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Maliau Basin

River Junkie - 4 days

  • Maliau Basin
  • 4 days / 3 nights
  • Max. group: 10 Persons
  • Difficulty: Easy
Packing List
River Junkie
How to Book


> Discover the wonders of this pristine area
> Join a night drive to spot nocturnal wildlife
> Spend your night in camps

Maliau Basin has earned the nickname “Sabah’s lost world” for a good reason. The first expeditions into this remote basin occurred as recently as 1988 and it remains very much “off the beaten path” to this day. Visitors willing to take up the challenge of hiking to it’s numerous stunning waterfalls are rewarded with a rich and diverse habitat of vine-clad old-growth forest as well as numerous wildlife spotting opportunities. It’s worth noting that the forest and jungle in Maliau Basin are so dense that larger wildlife will be harder to spot than in areas such as the Kinabatangan River but there will still be plenty of unique flora & fauna on display! Much of the area is still unexplored and whilst over 2000 species of plants and animals have been discovered, many more remain a secret.

Maliau Basin can be reached from either Kota Kinabalu or from Tawau, our standard itineraries are inclusive of transport from / to Kota Kinabalu but alternative arrangements can be made upon request (extra costs may apply). The journey into the basin and to the field centre where you will spend the first night is by 4X4 and you will also get a chance to join a night 4X4 safari on your first evening. On the subsequent days you will be trekking 5 to 8 hours per day between camps deep in the heart of the basin with your forest ranger and nature guide. Visitors must be physically fit and must also have travel insurance covering helicopter evacuation. Part of the beauty of Maliau Basin is that there are no high end resorts here, basic accommodation & meals are provided at jungle camps throughout the trek, immersing you further into the green heart of the basin. This is truly a stunning and unique trip for the adventurous traveller!


What's the plan?

Pick up from Kota Kinabalu (other locations including Semporna/Tawau can be arranged) around 7 am and begin the journey to Sabahs lost world, Maliau Basin. Along the way, you will pass through the Crocker Ranges scenic winding roads and through to Keningau, around 2 hours from Kota Kinabalu. There will be a brief stop in Keningau and a visit to the local market to purchase some last minute supplies. Once you reach the Maliau gate, usually early in the afternoon, it is just another 30 - 40 minutes to reach the study centre, stretch your legs, check-in and have a brief orientation of the facilities. In the late afternoon, you will embark on an introductory walk of the area surrounding the centre and learn about some of the incredible biodiversity of this rarely visited part of Borneo. After dinner, you have the option to either join a night drive or night walk to spot nocturnal wildlife, both options included.

Wake up early to enjoy your breakfast and re-pack your bag. Around 8 am you will head to Agathis camp to begin the trek to Ginseng camp. The trek to Ginseng camp is 9km long, comprised of mixed trails, several gentle uphill sections and a trekking time of around 5 - 6 hours. Lunch will be provided along the way, and with some luck, you may get the chance to spot a variety of different animals including Borneon Gibbons or Redleaf Monkeys. Ginseng camp is nestled in very close to Ginseng falls, this is where you can choose to spend your afternoon and take a refreshing afternoon dip before returning to the camp for dinner and lights out.

After breakfast, you will pack your lunch and head for Maliau falls, the highlight of any trip to Maliau Basin! The trek is around 4.5km each way on a steep trail with ropes to assist you in places. It should take you around 2 - 3hours each way, so you will get plenty of time to swim, eat your lunch and enjoy the beautiful area surrounding the falls. In the early afternoon, begin your hike back up the hill to Ginseng camp for dinner and lights out.

After you have finished your breakfast at Ginseng camp, begins the 9km hike back to Agathis Camp to meet your driver. Today's trek is around 9km long and should take around 5 hours, with enough time to have your final packed lunch along the way. Once you reach Agathis Camps, it's time to de-leech and begin the 5 - 6 hour drive back to Kota Kinabalu (other finishing locations also available- including Semporna/Tawau for additional RM550). Expected arrival back into Kota Kinabalu is around 7 pm.



√ Pick up and transfers
Your trekking company is able to pick you up from your hotel and return you after the trekking. The trekking company will drive you to Maliau Basin, the starting point of your trek.

√ Accommodation during the trek
During your trek to Maliau Basin you will spend your first night in a dorm at the Study Center. The remaining nights you will spend in camping sites with stretcher hammocks.

√ Mountain guide
You will be accompanied at all times by one of our experienced guides. They are trained to keep you safe and to guide you throught the most beautiful views up to the top! A Maliau Basin forest ranger with VHF radio will also join you.

√ Meals
All meals detailed in the itinerary are included. We will make sure that you get all the energy you need to make it to the top. Drinking water, coffee & tea, and snacks will also be provided for.

√ Entrance fees
The Maliau Basin Park entrance fees are included in the price of the trek.


× Flights to and from Malaysia
The total amount is also exclusive of flights to and from Malaysia. To get an idea of which airlines are flying on Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA), have a look at the website.

× Accommodation in Kota Kinabalu
Before and after the trek you have to take care of your own accommodation.

× Personal expenses
All personal expenses such as drinks at the bar, snacks, washing and other similar expenses are for your own account.

× Travel Insurance Including Repatriation
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. It is important that your travel insurance also covers adventures at a high altitude. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before you travel to Malaysia.

× Porters
Porters are not included. Be prepared to carry your own personal belongings including up to 3 litres of water. If you want to add a porter to your trek, you can do so at an extra cost (up to 12kg of weight per porter).

× Tipping
Tips for guides are exclusive. You decide what you want to tip, but be benerous, they will appreciate it.



During your trek to Maliau Basin you will spend your first night in a dorm at the Study Center. The remaining nights you will spend in camping sites with stretcher hammocks.



Safety is of the utmost importance to us. That is why this is an area in which we simply do not compromise when it comes to keeping the cost of our trekkings low. Our guides have been selected on the basis of their technical competence, proven safety performance, impeccable judgment, friendly attitude and ability to provide useful and expert instructions. They are also very professional and well trained in first aid and personal protection equipment. First aid kits are available on all treks. Furthermore, a park ranger will also be joining us during the trek, both for safety, and to share with us all the secrets of this magnificent area.

Packing List

Packing List
No matter where you are going. If you are trekking, you need to be prepared. River Junkies prepared a recommended packing list for you to take into account when packing for your adventure:

- comfortable hiking backpack
- head lamp
- mosquito repellent
- sunscreen
- hat
- your favorite trekking snacks
- raincoat
- sunglasses
- binoculars
- leech socks
- dry-bag
- good walking/trekking shoes
- personal toiletries including towel
- personal medication and basic first aid kit
- light clothing for trekking

River Junkie

River Junkie

River Junkie was established in 2008 as the sister company of Scuba Junkie and made our mark as a white water rafting company based in Kota Kinabalu. In the earlier years, we were sending groups rafting to both Padas and Kiulu River, and things were doing great! As time went on though, we decided to change our direction and focus on more varied trips so we could work with more fellow travellers.

Starting in 2015, River Junkie came back into full swing, looking to provide honest pricing and trips throughout all areas of Sabah. Most of the trips that we operate focuses on nature, trekking and eco-tourism. We have a small but dedicated office team ready to assist you throughout the booking process. They will go above and beyond to help answer questions promptly or adapt as much as possible to suit your travel needs. On the ground, we have trusted and passionate guides and drivers ready to provide quality service. In areas where we do not have our own guides, we work with lodges that we have tried and tested ourselves, as we only recommend what we know and enjoy! We continue to add and expand the products and locations we focus on, so we can provide new experiences each time you visit with us.


Frequently Asked Questions

Best Season
Luckily for those planning on trekking in Malasia, you can pretty much Visit Sabah at any time of year. Bear in mind that June to September can be hot. For those interested in visiting the Maliau Basin, however, we recommend doing it during the dry season, in March and April. The least recommended months are Novemberto January because it is rainy season.

Tipping is not common practice in Malaysia and most people won’t expect it. However, it would be much appreciated by your guides. There is no fixed sum that you should follow, but for good service, tipping around MYR 25-30 per day for your guide would be about right. You could give a bit more if you are a larger group, they will appreciate it.

In order to preserve the area, keep it as untouched as possible, and protect the park, a permit is needed to visit the Maliau Basin. These permits apply to all researchers and visitors to the Maliau Basin Conservation Area. Your trekking company will take care of getting those permits in advance for you.

How to Book

How does it work?

On you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking adventure your match? In that case you can proceed to booking. In the case of Malaysia, we require the payment of the total amount of the price of the trek. In order to trek in Maliau Basin, trekkers must pay the entrance fees. These fees are expensive and non-refundable, so the trekking companies need the total amount of the trek in order to secure yours. uses only the safest payment methods. Once your booking has been received, your place is reserved, your place is safe and you can look forward to your chosen trekking. After you have made your booking, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with all necessary information and the contact details of the trekking company. If you have any questions or if you want to clarify something, you can obtain information directly from the right person. Of course, you can also always ask us your question. Send us an e-mail on The trekking company will also receive your details and can therefore always contact you and provide you with extra information.

Cancellation Policy

You wish you didn’t have to, but there is no other way: You find yourself having to cancel your plans. In this case, you lose your deposit, but since you haven’t paid the large sum yet, you at least save that. Please do let us know if you cannot make it. A no-show can be a small disaster for your trekking provider, who did its best to block your dates. View our complete cancellation policy here.

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