Maliau Basin, a nature explorer’s paradise

A trip to Maliau Basin is all about your imagination. For intrepid travelers, the Maliau Basin Rainforest represents an escape into a mysterious world of hidden secrets and unexpected adventures. It’s like your very own Indiana Jones Experience. For passionate nature lovers, pictures yourself as David Attenborough, exploring the kingdom of weird and wonderful creatures, hidden to the rest of the world. Or put your explorer shoes on, to discover fascinating trails or pristine waterfalls beyond the lush Borneo Rainforest. Wherever your imagination takes you, you will not be disappointed with Maliau Basin or also known as the lost World of Sabah.

Maliau Basin Rainforest is one of the most untouchable bio-diverse areas on the planet. The rich flora and fauna is a treat for your senses while you are surrounded by miraculous nature in its purest form. It is truly a phenomenal wilderness where you can enjoy a medley of thrills and memorable experiences. As your travel to this dense, wild and vibrant jungle, you’ll be amazed with a dazzling array of plants, trees, shrubs and other interesting creations of Mother Nature. Of course, a visit here allows you to experience epic jungle travel adventures like jungle trekking, bird watching, hiking, swimming, wildlife night drive and a whole lot more. It is definitely an endless adventure at Maliau Basin, however you have to be adequately fit since the lost frontier is strenuous to reach, and well suited for those who do not mind being away from the city comforts.

And do you know? In Murut language, Maliau means “Land of the Giant Staircase”. The reason Maliau Basin is called Sabah’s Lost World is because of its almost circular outer rim, with steep slopes and cliffs range from 300 to 1,600 Meters in height, creating a natural barrier that isolates the basin from the world. Basically, Maliau Basin looks like a huge bowl of virgin, undisturbed, ancient rainforests and believed to be million of years, bounded by a formidable escarpment reaching over 1,675 metres above the sea level which is at Mount Lotung on the north rim.

In fact, what is unique about this biological wonderland is the whole self contain ecosystem encompasses of 12 types of beautiful forest vegetation and 30 pristine waterfalls that awaits you to explore. Making it the most waterfall rich area in Malaysia. The largest and most famous of them all is the spectacular 7 tiered Maliau waterfall with a height of 28 metres, which is about 9 floor high. It takes around 1.5 hours trekking from the Lobah Camp to reach the magnificent Maliau waterfall. And as a token, any visitor who manage to reach the waterfall will get a certificate. Furthermore, the challenging Trek will takes you through an amazing changing scenery from dense tropical forest to stunning mossy forest, as you climb higher and all the physical and mental challenges you face during the trek will eventually turn into a gratifying moment when you see the breathtaking landscape of Maliau Basin. Even though it was discovered in 1947, there is still 50% of the 390km2 Maliau Basin waiting to be explored and documented.

On top of it all, a trip to this dense jungle in Borneo is an opportunity to see or even meet a plethora of marvellous creatures.

From kaleidoscopic birds to unique amphibians, the Maliau Basin Rainforest is home to some of the world’s most unusual and intriguing animals that promise to amaze you. Over 82 species have been recorded, many of which are endangered such as the Orang Utan, Bornean Pygmy Elephant, Clouded Leopard, Sumatran Rhino, Malayan Sun Bear, Sambar, Barking Deer, Bearded Pigs and the Banteng, which is a wild ox that has been extinct in peninsular Malaysia for over half a century.

Besides these mammals, there are tremendous amazing amphibian species that can be found around here as well. So, don’t be surprised, if you find some odd frog species which has made its home in the flesh eating pitcher plant while you are exploring the wonders of Maliau Basin. Interestingly, there are only 3 types of extraordinary fish that able to live in the basin’s entire river system. Due to the acidic tea coloured Maliau river, it is not hospitable to many fish. However, it provides great condition for many amphibians and there is a lot more new species yet to be discovered.

On the other hand, get ready to be amazed by the richest and most exotic birdlife in Borneo as you explore some of the hidden corners of Maliau Basin. Even the forest alone has around 300 species of birds, including the spectacular Bulwer’s Pheasant and Bornean Bristlehead. And according to the naturalist, the rhinoceros hornbill are the dominant species around here amongst all of the 8 Sabah hornbill species. As you go through the trekking trails, you can hear the loud wing flapping noise of hornbills passing by the canopy, and the funny call of Helmeted hornbill that sounds like laughing. Nevertheless, Maliau Basin has an immense range of undisturbed natural habitat which is an ideal environment not only for our lovely feathery creatures but also for the other tree animals. It is definitely a bucket list location for keen birdwatchers to see some of the world’s most unique creatures in their natural habitat. Therefore, don’t miss your opportunity to discover the land with the most diverse bird species in Sabah.

And what’s more, there is a 30 metre canopy observation platform at the Camel Trophy camp and it is perfect for you to see the stunning panoramic view of the jungle. Make sure to bring your binocular for wildlife observation and cameras to capture those fascinating moments. With all the immense vine-clad jungles, majestic towering trees, strange and rare wildlife, feels like you are back to the Jurassic world. Thus, spending a few days experiencing the sights and sounds of Maliau Basin is truly an unforgettable experience. So, do you have the audacity to conquer Maliau Basin? Bike and Tours offers ‘Discover Maliau Basin 5D4N Expedition’ and ‘Maliau Basin 4D3N’ , which will take you to the heart of the hidden lost world and it will definitely leave nothing but memories.