MALIAU BASIN


Immense vine-clad jungles, majestic towering trees, strange and rare wildlife – Maliau Basin lives up to its nickname as ‘Sabah's Lost World’ and is one of Borneo's least-travelled gems. Situated in the remote south of the state, the Maliau Basin Conservation Area is almost completely encircled by insurmountable cliffs that have separated it from the rest of the world for centuries. Although some locals have known of the area, no archaeological record has been found establishing any permanent residency in this area. The first account of Maliau Basin by westerners was in the late 1940s when a small plane almost crashed into the cliff wall surrounding the area, and it was not until 1988 that a modern expedition revealed a virtually self-contained ecosystem, glorious waterfalls, and an abundance of wildlife.

Eventually protected by the government and designated as a Class 1 Protected Forest Reserve, it remains as one of the lesser explored rainforests in all of Borneo, having over 2,000 recorded types of fauna and flora with many others still waiting to be discovered. The conservation area contains an unusual assemblage of 12 forest types, comprising mainly of lower montane forest dominated by majestic Agathis trees, rare montane heath forest, and lowland and hill dipterocarp forest.

Many travelers make the assumption that because the area is remote and the forest is old-growth, they will see a lot of wildlife. This is not true on the basis that you will be hiking deep into the heart of thick jungle that is less penetrable, making wildlife spotting and observation more challenging. During your first night at the center, we include a night drive and this will be the best opportunity to spot nocturnal mammals. Gibbons, langurs, and birds will be the focus for the rest of your hiking days including an array of reptiles, insects and amphibians. The highlight of your adventure would be to trek to the majestic 7 tiered Maliau Falls.

Reaching Maliau Basin requires the use of 4X4 vehicles, and the expedition will require an accompanying forest ranger, as well as our nature guide and porters. A trip here is a true jungle adventure with very low visitor numbers throughout the year. Accommodations and meals are basic, but if you yearn for a remote, challenging, and unique rainforest experience, look no further.

Be prepared to walk five to eight hours daily, with some extended, strenuous up-hill sections throughout your trekking. You have to be fit and must have a travel insurance policy that covers helicopter evacuation. The Maliau Basin Program begins and ends in Kota Kinabalu city.

Accommodation

Dormitory and satellite camps with shared bathroom & shower. At the satellite camps, you will be sleeping on stretcher hammock style beds and dormitory (no private options).

Food

Buffet style; simple and basic meals. Vegetarians and special diets catered for.

Facilities & Services

Eating lounge (set time for meals, no additional order), electricity via generator 6:00 PM - midnight.

Guides

When you book a Maliau Basin expedition with us, you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable Sticky Rice Travel nature guide who will accompany you throughout your time there, giving you nature interpretation and impart information on the Borneo rainforest.

Our guide to guest ratio is 1:6 so you will be with other guests who are booked on the same departure.

We can also accommodate private guide or specialist guide eg. Birding guide requests.

4D3N Maliau Basin Teaser
(Study Centre - Ginseng Camp - Ginseng Camp)

Day 1

Pick up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu at 7:00 AM for Maliau Basin via Keningau (please pack breakfast because this is not included). Enjoy the scenery of Crocker Range as you climb over the pass to Keningau and at about 11:00 AM, arrive at the Shell Maliau Basin Reception and Information Building (Maliau Security Gate), and continue on to Maliau Basin Study Centre (MBSC) for another hour. Upon arrival, stretch your legs, register and enjoy lunch. Check-in and relax before embarking on an introductory walk surrounding the centre. Along the way, learn about the biodiversity of this amazing area and proceed on a longer walk if you wish. Return to centre before dark and enjoy dinner at 7:00 PM. After dinner, go on 4x4 night drive to spot nocturnal wildlife.

Day 2

Wake up early for breakfast at 7:00 AM and at 8:00 AM, depart for an hour drive to Agathis Camp on 4x4. From here, you will embark on your 9km journey to Ginseng Camp (average duration 5-6hours), stopping for lunch along the way. Expected arrival around 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM, settle in and proceed to Ginseng Falls that is about 15 minutes walk away. Return to camp before dark and enjoy dinner at 7:00 PM. Lights out at 8:00 PM after a long day.

Day 3

Wake up early for breakfast and at 8:00 AM, depart to Maliau Falls on a 4.8km hike per way (average duration 2-3hours). Spend the entire afternoon at Maliau Falls, the most famed and undisputed jewel of all the waterfalls in the Maliau Basin – swim, eat lunch and take in the beautiful surroundings. At about 2:00 PM, return to Ginseng Camp on the same trail, arriving back before dark. Relax and enjoy dinner before lights out.

Day 4

Early breakfast at 7:00 AM before hiking 9km (average duration 6hours) back to Agathis Camp, enjoying pack lunch along the way. Upon arrival at Agathis Camp at about 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM, hop onto 4x4 for the 1 hour transfer back to the centre before switching vehicle for the remainder of the drive to Kota Kinabalu. Expected arrival in Kota Kinabalu is at about 8:00 PM.


5D4N Maliau Basin Full Loop Expedition
(Study Centre - Nepenthes Camp - Ginseng Camp - Ginseng Camp)

Day 1

Pick up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu at 7:00 AM for Maliau Basin via Keningau (please pack breakfast because this is not included). Enjoy the scenery of Crocker Range as you climb over the pass to Keningau and at about 11:00 AM, arrive at the Shell Maliau Basin Reception and Information Building (Maliau Security Gate), and continue on to Maliau Basin Study Centre (MBSC) for another hour. Upon arrival, stretch your legs, register and enjoy lunch. Check-in and relax before embarking on an introductory walk surrounding the centre. Along the way, learn about the biodiversity of this amazing area and proceed on a longer walk if you wish. Return to centre before dark and enjoy dinner at 7:00 PM. After dinner, go on 4x4 night drive to spot nocturnal wildlife.

Day 2

Wake up early for breakfast at 7:00 AM and at 8:00 AM, depart for an hour drive to Agathis Camp on 4x4. From here, you will embark on your 7.5km journey to Nepenthes Camp (average duration 5hours), stopping for lunch along the way. Upon arrival at Nepenthes Camp, settle in and relax before exploring the surroundings - climb a 33metre high observation platform for a different perspective of the area. At about 2:00 PM, you have the option to hike a further 3-3.5km per way (average 2-3hours) to the Giluk and Takob Akob Falls for a refreshing dip in its water. Return to Nepenthes Camp before nightfall for dinner.

Day 3

After an early breakfast, continue today’s 7km trek to Ginseng Camp (average duration 5hours) along lowland Dipterocarp forests, lower montane forests and heath forests on undulating trails. Discover the different forest areas including the amazing pitcher plants in the heath forests areas and fan palms in the montane forests. Enjoy lunch along the way or upon arrival at Ginseng Camp. Relax and settle-in, and proceed to Ginseng Falls that is about 15 minutes walk away if you wish. Return to camp before dark and enjoy dinner before lights out.

Day 4

Wake up early for breakfast and at 8:00 AM, depart to Maliau Falls on a 4.8km hike per way (average duration 2-3hours). Spend the entire afternoon at Maliau Falls, the most famed and undisputed jewel of all the waterfalls in the Maliau Basin – swim, eat lunch and take in the beautiful surroundings. At about 2:00 PM, return to Ginseng Camp on the same trail, arriving back before dark. Relax and enjoy dinner before lights out.

Day 5

Early breakfast at 7:00 AM before hiking 9km (average duration 6hours) back to Agathis Camp, enjoying pack lunch along the way. Upon arrival at Agathis Camp at about 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM, hop onto 4x4 for the 1 hour transfer back to the centre before switching vehicle for the remainder of the drive to Kota Kinabalu. Expected arrival in Kota Kinabalu is at about 8:00 PM.

Included

Accommodation in dorm at study center and stretcher hammocks at satellite camps, fullboard meals and snacks, coffee, tea & drinking water, entrance fees, return transfers from Kota Kinabalu, Sticky Rice Travel Nature guide, and Maliau Basin forest ranger with VHF radio.

Excluded

Personal porter (max of 12kg per porter for 100RM per day, additional weights charged at 5kg at 40RM extra, above 6kg 100RM extra)

What to Bring?

Head lamp, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, hat, high-energy snacks, water purification tablets, sunglasses, binocular, dry bag, swimwear, walking shoes, money (no ATM), comfortable trekking pack, water bottle, toiletries including towel, sleep sheet if you like, sweater for overnight use at some of the satellite camps – Nepenthes Camp 1005metre / Ginseng Camp 566metre or sleeping bag, light and quick-dry clothing for hiking, basic first aid kit.

Departure

Minimum booking of 2 pax for departure.

Lodging

Difficulty

Category

  • Jungle Trekking
  • Wildlife

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