Maliau Basin Conservation Area which is about 190 km away from Tawau is the place to go if you are adventurous as only a limited number of people have visited this virgin forests of Malaysia since 1997. Spanning an area of about 59,000 hectares, it was accidentally discovered by a British pilot in 1947 when he almost crashed into the cliffs of this basin due to low visibility.
Since 1982, expedition teams have been exploring this virgin jungle and a Studies Centre has been set up here in 2007. Since then, a total of 270 species of bird, 80 species of mammal, 30 species of amphibian, 80 types of orchid and 1,800 varieties of plants have been discovered. More of flora and fauna are discovered and documented each year. There are still over half of the area which has yet to be explored and visitors are only allowed to explore a third of Maliau Basin.
Trails of about 70 km have been opened to visitors. There is also a 30 m canopy observation platform at the Camel Trophy Camp. This is a good place to see the panoramic view of the jungle. Make sure you bring a binocular and a camera to capture the wild animals, birds and exotic plants in this rain forest.
The Maliau Basin crater has a diameter of about 25 km with its highest peak at 1675 m. There are 7 camps with basic facilities that you can go to. Spending 4-5 days here is common with visitors as there are so much to see here.
Naturalists and botanists will enjoy this pristine rainforest. There are no roads inside the conservation centre hence the only way to move around is by trekking. Be prepared for a few hours of trekking from one camp to the other.
Getting To Maliau Basin and Accommodation
The best way to get here is to take a flight to Tawau. MAS and AirAsia fly to this town regularly. Book early and you will get better rates. From Tawau, it is another 6 hours by 4WD to the Security Gate. The 7 camps that have been set up for your use are:
See the map of this place here
See the videos of this exotic area by Scubazoo Video and ABC Tours Sabah.
Flora & Fauna
Look out for some of the following flora and fauna while you are here. It is always a good idea to find out the names of them before coming here or by educating yourself at the centre.
You can take the tour packages from tour operators. Borneo Nature Tours and ABC Tours are among the tour operators that offer the packages to this Lost World of Borneo.