Few places in the world remain places of sheer natural beauty untouched by modernity, and yet the Maliau Basin is one such place – an unblemished slice of paradise tucked away in central Sabah, which is simply why it is a destination not to be missed.
Photo by Jason Fowler
Maliau Basin: Untamed Nature At Its Finest
Maliau Basin’s main attraction lies in its unspoilt, breathtaking scenery consisting of dense forests, marshes, scenic waterfalls, and the tranquil Maliau River. It has an interesting assortment of flora and fauna, as well.
Evergreen trees like the Agathis and heath tree are especially abundant while there are roughly 80 species of wild orchids and 6 variants of the fascinating pitcher plant.
The Maliau Basin is also one of the few places on earth where the rafflesia, one of the largest flowering plants in the world, can be found. There are even some entirely new species that have been discovered.
Photo by adronvet
As for its wildlife, Maliau Basin is home to several endangered species, including the Sumatran rhinoceros, which is the smallest species of rhinoceros, the Clouded Leopard, Malayan Sunbear, the Proboscis monkey, which is so called because of its long nose and the Banteng, which is a species of wild cattle. Many birds can also be found in the area, making it a haven for birdwatchers.
Accommodation in Maliau Basin
Since there is a wide area to explore in the Maliau Basin, staying for a few nights is recommended. There are various accommodations right within the area of the Maliau Basin, particularly the Maliau Basin Studies Centre and six satellite camps scattered throughout.
The Maliau Basin Studies Centre consists of a resthouse with standard and deluxe rooms as well as a hostel with bunk beds for backpackers, while the satellite camps offer spacious camping grounds for those who want to pitch up their tents and enjoy a genuine outdoor adventure along with hammocks and bunk beds for those seeking more comfortable accommodations. Toilet and shower facilities are provided.
Tips To Enjoy Your Stay at Maliau Basin
In order to enjoy trekking to the jungle, you’ll need to travel light but at the same time, bring some essentials with you. These include an insect repellent for warding off mosquitoes, a bottle of clean, drinking water, a trekking pole to help you climb up and down steep slopes and a first aid kit.
Bringing a pair of binoculars and your camera is also a good idea, though it is up to you to make sure these do not get damaged.
You will also want to wear some comfortable clothes, although it is recommended that you cover your skin as much as possible in order to prevent leeches from sticking to you, and to prevent scrapes, cuts and insect bites, as well. You might want to wear a swimsuit under your clothes, too, especially if you intend to swim in the Maliau Falls.
Keep in mind that you may not see any wildlife at all since the trails only cover a limited portion of the Maliau Basin. However, if you are patient, quiet and keep your senses open, you might just get lucky.