Date Links: Sun 19/06
Accommodation: Lime Tree Hotel
Gunung Gading National Park has a very special star attraction - the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower - and the park is one of the best places in Asia to view the Rafflesia’s spectacular blooms. Gunung Gading sprawls across four jungle-clad mountain peaks, and its dense primary rainforest is criss-crossed by crystal clear streams and waterfalls.
Gunung Gading was gazetted as a park in 1st August 1983 primarily to provide a conservation zone for the protection of the Rafflesia. It was opened to the public in 1994 and visitors can now view one of the most spectacular plants found on the planet.
Located in the Lundu District, southwest of sarawak, the Park consists of rugged mountain peaks which provides a scenic backdrop to the nearby beaches at Pandan and Siar. The waterfalls in the upper reaches of Sungai Lundu have become a popular recreational destination for both local and foreign visitors. The more adventurous visitors can take a hike right up to the peak of Mount Gading which is 900 meters high.
Gading is the home to numerous rare plants including the world's largest flower, the Rafflesia tuan-mudae (bunga pakma) At full bloom this giant flower streches nearly one meter in width.
The flowers can be found on specific vines like the Tetrastigma. The spores settle on the host plant and develop into a bud which then becomes a gigantic flower, brownish red in colour. It stays in full bloom for about a week only. The main pollinator for this flower is the carrion fly.
Gunung Gading is home to a range of animals including civet cats, wild boar, small deer, porcupines, monkeys and giant squirrels. However, as the Park is surrounded by villages, most of the wildlife stays deep in the jungle, on the upper slopes of the park’s mountains, and therefore Gunung Gading is not an easy place for spotting wild animals. Visitors who opt for a summit trek are more likely to see some of the park’s wildlife.
Although most people visit Gunung Gading solely to view the Rafflesia, the park has other attractions, including a series of challenging jungle trails and a number of waterfalls and excellent bathing spots. All jungle trekking trails are colour coded. Official trekking guides are necessary as Gunung Gading is a conservation zone, and only small trekking groups are allowed.
The park includes four mountain peaks - Gunung Gading, Gunung Perigi, Gunung Sebuloh and Gunung Lundu - so most of the jungle treks involve a significant amount of hill walking and a reasonable level of fitness is required. The summit treks are for serious hikers - they can be done in a day but this requires 7-8 hours of hiking, so an early start is essential in order to enjoy the rainforest scenery. Make sure you take enough drinking water and some snacks for lunch. Enquire at the park HQ for further information and to arrange a trekking guide.
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