Previously – Part 12
Sabah is a blessed state in Malaysia. The state is blessed to have vast land still intact with nature. The state is blessed to be the state which has the largest Orang Utan sanctuary in Malaysia at Sepilok. The state is blessed to have the highest mountain in South East Asia. And the state is blessed to have the largest flower in the world, the rafflesia. Yes, the largest flower in the world is the rafflesia, and that was why we decided to visit the Vivian Rafflesia Garden when we saw the signboard saying: Blooming Now.
The garden is located on the right side of the road. If Poring Hot Spring is on the left, the garden is on the opposite side. We saw a hut at the junction but there was no one there, except for the signboard welcoming us to the garden. We entered the junction and after a few metres, we saw a commotion. We realized that that is the entrance to the garden.
Our friend, Dayang decided not to follow us into the garden. Being a Sabahan, I think she has no problem to see a rafflesia flower anytime she wanted. Honestly, I had a very high expectation of the garden. Having a huge signboard and being the state flower of Sabah, I really had a high expectation.
When the girls manning the ticket booth quoted RM 10 as the entrance fee, we negotiated. Maybe, from our accent they knew that we are not locals and they refused to lower the price.
So, off we went into the garden, walking on the bricks put on the ground to avoid us from stepping into the mud. After entering a small gate, we saw a gated area with a roof, with a mat salleh couple taking photos there.
There we were, standing there facing the biggest flower on planet earth, the rafflesia.
We took some photos of the flower and us with the flower. So, I asked “Ada bunga lain tak? / Is there other flowers?“. One of the guys said, “Tak ada. Ini ada satu saja. Susah ni mau hidup. Besarnya bulan-bulan, hidupnya 2-3 hari saja / No, only this one. It is hard to grow this flower. It takes months to bloom and once blooming, it lives for 2-3 days only“.
Hearing that, we took a couple more photos and left the garden, going back to the car as there was nothing much to see here. To be honest, I was quite disappointed as paying RM 10, I expected more and I had a high expectation too. But on a positive note, this is a private garden, where the maintenance fund comes from the visitors. Plus, at least I had the chance to see the biggest flower in the world. So, not bad I guess?
After we left the Vivian Rafflesia Garden, we drove back to Kota Kinabalu and whilst on the way, we passed through the Ranau town. I saw a morning market and there is a signboard saying Tamu Ranau. We stopped the car as I wanted to see the place.
You see, one of the best things to do while travelling is people watching and see how the locals live and nothing can beat going to the market to see all those stuff.
True enough, when I went there, there were lots and lots of local delicacies with names unheard of. Of course, I bought some of the local kuih and drinks, before looking around just to feel the moment, before going back to the car and continued our journey.