Day 7 Sabah Road Trip Tawau Kalabakan Maliau Basin
Published: 06/04/2021
Jalan (=road) Nabawan-Kalabakan.png
Day 7 of the 11-day Sabah Road Trip we drive from Tawau to the Maliau Basin. We drive on beautiful winding roads through the beautiful green nature of Sabah with many palm trees. Several stops are possible along the route for something to drink and / or eat. This route offers a lot of natural clean and outdoor activities.

We visit the Tawau Hills Park (RP3), this park is home to numerous plant and animal species. It is best known for being home to giant tropical tree species, the Shorea faguetiana (commonly known as Yellow Meranti).

Visit the 2-acre Lowland Gardens, home to an amazing selection of flora, such as the Elephant Ear Orchid (Phalaenopsis gigantea). Tawau Hills Park is also a favorite spot for hikers looking to work out their stamina. The challenging hilly terrain has three mountains (Gunung); Mount Magdalena (1310 meters), Mount Lucia (1202 meters) and Mount Maria (1083 meters). All climbers must obtain a permit from Sabah Parks before the climb. Mountain guides and porters are also available.

The hot spring and Galas waterfall are the other attractions of this beautiful park. It's no wonder that Tawau Hills Park has become a popular recreation spot for families and friends to picnic or, for the outdoor enthusiast, to spend a night camping under a blanket of stars. Chalets and hostels managed by KOKTAS are available for those looking for more comfortable options.

We drive via the beautiful winding road “Jalan Tawau - Kalabakan” to Kalabakan a small village on the Kalabakan river where we stop for lunch. There are a number of small restaurants here where you can eat dishes from the Malay cuisine.

After lunch we drive via the “Jalan Nabawan - Kalabakan” further to our end point. This road is again enjoying the beautiful rolling landscape. Along the route there is enough space to stop safely to take pictures. Day is the Maliau Basin Berlian Camp (RP11) in one of the most beautiful remaining wilderness areas of Malaysia, “The Maliau Basin.” Note that the road to this location is not on the TomTom and HERE maps, it is about 26 kilometers from RP11 drive on a narrow winding dirt road.

Bordered by a slope that rises more than 1,675 meters above sea level, the almost circular “The Maliau Basin” encompasses 390 km2 of pristine forest, a virtually self-contained ecosystem, never permanently inhabited and with large areas still to be explored and documented.

It is noteworthy that the entire basin is one huge basin, drained by only one river, the Maliau River, which flows through a gorge in the southeast of the basin and joins the Kuamut River and finally the Kinabatangan River.

In 1981, the Maliau Basin, along with Danum Valley (day 5), was made a protected area for forest management of Sabah. While Danum Valley blossomed into a world-renowned tropical research center, Maliau Basin remained in the shadows as Sabah's Lost World.

Maliau Basin Conservation Area is not only an ideal place for research and environmental education, it is also perfect for jungle adventure treks, bird watching, wildlife photography, nighttime drives to spot nocturnal animals, swimming in waterfalls and recreation and just experiencing the thrill of being in one truly untouched wilderness.

With over 70km of marked trails, only about a third of Maliau is open to visitors, and less than half of the basin has been explored by researchers so far.

Maliau Basin Conservation Area is a remote location where safety procedures must be followed. These include having insurance that covers emergency helicopter evacuation. You are only allowed into the woods accompanied by Maliau rangers. Hunting is absolutely prohibited and you are not allowed to bring stones, plants or other specimens.

Maliau Basin contains many exceptional natural features, including probably the largest number of waterfalls anywhere in Malaysia. The most famous of these are the spectacular 7-tiered Maliau Falls on the Maliau River, the highest of which is a magnificent 28 meters. Maliau is also home to the legendary Linumunsut Lake.

For the overnight stays they offer a chalet, rest house and hostel accommodation and camping facilities in the Maliau Basin Studies Center.
RP3 Tawua Hills Park
Maliau Waterfall
Useful links:
Day 6 Sabah Road Trip Semporna Tawau
Tawau Hills Park
Maliau Basin Berlian Camp
Day 8 Sabah Road Trip Maliau Basin Keningau

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René Plücken (MRA-Senior)
The images and text displayed here originate from the Wikipedia article "Sabah", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
About this region
Sabah (Malay pronunciation: [saˈbah]) is a state of Malaysia located on the northern portion of Borneo, in the region of East Malaysia. Sabah has land borders with the Malaysian state of Sarawak to the southwest and Indonesia's Kalimantan region to the south. The Federal Territory of Labuan is an island just off the Sabah coast. Sabah shares maritime borders with Vietnam to the west and the Philippines to the north and east. Kota Kinabalu is the state capital city, the economic centre of the state, and the seat of the Sabah state government. Other major towns in Sabah include Sandakan and Tawau. The 2015 census recorded a population of 3,543,500 in the state, and in 2019 it was estimated to have grown to over 3.9 million. Sabah has an equatorial climate with tropical rainforests and abundant animal and plant species. The state has long mountain ranges on the west side which forms part of the Crocker Range National Park. Kinabatangan River, the second longest river in Malaysia runs through Sabah, and Mount Kinabalu is the highest point of Sabah as well as of Malaysia. The earliest human settlement in Sabah can be traced back to 20,000–30,000 years ago along the Darvel Bay area at the Madai-Baturong caves. The state has had a trading relationship with China starting from the 14th century AD. Sabah came under the influence of the Bruneian Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries, while the eastern part of the territory was given to the Sultanate of Sulu because the Sultanate had helped the Bruneian empire in a battle and as such it was given to them as a gift between the 17th and 18th centuries. The state was subsequently acquired by the British-based North Borneo Chartered Company in the 19th century. During World War II, Sabah was occupied by the Japanese for three years. It became a British Crown Colony in 1946. On 31 August 1963, Sabah was granted Independent and self-government by the British. Following this, Sabah became one of the founding members of the Federation of Malaysia (established on 16 September 1963) alongside Sarawak, Singapore (expelled in 1965), and the Federation of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia or West Malaysia). The federation was opposed by neighbouring Indonesia, which led to the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation over three years along with the threats of annexation by the Philippines along with the Sultanate of Sulu, threats which continue to the present day.Sabah exhibits notable diversity in ethnicity, culture and language. The head of state is the Governor, also known as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, while the head of government is the Chief Minister. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and has one of the earliest state legislature systems in Malaysia. Sabah is divided into five administrative divisions and 27 districts. Malay is the official language of the state; and Islam is the state religion, but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the state. Sabah is known for its traditional musical instrument, the sompoton. Sabah has abundant natural resources, and its economy is strongly export-oriented. Its primary exports include oil, gas, timber and palm oil. The other major industries are agriculture and ecotourism.
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Route collections
The route collections by MyRoute-app are collections of multiple routes that belong to each other and checked by MRA RouteXperts. All routes are identical for TomTom, Garmin and MyRoute-app Navigation.
View route collection The best Sabah Road Trip Borneo Malaysia
About this route collection
Based on the routes of “Rider Chris” from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, this 11-day Motorcycle Tour in Sabah Borneo is a passionate motorcyclist and loves to share his travel adventures with the community through his website and social media. The link to his website can be found in the first route.

This route collection was created with his permission.

Seen as one of the most beautiful provinces in Malaysia, Sabah is known for its scenic landscape with spectacular mountains, beautiful beaches, surreal sunsets, rich culture, friendliest people, winding roads, tall waterfalls, national parks and much more!

The roads in Malaysia are generally in good condition, but beware; there are also parts where the asphalt is poor and there can be potholes in the road surface. This can be dangerous, so caution is advised. During the rainy season (September-December) the roads can be slippery. Traffic in Malaysia drives on the left side of the road.

You can rent a motorcycle in Malaysia, but these are usually lighter models and often scooters. You can spend the night in hotels, B & Bs or campsites, which can easily be booked via the website in the review or via