Aside from working on incredible projects, exploring beautiful landscapes and meeting inspiring people, a huge part of the Camps International experience is getting to stay at our awesome camps. Built in the traditional style of the area and run by local staff, each of our camps has a distinct personality and will become your home from home during your trip.

Last week we shared volunteer Joanna’s experience of life at Camp Mantanani, Borneo (have a read here). Here she shares a glimpse of daily life in another one of our Bornean camps, Camp Tinangol.

Joanna Stell - Camp Tintagol - 1

After three weeks in the simplistic yet beautiful Camp Tinangol, it’s safe to say that this place has become a home to us all. In light of this, I thought that I would share 10 things from everyday life at Tinangol.


1. Long house life. Leaks in the roof, beetles in the beams but an ever present sense of community with the long open corridor perfect for reading, napping and chatting together.


2. Kenny the camp manager. Forever meeting our outrageous demands, Kenny set the adventure off to such a wonderful start even if his karaoke renditions of “Imagine” and “Hey Jude” were simply awful.


Joanna Stell - Borneo 2017 - Tinangol Longhouse


3. Outdoor toilets. I’ve reached the point where an outdoor shack becomes the very definition of toilet. With signs reminding you not to throw toilet paper down the toilet, a tap and bucket as a flush and the constant fear that a gecko may fall on you at any point (as happened to me one drizzly morning) I’m feeling a long way from my swish shower-room.

4. The food. Aside from the mountains of rice and the expected chicken, we were able to fill our stomachs with the most incredible curries, fish, fried bananas and even donuts. The professional chef, Frendy, was most definitely a force to be reckoned with.
5. Cold showers. Not quite cold enough to give you brain freeze but still enough to get the blood-pumping and to take your breath away. Nevertheless, after a hard day of digging, any temperature is perfect to clean and refresh.


Joanna Stell - Camp Tintagol - 2


6. The jungle chorus. From the buzzing beetles to the exotic birds and of course the cicadas which seemed to get louder by the minute. Quite a change from the motorbikes and cars that were my nightly lullaby back at home.

7. Mosquitos. A swollen foot, swollen ankle and six blisters later, I’m pretty certain I must have some sort of allergy to mosquito bites. I have been reassured that I do not have chicken pox though, just many, many bites. Still jealous?
8. Long evenings. With such wonderful people around me, early sunsets are a blessing. Card games, monopoly and hours of chatting; I haven’t even noticed the lack of a television (I will be catching up on Death in Paradise on my return to England though).

Joanna Stell - Camp Tintagol - 3


9. The scenery. When else will I ever have to walk beneath a coconut tree on my nightly teeth brushing journey? Tinangol is thoroughly green, dotted with the bright red of the hibiscus, the national flower of Malaysia.


10. Kimo the dog. Supposedly here to protect us from snakes, Kimo has become a dear friend to all, accompanying us on our walks to project and watching expectantly when we eat.


As we leave camp number one, I’m feeling so fabulously positive about the rest of the trip. And now off to even more jungle-y jungle…


Joanna Stell - Borneo 2017 - Tinangol Road


If you are inspired by Joanna’s snapshot of life at Camp Tinangol and would like to experience a taste of Bornean life yourself whilst working on important projects to support the local community, check out our range of programmes in Borneo here.

Camps International has permanent camps based in 6 countries across Asia, Africa and South America. Whichever destination you travel to, you’ll be living right in the heart of the community, learning about the local culture and getting involved in projects that are making a huge difference to people’s lives.

To view all of our volunteer programmes, click here.

You can also read about the rest of Joanna’s adventures in Borneo and Cambodia in her blog here.