Rafflesia National Park

Kota Kinabalu Travel Blog

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Today we had a tour to Rafflesia National Park in the Crocker Ranges. Our guide told us that at the moment there were no flowering rafflesia (they are quite rare, being parasitic off a single type of liana, and taking 9 months for the flower to bloom, after which it only lasts for seven days - shorter if exposed to light, including camera flashes), but we could go for a hike instead.

 

It was a several hour drive to the Rafflesia centre, and when we got there, there were no rangers present (déjà vu from my last visit). Finally the ranger turned up, but he said the ranger who did the walks was looking for rafflesia and wouldn’t be available.

Finally we convinced him to take us on a ten minute walk to see a rafflesia bud.

 

The walk was definitely worth it. Just a few minutes in we saw the fist-sized black bud of a rafflesia. We kept on walking for another five minutes and saw about eight similar buds, and then we saw last week’s rafflesia, black and wilted but still recognisable as a dinner-plate sized flower, next to a young bud and a cabbage-sized bright orange bud which the ranger said was due to open next week.

 

With our mini-tour finished, our guide said that the tour was over, however I asked him that since we did not get to hike in the Crocker Range National Park like promised, could he give us an hour’s tour of Kota Kinabalu, and he agreed.

 

First we stopped in Kota Kinabalu for lunch, which was in a small Chinese vegetarian restaurant (most food outlets are closed due to Ramadan, only the Chinese were open). Our guide then drove us past the State Mosque and City Mosque, stopped for a minute at a look-out so we could see KK and visited the Filipino Markets for half an hour. We bought a cute chain of carved wooden monkeys for Judi’s baby Sofia at the markets, and some carved wooden boxes, but most of the stuff they had was pretty tacky junk.

 

Our guide seemed pretty eager to get rid of us by this point, but we managed to convince him to stop at a supermarket on the way back to Rasa Ria, so we could buy some wine and beer for tonight.

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