Maliau Basin Trek
Maliau Basin in central Sabah, Borneo, is a catchment area of the Maliau River. The almost circular basin, bounded by a 1,675m escarpment is Malaysia’s finest remaining wilderness. The area is an excellent site for jungle trekking and bird watching. The highlights of the Maliau Basin trek are the majestic Mount Lotung, the multi-tiered Maliau Falls, and Lake Linumunsut. The trek passes through an unusual assemblage of 12 forest types, from the lower montane to the hill diperocarp forests.
The tour begins in Kuching, with a trip on the Lemanak River to visit Iban tribal villages. Transfer to Gunung Mulu, Sarawak’s largest National Park and home to an astonishing network of caves. Travel via Kota Kinabalu to the Maliau Basin. The 4-day trek through rainforest can involve use of aluminium ladders, to ascend the rim of the Basin and past refreshing water falls including Akob and Giluk Falls. This is possibly the toughest trek in Borneo.
Maliau Basin Trek A comprehensive tour of Sarawak and north Sabah.
(13 Days, Travel Any Day)
Kuching, Gulung Mulu, Kota Kinabalu, Maliau Basin
Day 01 – Arrive Borneo
Kuching Meet and greet on arrival at the Kuching Airport and you will be escorted to your hotel for 2 nights stay. The rest of your day will be scheduled depending on your arrival time and how tired you feel.
Grand Margherita Hotel (Nil)
Day 02 – Explore
Lemanak River After breakfast, you depart for a two day and one night Lemanak River longhouse tour. The journey by road takes you through lush, scenic countryside dotted with small towns and Bidayuh villages, pepper estates, rubber and oil palm plantations and a journey by a motorized longboat on the Lemenak River.
The guesthouse is equipped with basic amenities but lots of fun. There is an evening entertainment by longhouse residents of traditional dances to the music of the gongs and drinking tuak (coconut wine).
Guesthouse (B, L, D)
Day 03 – Trek
Kuching After breakfast, we take a short trek into the nearby jungle accompanied by Ibans dressed in traditional garb and armed with blowpipes. Then bid farewell to the Ibans and travel to the 5-star Damai Beach Resort. Imagine lush rainforest, glorious sun and sea, private sandy beach and an array of interesting activities delighting the senses. The evening is at your leisure.
Damai Beach Resort (B, L)
Day 04 & 05 – Transfer & Explore
Gunung Mulu Transfer to the airport for your flight to Gunung Mulu, Sarawak’s largest National Park and home to an astonishing network of caves.
Explore Lang & Deer Caves: We walk up to Deer Cave, said to have the world's largest cave entrance and also the largest single cave passage in the world, big enough to fit St Paul’s Cathedral under its massive archway. Most evenings at sundown, a spectacular exodus of about 5 million bats can be observed leaving the cave in search of food.
Alongside is Lang’s Cave, with its outstanding stalactites and stalagmites, which most consider to be the very best limestone formations in the park. There will be plenty of time to explore both caves, walking along well-marked paths.
Explore Wind & Clearwater Caves: Next day we travel by longboat to explore Wind and Clearwater Caves. Wind Cave is known for its impressive King’s Chamber and stalactites and stalagmites with delicate, lace-like patterns. The nearby Clearwater Cave is the habitat of unique species of plants such as the one-leafed plant, rare species of orchids and pitcher plants.
Grand Mulu Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 06 – Transfer
Kota Kinabalu Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide, who will transfer you to your hotel. The remainder of your day is at leisure.
Hyatt Regency Hotel (B)
Day 07 – Transfer
Maliau Basin The journey today for the Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA) takes between 5-6 hours. You will stay at the Agathis Camp where in the night, you enjoy a night drive searching for nocturnal animals (subject to weather condition). You could possibly encounter sambar deer, bearded pigs, Malay civet and flying squirrel.
The camp is well-equipped and comfortable, with hammock-style accommodation for up to 30 visitors, electricity and toilets and showers.
Agathis Camp (B, L, D)
Day 08 – Trek
Maliau Basin The best thing to do here is to trek through the rainforest. The 7-8 km trail goes through steep hills that will involve the use of aluminium ladders, as you ascend to the rim of the Basin. Get your physical fitness tested on this up- and downhill trail, which leads you to Camel Trophy Camp. Relax with refreshments and back on a 3 km trail to the Akob Falls and Giluk Falls. Then spend your day relaxing at the waterfall (subject to time and weather conditions) before returning to camp.
Camel Trophy Camp is a two-storey building complete with bunk beds, showers and solar electricity, which can accommodate up to 15 visitors.
Camel Trophy Camp (B, L, D)
Day 09 – Trek
Maliau Basin Another day, another trek – this time through dense forest and discover an abundance of nepenthes, or pitcher plants. Arrive at Ginseng Campsite, relax and swim in the nearby cool forest waterfall (subject to time and weather conditions) and immerse yourself in the sounds of the wilderness.
Ginseng camp can accommodate up to 20 visitors, and has hammock-style beds and showers.
Ginseng Camp (B, L, D)
Day 10 – Trek
Maliau Basin Wake up to the calls of gibbons and the enchanting sounds of the forest before continuing your trek to the spectacular seven-tier Maliau Falls, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim at one of the most remote places on earth. Soak up the atmosphere and spend the whole day unwinding before trekking back to camp. The trek is about 4.8 km each way.
Ginseng Camp (B, L, D)
Day 11 – Trek
Maliau Basin Today we trek 9 km back to the Agathis Camp. Pack up and transfer to Maliau Study Centre for overnight.
The Maliau Study Centre Camp consists of the main administrative building, laboratory and research area, souvenir shop, restaurant, staff quarters, exhibition centre, theatre, conference room, and of course accommodation for visitors: VIP chalets, the Resthouse (deluxe and standard rooms) and a hostel dormitory.
Maliau Study Centre (B, L, D)
Day 12 – Transfer
Kota Kinabalu Depart Maliau Study Centre for Keningau en route to Kota Kinabalu. Savour your achievement for having been to “The Lost World” of Sabah. This has to be the toughest trek in Borneo.
Hyatt Regency Hotel (B, L)
Day 13 – Depart
Kota Kinabalu Transfer out to Kota Kinabalu Airport
Make this your holiday
Getting There A number of direct international airlines fly to Borneo’s two main airports; Kuching in Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. The two major airlines; Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia also operate domestic flights linking tourist destinations of interest. This has made getting around Sabah a lot easier and cheaper. With a little preplanning you can find a flight that will rival the local bus prices.
When to go A good time to travel to Borneo is between March and September/October, even though Southwest monsoon brings in short burst of showers between May to July. Showers usually occur on the upper slopes in the afternoon while Mount Kinabalu has its own climate. The driest season runs from April to October but even during this season, a good raincoat is a must. The heaviest rainfall generally occurs between October and January and the lowest in between February and April.