Sabah's Botanical Canyon

Imbak Canyon is a hidden valley, nestled between steep sandstone cliffs that reach over 1,000 metres high! It is located deep in the heart of Sabah, some 300 kilometres away from the capital, Kota Kinabalu. Ancient tracts of rainforest about 100 million years old – some of the oldest in the world – make their home in this stretch of land, acting as an essential wildlife corridor that links Danum Valley with Maliau Basin. This fact, coupled with the area’s rich biodiversity of plants and wildlife, have earned the Canyon its status as a Class 1 (Protection) Forest Reserve in 2009.

An incredible sanctuary for some of Borneo’s rarest species, the Imbak Canyon is home to endangered Bornean Pygmy Elephants, Langurs, Western Tarsiers, Bearded Pigs, Proboscis Monkeys, and the iconic Orangutan, among others. It’s also a premier birdwatching destination, with over 250 species of birds including Hornbills and Bornean Bristleheads making their home here! A great number of exotic plants can also be found in the valley, such as the carnivorous Nepenthes or Pitcher Plants and rare species of wild Orchids.

Though lesser known compared to the other protected areas In Sabah, the Imbak Canyon is quickly growing to be an important destination for nature lovers and researchers alike, culminating in the completion of the Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC) in 2016, with an extensive array of facilities at its disposal. Its beautiful rainforest scenery, decadently rich biodiversity, and excellent facilities make the Imbak Canyon perfect for both adventurers and scholars who can appreciate the valley’s bountiful gifts.

Quick Facts

30,000 hectares of undisturbed forest

Protected forest reserve with Class-1 status

One of World's oldest rainforests (10 million years)

Rich in biodiversity

300km or 6 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu

Imbak Canyon Study Centre offers accommodation, research and learning centre

Imbak Falls The Widest Waterfall spans 30 meters

Big Belian tree stands at 250 feet and is about 1000 years old

We Are Here

Things To Do

Jungle trekking

Nature Photography

Bird Watching


Wildlife Sighting

Night Drives

Tour Packages

No record

Frequently Asked Questions

4WD drive to Imbak Canyon

How to get to Imbak Canyon?

Imbak Canyon Conservation Area is accessible via drive from Kota Kinabalu, which can take 5-6 hours, or from Sandakan, which takes approximately 4 hours. On the last 2 hours of driving, you’ll be traversing through rough road conditions, so a 4WD vehicle will be needed for this trip.

How to get to Imbak Canyon
Accommodation at Imbak Canyon Studies Centre

Where to stay?

The Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC) comes with several types of accommodation: rest house, hostel and VIP house, with a total occupancy of 327 pax. Rooms are equipped with hot shower, fan and air conditioner but electricity is switched off around 2200 hours each night. Other facilities include a café, library, mini-theatre, scientific laboratory, conference rooms, nature gallery, and environmental education complex.

Imbak Falls


Activities at the Imbak Canyon include jungle trekking, wildlife spotting, birdwatching, visiting the Nepenthes garden, 4WD drives, night walks, and camping. Excursions into the rainforest can lead you to some wondrous sights, such as the 30-metre-wide Imbak Falls and the 1000-year-old Big Belian Tree, standing at 250ft tall!

Imbak Canyon

What is the recommended stay?

You’d want to spend at least two nights at Imbak Canyon to appreciate the beauty of the area and have enough time to visit its highlights such as the Imbak Falls and Big Belian Tree. For those who want even more adventure, a 4D3N stay is also available, which includes an additional exciting trek to the dazzling Maya Falls.

borneo milipede

What do I need to bring?

As usual, you are advised to bring along sun block lotion, personal toiletries, personal drinking water bottle, and a camera. For your treks into the jungle, you’ll need a torch light, leech socks, insect repellent, a good pair of binoculars, a hat, and a raincoat. You’ll also have the chance to take a dip in the waterfalls, weather permitting, so some extra swimwear is advisable.

Imbak Canyon Studies Centre (ICSC)

The ICSC is the main hub of the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area, acting as a gateway into the sanctuary. Completed in November 2016 in a partnership between Petronas and Yayasan Sabah, it has since established itself as the area's essential centre of research, education, nature recreation, and administration. It’s fully equipped to accommodate all types of visitors – from adventurous backpackers to research groups and even VVIPs.

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