I consider myself quite an independent traveller, and at times in the past I’ve been frustrated by tours that felt too restrictive. But when it came to visiting Borneo, I knew I wanted to be part of a group, and it was unquestionably the right decision. I’m glad I let Intrepid introduce me to this incredible island.
When I decided to visit Thailand, seeing Elephants was top of my wish list. But I was aware that many of the Elephant tourism opportunities were quite inhumane. I had no idea the scale of the problem. Before my trip I did a great deal of research and found one organisation that I believe genuinely has the animals’ best interests at heart – Elephant Nature Park. I had an amazing day experience there, which I cover in a separate post. I only wish I’d had longer to spend there. Here I would like to briefly explain what I found out about the Elephant industry in Southeast Asia. The Asian Elephant has suffered at the hands of humans in Southeast Asia for centuries. However, in recent years, as tourism in this region has boomed, things have taken a new twist. Countless tour agencies offer day trips and longer where you can ‘learn to be a mahout’, an ambition no welfare-conscious tourist should have. The trade of the Mahout is unbelievably cruel.
In 2014 I spent 3 amazing weeks exploring Malaysian Borneo. It’s hard to pick a highlight from that trip, I did so many incredible things – climbing Mt Kinabalu, hiking in Bako National park, seeing Proboscis Monkeys, Sun bears and Orangutans, to name just a few. But before I started planning my trip to Borneo, only one of those things was on my list – Orangutans.