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North Sumatra/Borneo/Philippines December (1 Viewer)


Well-known member

I'm planning a 3 week trip in December (8-30th) to the above area and would like some information and opinions, I'll add to this thread if I have further questions in the hope that some kind souls will reply

A few points to consider:

  • This is trip I'll be making with my non birding (though very tolerant & vaguely interested) partner
  • We will be on a pretty tight budget ($50/day each)
  • Unlikely to be able to afford guides other than for river cruise and hiking in Gunung Leuser so will most likely be independent birding
  • Flexible on dates, but hoping North Sumatra/Sabah/Philippines is a logical order!
  • If we see wild Orangutan not only will that will make the trip, but also increase partners tolerance towards birding exploits!

1) My partner and I are planning to spend 5 days in North Sumatra, in particular a 3 day hike in the Gunung Leuser NP with either "Thomas Jungle tours" or "Sumatra paradise tours", does anybody on here have experience with either company?

2) I can't seem to find very much information on birding in Gunung Leuser NP, and very few trip reports save this and this. Can anybody help? It sounds like the area is either not well known with tourists or not of great interest. Also if anybody could comment on the logistics from Medan to GLNP that would be fantastic!

3) There is plenty of info regarding Borneo so I won't ask for birding information as I'm sure I'll be able to locate it. My main question is would it be feasible to "do" Kinabatangan river (3 nights), Sepilok (2 nights) and Taman Negara/Mt Kinabalu (3 nights) in this time frame including travelling between? Would it be better to spend 2 nights (3 days) in the Kinabatangan basin and longer in Taman Negara/Mt Kinabalu? I understand this would drastically reduce my chances of Bornean Ground cuckoo, but I'm just as happy with a diversity of species. I should point out that the Sepilok stay is non-negotiable with my long suffering partner, though I'm hoping that Bornean bristlehead with compensate!

4) We would like to spend 5 days in the Philippines flying from KK, would Cebu or Manila be our best option for a mixture of beach/snorkelling and birding? I was drawn towards Cebu for obvious reasons, but I understand the bird in question is practically impossible given our time constraints...

Thanks for any opinions or answers given!

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