The Maliau basin is a remote wildlife area in the south of Sabah,
roughly 170km southeast of Kota Kinabalu. It's a very special place, with unique fauna and flora.
The Maliau basin has an elliptical shape and is bordered on all sides by steep, 1000m and higher mountain ranges. It extends for 25km from east to west and 22km from north to south for a total area of 588km².
The Maliau basin developed 22 million years ago in the Miocene period. Due to its inaccessibility, it has never been inhabited or logged. It was designated as a conservation area by Yayasan Sabah
in 1981 and in 1997 it was gazetted as a Class I Protection Forest Reserve.
Currently the south of the Maliau basin is open for visitors and has accomodation and a tourist infrastructure. Activities typically are jungle treks (the complete 4D3N loop covering the Agathis, Nepenthes and Ginseng camps and the Maliau falls or shorter three or two day treks) as well as wildlife spotting.
(some are optional; prices from 2017 - for accurate and up to date prices contact the Sabah Foundation
; to all prices add 6% tax) include:
- conservation fee: RM 50
- trekking fee: RM 150
- hostel (dorm): RM 95/night
- individual deluxe room: RM325/night
- breakfast: RM 55
- dinner: RM 80
(costs for meals in the jungle camps are higher, since the food has to be carried by the rangers)
- ranger fee (overnight trek): RM 150
- porter fee (up to 12kg): RM 100/day
- cooking utensils: RM 20/day
- cooking gas & stove: RM 30/day (50 if in the jungle camps)
- transportation from security gate to studies centre: RM 60
- transportation from studies centre to Agathis camp: RM 30
- night drive: RM 160 (per car)
There are other fees for camera use, a certificate, short trails etc.
How to access the Maliau basin:
there is no need to book an expensive package through a travel agency. It's sufficient to make a reservation through the Sabah Foundation
in Kota Kinabalu and then travel to the Maliau basin reception and information building by car. Since the road from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau has been completed, it is possible to drive with a non-4WD car from both Kota Kinabalu and Tawau to the Maliau basin reception and information building. From Kota Kinabalu it's a 280km drive (4:20 hours by car), while from Tawau it's 168km (2:45 hours by car).
After registration at the reception building, it's another 27km until the Maliau basin studies centre. In 2017 a paved road is being built, which will connect the reception building (the security gate) with the studies centre and the Agathis camp, allowing access to non-4WD cars. The road will be completed by 2018.