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Sophie on a canopy walkway at Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley, Borneo

Sophie, Southeast Asia Specialist

Sophie's love for travel began whilst she was studying for her degree in history at the University of York. It started with a climb of Kilimanjaro and continued with a three month work project at an NGO in Mali, West Africa after graduation.

Inspired to work in the travel industry she moved from Manchester to Brighton to begin a role in adventure travel. It was here that her love for Southeast Asia developed, culminating in a trip to Thailand and Cambodia. This led her to Audley, adding Borneo and Indonesia to the mix, with Borneo quickly becoming one of her top destinations; combining her love of trekking, wildlife and culture, it's perfect. She has also recently been designated an Audley Responsible Travel specialist for parts of Myanmar.

In her spare time, Sophie enjoys travel writing, reading and exploring the countryside, as well as trying to cook some of the amazing food she's tried on her travels.

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Audley Travel specialist Sophie

Start planning your trip to Southeast Asia with Sophie

Kuching, Borneo

I recommend visiting - Kuching

Most travellers to Borneo focus on Sabah and the wildlife, so Kuching can get a little overlooked, but it's one of my favourite places on the island. A gorgeous riverside town, it keeps in touch with its colonial past as well as embracing the many different ethnic groups and religions which make up the state of Sarawak.

With a mixture of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, as well as the indigenous tribes, it offers a window into the life, culture and history of Borneo. I highly recommend a stroll along the beautiful waterfront, eating some of the delicious street food as the sun sets. From Kuching, you can also take day trips to Bako National Park, or stay in a traditional longhouse with the Iban tribe.

Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp, Khao Sok National Park

I recommend staying at - Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp

Simple

Both camps at Elephant Hills are brilliant, but the scenery at the Rainforest Camp is just stunning.

You stay in a luxury 'tent' which is floating in the middle of the Cheow Larn Lake, surrounded by mountains, jungle and wildlife. You can jump straight from your tent into the lake to cool off, and you'll be awoken in the morning by the sound of gibbons calling to each other across the lake. Kayak around the many islands and find yourself completely at one with nature, yet with all the luxuries of modern life.

I'll never forget when…

After trekking for three hours through the Borneo jungle in the Danum Valley, my guide stood completely still and began listening for something. Out of the trees, just to my left, was a male orangutan. He seemed completely unconcerned by us and carried on eating fruit for a couple of minutes before disappearing into the forest.

This was my first experience of a completely wild orangutan and I felt so honoured to have seen him, especially as we were the only ones that day to spot him. Add that to the feeling of being in primary rainforest, combined to make the whole experience pretty magical.

Photos of Sophie

  • Sophie at the Royal Balinese Family compound in Ubud, Indonesia Sophie at the Royal Balinese Family compound in Ubud, Indonesia
  • Sophie on a canopy walkway in the Danum Valley, Borneo Sophie on a canopy walkway in the Danum Valley, Borneo
  • Sophie cycling in Sukhothai, Thailand Sophie cycling in Sukhothai, Thailand
  • Sophie at the top of Mount Kinabalu, Borneo Sophie at the top of Mount Kinabalu, Borneo
  • Sophie in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand Sophie in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
  • Sophie having traditional Thanaka applied by a local in Salay, Myanmar Sophie having traditional Thanaka applied by a local in Salay, Myanmar
  • Sophie at the temple of Tanah Lot, Indonesia Sophie at the temple of Tanah Lot, Indonesia

Photos taken by Sophie

  • Fisherman casting a net Fisherman casting a net
  • Sunset over the Kinabatangan River Sunset over the Kinabatangan River
  • Punting through the shallows on the Lemanak River Punting through the shallows on the Lemanak River
  • Guide looking out over the canopy, Danum Valley Guide looking out over the canopy, Danum Valley
  • Blessings from the novice monks in Chiang Mai Blessings from the novice monks in Chiang Mai
  • Watching the sunrise over the Maeklong from the jetty at Baan Amphawa Watching the sunrise over the Maeklong from the jetty at Baan Amphawa
  • View on the descent View on the descent
  • Sun Bear at Sepilok Sun Bear at Sepilok
  • Sun Bear climbing trees in Sepilok Sun Bear climbing trees in Sepilok
  • On the descent to Laban Rata On the descent to Laban Rata
  • A village house in Kampong Nyegol with mist rising over the mountains A village house in Kampong Nyegol with mist rising over the mountains
  • View from the guest house over the village View from the guest house over the village