Maliau Basin Conservation Area

Maliau Basin Conservation Area

Maliau Basin Conservation Area
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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  • malafish
    Bali, Indonesia57 contributions
    A great Trip To Maliau Basin
    We drove to Maliau Basin in Jan 2022. We were fascinated with the field centre. The accomodation is off the ground and all the walkways are connected which means you are at eye level with trees . It gave us a great opportunity to observe wildlife. The canopy walk is also worth a visit. We did 2 trails which were very nice. We saw Gibbons, read leaf monkeys, long tail macaque, marble cat, leopard cat, deer, civets, squirrels, lots of insects and birds, lizards etc etc. The list is long. Accomodation and food is good.
    Written March 1, 2022
  • petersjsim
    Tawau, Malaysia1,986 contributions
    Natural Beauty in Tropical Rainforest
    My second trip in three years to this remote forest in the centre of Sabah, Malaysia is just rewarding. In the middle of the COVID-19 invasion worldwide, we took a break from all kinds of movement restrictions to the jungle to enjoy its natural environment and inhabitants. Though the accommodation in the Studies Centre may have rundown due to the movement restrictions, the visit is still worthwhile.
    Traveled with friends
    Written October 7, 2020
  • Cat612
    39 contributions
    spectacular, difficult, and not geared for tourists
    This is a remote area in Sabah. We reached it via flight to Tawau and then a 21/2 hour drive to the park gate and then a 1 hour bumpy drive to the headquarters. The road is in the process of being paved. Most of the countryside has been deforested and replaced with Palm plantations. There are many social, political and economic complexities related to this phenomenon and it is still heartbreaking to see. The MB is, at least for now, a protected area of spectacular old-growth forest with an incredible density of huge trees, along with areas of rhododendron, pitcher plants, mushrooms, and other flora. We heard gibbons and got a brief glimpse of macaques as well as a civet, black squirrel and deer. We saw evidence of pygmy elephants and of the sun bear. But don't go there expecting to see a lot of wildlife during the trek. Also don't go there if you have an aversion to leeches; buy and wear leech socks . I loved the experience of being in a remote, beautiful, unique forest. The hiking was much harder than I expected (I'm a 56 year old woman in average shape). Parts of the trail, especially the first several miles go up at such extreme angles that there are ropes so that you can pull yourself along. Other parts have ladders. Depending on the rain, which can be fierce at times, it may also be quite slippery especially as the trail is over leaves and tree roots. The camps are rustic: dirty cots, squat toilets, functional showers for all to share, unpredictable availability of electricity. Communication is difficult as the guide and ranger spoke very little English.This also meant we couldn't learn more about the park or the flora or fauna, which was too bad. Even at the headquarters the person at the front desk spoke little English and when we finally asked if they could phone someone to help us figure out logistics the phone was not working. Wifi was supposedly available at the HQ but it mostly didn't work. The place and people just aren't set up for tourists so be prepared for a challenging and beautiful experience. The guest rooms at the HQ were very nice and the meals were fine. We used SureGo Borneo to help us arrange the trip. Feel free to contact me if you're thinking of going there.
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 4, 2016
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
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39 reviews
Very good

shen i
Anaheim, CA30 contributions
Apr 2015 • Solo
I arrived on a rented scooter around 3 pm. The guy at the gate told me that it was too late for a day visit and I told him I wanted to stay onernight. He was buffled that I showed up without a reservation and told me that a fan dorm is 60 RM, I agreed to the price. In addition, heentioned, there would be 50 RM conservation fee, which I was glad to pay (to the logging company that was in charge of the area).

After talking to the reception about my dorm bed, he finally told me that everything was OK, except that the dorm bed price has gone up to 91 RM. At this point I simply turned back and left. He had to ask me in utter disbelief "you don't want to stay?" three times before I rode off.

Later on, I told the story to a local guy and he said that they simply tried to rip me off. The nearest accommodation is about 200 km away and they didn't believe I would start a 200 km scooter trip at 4 pm.

Even prices I was originally quoted were several times higher than those for Malaysians.

So beware of blatant scams and shameless double pricing schemes.
Written April 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sarah W
3 contributions
Apr 2014 • Couples
We recently returned from a fabulous two-week holiday in Sabah that we booked through Adventure Alternative Borneo. We began with a five day trip to the Kalimantan border to climb the Batu Punggul Pinnacle, as well as a visit to a Marut longhouse, a homestay on the Sapulot River and Kalimantan! The longhouse was just the kind of introduction to Borneo that we dreamt of. The Marut people were welcoming and friendly and the river fantastic to take a paddle in and very beautiful. The next day's climb to Batu Punggul was a bit taxing but certainly worth the effort, although not for those with a fear of heights!! Our family at the Sapulot homestay was again very welcoming and served delicious food. From here we took a boat into Kalimantan where we stayed for two nights before returning to Sabah. This was a wonderful trip to a very remote part of Sabah (and Kalimantan), yet to really be exploited by the tourism industry. We really appreciated visiting such a community based project where the locals seem to be heavily involved in the type and amount of tourism they are involved in; they were super happy to receive guests and we felt very welcome.

We now headed to Maliau Basin for a trek we have been dreaming of for years! After getting cleaned up, we spent a relaxing day wondering around the field centre, checking out the Maliau River, Nature Walk and Tree-Top suspension walk, followed by a fantastic night drive with elephants!!! On the advise of A.A. Borneo we extended our trek from the usual three to four days, which we would highly recommend. This allowed us to take a little bit extra time to enjoy the gorgeous (and numerous) waterfalls, pitcher plants, fungi and orchids. A visit to Maliau was certainly a big tick on my bucket list, the forest is pristine and such a joy to walk through. Our tour leader, cook and rangers all did a great job looking after us, the meals were first class and they were great company.
Written May 15, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Newcastle, Australia418 contributions
May 2015 • Couples
I’m not quite sure how to review or rate this really. It was the 3rd tour we did using ABC tours (reviewed separately) We were definitely looking forward to it but the trekking again was a bit more arduous than we expected. Plus we were still aching from Mount Kinabalu. My wife and I did a 5 day 4 night tour of Maliau Basin in May. We were picked up from the hotel in Kota Kinabalu by the guide (who was very good)and driven for about 4-5 hours to the entrance of the park. We did stop off for breakfast and to pick up our packed lunch which was pretty extensive and very cheap. Once at the entrance we registered and then drove a further 45 minutes to the Study Centre where we stayed the night. The centre’s accommodation is shared and is bunk beds. There is a small shop which seems never to be open and a restaurant that you can sit in and get Tea/coffee and water. There is nothing else to do but look out for wildlife. No beer and no internet. We did go out for a night drive which produced a few animals so not all was lost. The following morning and for the next 3 days saw us trekking 7.5, 6.5 and 9 Kms stopping overnight in Camel Trophy camp and Gensing camp before heading back to the study centre. Wildlife is not in abundance in Maliau basin but there are still a few things to see during your treks. There is a waterfall near Gensing camp which, because of the rain, was pretty full flow. It was a bit hairy getting to it though. But, in my mind, worth it. Accommodation again is shared and bunk beds. However, the first night at Camel trophy camp there was just my wife and I plus the 2 guides. The guides also do the cooking with food that a porter carries to the camp earlier. Again, once you are at the camp there is nothing to do. We did see a few animals during the stay there which always passes the time. Next day it was off to Gensing camp. We did manage to spot a Borneo Gibbon on route but that was pretty much it. Apart from a snake and a spider the same colour as Spiderman. We did the side trip to the waterfall before having dinner. Here there was a group of lads going the opposite direction to us. Bunk beds and shared again. Next day it was back to the study centre where we stayed the night before heading off on our next tour. This, like Mount Kinabalu is not really a tourist attraction. Apart from the one group we saw, we were the only tourist there. It’s pretty expensive as well and if you look hard enough you would probably deduce that it’s a bit too expensive for what you get. Shared rooms with bunk beds, shared toilet facilities, limited food and no real facilities and no internet or phone reception. During the trek, you carry what you need. You can leave your main bags in the car while you trek. But if you want it then you have to carry it. They do provide porters at 100 Malay Ringgits per 10 kilos per day. So the minimum you would pay on this trip would be 300 Ringgits. That’s just over $100. I’m glad I did it just for the experience but I wouldn’t class it as touristy thing to do. It all depends what you want out of it really. They are at the moment upgrading the road to tarmac so there is a bit of disruption and probably one the reasons the wildlife is not so readily available.
Written May 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Melbourne, Australia137 contributions
Jul 2017 • Solo
I didn't know what to expect as I heard all kinds of reviews about this place.

I'll keep this short as possible.

This is really a trekking type activity with wildlife an uncommon part of this experience. The first night we did a night safari and that was really cool with a slow loris, leopard cat, sambar deer, bats and a palm civet just to name a few.

The walk was not that difficult if you have some hiking experience. I would also say not to technical either with some minor challenging parts walking down some escarpments.

It's more uncomfortable than anything with high temps and humidity which means you are lathered in sweat most of the time. I had spent time in Danum valley which I believe more humid than MB. So I was acclimatised somewhat which helped.

You can only see one section of the Maliau basin falls which is tier 6. There are around 8 or 9 tiers which can't be accessed or seen. Don't expect to go seeing that stunning picture floating around where you can see large portions of the waterfall tiers.

There are a few waterfalls you can see along the way at each camp site. I didn't even take a sleeping bag as beds with fly screens are provided. Perhaps some pants would have been beneficial for night times also. It can get a little cold and I didn't take enough clothes for the cooler nights.

We saw very little in terms of wildlife and this is basically a hike in primary rainforest.

I did see a couple of groups only, and I've heard of people doing this directly through the parks office. Saves a bit of coin, unsure how easy or difficult as I've heard differing stories on this.

I don't see how a guide that speaks perfect English would increase your experience by that much. We had a guide that spoke fantastic English but walked behind us and we didn't get a lot of extra info here.

The only other thing I did notice is that there are some extensive road works going into the reserve. I have read previous reviews and it seems a little excessive in terms of clearing and engineering. On top of this there doesn't appear to be much in terms of sediment control. All the disturbed top soil and soil just washes straight into the river and creek system.

From an environmental point of view if basic sediment control measures aren't being considered or implemented, what else is not being managed correctly in terms of high value rainforest with this road upgrade.

I wouldn't say this is a must do, Danum valley is much more interesting if wildlife is your thing. If walking for 5 days to see a couple of waterfalls in primary rainforest is your thing then I'd say go for it.

I don't think this has filled its opportunity in terms of activites, however it needs protection and its that balance between usage which negatively impacts biodiversity.
Written July 29, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore, Singapore74 contributions
May 2017 • Friends
Been dreaming of trekking Maliau Basin for a few years now and from 1-4 May 2017 I realised that dream.
Went into it with excitement mixed with anxiousness, but now that I've done it I can say it is really achievable even for someone who is not so fit and scared of leeches, blood and falling.
Did the 4D3N loop, so had 1 night at the Studies Centre and 2 nights at Ginseng Camp. (3 full days of trekking)

Trekking: The 2nd day was as tough as they said - going down almost 60-70degrees and over 2km to Maliau Falls, and then back up again the same way, but we managed to do it before sundown. It is important to go at your own pace which I did, so I was very careful, but that is not to say nothing will happen - I almost hit my head on a rock which was just a few inches away from my head when I stood up. You have to be aware of your surroundings, respect the forest, pray, and it helps to have a good guide - someone who follows your pace and is willing to give you a hand should you need it. Happy to say I had such a guide - Koboy, and happy to say I probably took his hand for help just maybe 2 times (meaning most of it done on my own 😃)
There were just 2 short perhaps 2.5metres long ladders to traverse, but they were okay, and I guess the highlight/reward to all for this whole trek had to be the magnificent Maliau Falls! The water was really nice and cold despite the hot sun. Perfect reward after hours of trekking.

Wildlife: Over at the Studies Centre we managed to see pygmy elephants, a wild cat and a deer during the night drive, but while trekking I was a little disappointed that I did not see more, although that could be attributed to us really concentrating on where we were trekking.
What we saw: Leeches, Giant Ants, a cute fuzzy caterpillar, a monkey, a cute 2 horned spider
What we heard but didn't see: Hornbills (high up on the trees)
What I wished I saw: Giant millipede, deer (which was sleeping when our guide came across it but bolted away before we could see it)
The trees were really interesting too - tall and big trunks..we saw bracket fungus everywhere and the highlight was the heart shaped liana tree on the way to Maliau Falls which to me declares you have really been to Maliau Basin!

Leeches: The dreaded creature of the jungle. Encountered alot of them on the first day but almost none on the last day going back the same way. Happy to say I was not bitten but I guess if I did it would had completed my jungle experience 😅 Helps to have good weather too! It only started to rain on the last day, the last 500m of our trek!
I wore long soccer socks and leech socks over that to my knees. Also placed salt in my shoe.
A good trekking shoe also gives good support.

Lodging at Ginseng Camp: It was pretty alright to me and not as bad or broken as what I read previously. The bunk beds were from Ikea! It helps if you brought your own sleeping bag and mosquito coil - there were a few bees and light attracting insects but nothing overwhelming. The toilets and showers may be too basic for some, but to me they were great! One of the toilets that I used had a little ledge to place my toiletries and nail hooks on top that I could hang my clothes - and the water was certainly refreshing and clean to shower in! No itchiness felt on my sensitive skin after my shower!
There was no electricity at Ginseng Camp during our stay, so we ate by candlelight, but it was certainly fun and added to the whole experience!

Food at Ginseng Camp:
It really exceeded my expectations. The first night we waited a bit for our dinner but were treated to a scrumptious spread of rice, prawns with french beans, sotong (squids) and the most delicious bittergourd dish in the world. To complete it we had watermelon.
The second night was just as good. We had fried chicken! And for one of the breakfasts we even had french fries! Kudos to the cook cum ranger Atak :)
I have to state that our lunches on the other hand were pretty basic - rice, vegetables and eggs. So it helps if you brought your own snacks. I had my GU Energy Chews and Pocari Sweat Powder which helped me along the way.

Other things to note:
A walking stick helps. A porter helps as well, which we were fortunate enough to get. I would had probably lost my balance if i had to carry my heavy backpack on my own, but the next time I just might try! Minus the 3 litres of water I had in it of course, because our guide from Amazing Borneo bought 2 huge bottles of water for us, so no need to worry about that.
And YES!! I'LL BE BACK AGAIN! It was a very fun and exciting adventure! Maliau Basin is beautiful and untouched, and it would be wonderful to be back again with a better understanding and appreciation of her. 5D4N next! 😄
Written May 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bandar Lampung, Indonesia88 contributions
Apr 2016 • Friends
To get in here your should spend about 4-6 days to feel the nature of borneo lost worlds experience.

You may start full triangle jungle trekking about total 50km++ (Including Water Fall visit)

Day 1 : You may staying at Maliau Basin Center due to Agathis Camp is ongoing renovation and is not advisable to stay overnight for safety reason.

Day 2 : Proceed to Agathis Camp and trekking to Nepenthes Camp about 7.6KM (6-7hours). Stay Over night or Visit nearest waterfall (Giluk or Takob Akob) if you arrive early. If you have limited time I suggest for a visit to Takob Akob waterfall compare to giluk waterfall .

Day 3 : Woke up early morning and continue journey, you can choose either direct trekking to maliau fall or staying at ginseng camp for a night rest before going to maliau fall the next day. This is because as the distance from ginseng camp to maliau fall will take 5km and very tough trail. I suggest to stay overnight from nepenthes camp at ginseng camp to gain back energy & get ready trekking next day and get more spend time to seen the beautiful creatures of maliau fall. There is Ginseng waterfall nearby about 500M and you may get bath and chillax.

Day 4 : Start trekking to maliau fall total 10KM in return and take around 4-5 hours journey. Be extra careful when approaching the last kilometer to maliau fall due to cliff surface. Going back to Ginseng Camp and stay another 1 night.

Day 5 : Start trekking to Agathis Camp from ginseng camp about 9KM (5-6 hours). Enjoy your last trekking days. Safely go Home guys!!

You need to bring your own full personal trekking tools and stay fit every time.
If you have any information to know just contact mdm stephanie - .+60198518170
Written May 21, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia20,428 contributions
Feb 2018 • Family
We booked online for a 3 days 2 nights stay at Maliau Basin Studies Centre from 17 – 19 February 2018. We did our own drive. It took us approximately 3 hours drive from Tawau Town to Maliau Basin Guard House.
From the Guard House, we parked our car at restuarant next to the gate , the Maliau Basin Park MPV came to pick us up, arrived at the Studies Centre after 45 mins of drive. The access road is a paved road which has been newly constructed. However certain stretches are damaged and need repair and upgrading.

At the Studies Centre Lobby , the Staff are friendly , informative and is attentive. We checked into the Rest House.The Rooms has balconies, modern toilet facilities and are very comfortable with the basic amenities provided. Electricity supply only available from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm. The generator set is switched off from 11.00 pm to 7.00 am. But an emergency lamp is readily available in every room for our conveniences. We had the resident Borneo Bearded pigs keeping us company around the Guest House. Breakfast , Lunch & Dinner are provided with specific time at the Dining Hall.

We did several trails – Belian, sky bridge, night trail and night safari near the Studies Centre as well as the Agathis Research Station . The virgin rain forest has abundant tall and huge trees like the Agathis and Meggaris.

For beginners ,essentials i.e. insect repellant, a walking stick as the trails may be slippery or muddy with proper gears and shoes. It is advisable to wear long pants with leggings tucked into the socks to prevent leeches crawling up your thighs. Also wear long sleeve blouse to prevent insects & leeches. Expect leeches along the trails but be amazed by the exotic plants surrounded by the sound of nature.

We saw very little of the wild life except for the deers, wild pigs and the giant flying squirrel during the night safari drive. We only managed to walk the short treks near to the Studies Centre. As advised by their staff, the best way to explore more into the natural virgin jungle, is to stay more nights at their campsite to trek to their 7 tiers Main Maliau waterfall & other waterfalls. !!!! We did not trek to the main waterfalls as they are situated about 7 to 11 hours walk. Then you will need to stay overnight at the camps provided, before trekking out the next day. It best to allow about 6 to 7 days to have sufficient time to trek to the waterfalls. If time permits , we shall return !!!
Written March 4, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia64 contributions
Dec 2016 • Couples
My husband and I did the loop in 3 days, as arranged by Sticky Rice, together with a guide, ranger and porter. The jungle was just amazing, so alive with sounds of nature. The hike of approximately 43 km was rather tough with steep climbs up and down, and the challenge of leeches! Dealing with Sticky Rice was a breeze, no complaints at all.

However, whilst we were prepared for basic accommodation and facilities, we feel that the places we stayed lacked attention, particularly the Ginseng Camp. The toilets were dirty with broken seats, the camp was engulfed with overgrown shrubs. The windows, where available, were dusty and covered by torn out curtains.

This lack of attention to proper upkeep however was in stark contrast against the drive to Maliau Basin Study Centre, where the roads were being widen into a highway! We feel the construction work seems harshly unnecessary with vast cutting of the slopes. Surely a simple small tarred road would be adequate?

All in all, we hope Maliau Basin is maintained for sustainability as it truly is one of the most amazing place we have been to.
Written January 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brisbane, Australia15 contributions
Jul 2015
Stayed here for a couple of weeks while on a research trip for uni. Amazing place to experience, beautiful river to swim in and plenty of wildlife to see. The accommodation is basic (dorms) and the food is even more basic (but not horrible) however the surrounding rainforest more than makes up for what is lacking in accommodation. We saw pygmy elephants, civets, a moon rat, squirrels, snakes, deer, wild pigs, macaques and lots more! Top tip: take a decent sized water bottle with you and plenty of mozzie repellant.
Written August 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Shanghai, China51 contributions
Jun 2019 • Solo
I came past Maliau Basin Conversation Area as I was driving from KK via the Southern Route from Kota Kinabalu to Semporna. For such a trip, it's conveniently located between Keningau / Sapulot and Tawau.

Going there not on a tour but single-handed, I had to check-in at the main gate close to the main road Keningau - Tawau and from there drive another roughly 20km to the Maliau Basin Conservation Area. Before they let me do the drive, they wanted to check whether there is accommodation available. There are different possibilities ranging from bunk beds, guesthouse to your own villa. I chose the guesthouse which was 200 RM per night for students. Quite expensive for Malaysia but it was admittedly a very big room with the comfort of a hot shower and a fan in the middle of nowhere.

Nevertheless, after checking-in, I had to realise that they weren't really prepared for solo travellers as they didn't have a map of what could be done without a guide around the area where the main camp is. Moreover, the activities they offer such as jungle treks, night drives etc. were nowhere explained or detailed which was a bit of a shame.

Nevertheless, after some asking around I managed to find out that there are a few things that can be done without a guide just on your own. As such, around the base camp, there are two short treks, a canopy walk, a little lake and a viewing platform.

To get into the Maliau Basin itself, you actually have to hire a guide which is very expensive if you are on your own. So unless you are lucky and you can join a group and share the costs, it's not super attractive to do it on your own. Another point is that to really appreciate the beauty of the Maliau Basin, you need to have 3-5 days available.

All in all, I think I was happy to have visited the Maliau Basin Conversation Center and loved exploring the area on my own and the night ride with them where I saw plenty of different animals (weird cats, deers & monkeys). However, I hope that the Maliau Basin Conversation Area will put some more effort into making this site more attractive for independent travellers!
Written June 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Maliau Basin Conservation Area (Tawau) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Maliau Basin Conservation Area

Maliau Basin Conservation Area is open:
  • Sun - Sat 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM