Hidden in the remote corners of Sabah, Malaysia is Maliau Basin, a pristine conservation area often hailed as the “Lost World of Borneo”. This remote and virtually self-contained ecosystem boasts one of the most biodiverse environments on the planet and is said to have more waterfalls than anywhere in Malaysia, making it a must-visit destination for adventurers and nature lovers. 

Ideal for those seeking an immersive experience in one of the world’s last unexplored wildernesses, Maliau Basin offers a journey into a dense rainforest brimming with rare wildlife and stunning natural landscapes. 

Credit: Murphy Ng

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know for your trip to Maliau Basin!

Tour Packages to Maliau Basin

Amazing Borneo Tours offers 4D3N and 5D4N packages to Maliau Basin, with opportunities to explore the unique environment on jungle treks and night safari drives. Each tour is designed to maximise your experience of Maliau Basin and includes expert guides, transportation, and accommodation. 

Credit: Serena Lamb

Both packages provide visitors with the chance to observe rare wildlife like pygmy elephants and banteng (wild cattle), bask in the cascades of the iconic seven-tiered Maliau Falls, and camp out at Ginseng Camp in hammocks amidst the untouched rainforest. 

The 5D4N package gives you an added day to explore other campsites and waterfalls. 

Book your tour of Maliau Basin:

Borneo Jungle Trek – 4D3N Maliau Basin (Sabah’s Lost World) 

Borneo Jungle Trek – 5D4N Maliau Basin (Sabah’s Lost World) 

Accommodations at Maliau Basin

The accommodations in Maliau Basin are basic yet comfortable, perfectly complementing the rustic and wild nature of the basin. Some of the campsites you will be visiting include: 

  • Agathis Camp: 9km away from the Maliau Basin Studies Centre (your starting point), located at the southernmost edge of Maliau Basin Conservation Area. Here is where you leave most of your luggage, bringing only the necessary items. 
  • Ginseng Camp: Constructed in 2005 near the 27-metre-high Ginseng Falls, this campsite comes equipped with hammock-style beds and shared bathrooms, with a maximum capacity of 20 pax. 
  • Nepenthes Camp: A two-storey building with bunk beds and limited electricity supply. A 33-metre-high observation tower is located nearby where you can enjoy panoramic views of the forest canopy. The campsite is also nearby to several waterfalls – Takob Akob Falls, Fowzi Falls, and Giluk Falls.

It is important to note that the generator turns off every night from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., so a flashlight is essential for those nocturnal adventures or simply navigating around after dark. The hospitality of the guides and their in-depth knowledge of the jungle's secrets enhance the experience, making every trek memorable. 

Facilities at Maliau Basin

Facilities within Maliau Basin are designed to offer comfort while preserving the natural integrity of the area. Dining facilities provide nutritious meals to prepare guests for their adventures, while the Maliau Basin Studies Centre offer insights into the ecological importance and conservation efforts of the area. Despite its remote location, basic modern amenities are available to ensure a comfortable stay. 

Activities at Maliau Basin 

Maliau Basin is a haven for eco-tourists, offering a range of activities geared towards nature exploration and wildlife observation

  • Wildlife Watching: The basin is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including pygmy elephants, civets, various porcupine species, leopard cats, and the elusive pangolin. 
  • Bird Watching: Bird enthusiasts have the opportunity to spot rare species like the Sabah Partridge, Blue-headed Pitta, and various hornbills. 
  • Jungle Trekking: There are multiple trekking routes available, varying in difficulty.  These treks offer visitors spectacular views of waterfalls, including the renowned Maliau Falls, and the chance to walk through diverse forest ecosystems. 
  • Night Safaris: After dark, the forest comes alive with nocturnal creatures.  Guided night safaris provide a unique opportunity to observe these animals in their natural habitat. 

Wildlife at Maliau Basin

Credit: Serena Lamb

A critical habitat for a plethora of wildlife, Maliau Basin houses some of Borneo's most elusive and endangered species. So far, around 80 species of mammals have been recorded in Maliau Basin, including: 

  • Bornean Pygmy Elephant 
  • Bornean Orang Utan 
  • Malayan Sun Bear 
  • Clouded Leopard 
  • Marbled Cat 
  • Pangolin 
  • Bay Cat 
  • Bearded Pig 
  • Banteng 
  • Civet 
  • Sambar Deer 
  • Barking Deer 

Credit: Serena Lamb

Maliau Basin is also an incredible site for birding, where you have the opportunity to spot tropical bird species like: 

  • Sabah Partridge 
  • Blue-headed Pitta 
  • Black-headed Pitta 
  • Banded Pitta 
  • Giant Pitta 
  • Great Argus 
  • Peregrine Falcon 
  • Bathawk 
  • Bornean Bristlehead 
  • Crested Fireback Pheasant 
  • Bulwer’s Pheasant 
  • Helmeted Hornbill 
  • Rhinoceros Hornbill 
  • Oriental Pied Hornbill 
  • White-crowned Hornbill 
  • Wrinkled Hornbill 
  • Bushy-crested Hornbill 
  • Black Hornbill 
  • Wreathed Hornbill

Credit: Serena Lamb

Do take note, however, that wildlife sightings are never guaranteed. Timing and luck are significant factors in whether you encounter any animals in the wild. The dense layers of jungle and canopies also create an added challenge for spotting. 

How to Get to Maliau Basin

The closest city to Maliau Basin is Tawau, accessible by road and air from Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. 

🚌 Buses to Tawau can be taken from Kota Kinabalu, Semporna, Sandakan and Lahad Datu.  

🛫 A flight from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau is approximately 55 minutes long.  Flights from Sandakan are also available, taking about 40 minutes. 

🚗 From the Tawau Airport, the 195km journey takes about 3.5 hours by car, driving down the Tawau-Keningau highway for most of the way. 


A trip to Maliau Basin offers more than just a holiday — it's an expedition into a world preserved in time. For those who are passionate about nature and adventure, visiting this "Lost World" provides a profound and unforgettable encounter with one of the Earth’s most spectacular environments.

Credit: Serena Lamb

Book your adventure with Amazing Borneo Tours and step into the heart of Borneo's untouched wilderness, where every path leads to discovery and every moment is a step back in time.