Overall our trip was fantastic and a really good experience for both of us. We traveled as a couple on this trip and were well accommodated for in the hotels we stayed at and also on any transport we used whilst in Borneo. To keep this review concise we will break it into a few sections.
Overall the places we stayed at on this trip were good. There was a lot of variety, everything from basic longhouse or camp stay all the way up to hotel and resorts. Personally, on both the stay at the longhouse and the night we spent at Camp 5 in Mulu National Park we didn't get particularly good nights sleep. We did not expect much from these places, but overall they were alright pretty basic. We opted not to make use of the shower facilities there out of personal preference, as it would only be a few hours before we would be checking into another place with better facilities.
On the other end of the scale the hotels and resorts we stayed at were quite good. The Dreamtel in Kota Kinabalu was very good and we spent an extra night there due to changes in our itinerary because of the earthquake at the time. The main highlight with accommodation was definitely the Myne River Resort. The location was great and it was a pleasant place to stay. The room we stayed in was basic, but practical with everything we needed for a comfortable stay. There was a good selection of food there to choose from, usually in the form of a buffet or having several dishes place on the groups table and helping ourselves. It was a great place to stay for 2 nights and enjoy all the wildlife river cruises.
On this trip there was A LOT of travelling around, but it is the only way you are going to get to see all the great things that Borneo has to offer. We used a variety of minibuses on this trip, all of them had air conditioning and were pretty simple. We did have a larger bus in Sabah for a long trip, which was a much comfier option. There were also 2 ferry journeys on this trip, both taking place on the same day. Again they were pretty simple, but comfortable. The second of them was about a 4 hour trip in total. We also had 2 internal flights, which were both under 30 minutes each and pretty hassle free.
The food in Borneo is very good and tasty with a relatively high standard of preparation. However we did find it quite repetitive after a while. One of us is vegetarian and found most of the options available were very bland and the selection was not that varied. Some of the best food we actually had was in Mulu National Park. The Café there had a pretty decent selection of food there with very cheap prices. It was also the best place we had breakfast at. We are not big fans of having rice or noodles for breakfast and Mulu offered some great pancakes for breakfast.
Our guide took us to all sorts of places each day. He helped with ordering the food and ensuring that what we had ordered was suitable for a vegetarian. He took us to a lot of places ranging from outdoor markets where we sampled the excellent street food in Limbang, all the way up to eating in nice hotels and resorts.
We had a couple of nights in the City of Kota Kinabalu due to itinerary changes and on both nights we opted to venture out on our own to find somewhere to eat by ourselves. We found a nice place called Little Italy, which was something we had been deeply craving. We ended up eating there both times we were in the city and both the food and staff were excellent there.
As all our breakfasts were included on this trip we only had to buy lunch and dinner where it was not provided. Depending on where you are staying you can expect to pay about 25 to 50 Rm per day. We opted not to buy alcoholic drinks until the end of the trip when we were at the final resort so we had better control on our money. The very first place we ate out in Miri I recall it being about 16 Rm for a large bottle of Tiger Beer that one of our members bought.
We opted not to exchange money at the airport in Kuala Lumpur as our operations executive stated to us that we could change money at the hotel we were staying at on the first night in Miri. However they did not offer this service to us and we had to go elsewhere to change money. We went to a local mall where the people behind the counter were less than helpful. The were very particular on the notes we presented to them (US Dollars). They pretty much threw back any note that had a mark on it or wasn't pristine in condition. This led to a lot of frustration on our side after a long journey. We eventually got our money changed there, but had only changed enough for the days we would spend in the National Park, which was about 400Rm, some of which went into the tipping kitty so we had less still for those 3 days. We managed very well with this money in the National Park though as the food on offer in the café was very cheap. When we got to Limbang we went in search of another money changer to get enough for the rest of our trip. There were plenty there, but it took a while before we found a place we could actually use. The first place would only accept $50 or $100 notes, which we did not travel with. The second place only exchanged Brunei Dollars, which we had been warned about. But the final place we checked was excellent. They changed our money without any hassle and spoke perfect English. So we recommend you change your money in Kuala Lumpur Airport before you leave for Borneo.
In total we exchanged about $400 each, which covered all of our food and drinks we had to get plus souvenirs. It also covered the amount we put into the tipping kitty and the tip we made to our guide at the end of the trip. We still had quite a bit of money left over at the end of the trip so you can get by pretty well without spending a lot of money in Borneo.