Finding the world’s weirdest flowers on Malaysia’s highest mountain was a fantastic break after the sluggish-go-nowhere-lockdown days on the coast of Sabah. We reckoned it was about time for something a little different…
So we took a car trip into the mountains, through the Crocker Range, for a close-up view of Mount Kinabalu. Sabah is a beautiful state with a fantastic coast, and we were thrilled to have an opportunity to see some of its world-renowned interior.
We trekked the forests and slopes, had a log fire in our room, slept under a duvet and wore fleeces for the first time in years.
We stayed in a Nepenthes Suite at Sutera Sanctuary Lodges. We loved the place and the staff and are happy to recommend it to anyone who fancies a holiday right there on Mt Kinabalu. Top tip – get the upper villa at the end, next to the mountain stream, there is so much wildlife to see from the balcony!
With help from our local guide we spotted the smallest orchid on Borneo, and were lucky to be there when two heads of the the world’s biggest flower, Rafflesia, came into bloom too. Watch the video at the end of this post to see the moment we first saw this incredible weird flower.
There are plenty of pitcher plants on Borneo, carnivorous plants of the species Nepenthes, some of which are the size of milk jugs. The Nepentheses edwardsiana is prized for its crown, but we thought it looked more penile than regal…
With a year of very little tourism, the forest was quiet and overgrown, and trekking on the cool mountainside was made extra special by being the only ones there.
Lockdown in Sabah has meant that for many months since the pandemic started all inter-district travel has been banned. Businesses, and more importantly people, have lost their income even from domestic tourism.
It was gratifying to see some local tourists and trekkers arriving while we were there, but the state is once again in total lockdown with no inter-district travel, and inevitably these remote communities are suffering. Although the government is sending aid, it is not reaching many in the interior who have slipped through the net. Local individuals and communities are trying to help however they can.
When the government permits inter-district travel again we intend to get back into central Sabah for more walking among the four climatic zones in the mountains. And to peer at one of the richest collections of biodiversity in the world.
Just love Borneo.
Liz and Jamie xx
Watch the video here…
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