July 11, 2011

Rafflesia @ Gunung Gading

When I was in Kuching, I asked me tour guide where got nice food to eat and he gave me directions.. but I guess I was too tired to listen properly cos the next morning, the dim sum was terrible... wrong shop maybe :(

The Siew Mai was too hard and the Loh Mai Kai was too thick and sticky... I prefer my Sungai Buloh Dim Sum shop :p But its nice to sit and enjoy my breakfast instead of rushing to work (like most patrons there) :)... but don't ask me where... Its just near the 360 Express City Hotel .. Ok la, here is some directions... When you come out of the hotel entrance, turn right. Walk to the end of the street  and you'll come out to the main road. Cross the road to the opposite shop houses, turn left and walk towards the end of the row. The cafe should be just opposite it. There is another Dim Sum shop beside it. Maybe I went to the wrong shop... Anyway, don't even know why I am giving directions since the food is not that good... :)

After breakfast, I quickly rushed back to the hotel as the tour guide was picking me up. We are going to Gunung Gading!!! Yay!! Gunung Gading is a national park just 2 hours drive from Kuching and its home to the largest flower in the world - the Rafflesia!!

Background on the flower..

Hiking in to view the flower... David, the tour guide and Ah Ray, my Hong Kong tour partner..

Did you know that the Rafflesia is the largest flower in the world?  It takea about 1 month to form a bud.. Doesn't it look like a rotten cabbage? Or a rotten coconut? See the tiny white tag.. all the buds are tagged so don't bother trying to steal them :)

It takes about 8-9 months to fully bloom and burst open, revealing a five petaled flower... 

Oh wait... there is 6 PETALS!!! Yeah, I know.. It's a rare 6-petal Rafflesia.. Aren't I lucky? David told me that in all his years as a tour guide, he have never seen one before... :)

It's texture is rough and feels like harden shell... I wanted to put my hands in but chicken out at the last minute cos the inside look so scary *watch to many horror-movies-with-man-eating-plant*... but I did touched the petals. I know, we were not supposed to touch it... to protect the ecological balance of the park but I found that out only after touching it.. so that does not count as destroying wildlife k... 

It only blooms for 5-7 days before dying... 

So sad right. To give birth for 9 months and then dying after being alive for 7 days... Thank God humans are not created like that... Faster take picture of it before it dies... 

You know what they say about the dead flesh smell? It's not true cause I couldn't smell it at all... No smell.. zilch! 

Normally, only 1 or 2 flowers bloom at a time. If you are lucky, you get to see it, if not... just wait la... :)

God loves me... 

A random shot taken by David with his camera
Later, David took us on a hike the long way back to the entrance... it was a good walk especially for all the puteri lilins  :) its shady and there is nice wooden walkway.... so easy to hike in a national park right? 

I get goosebumps just looking at this...
Ain't that large wall of stone covered with moss pretty?
Cooling down by the steam after the hike

Another random shot of me by David
Yes, my attire is totally out as I was caught unplanned. My trip to Kuching was prepared with shopping and lazying in my bed in mind. I didn't plan to visit  national parks and orang utans. I even had to make the van stop just for me to buy a pair of slippers as I was wearing cinderella flats :)

Left Gunung Gading around noon for lunch at Lundu Town..

Yummy ice-kacang 
Now I can strike off 'seeing Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world face-to-face' of my list *pats myself on back*

*stupid Unifi decided to give me problems haflway thru this post... arrgghhh!!! it took me ages to upload and complete the whole thing. This is what you get from having a monopoly.. 

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