No people say they don’t find butterfly fascinating. Kipandi Butterfly Park is the best place to see these beautiful insects in different colors and it is fairly accessible. Just take the road from Penampang to Tambunan. After an hour of driving, you will pass by a road with 120 degree turn going uphill. Be careful coz it is a black-zone for car accident. People believe there are spirits wandering on the hill next to it, the Widow Hill. Within a minute, you will see the park at your right.
The ticket fee for Malaysian adult is RM10, foreigner tourist is RM20 (about USD$6). Childern get half price.
Butterfly is most active in the morning, so that’s the best time to visit the park. Less butterfly will come out in rainy day and hot afternoon. I went there in noon. There were some butterflies still busy looking for nectar. If you come in big group, you can book a night tour to hunt for bugs at night.
Kipandi is more than a butterfly farm. They also keep a few insects as “pet”. I almost could not see praying mantis on the branch coz its body looked like dry leaf. The rhino horn beetles don’t fly in daytime, so the workers can leave them on the grass for me to photograph freely. Hmm… the rhino horn got horny too. They feed the beetles with sugar cane. At first I thought its horn is for display only, but they told me the horn really can deliver a painful pinch.
There is a small shop where you can buy souvenir, light food and drink. No lunch is offered so you better have your meal before you come. For beetle lovers, you can buy the insect keychain (RM15) and other bug specimens.
Before you enter the butterfly garden, you must check out the exhibition room of hundreds of bug specimens. I didn’t know that bugs in Sabah can grow so big. Besides impressive collection of various local and overseas butterfly species, beetles, tarantula, spiders, millipedes, scorpions, cicadas, centipedes, etc. specimens are also found here.
The guide, Jay, seems to able to answer any questions that I throw at him. He mentioned a lot of species names end with dae. Damn those latin names, I can’t remember any of them. I only know he spends a lot of effort to memorize these. According to him, a few beetles are poisonous. When provoked, they release acidic liquid that is extremely irritating to skin.
Even though I myself has seen so many bugs before, I could not stop saying WOW WOW WOW to all the display. This park is really something.
Later I entered the butterfly garden. As nectar is the food of butterfly, many flowers are planted. I was busy chasing the butterflies, trying to take their photos. It is a tough job though, as they always keep a distance away from me.
Jay says the caterpillars of butterfly do not have poisonous hair like the moth caterpillars. I can place it in my hand, and it feels like a soft plastic. When the eggs of butterfly become pupa, the workers will move them into a incubation room, to ensure a better chance of survival for butterfly to hatch.
How to distinguish a butterfly and a moth? A friend told me that when butterfly perches, its wings are closed, whereas moth’s will remain open.
There is another garden that has pitcher plant but I didn’t visit. Anyway, I will come back again.
Photos taken in Tambunan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo