The best place in Sarawak to see the world’s largest flower, the renowned Rafflesia, Gunung Gading National Park makes a fine day trip from Kuching. Its old-growth rainforest covers the slopes of four mountains (gunung) – Gading, Lundu, Perigi and Sebuloh – and is traversed by hiking trails. The park features the incredible biodiversity of lowland mixed dipterocarp forest; dipterocarp trees are particularly valuable for timber and thus especially vulnerable to clear-cutting.
The star attraction at 41-sq-km Gunung Gading is the Rafflesia tuan-mudae, a species that’s endemic to Sarawak. Up to 75cm in diameter, they flower pretty much year-round but unpredictably, and each flower lasts no more than five days, so to see one you’ll need some luck. To find out if a rafflesia is in bloom – something that happens here only about 25 times a year – contact the park or call the National Park Booking Office on 082-248088.