Ask Lonely Planet: Monkey business on offer

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A young orang-utan hangs off its mother at the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo, Malaysia. Photo / Alan Gibson
A young orang-utan hangs off its mother at the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo, Malaysia. Photo / Alan Gibson

My husband and I and our two girls (15 and 13) have been planning for some years to see the orang-utans as a family. The plan is to spend two or maybe three weeks in this area of Asia. We are on a tight budget but we are adventurous, enjoy the outdoors and are happy to backpack, tramp and rough it. However, we do want to keep the girls safe and away from partying single tourists.
- Lesley Dean

Lonely Planet's Asia-Pacific travel editor Shawn Low writes:

East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) in Borneo is the place to get close to orang-utans. The area is safe and not known as a party destination.

Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre, in Eastern Sabah, is the place to experience these primates up close.

Sabah is also home to Mt Kinabalu, a 4095m mountain that can be climbed. The overnight climb is challenging but certainly interesting. Catch the sunrise breaking above the clouds, and evoke visions of Indiana Jones as you clamber down the via ferrata - it's a system of rungs and rails embedded along the face of the mountain.

There are various jungle treks in the area and plenty of national parks to explore too.

In Sarawak, you should visit the Kelabit Highlands - trek past hidden sacred stones and make pit stops at indigenous longhouses. You can eat a meal at a local coffee shop or hawker centre for the equivalent of $2.

We'd suggest staying at modest local accommodation. There are many hostels with private rooms from $25 night.

Eating cheaply in Europe

We are considering travelling through Western Europe with a reputable coach tour company. While breakfast is provided every day and dinner on some nights can you please let us know how much should I budget for lunch, evening tea and dinner individually every day?
- San D

Europe has a reputation for being pricey but you can eat fairly frugally if required. Without knowing exactly where you'll be passing through, it's hard to determine how much your budget should be. Here are some rough figures:

For lunch in London, you could get by with £5 ($11) to £8 by eating at simple bakeries and cafes. If you want a sit-down meal, a mid-range bistro meal might cost anywhere from £10 to £23.

Of course, you could also self-cater. Visit the local supermarket to stock up on cheese, meats and other deli items.

In Paris, there's a certain romance in buying a fresh baguette and making your own picnic basket. In Germany, you might find burgers for €2 ($5.30) to €5 and Bavarian dishes might cost €7 to €20.

All up, for a comfortably experience, we'd suggest at least €35 daily per person. This is just a rough figure for modest dining and with some self-catering.

Obviously, that can double if you splurge at a lovely restaurant.

- NZ Herald

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