What to Expect on a Hike in the Most Untouched Place on Earth
Fitness Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Fly to: Kota Kinabalu
Number of Days: 6 Days (including flights)
The 130-million years old Maliau Basin is one of very few places in the world that has never been inhabited by humans. This remote region was only discovered by the outside world in 1947 when a light aircraft almost crashed into the mist-shrouded rim of the basin. The encounter didn’t generate much interest at the time, and the area slipped back into cloud-covered obscurity. It was only in 1988, when a full scientific expedition into this wilderness area was first carried out, that news of it began to trickle to the outside world. Until today, it’s still one of the most untouched places in the world.
Your first night at Maliau Basin will be spent at the base camp, a sprawling area of jewelled ponds, trees in autumnal shades and wildlife in every direction. Here, you’ll do a night safari to try to spot some of Sabah’s rarest mammals such as the Clouded Leopard, pygmy elephants and the Sumatran Rhino.
Chances are, you probably won’t see them but still, a nighttime safari in one of the most remote places on earth will be etched in your memory for a long time. You’ll get to see plenty of wild boar, families of Sambar Deer and flying squirrels leaping from tree to tree.
You’ll head into the ancient rainforest to start your trek the next morning amidst trees that are so tall they block out the sunlight, and with only noises of wildlife scampering in all directions to accompany you. As Maliau Basin is so remote, you’ll likely be the only trekkers around for miles in this ancient rainforest.
The trek will take you through the Heath Forest where you’re surrounded by overgrown carnivorous pitcher plants and an ethereal moss that makes you feel like you’re in an enchanted forest. It’ll also take you to Maliau Falls, one of the highlights of the trip. You’ll be able to hear the roar of the 7-tiered falls from a distance, and it’s at the falls when you’ll truly feel immersed in the wilderness of Borneo and experience being in a Lost World!
This trek isn’t difficult though you’ll need to be prepared for short spurts of steep climbs, clambering downhill with rope and very basic tin roofed accommodation in the middle of a jungle. For those looking to venture deep, deep within nature and challenge themselves, Maliau Basin is the perfect adventure.