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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Above: Butterfly Enclosure of Poring Butterfly Garden
In the enclosure, I was surrounded by hundred of flying butterflies in different colors.
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.
Anyway, there are still some perfect butterflies there. Like the bird-wing butterfly in photo above.
Look at this butterfly! It looks like a dry leaf.
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:
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).
Above: the gate of Tropical Garden
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.
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.
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..
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. 🙁
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.
The Ethnobotanical Garden of Poring displays some useful and medicinal plants as well as jungle fruits. No ticket required.
Above: the entrance of Ethnobotanical Garden
Above: small pond of 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.
If you go deeper, there is an orchard with jungle fruit trees.
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.
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 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.
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
You may check out my photo album on Poring gardens for more nice pictures:
Other articles about Poring Hot Springs Park:
- Poring Hot Springs bath
- Poring Canopy Walkway
- The Most Expensive Orchid in the world
- Accommodation at Poring
- Jackie, orangutan who owns a house
- Waterfalls of Poring
- Night walk in Poring rainforest
Photos taken in Poring, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo