Maliau Basin Trekking Tour, Sabah, Borneo
In the East Malaysian state of Sabah, on the great island of Borneo, lies one of Malaysia's finest remaining wilderness areas, the mystical Maliau Basin. Bounded by a formidable escarpment, the almost circular Basin encompasses reaching over 390 square kilometers of pristine forest, a virtually self-contained ecosystem.
On this tour you’ll walk deep into the heart of Borneo for an adventure at its most rugged best. The Maliau Basin will not cease to amaze you. Discover Sabah’s lost world complete with virgin Borneon rainforests and magnificent waterfalls. This is surely one of those experiences you will always be able to boast about and never forget.
Start & Finish Point: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo
Duration: 3-5 days or we can tailor to suit you.
Age: All ages with moderate-difficult terrain.
Accommodation: Hotel and hostel
Transport: Walking with Jeep transfers
Group size: This is a private tour for your group. If you'd like to join a group we'll do our best to find a suitable match.
We had the best guide! We will be asking for him again when we return to explore the East side of Borneo! Great country, lovely people, fab jungle!
Day 1: Kota Kinabalu to Maliau Basin
You'll be met by your driver early and hit the road to the Maliau Basin with a pit-stop in Keningau along the way. Reaching the Maliau Basin just after lunch there is plenty of time to visit the Maliau Basin Information Gallery, check in and then explore the Maliau "Sky Bridge" and Nature Trail. After dinner you'll take a short night walk for wildlife spotting - this is when bird photography is at it's best (they're sleeping so they don’t fly away!). (L, D).
Day 2: Maliau Basin Studies Centre to Agathis Camp to Nephenthes Camp
After breakfast you'll take a short drive to Agathis Camp where you'll begin your trek to Nephenthes Camp. Today is a 5-6 hour trek over the rim of the basin. Once you reach camp you can rest easy, or if you're up for it, continue to the Takop Akop waterfall (an extra 2.5km from camp). (B, L, D)
Day 3: Nephenthes Camp to Kota Kinabalu
First thing this morning you'll visit the 33m high observation tower to look for birds and enjoy the majestic view. Your guide will then take you to visit the spectacular, seven-tiered, 28m Maliau waterfall. After lunch and a swim, you'll move onto Ginseng Camp where you'll stay the night. (B, L, D)
Day 4: Ginseng Camp to Agathis Camp to Maliau Basin Studies Centre
Today you'll trek back to the Maliau Basin Studies Centre where you'll stay the evening. There is the option again, of night walks for more nocturnal wildlife spotting. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Maliau Basin Studies Centre to Kota Kinabalu
Today you'll return to Kota Kinabalu but not before stopping at the 4-storey Observation Tower for a final picture of the Maliau Rim. You'll be driven right to your hotel for a well-earned rest! (B, L)
As well as this 5-day tour, we can organise shorter, three or four-day tours in the Maliau Basin for you. Contact us for an itinerary.
About the Area
The Maliau Basin Conservation Area
Only discovered in 1947 by a British pilot flying overhead, the Maliau Basin is one of the only remaining relatively-untouched areas of forest in Borneo.
Also known as Sabah’s ‘Lost World’, the Maliau Basin is about the size of Singapore and surrounded on all sides by steep slopes reaching over 1675m high, insurmountable by foot in all directions. The almost circular Basin (encompassing over 390 square kilometers) is a self-contained ecosystem. The whole basin is a single water catchment, drained only by the Maliau River, which flows through a gorge in the southeast of the Basin. The point where the Maliau River exits the basin is the only entry point. It’s this inaccessibility that has saved the Basin from discovery and exploration until the first scientific expedition in 1988.
To date, only about 2,000 people have set foot in the Maliau Basin and less than 50% of the area has been explored. There are no roads inside the conservation area and the closest towns (Tawau or Keningau) are a 4-5 hour drive away. This is a truly unique and unspoilt area.
Sabah, Malaysian Borneo
Situated on the beautiful island of Borneo, Sabah is one of the thirteen states that make up Malaysia. Sabah is a unique melting pot of culture, wildlife, beaches, forest and unbelievable food. Sabah has an impressive list of treasures including the world’s largest flower - the Rafflesia; one of the highest mountains in South East Asia - Mount Kinabalu; huge areas of protected and unspoilt forest such as the Danum Valley and Maliau Basin; and one of top 10 dive sites in the world - Sipadan Island. You’ll find something for everyone in Sabah.
"Maliau Basin is the single best place in Borneo to experience the wonders of primary tropical forest. More than that, it is one of the world's great reserves of biodiversity, a dense knot of almost unbelievable genetic richness." Lonely Planet Borneo, 2008
We can arrange your accommodation in Kota Kinabalu the night before your tour and the night after if you would like us to. We use quality 4-star hotels such as The Horizon so you’ll have a lovely stay.
Accommodation in the Maliau Basin is all guesthouse or hostel style. The Maliau Basin Studies Centre includes a chalet, rest house and hostel accommodation facilities and the Camps are permanent, complete with either bunk beds or hammock-style beds, showers, toilets and solar electricity so you'll be happy as Larry!
Fitness and safety
This is a jungle trek with varying terrain so you will need a fairly good level of fitness. You should walking for at least an hour three times a week and be able to walk for at least 3 hours, ideally including some hills.
This is fully guided tour. Under no circumstances will you be left alone to make your way to the next camp. All guides are trained in first aide and there will be a complete first aide kit in case of emergency. There is the option of carrying your own pack or utilising porters if you wish.
We even tell you what to pack!
Borneo’s climate is tropical, with temperatures ranging between a humid 22 to 34 degrees during the day. Depending on the time of year, it will likely rain during the day, particularly between November and February in monsoon season so you need to be prepared and always carry something dry to change into. We will provide you with an example of a suitable packing list based on suggestions from our guides and previous travellers.
Please contact us for total cost as the cost will vary on your exact itinerary. Please see inclusions and exclusions below.
The tour cost includes
- All transfers from Kota Kinabalu
- All meals as listed in the itinerary (B, L, D)
- Accommodation in the Maliau Basin
- Experienced, local English-speaking guide
- First Aud support in case of emergency
The tour cost excludes:
- Travel insurance (compulsory)
- international airfares
- Accommodation in Kota Kinabalu (but we can organise this for you if you prefer
- A porter (available upon request)
- Additional meals outside those noted in the itinerary
- Any additional purchases such as souvenirs