Gunung Gading is home to the world's largest flower, the rafflesia, which can grow up to one metre in diameter. When in bloom the flower gives off a nasty smell which attracts flies and other insects. The rafflesia has no specific season but the rainy season provides better blooming frequencies. It takes nine months to mature and flowering lasts only 4 or 5 days before dying.
Owing to the rafflesia's rarity and brief flowering period, timing (and luck) are important. The park staff usually know when a plant is about to bloom. Visitors can check with the park HQ (Tel: 735144) or the National Parks and Wildlife Booking Office in Kuching (Tel: 248088) to find out if any plants are about to bloom or already in bloom. Although flowers generally bloom throughout the year, November, December and January can be regarded as the peak flowering season as the frequency of blooms is high.
Seeing a blooming rafflesia is certainly the highlight of a trip to Gunung Gading, but the Park and the whole Lundu area are well worth visiting anyway. The rugged mountain peaks that make up the Park provide a scenic backdrop to the nearby town of Lundu, and the nearby beaches at Pandan and Siar. Gunung Gading also has some enjoyable walks and a challenging jungle trek.
'The Waterfall' trail offers the shortest walk, winding its way up through the forest past a series of waterfalls. It takes about one hour to reach the last one, Waterfall No. 7. You'll need to be fit for the other trek, the Gunung Gading Summit trail (3-4 hours, one way) as it involves some serious hill walking. You must complete the trail and return the same day, as overnight stays in the forest are not permitted.
From the summit you can opt for a side trek to Batu Bakubu, which was a former communist camp during the insurgency. Further information about these treks can be obtained from the Park HQ.
TIPS: Carry enough water, a change of top, a small towel, strong insect repellent and a light pancho.