Family travel snap: looking for monkeys in Borneo

This month, Lonely Planet Kids art director Andy Mansfield is out and about exploring Borneo with his family.

Kids Blog - Andy
Relaxing after a hard morning snorkelling © Andy Mansfield

What’s the story behind this photo?

I think that's fairly obvious - not a lot! This is a photo of my wife Debs and son Rufus (10) after a busy morning snorkelling at Pandan Pandan island off the Sabah coast in Borneo. We were about halfway through our Bornean adventure and several days of activity in the sweltering heat were beginning to catch up with us.

After a BBQ lunch we spent an hour kayaking along the unspoilt beach before learning how to plant coral. The reefs in the area were beautiful, but there were clearly areas that had been damaged and it was good to feel we were helping preserve the coral for future generations in our own little way.

This day was one of our best in Borneo. The early morning drive to Pandan Pandan through paddy fields and villages with the imposing Mount Kinabalu in the distance was an amazing taster of what was to come. Later in the afternoon we hired a boat and driver and went in search of the endemic Proboscis monkey. Rufus was determined to see one as we'd promised him his own cuddly version if we saw wild ones. I'm happy to say Rufus got his monkey! He called it Nosey. We were apparently very lucky to see three large groups along the river, as well as some huge water monitor lizards basking in the sun.

Kid's perspective

Rufus: 'The jellyfish were cool. We tried to get one with the kayak oar but the jellyfish were too slippy.'

Andy’s tips for visiting Borneo with kids

1) There are so many things to see so plan your time well with plenty of down time.

2) It works well to do trips in the morning when it is cool and keep the afternoons free for R&R to recharge the batteries.

3) Start your trip leisurely and build up to Kuala Lumpur at the end so that the kids can acclimatise before hitting the city.

Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?

We're going camping to Corfe Castle, Dorset in August, but we've definitely got the exotic travel bug. I think Central America might be our next far-flung holiday -  once we've saved up!

Lastly, complete the sentence:

When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always make sure we have...

…passports, tickets, mossie spray, Rufus and Nosey (he comes everywhere with us). The last-minute checklist is endless, but being organised does make it slightly less stressful!

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