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Tentative Project Borneo Trip March 2023 (1 Viewer)


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I am thinking of going on a month long trip to Borneo next March.
Aside from birdwatching (main interest), I'd also like to take the time for herping (with guides - I can't do that by myself), in the same locations I'll be visiting for birds, and diving off Semporna (maybe 3-4 days towards the end).

I've checked cloudbirders and the month with the most reports seems to be March (or February) - is this because of bird activity, or migration? I'm not so interested in shorebirds, so migration is less of a factor for me in deciding when to go (I'm guessing I'll be much more focused on residents).
From what I understand climate doesn't vary much and rainfall is more or less evenly distributed year round, is that correct?

I don't like group tours, and a private, custom tailored trip might be too expensive. If I was to travel by myself, will I be able to find good knowledgeable bird guides at each location? And can I travel independently from point A to point B without losing too much time?
I'm guessing that if I stay a few days at places like Borneo Rainforest Lodge they'll have specialist birdwatching guides. What if I visit government managed wildlife areas - will they be specialized enough, and available at the right times of the day?

Looks like the standard circuits visit mostly Sabah, but I'll have quite a bit of time. Is it worth, and doable one one's own, to visit Sarawak too (which areas)?

Thanks in advance for your help!
I've been working on an independent trip to Sabah with a friend for Oct. 22/Nov 4 with a basic itinerary of Mt. Kinabalu, Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley Field Centre and Sepilok. It seems like it will be easy to get between locations using local busses as the routes are straightforward. Alternately, I'm sure that transport can be arranged through local guides.

I'm not sure about local guides for Mt. Kanabalu but Kinabatangan River we are using Romzi as our guide (+60 11-3152 1176 on whatsapp). He charges 400RM/pp/day including two day-time boat trips. On the Kinabatangan River we are staying at the Menagoll B&B that is run by Romzi's sister(?) and he arranged our booking there (100RM/pp/night).

Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC) has their won bird guides is my understanding and you can arrange to have one with you throughout your stay, or book them for just a part of your stay. Borneo Rainforest Lodge is exorbitantly expensive so best to stay at the DVFC itself. It is tricky to figure out who to contact at their office as they seem to hope that everyone will just book through one of the tour operators on Sabah. However, it is cheaper to do it through the DVFC office and they can be reached at +60 17-823 5638 (whatsapp).

You might join the Borneo Bird Club facebook grous to enquire about guides/info for other areas. I won't have time to do so but seems well worth also visiting areas such as the Crocker Range (Rafflesia Centre), Klias Swamp, Paya Maga, Trusmadi etc.

A friend also suggested Maliau (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L6115129) as a more off the beaten track alternative to Danum Valley, asid it ewas amazing and also saw a Sun Bear there in addition to Bristleheads and other great birds.
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