Gunung Gading National Park, Rafflesia

Seeing a Rafflesia is one of the most exciting part of life. :)  One of the best places to spot a Rafflesia is in Gunung Gading National Park , situated near the town of Lunduk, about 2 hours from Kuching.

This is a park famous for the growth of the very rare Rafflesia flower. However, the Rafflesia is not always in bloom, and if they do, it only lasts for a week. A Rafflesia grows as a bud for 9 months, blooms for about 7 days and then decays. To find them, you have to look for the host vine, or better still get a guide. A guide there costs RM50.

The first time we were there, we went without a guide. The Park Ranger there said there were no Rafflesias in bloom. However, since we had made a trip all the way there, I was desparate/stubborn enough NOT to belief in the park ranger.

There are several lovely falls there, some suitable for swimming in
 We hiked 2 hours in the thick, humid rainforest only to face disappoinment. Not a Rafflesia in sight. :( We even risked crossing a no entry sign to walk the Rafflesia route which was closed for repair of broken boards. I've to say, my kids were WONDERFUL. They walked those hours with us without complaining, Jo was carried every now and then when it got a little too dangerous.

Then I said a little prayer. Lo and behold, 2 burly men with tatoo all over their bodies appeared. They looked at me and asked "enjoying your hike?" I replied "...well, I came to see the Rafflesia, and didn't see any." They replied "We know where there is one! Want to follow us?"

Climbing a vine

I jumped in excitement and said "I'll follow you!" 5 minutes into the walk, I began to wonder if they were robbers or something...even my husband started wondering...... 10 mins passed, then they showed us a narrow trail off the main one. I began worrying a little. Then they man said "here it is!" I followed, looked behind a large tree, and there it was. :) A medium sized one....about 6 days old. I thanked them profusely...and was just so overjoyed at the sight of the Rafflesia. It's amazing how God answers simple prayers. :)
A Rafflesia bud which the men showed us. The rafflesia takes 9 months to bloom! and when it blooms, it starts decaying within 7 days.
The Rafflesia that took my breath away coz I was just so thrilled and overjoyed at finding one

 This year 2011, we found ouselves at G. Gading National Park again. This time we hired a ranger and found the trail more interesting. He provided us with lots of information about the Rafflesia and its host vine. He also showed us many other plants, some parasitic and stinky as well! We saw many buds and finally found a Rafflesia, one day before full bloom. The species we saw this time is different from  the one we saw during our last visit. If I'm not mistaken there are 2-3 different species in that park alone.
Rafflesia Bud (different species from the one we saw the year before)
Rafflesia Bud

Just a day before full bloom

Other interesting finds there include
 dried rotting Rafflesia

 Ive to google this up. But it was smelly!

So, if you're near Kuching, you should make your way to this park!

@Martha, 2011


  1. Very interesting. I will definitely put Kuching on my list of places to go with my kids.

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