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Meet Junior, our extremely versatile and knowledgeable guide.

Did you know the male Asian Rhinoceros has flaps on its penis that unfold during intercourse to lock it into place?

Neither did I until I met Junior, our tour guide of Sabah, Malaysia.

As an independent traveller, I naturally veer away from organised tours. I enjoy researching my destinations and deciding where and when to visit. I also have quite a strong dislike of being told what to do!

However, on a recent trip to Borneo, my itinerary was entirely decided by others and Junior, the tour guide appointed.

Junior is a Bornean man whose huge knowledge of local bird and animal life made him a fascinating companion whilst visiting Sabah. He told us many stories (primarily themed on sex!) relating to the local animal species as well as being very open regarding his personal history (although the circumcision story may have been TMI!).

Although we had a defined schedule, Junior was open to our feedback and made changes where required. For example, after some whining by myself of the lack of Roti Prata, Junior scheduled a stop at Rose Banana Leaf Restaurant in Sandakan for some amazing and delicious Indian food.

My request for Roti Prata was heartily delivered by Junior

Junior had access to certain local attractions prior to scheduled openings and knew the best time to visit particular attractions. He was able to identify bird and gibbon calls in the rainforest and point out recent orangutan habitats.

We certainly would never have found the elephants on the Kinabatangan River without him and would have missed numerous bird spotting opportunities. His knowledge and helpfulness made our experience in Borneo much richer than it would have otherwise been.

In contrast, on the same trip we had a tour guide for the day in Kuala Lumpur. This guide was unable to read his audience, lectured us continuously on historic information that none of us were interested in and talked over us a number of times. However, even in this instance where we might have fared better without a guide, the experience did enable the group to further bond, even if it was uniting against the so-called authority!

So, in summary, if you are visiting somewhere new, try a tour guide, even if just for a day. I guarantee you’ll learn something new, might make a new friend and maybe even learn something about yourself too!