Maliau Basin - The Lost World

Location: Sabah

Location Info

Address: Tongod, Keningau ,Tawau, Sabah, Malaysia

District » Tawau


Located in Tawau at the South Central part of Sabah is the Maliau Basin which is a staggering 588.4 square kilometers. Maliau Basin consists of 12 types of forest which is mainly made up of the lower montane forest which are dominated by the majestic Agathis trees, rare montane heath forest and lowland and hill diperocarp forest. The main highlight of the Maliau Basin is the trek up the 7-tiered Maliau Falls.


Maliau Basin is actually a part of the 10,000 square kilometers timber concession which is possessed by the Yayasan Sabah. The basin was actually discovered in 1947 by a pilot but it was not until 1988 that the first scientific expedition by the Yayasan Sabah and WWF Malaysia took place.

The area was inhabited by the Muruts but they have never settled in the forbidden basin. The Maliau Basin is easily distinguished by its almost circular perimeter as the region surrounding it is rugged. The basin is sharply delimited on all sides by cliffs or very steep slopes of up to 1,500 meters in height. This makes it insurmountable on foot from most directions. Gunung Lotung which is on the north rim is thought to be the highest point at the basin with over 1,600 meters in elevation.

The basin represents a single catchment area and is drained by a set of radiating tributaries of the Maliau River which descends a breath-taking series of waterfalls known as the Maliau Falls. Many other smaller waterfalls have also been discovered throughout the basin. The diversity of the flora and fauna found here is so wide and have yielded many new species than many other places of many years of study. There indeed are many places to visit in Sabah and it will take some time to visit them all. Do extend your stay in Sabah to do so. Accommodations in Sabah are more than you can imagine. Thus, worry not and extend your stay in Sabah for a more fulfilling trip.


You can get to the Maliau Basin Conservation Area either via Tawau or Keningau if you travel by four-wheeled drive and the time will depend on the weather. You can also choose to travel via helipad is you have extra to spend on the transportation.