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Sabah, Malaysia

Maliau Basin Trek

There is an air of possibility as you drive into Maliau Basin, also known as Sabah's Lost World. Maliau Basin only saw the arrival of the outside world in the 1980s and much of the rainforest is still waiting to be discovered by researchers and explorers. Elephants, wild boar, deer and other wildlife roam about Maliau's base camp while gibbons and hornbills hide in the canopy of giant trees overhead. Explore Maliau through a series of night walks, drive and hike through this mysterious virgin rainforest.


Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu and take you on a pretty long drive (6.5 hours) south, so bring some music and snacks and settle in for a road trip around the Sabah countryside! To get to Kota Kinabalu you will need to get a flight from any of the major airports in Malaysia or from many of the regional ones. If you are already in Borneo you can travel overland by bus from a few of the main cities.

A guide will help you plan the logistics of the trip, arrange transport, cook yummy meals at camp and best of all, provide context to what you're seeing around you. The providers we have listed here are jungle specialists who can spot the wildlife hiding among the trees, tell you all about the interesting insects (such as the dead leaf mantis) you see along the way and show you what plants you can eat if you're ever stuck in the jungle. They're also pretty awesome at telling stories - and there are a lot of stories to be told about the ancient Maliau Basin!

3 day option: This trek is relatively relaxed, with only short walks (1-2 hours at a time) into the jungle for wildlife spotting. You do not need to train up for this. 4 day option: This trek requires trekking of 6-7 hours a day for 3 days with your belongings*, with some rough terrain in part. The trek is of easy-moderate intensity overall so if you are reasonably fit, you will not need to train up for this. 5 day option: The 5 day trek is more intense as there is a steep 3km uphill climb on one of the days. This trek is of moderate intensity overall and requires trekking of 6-7 hours a day for 4 days with your belongings*. If you do not do regular exercise, some training for uphill trekking may be required. *Please note that for the 4 and 5 day treks, although a porter is provided to carry food supplies, hikers are responsible for carrying in their own personal belongings, lunch pack (provided by the guide) and water, unless they are willing to pay an extra fee for additional porters.

You can go year round, but it could get a little wet during monsoon season (November - February). But that also means there will be even fewer people about, which makes it seem even more like the early expeditions!

It's up to you - there are 3, 4 or 5 day options!

The 3 day option will be focused on wildlife sighting and has minimal trekking. It will be around the Maliau Basin Studies Centre rather than entering into the core protected area of Maliau Basin. The 4 and 5 day options will have one day of wildlife sighting around the Maliau Basin Studies Centre each, but while the 4 day option will only see Ginseng Camp, the 5 day option will see both Ginseng Camp and Nepenthes camp. Nepenthes camp is the more scenic of the two, with the heath forest, carnivorous pitcher plants and the observation tower which allows for a view of Maliau Basin - so we would recommend the 5 day option if you have the time.

The Maliau Basin Authority requires travellers to have travel insurance which covers helicopter evacuation so please do make sure that you have that as we would require a copy of your policy before your trip.