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 588kmĀ².
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 Accommodation 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.

The costs (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.
01 Panoramic view of the Maliau basin 02 Tall tree
03 Tropical rainforest 04 Maliau basin forest 05 Tropical rainforest
06 Maliau basin forest 07 Start of trail to Ginseng camp 08 Trail to Ginseng camp 09 Trail to Ginseng camp 10 Broken tree
11 Dipterocarp tree 12 Tree roots 13 Rainforest 14 Trees and forest canopy 15 Tree roots 16 Majestic tree
17 Tree roots 18 Trees and forest canopy 19 Dipterocarp tree 20 Trail to Ginseng camp 21 Forest stream
22 Night sky with stars 23 Night sky with stars 24 Trail to Ginseng camp 25 Dipterocarp tree 26 Trail and diperocarp tree
27 Trail to Ginseng camp 28 Rainforest trail 29 Dipterocarp tree 30 Rainforest 31 Trail to Ginseng camp
32 Trail across trees 33 Rainforest trees 34 Trail to Ginseng camp 35 Rainforest trees 36 Dipterocarp tree
37 Rainforest trees 38 Dipterocarp tree 39 Panoramic view of the Maliau basin
40 Panoramic view of the Maliau basin
41 Panoramic view of the Maliau basin
42 Panoramic view of the Maliau basin
01 Reception 02 Hostel dormitory 03 Hostel 04 Staff living quarters
05 Hostel 06 Trees 07 Bridge over pond
08 Grass 09 Pond 10 Kitchen and hostel 11 Staircase and tourists
12 Headquarter building 13 4WD car and staff 14 Model of Maliau basin
01 Maliau basin reception information building 02 Road to Maliau basin 03 Parking area for visitors
04 Road to Maliau basin 05 Tall trees 06 Road to Maliau basin 07 Maliau basin road
08 View tower 09 Agathis waterfall 10 Agathis waterfall 11 Cicada 12 Red spider
13 Termite nest 14 Orange mushrooms 15 Orange flowers 16 Orange mushrooms 17 Stacked mushrooms
18 Termites 19 Green fruit 20 Yellow mushrooms 21 Umbrella mushroom
22 Black pot 23 Ginseng camp 24 Kitchen in Ginseng camp 25 Ginseng camp
26 Ginseng camp dormitory 27 Umbrella mushrooms 28 Cicada nest 29 Agathis camp 30 Studies centre to security gate road
31 Studies centre to security gate road 32 Studies centre to security gate road 33 Studies centre to security gate road 34 Tourists and guide
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©Copyright Alfred Molon