There are many great treasures to be discovered when it comes to natural environments. And that’s exactly what happens when you travel the world. You discover an enormous diversity of beautiful flowers, strange plants and stunning landscapes.
Some of these natural treasures are somewhat unique, some can be quite common. But only a few of them are truly rare and extraordinary.
One of the rarest ‘flowers’ in the world and a flower that currently is on the edge of extinction, goes by the name of the Rafflesia Flower. It is perhaps the largest and most magnificent jungle flower in the world.
The name of the Rafflesia flower was discovered by sir Ramfold Raffles in 1818, who named the flower after himself. The Rafflesia Flower is a parasite plant and blooms only once a year.
There are many different species of the Rafflesia flower widespread throughout South-East Asia.
I found one in the jungle of Borneo, Malaysia, and I want to share my story with you about how and where I exactly found this unique and rare Rafflesia flower.
Stay in Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia
Whilst in Malaysia, I was staying in Kota Kinabalu, the largest city on the North-East end of Borneo (Sabah).
I stayed in one of the nice hostels in Kota Kinabalu. One of many, because there are quite a lot of hostels in the city, so I switched from hostel to hostel every couple of days just to have a different experience for a change.
Kota Kinabalu was my touch base for all the activities I did in Borneo. I visited Kota Kinabalu right after my city trip in Kuala Lumpur.
The Rafflesia Flower Information Centre
When I was staying in a hostel in Kota Kinabalu, I read something about a Rafflesia Information Centre. One that was located only but a 1-hour drive away from town.
The Rafflesia Information centre will offer you a lot of info about the flower, and you will be able to do a short hike in the nearby jungle area in search for a wild Rafflesia Flower.
Mind that you have to be lucky to see the Rafflesia flower in bloom because every flower only blooms once a year and only for a couple of days.
A short, but wonderful hike in the Borneo Jungle
From the Rafflesia flower information centre, a couple of short hiking paths start meandering into the Borneo jungle.
Every one of these paths should lead you to an area where the Rafflesia flowers grow, and actually not that deep in the jungle at all.
The jungle hike will take about 30-50 minutes of your time and on your way to the Rafflesia flower, you will be able to breathe in the amazing atmosphere of the Borneo Jungle.
On your way in the jungle, you will also pass a mini bamboo forest. (See picture below)
Location Markers in the Borneo Jungle
After a walk of 10-12 minutes, you will start seeing markers next to the path in the jungle with numbers on them.
These markers are being placed by the Rafflesia Information centre keepers, to indicate the location of a Rafflesia flower.
Most of the Rafflesia flowers are still in their pre-flowering stage and look like a brown dense ball, and can be quite difficult to distinguish from the jungle soil.
You will have to be very lucky to see a Rafflesia in bloom, but there are quite a lot of them in the jungle next to the Rafflesia Information centre.
You will see quite a lot of those Rafflesia flower markers just next to the path in the jungle.
The guides from the Rafflesia Information centre will scout the area for you and look around for a Rafflesia Flower that is in bloom.
This can take either not long at all, or maybe a bit longer. When I did the hike, I think we found one in less than 20 minutes.
When we found the Rafflesia Flower
And all of the sudden it happened. Right behind a big tropical tree in the jungle we finally found a Rafflesia flower in its blooming stage.
The flower was not 100% grown out in its blooming stage, but it was almost fully grown. Bright red colours and the size of it left us all astonished.
The rarity of the Rafflesia flower and the beauty of it made us gaze at the flower. It was a beautiful and very intense moment.
The location where we found a Rafflesia flower was quite unusual though.
The Rafflesia flower strangled its way in a small gap in between 2 trees. And the upside of it was aimed vertically instead of horizontally.
The Rafflesia flower is a must-see for any nature lover. The rarity, the uniqueness and the beauty of it will leave you stunned.
Whenever you find yourself in Borneo, Malaysia, definitely consider visiting the Rafflesia Information Centre, close to Kota Kinabalu. The guides of the centre can help you out with actually finding a wild Rafflesia flower in the Borneo jungle.