17.4.11: Our first Rafflesia

The next morning, we checked out and headed for Gopeng Town where we met with our orang asli guide for a hike through the Ulu Geroh Forest in search of Rafflesia as well as the viewing the Rajah Brooke Birdwing Butterflies.Ulu Geroh is the village of the Semai indigenous people.

I hadn't known that the road towards Ulu Geroh was very narrow and winding. Only one vehicle can pass through at a time. So, when there's an oncoming vehicle, one of the vehicles has to squeeze itself to the side and wait until the oncoming car passes. There were certain breath-holding moments too, when a truck nearly brushed our car. If I had known the road condition would be like that, I would have brought my 4 wheel drive  instead, which was suited for that terrain. Several times, our car scraped over some bumps on the ground, as the terrain was undulating and at one stretch, it was just laterite road and or red earth, passing through the oil palm plantation. We also drove over a metal bridge without any side railings over the fast flowing Kampar river. Another breath holding moment! Finally, after 45 minutes of challenging driving, we finally reached the Dewan Rafflesia. There were people there waiting for us, as they were also joining in the hike through the forest. The package for Rafflesia and Rajah Brooke Birdwing Butterflies is RM44 per person.

Were were asked to sign in our details in the visitors' book. There was a briefing by the guide before we started. The guide assured us that it wouldn't take long to go up. However, we took longer than that as the young children couldn't keep up. 
I love the carpet grass in front of this house.
Equipped with Astro, even. Some houses had firewood piled up under their houses.
Whew! What a hot day
S plodded on patiently with his daddy. E got tired after awhile and wanted to be carried. Thus, I carried, a load of 12 kg three-fourths of the way. There was one stretch which was an uphill climb. I wasn't really bothered about the leech and forgot to tuck my pants inside my socks, to prevent the leach from entering. I later found that I had 2 leech bites. One on my leg and another at my waist. I think the leech must have been from E's shoe and hopped onto me. Finally, what we had been looking for was there before our very eyes - the Rafflesia flower. It was 5 days old and the guide said that it would take another 2 more days to be in full bloom. I sniffed it, but it hadn't any smell. I was surprised as I had expected it to smell putrid. 

You can see the small dark brown buds of the flower near to the rafflesia. We were cautioned not to disturb the buds, otherwise, it would die. It takes many months to grow from bud into flower. And once bloom, it will only last a week before it wilts. I felt that we were very lucky to be able to see one with our own eyes.  

After that, we walked down, which was much easier. A nice young man offered to piggyback E during the hike back, but E only wanted me to carry him. He helped me a few times down the slopes by giving me a hand to stabilise myself and gain proper footing on the slippery slope. It was a little harder for me to balance as I was carrying added weight. I spotted several leeches on the way. They seemed to be standing and moving quite fast, trying their luck to leech onto us. 

We were let to see where the Rajah Brooke Birdwing Butterfly gathered. It was a magnificent sight. I don't know how many there were but there seemed to be like a hundred of them all gathered on the rocky ground,  near the warm spring water. The guide told us that they liked the warm water there. We were cautioned not to go so near them, lest they fly away. Nevertheless, we went too close and they all flapped their wings and hovered around for awhile. 

The inscription here states that this place has the largest concentration of Rajah Brooke Birdwing Butterfly in Malaysia.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails