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Malaysia is home to many unique rainforest species, and the Rafflesia happens to be one of them!
The World’s biggest flower should be on your Malaysia #MuslimSoloTravel bucket list, especially if you happen to visit during the blooming season, which lasts for only a week (talk about rare and limited!)
Found only in Southeast Asian rainforests (Sumatra, Java, Peninsular Malaysia, and Borneo), this giant red “corpse flower” is a unique experience for Muslimah Solo Travelers (Join our ? Community!) to have because it can only bloom for about 5-7 days!
If you’re looking for Rafflesia near me when in Malaysia, this article will answer all your questions!
From where to find Rafflesia in Malaysia, our Gunung Gading Malaysia Rafflesia Blooming Experience, tips, and more!
- Gunung Gading Rafflesia Tour as a Muslimah Solo Traveler
- Double Check with Forest Officials
- Solo Journey from Kuching to Lundu
- Trekking to Rafflesia and Seeing Its Different Lifespans
- Was it safe?
- What else to do in Gunung Gading National Park?
- Explore the local vegetables and fruits at Tamu Market
- Taste Home-cooked Halal Food
- Prayer Spaces and Mosques in Lundu
- Beach Life at Pandan, Tenang or Siar Beaches
- Beachside Hiking to Gondol Hill
Where to Find Rafflesia in Malaysia?
First, let’s address “where can I see the Rafflesia in Malaysia?” before we get to the Gunung Gading Rafflesia Blooming experience as a Muslimah Solo Traveler.
There are many national parks where you can see this stinky flower in the country. But the top three are:
Rafflesia in Sarawak State
You can see the Rafflesia in Gunung Gading National Park in the Malaysian Bornean Island state of Sarawak. This park is known to be home to the World’s largest flower and is located one and a half-hour away from the state’s capital, Kuching.
More about Gunung Gading Malaysia Rafflesia Blooming Experience as a Muslimah Solo Traveler below in the article.
Rafflesia in Sabah State
You can also see Rafflesia in Sabah, a state located up north on the Malaysian Bornean Island.
The state has a dedicated Rafflesia Centre in Tambunan, Sabah known for growing the rarer species of Rafflesia pricei.
For the latest updates on the blooming status of the Rafflesia flower here, do check out Sabah Forestry Facebook page.
Guiding Fee at Tambunan:
- RM 50/5 pax for Malaysian visitors
- RM100/5 pax for International visitors
Besides that, you can also find them in private farms at Ranau or gardens along the road to Poring hot spring. These visits can cost around RM20-30 per visitor (4.5 USD~6.8 USD)
Rafflesia Cameron Highlands
Meanwhile, in Peninsular Malaysia, Rafflesia is commonly found in Cameron Highlands. Wondering where to see rafflesia in Cameron Highlands? You can find them mainly in the Lojing region’s rainforests and the Highlands’ outskirts.
A tour in search of the Rafflesia typically requires you to hop on the 4WD vehicle, traverse muddy terrain, plus a one/two-hour hike to the site.
This tour lets you trek to catch sight of the rare flower in the mossy forest of Mount Brinchang. At the same time, you’ll get a glimpse into the Semai Indigenous Tribe with your tour guide!
What is the Blooming Period of Rafflesia?
There are no predictable blooming seasons of the Rafflesia. However, rainy seasons are believed to make the Rafflesia blooming more favorable.
It takes about 6-9 months for the parasite to bloom from a bud, and when it blooms, it will only last for about 5-7 days.
By day 4, you can see that the flower turns dark red, and it will wither faster under bad weather conditions or is exposed to harsh sunlight.
So, while in Sarawak, Sabah, or Cameron Highlands, be sure to check if the Rafflesia’s blooming through respective Forestry pages or local tour guides!
Gunung Gading Malaysia Rafflesia Blooming Experience as a Muslimah Solo Traveler
Gunung Gading National Park is popularly known as the home to the largest flower in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. So, if you happen to be in Sarawak when it’s the blooming season of the Rafflesia, don’t forget to grab the 5~7 days opportunity!
Now, onto our recent Gunung Gading Malaysia Rafflesia Blooming Experience by Muslimah Solo Traveler Farihah…
Gunung Gading Rafflesia Tour as a Muslimah Solo Traveler
After three years of having the Rafflesia on my #MuslimSoloTravel bucket list, I finally caught sight of the Rafflesia (several versions of them, in fact!) with my own eyes!
Double Check with Forest Officials
When the news of the bloom broke out on social media and local news, I reached out to the Forestry, and they told me that there were two days left till the blooming period ended, and the morning was the best time to join the Rafflesia guided tour.
Solo Journey from Kuching to Lundu
So, I drove from Kuching to Lundu via Rambungan Ferry (RM1 = 0.24 USD) for about one and a half hours towards Gunung Gading National Park.
Arriving around 8:30 am, I registered, paid the entrance fee, and joined a group solo there.
It is best to either drive (your own, rental) or hop on a taxi! Taxis would drive you there, and there would be taxis ready to pick you up and send you back to the city. Do expect the cost would be hefty if you do choose this.
Trekking to Rafflesia and Seeing Its Different Lifespans
Although I was solo, there were lots of nature goers joining the guided Rafflesia trek in Gunung Gading because of the short time window opportunity to see the Rafflesia Blooming Period.
Even after the tour ended and as I was walking back to the HQ center of the National Park, I crossed paths with the next group (which was a larger one).
So you can expect not to be alone at all, although you’re going by yourself!
The Guide explained the different lifespans of Rafflesia and showed them along the way as we trek deeper into the Gunung Gading Forest! I also learned about the various unique plants that call Gunung Gading home along the way to the Rafflesia!
The moment when the Guide showed the bud to our group, I would not have thought that it was a bud if no one had told me that’s actually a growing Rafflesia. It looked like a stone, or round wood attached to the bark of a tree!
Hence why, going with a Tour guide or a Forest Ranger makes the Rafflesia Experience more enriching!
Was it safe?
As you’re under the safe guidance of a professional ranger and tour guide in the forests of Malaysia.
The Rafflesia is deep within the country’s forest. So there’s no way you’ll find them unless you go with a certified tour guide.
Moreover, Malaysia is a Muslim-friendly destination, and going solo as a conspicuous Hijabi would not even be a strange sight.
What else to do in Gunung Gading National Park?
If you’re done with checking out the rafflesia and would like to explore more of the national park, then hiking to the waterfall should be on your next agenda!
Gunung Gading National Park is also known for its various hiking trails. Along the way, you may encounter different animals and plants like the Titan Arum (Bunga Bangkai in Malay, which means Corpse Flower) and Tiger Balm
Easily could be done as a day trip; you can also stay there inside the national park, within the resthouse, or nearby hotels as Gunung Gading National Park is situated in Lundu township of Sarawak.
- Gunung Gading Booking Info
- Gunung Gading National Park Entrance Fee: RM10/person for Malaysian
What else is there to do in Lundu as a Muslimah Solo Traveler?
Besides the Gunung Gading Malaysia Rafflesia Blooming Experience, you can easily explore the rest of Lundu township within a day!
Explore the local vegetables and fruits at Tamu Market
And that means a trip to the Tamu Market, where you’ll see all kinds of local vegetables like Midin (bracken ferns) or Tampoi fruit. Black rice is also sold by the local farmers here.
Taste Home-cooked Halal Food
Halal Food is also easily available in Lundu town, as it is a township inhabited by about 35,000 Malay (who are Muslims, by default) population.
One way how you can distinguish which restaurant is owned by Muslims is via the signboards, which have signs of:
- Written in Malay language (romanized).
- Arabic or Quran calligraphy
- The patrons are wearing hijabs!
One famous restaurant here that has been serving homecooked meals since the 70s here is Restoran Haji Bujang (directions).
Besides that, the Food Court (Medan Selera Lundu in Malay language & directions) also has plenty of Halal options from multiple stalls like Nasi Ayam, Mee Jawa, Sate skewers, and more!
Prayer Spaces and Mosques in Lundu
There are a couple of musolla (surau in Malay) and mosques around Lundu. A quick search on the web will quickly point you to the nearest prayer spaces available.
Some mosques / musolla that you can stop over while in Lundu are:
- Lundu Central Mosque (directions)
- Surau Nurul Huda, Kg Belungei (directions), nearby Pandan Beach and Pugu Campsite.
- Surau Al-Amin Stunggang Lundu, Sarawak. (directions)
Beach Life at Pandan, Tenang or Siar Beaches
Lundu is known for its pristine beaches.
These beaches will be filled with visitors from Kuching city on the weekends.
Some of the top-rated beaches here are:
- Siar Beach (directions)
- Pugu Beach (directions)
- Pandan Beach (directions)
- Tenang Beach (directions) – this one has a giant frame for Instaworthy photos, with
These beaches are just nearby to one another as well! So if one is full, you can check out the nearby beaches for alternatives.
Beachside Hiking to Gondol Hill
If you want to hike in Lundu, besides the trails in Gunung Gading, check out Gondol Hill!
There are two ways that you can hike to Gondol hill, either:
- Pass by beachside farms, where you can get shade from the sun, or
- Hike all the way along the coastline of Pugu beach.
MST Tip: Best to do this early in the morning as the sun can get scorching hot if you arrive at the top of Gondol hill by midday.
Best Places to Stay in Lundu, Sarawak, Malaysia.
If you decide to do Lundu beyond a day trip, a couple of stays that you should consider for your overnight solo stay in Lundu are:
- Pandan Beach Homestay
- Rafflesia Resort
Sematan, located thirty minutes from Lundu and at the tip of Sarawak state, has other resort options like Roxy.
Book stays in Lundu or Sematan:
But if you want to experience staying overnight in the national park, Gunung Gading National Park has a couple of forest lodges (from per house to per bed) located within for you to choose from. Cost ranges from RM15 up to RM150.
Camping sites are also available—more info on the park’s accommodation here.
How to Get to Lundu from Kuching City
- Via car (rental or own vehicle)
- Taxi (can cost beyond RM250)
- Via tour guide
Wrap-Up: Gunung Gading Malaysia Rafflesia Blooming Experience
We hope this Gunung Gading Malaysia Rafflesia Blooming Experience has given you an idea of what to expect when seeing the Rafflesia!
If you do hear about its blooming or happen to be nearby right when the World’s largest flower is in full bloom, be sure to take a chance on the rare opportunity! And share it with us in the Muslimah Solo Travelers Community Group!
For more ideas on what to do on your #MuslimSoloTravels to Sarawak and Malaysia, check out these articles:
- 9 Best Things To Do Alone at Borneo Cultures Museum
- Things To Do as Muslimah Solo Traveler in Kundasang, Malaysia
- Muslim Solo Travel Guide to Kuala Lumpur
Otherwise, how about a Solo Trip to Pontianak, located on the Indonesian side of Bornean Island?