Tag Archives: rafflesia

Gardens of Poring

Butterfly of Poring

Besides the popular Hot Springs and Canopy Walkway, there are a few “Ex-Situ” gardens in Poring nature park. Ex-Situ means “off-site conservation”, which is a process of taking special plant or animal out of its natural habitat and place it in another location such as garden, for conservation, research, tourism and other purposes. Visitors also can have close-up experience to observe them all in one place, without going into the wild.

These gardens are more like the “secondary” attractions of Poring. A few require entry ticket and they may or may not worth your time and money. I will let readers to judge after reading this blog.

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden or Butterfly Farm is the most-visited garden of Poring and open from 9am to 4pm (close on Monday). One reason is that it is just next to Hot Springs, and everyone loves butterflies.

entrance to Butterfly Garden of Poring
Separate entry ticket is required. Just look at the photo above for ticket price. FYI, you also can purchase 2-in-1 ticket (Butterfly Garden + Canopy Walkway) there, which is RM1 cheaper.

Poring Butterfly Garden
Once enter, you will see an open garden. Probably attracted by flowering plant in this garden, there are many butterflies flying around. Butterfly is active from morning to 3pm during good weather, so don’t come here after 3pm.

Butterfly Farm
The butterfly garden is also an excellent place for bird watching. During fruit season, many species of birds will forage around here in early morning. I even saw two flying lizards once.

Butterfly Garden
When I was busy chasing and shooting butterflies, a nice guy told me that there are more butterflies in the Butterfly Enclosure and he is right.

Butterfly Garden of Poring
Above: Butterfly Enclosure of Poring Butterfly Garden

Butterfly of Poring
In the enclosure, I was surrounded by hundred of flying butterflies in different colors.

Butterfly in Poring Butterfly Farm
However, most of the butterflies in Enclosure have broken wings. The green and blue butterfly above is my favorite photography target, too bad it’s wings are not perfect.

Bird-wing Butterfly
Anyway, there are still some perfect butterflies there. Like the bird-wing butterfly in photo above.

leaf butterfly
Look at this butterfly! It looks like a dry leaf.

feeding platform of butterflies
The garden even has a few feeding platforms for the butterflies. You can get very close to them when they are busy feeding hence less vigilant.

You may watch the 1-min video below to see Poring Butterfly Garden:

Click Here to watch bigger video

Tropical Garden

Tropical Garden is more like a mini-zoo that shows some animals of rainforest. This garden is poorly-maintained and most of the captivities are empty. The park will tell you there is nothing much there too, so don’t waste your time and money (as ticket required).

Tropical Garden of Poring
Above: the gate of Tropical Garden

Rafflesia Garden of Poring
You will see a rafflesia plot at your left before the gate. I saw a few rafflesia buds that are about to bloom after a few months. You have to be very lucky to see blooming rafflesia.

signage to Vivian Rafflesia Garden
There are a few private rafflesia gardens near Poring park. If there is any blooming, the owner will put up a banner or signage, like the Vivian Rafflesia Garden at entrance of Poring, shown in photo above. You may Click Here to know more about rafflesia gardens.

aviary of Tropical Garden
You will be disappointed with the aviary of Tropical Garden. No bird chirping at all, so quiet that as if nothing lives there. I only saw a pair of Bulwer’s pheasant, a rare Borneo bird which has beautiful white tail. I tried to get a photo of them but they played hide and seek with me. Too bad..

Under maintenance
The Tropical Garden is a wood area with a 700-Meter trail. Just follow the trail and you will see some cages, captivities and enclosures along the way, but most of them are empty, not even any bone left. 🙁

sambar deers in Tropical Garden
Blood python
Ok, at least there are one or two that are not empty. I saw two Borneo Blood Pythons (or Borneo Short-Tailed Python) sleeping in enclosures.

Ethnobotanical Garden

The Ethnobotanical Garden of Poring displays some useful and medicinal plants as well as jungle fruits. No ticket required.

Ethnobotanical Garden of Poring
Above: the entrance of Ethnobotanical Garden

pond in Ethnobotanical Garden
Above: small pond of Ethnobotanical Garden

King of bitter

Ethnobotanical Garden
Honestly, I’m not a botanist, so this area is not interesting to me. Unless you have a plant expert going with you, this garden offers little or no entertainment value to ordinary tourist.

Fruit section of Poring Ethnobotanical Garden
If you go deeper, there is an orchard with jungle fruit trees.

Bamboo Garden

The Bamboo Garden is strongly related to Poring because the name “Poring” means Bamboo (species Gigantochloa levis) in the dialect of Dusun people. The locals were using bamboo pole, which is abundant in Poring, to build their bamboo houses.

Bamboo Garden of Poring

Bamboo trees of Poring
It is a small open garden (no ticket required to enter) not far away from park entrance. If you look carefully, they are a number of bamboo species planted there.

Poring Visitor Center
Poring Visitor Center is just next to bamboo garden. Besides introduction of flora and fauna in Kinabalu Park, the exhibition hall also shows some info on bamboo. They have video presentation scheduled daily at 10am, 12pm and 2pm.

exhibition in Poring Visitor Center
Btw, I saw a headhunter legend about the bamboo, which is quite interesting:

“Long time ago, there was an area which was covered with the growth of unusually huge bamboo. The hollow inside the bamboo was big enough to accommodate a child. The bamboo grove was known to be a resting place and shelter. During the bygone age of Misangod (headhunting spree), male infants were targeted by enemies as it was feared that they will grow up to be warriors. Whenever adults went out to tend their farms or involved in war, the babies were hidden inside the bamboo hallow and were retrieved on their returns.

One day a thirsty hunter stopped by the bamboo grove and slashed a pole to get water. He was greatly shocked when blood spurted out of the bamboo and found a lifeless child inside the bamboo. He was greatly moved at the sight. Suddenly a poisonous snake called Mantakag appeared from the bamboo grove and licked the wounds of the child. The wounds magically healed and the baby came back to life, and grew up to be a great headhunting warrior of the village.”

Source: The late Gambakon Bin Gondou (1983) Kg. Poring Ansow Gunsalam, Kg. Bundu Tuhan

Site Map of Poring Hot Springs
Below is a Site Map of Poring for you to know the location of each garden:
Site map of Poring Hot Springs
You may click the picture above to see bigger map.

More Photos

You may check out my photo album on Poring gardens for more nice pictures:
Photo gallery of Poring

Other articles about Poring Hot Springs Park:

  1. Poring Hot Springs bath
  2. Poring Canopy Walkway
  3. The Most Expensive Orchid in the world
  4. Accommodation at Poring
  5. Jackie, orangutan who owns a house
  6. Waterfalls of Poring
  7. Night walk in Poring rainforest

Photos taken in Poring, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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Blooming Rafflesia, biggest flower in the world!

Blooming rafflesia

It’s a lucky moment that I have been waiting for. Blooming rafflesia! Not one flower but two, which is very rare.

banner of blooming rafflesia at Poring

On the way to Poring Hot Springs, there are a few families which have rafflesia grows on their land. Whenever there is any rafflesia blooming, they will erect a banner next to the roadside to announce it. However, rafflesia has no predictable blooming season and its flower can last only 6 days, so the tourists need luck for such amazing sight.

Adenna Rafflesia Garden
Above: another rafflesia garden in Poring. Most gardens are only a few minutes walk to the blooming spots.

Hamilin Rafflesia Garden
Last week there was a twin-blooming of rafflesia keithii (the largest rafflesia species of Sabah) in Hamilin Rafflesia Garden near Poring. You need to pay an entrance fee (RM20 or USD6 for locals, RM30 or USD9 for foreign tourist) to see the rafflesia.

blooming rafflesia
Here you go, the blooming rafflesia. The rafflesia takes 6 to 9 months to bloom from bud (like human baby isn’t it?). See the big cabbage-like bud under the rafflesia? It blooms on next day!

twin blooming of rafflesia
Twin blooming is already rare. And one of them has 6 fleshy petals (normal is 5)!!! That was one time they have 3 rafflesia bloomed at the same time. The flower usually opens at night and the petals take about 24 to 48 hours to fully extend.

next to rafflesia

You may watch the video of twin-blooming below:

Click Here to see wider video

blooming rafflesia
Another angle of the blooming. The flower is about 73 CM in diameter. Rafflesia keithii can grow up to 80 CM.

tourists looking at rafflesia
The flower of rafflesia can last about 6 days. The best viewing time is from day 1 to 3. On 4th day, you can see that the flower turns darker and not that pretty. It’ll wither faster if the weather is bad or the flower is exposed under direct sunlight. That’s why there is a netting on top to protect it from rain and sunlight.

tourists see rafflesia
They fence the area so the tourists only can see the flower from a distance. The over-excited tourists always want to take photo next to rafflesia flower and they will step on the fragile rafflesia seedling under the soil.

tetrastigma vines and buds of rafflesia
If you look carefully, you will see vines and buds in the garden. The vine is tetrastigma, the host plant of rafflesia. Rafflesia is parasitic flower that absorbs all the nutrients from its host. Please note that rafflesia has no leaf, stem and true root.

rafflesia and its buds
Ms Hamilin started this garden with only 2 or 3 rafflesia buds. After 10 years of conservation, now her garden has about 30 rafflesia buds! During my visit, I saw over 40 tourists paid to see this flower in a day. If you do good to the environment, it’ll repay you handsomely. Another good thing is – their rafflesia seeds will spread to nearby houses so other villagers can benefit from extra income as well. I wish I have rafflesia grows in my house too. They even have dogs protect the rafflesia at night to prevent someone stealing the flower.

close-up of rafflesia
close-up of rafflesia flower
Above: close-up of rafflesia

fly on rafflesia
Rafflesia is also known as “Corpse Flower” because its flower smells like rotting flesh. They say the smell is the strongest from 6am to 7am (early morning).

fly explores rafflesia
The odor of decay will attract insects such as fly, which transports pollen from male to female flowers. I saw a number of flies busy around.

flies love smelly rafflesia
Since flies love stinky rafflesia, I draw a comic for that. Yeah, I know my drawing s*ck..

life cycle of rafflesia
Above: the life cycle of rafflesia. In first stage, it emerges like a swollen stem about as big as a thumb, and bloom after 9 months.

withering rafflesia
Rafflesia flower is totally wither after a week of blooming, but this doesn’t mean that it’s dead.

fruit of rafflesia
Instead, it starts to bear fruit (if fertilized), become ripen after 6 to 8 months, then ready to be dispersed. The germination will take more than 3 years and very little is known about the reproduction process.

Rafflesia Gardens of Sabah (rafflesia keithii)

There are a few sites in Sabah where you can see rafflesia. The place with best chance is the area around Poring.

rafflesia sites in Sabah

As I said, you need luck to see the blooming. Below are the numbers that you can call before you visit, to check for blooming information. Upon request, most of them are keen to sms or text you to inform you about the blooming. However, the following phone numbers may have changed. If one number doesn’t work, just try another:

  1. Vivian Rafflesia Garden (Poring): Tel (mobile): +60 19-8935751
  2. Parul Rafflesia Garden (Poring): Mobile: +60 13-5539537 (Parul), +60 19-8014743 (Julineh), +60 13-3317840 (Chalyn)
  3. Heavennie Rafflesia Garden (Poring): Tel (mobile): +60 14-5674398, +60 12-9857753
  4. Kampung Kokob (Ranau): Tel: +60 17-8380878 (mobile), +60 88-875114 (house)
  5. Hamilin Rafflesia Garden (Poring): Tel (mobile): +60 13-5482314, +60 19-8707963
  6. Adenna Rafflesia Garden (Poring): Tel (mobile): +60 19-8011602, +60 13-8754254
  7. Esther Rafflesia Garden (Poring): Tel (mobile): +60 14-5576201
  8. Napalus Rafflesia (Poring): Tel (mobile): +60 13-8742681
  9. Poring Hot Springs: Tel: +60 88-878801 (sometimes blooming is announced in Facebook of Sabah Parks)
  10. Crocker Range Park (Keningau): Tel (mobile): +60 19-809 8683

If none of the sites above have blooming rafflesia, you may check with Sabah Agriculture Park and Perkasa Hotel in Tenom (but the chance is slim).

The habitat of Rafflesia pricei, the second largest species in Sabah, is in Tambunan. You may read this blog for more info.

Related Posts
Rafflesia pricei & tengku-adlinii
Biggest flower in Sabah

Photos taken in Poring, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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