Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo
Sabah Borneo’s geographical structure is not only a mix of beaches and tropical rainforest, but it also has mountainous terrain, which is mostly in the western part of Sabah Borneo. Apart from that, this mountainous terrain has one of Malaysia’s highest mountain being part of it, located on the Crocker Range; Mount Kinabalu is truly a sight to see (4,095 meters above sea level). There are also several mountains and hills in Sabah Borneo that are traversed by an extensive network of river valleys and most are covered with dense tropical Borneo Rainforest. With these mountainous terrains of Sabah Borneo, it is not a surprise that Sabah Borneo is also rich with many spectacular waterfalls, some are not known to many and probably have not even been discovered yet! For the ones that are known or have been discovered, below is the list in which you can put into your Borneo Holidays wish list.
1) Langanan Waterfall, Poring Hot Spring, Ranau
Langanan Waterfall, Poring. Photo: Epicphals
Langanan Waterfall is located in Poring Hot Springs, Ranau, and it is considered one of Sabah Borneo’s highest waterfalls at about 120 m in height. It is suitable for adventurous trekkers as it requires about 2 hours (or more) trekking through the lowland tropical forest in order to reach the waterfall. Just don’t forget to wear leech socks and wear some waterproof shoes or jungle rubber shoes known as Adidas Kampung to avoid the slippery ground.
2) Kipungit Waterfall, Poring Hot Spring, Ranau
Kipungit Waterfall, Poring. Photo by: Wen0329
Kipungit Waterfall is also located in Poring Hot Springs and it takes about 20-minutes walk from Poring Hot Springs to reach there. With a height of only about 12 meters, this waterfall offers a perfect place for group or families to go for a picnic and enjoy the refreshing bath.
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3) Mahua Waterfall, Tambunan
Mahua Waterfall, Tambunan. Photo: Borneo Rimbawan
Take a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu City, passing through small villages and forests on the Crocker Range, until reaching the serene district of Tambunan, where it houses one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sabah; Mahua Waterfall. A pristine natural waterfall that is nestled deep in the tropical forest of the Crocker Mountain Range, it became one of the top local destination among the locals for a weekend getaway. Apart from that, Mahua Waterfall area also offers nature enthusiast to witness the various species of flora and fauna.
4) Ulu Kionsom Waterfall, Inanam
Ulu Kionsom Waterfall, Inanam. Photo: Bearnerd Bondly
Ulu Kionsom Waterfall is the closest recreational park in Kota Kinabalu City, as it is only about 20 km away from the city or a 30-40 minutes drive from the city. To reach the park, you will pass the entrance of Mari Mari Cultural Village, which is one of the famous tourist destination that showcases Sabah Borneo’s cultural heritage. The recreational park is also known as waterfall park because of its unique features of having multi-tiered cascades of waterfalls over a hill slope. The lowest level is easily accessible via a cement walkway and it is a famous spot for families as well as groups to gather for picnic. However, the upper tiers can only be accessed through a steep jungle trail from the entrance. Please be cautious when walking every step as it is slippery!
5) Gelas Hill Waterfall, Tawau Hills National Park
Bukit Gelas Waterfall, Tawau Hills Park. Photo: Zulhelmy Abdul Rahim
Gelas Hill Waterfall is located in Tawau Hills Park, which is about 24 km and a 30-minute drive from Tawau Town. A lush green forest and protected park that offers naturalist with its diverse species of flora and fauna that can be found there. To reach Gelas Hill Waterfall, a jungle trail is provided and you will need to walk through the trail for about 2.4km (Note: Be careful when walking on a jungle trail when it is raining, as it will be very slippery and muddy). However, once you reach Gelas Hill Waterfall, get ready to be in awe by the marvelous waterfall view and feel the tranquility of the area. In addition, Gelas Hill Waterfall is also known for its famous picnic spot for families and friends, some adventurous and nature lovers can also camp there in order to experience more on
6) Tawai Waterfall, Telupid
Tawai Waterfall is considered the biggest and least-known waterfall in Sabah Borneo. With its height about 95 meters, it is located deep inside the Tawai Forest Reserve, a Class I protected forest managed by Telupid Forestry Department. Therefore, you would need to apply for a permit from Sabah Forestry Department Headquarters before entering the protected area. To reach Tawai Rainforest Camp, you would need to drive about 4 hours to reach Telupid Town first from Kota Kinabalu City, and another hour drive from Telupid Town to Tawai Rainforest Camp (depends on weather and road condition). Once arriving at Tawai Rainforest Camp, continue on a jungle walk and witness many species of Borneo Pitcher Plants along the way until you are welcomed by the spectacular view of the waterfall. Don’t forget to wear proper hiking shoes and bring some drinking water while trekking to the waterfall.
Tawai Waterfall, Tawai Forest Reserve Telupid.
6) Murug Turug Waterfall, Tamparuli
Murug Turug Waterfall is the newest tourist destination especially for those who are into hiking activity. One of the hidden gems in Sabah Borneo and located at Minangkob Village in Tamparuli district, which only takes about 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu City (For more information, you can check on their facebook page). Before reaching there, you will need to make some booking first before going there, and there are three packages offered ( Package A: Murug Turug Waterfall – 4km return; Package B: 5km return – 3 waterfalls; and Package C: 12km return via Malas Kalas Trail & witness 7 waterfalls) for you to choose. In addition, if you are interested to experience the natural wonders of Murug Turug, be sure to wear proper hiking shoes or the jungle rubber shoes which known as “Adidas Kampung” when you go for a hike and exploring the area. Moreover, feel free to bring some extra clothes, just in case you feel tempted to go for a swim at the clear emerald green river of the waterfall.
Murug Turug Waterfall, Tamparuli. Photo: Kierra Sally Tan
8) Madai Waterfall, Kunak
Madai Waterfall, Kunak. Photo: Imran Kadir
Listening to the gushing sound of waterfalls are always nice to hear, especially when you are there to witness it yourself. A delightful sight when you get to see the 40-meter Madai Waterfall, which is located in the Madai Baturong Forest Reserve, about 15 km from Kunak Town. It attracts many locals and tourist to witness this interesting waterfall which is often referred to as the twin waterfall because it cascades down on two separate sides but merges together when there is a heavy downpour of rain. However, be cautioned not to swim beyond the shallow part of the river because it is known that there is a deep hole at the center of the pool area, plus there is no lifeguard in that area. Therefore, for safety precaution, you can just soak your feet in the shallow water and be mesmerized by the beautiful sight in front of you.
9) Maliau Waterfall, Maliau Basin Conservation Area
Maliau Waterfall, Kunak. Photo: Patrick
An unusual sight if you get to see the 7-tiered Maliau Waterfall for your holiday adventure in Sabah Borneo. It is located deep within the Maliau Basin Conservation Area or known to many as “The Lost World of Sabah”. If you are an avid trekker, this place is considered an adventure to you with its surrounding unspoiled nature, rare species of plants, animal sightings and the Maliau Waterfall as your reward. However, you must obtain a permit to enter Maliau Basin in advance from Yayasan Sabah before deciding to go there. Moreover, you will need to venture into the pristine rainforests that took about 2-3 days(depends on weather condition) to reach Maliau Waterfall.
Apart from these nine waterfalls discussed above, there are still many waterfalls in Sabah Borneo that are yet to be explored. Whatever it is, all waterfalls in Sabah Borneo are amazing when you get to witness it firsthand, and it will be hard for you to not remember the delightful sights of waterfalls as well as its beauty. Can’t wait to dip into the cooling waters of the waterfall? Then, start planning yourself to make a trip to Sabah Borneo!
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