalasta

I think Swept Away missed the whole point of what Brassjc was trying to explain. The heading may be misleading.

I wasn't thinking about brassj, it was more like a reaction to a statement and not the person.

6. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

brassjc was seeking advice/help. " The Travel Helpers are Travellerspoint members who have volunteered to help others plan their trip by answering questions". As travel helper, I saw it that way!Needn't elaborate further!;)

7. Posted by brassjc (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Great advice Danalasta, thanks so much!

Swept Away I apologise for the lack of clarity in going for a catchy title, but you couldn't have been further away from my point or intention. However, thanks for your rant, I enjoyed it thoroughly and hope in future you can play it cool as your profile suggests.

8. Posted by 3rdmonky (Budding Member 15 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Just been to Borneo and most of the good stuff is pre packaged. Most people climb Mt Kinabalu in 2 days/1 night. A Dutch guy & I did it in just one day - when we got to the top we were the ONLY people within sight. Still, it wrecked us for days :) Not sure if this is what you are after.

At Kota Kinabalu you can catch a very cheap ferry to the nearby islands like Manukan - these aren't advertised a lot but you will find a reasonable number of people there. Still, they're not as built up as Thailand and look just as nice.

If you go to Sandakan then the orang utans are extremely touristy. The nearby proboscis monkeys will also have lots of people, but much fewer for the early morning feeding.

You could check out the Rafflesia national park - I hear good things or perhaps the national parks in Brunei, they don't sound like they cop much tourists.

Also try Indonesian Borneo, though I haven't been there.

Hope has been of some help. If not, just wander off the beaten track & take plenty of water & medi-kits :)

9. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

hi brassjc,

feel free to PM, and maybe I could give you some idea how to go about getting to some places not in the "pre packaged" way. Having worked with UNDP and conservation bodies in Sabah & Sarawak, I could put you on to some of my contacts. For example you could get to see the probosis monkeys in Padang Teratak or Klias Wetlands ( well, you have read my piece on the "Flying Dutchman"!), like wise, at Danum , you can see Orang Utan in the wild! Maybe you could also try trekking to Crocker Range, etc..!


10. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1116 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

I don't like package tours, because I assume its always more expensive. But I learned that some destinations are best visited through a package tour.

Are people really against package tours because they don't want to feel like they are visiting someplace touristic or they just want to SAVE MONEY or be ultra stingy??? I guess I am the type who just need to pay less.

I'm just thinking that package tours are not so bad or hideous. One adventurous or bored tourist ventures to the off beaten track and spreads the word online, that is officially the end of that place being off beaten.

Borneo has no shortage of ultra beautiful tourist spots, why crave for the areas that are not on the tourist trail. They are not on the tourist map, because they are not in the top 100 sites to visit, and yet some people must have to conquer these spaces and potentially ruin them.