Rafflesia Flower Hike – Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

travelblogr December 15, 2011 1
Rafflesia Flower Hike – Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Rafflesia is to the Plant Kingdom, what the Panda is for the Animal Kingdom. – Jamili Nais in Rafflesia of the World

The World’s Biggest Flower

With its thousands of species of plants and animals, Khao Sok National Park contains a true natural treasure and sanctuary of life. Probably its most unique resident is Rafflesia Kerrii Meijer, found nowhere else on Earth. As the largest flower in the world, it boasts a bud the size of a soccer ball and an 80cm bloom.

We decided to check it out as we heard one was blooming, and hired an awesome guide to take us to it. Word to the wise: you need a guide to find it as the paths are confusing and getting lost is easy. Rafflesia is very delicate and only grows at high altitudes –meaning a steep, tough hike for our little traveling technomads.

Rafflesia grows as a parasite on the roots of the Tetrastigma (wild grape vine) host tree, and takes approximately 9 months to grow. When it finally blooms, the spectacular flower only lasts for about a week before quickly dying. The flowers are known to smell sickly sweet, though ours didn’t smell much. The reason for the smell is that they are not pollinated by insects seeking nectar, but rather by flies that are attracted to its corpse-like smell… yea yuck!

In the nearby provinces, locals use the flower for medicinal purposes. The cooked buds or flowers are used to help fever, backaches, and also used as a sexual stimulant…seriously!

Due to its isolated location, we were able to spot some Great Hornbills, monkeys, and creepy-crawlies on the trail as well. Be sure to bring lots of water on the hike ya’ll! Thanks to Jungleman Khao Sok for some of these photos.

Do stop by the Morning Mist Resort for a drink, they are fabulous!

Read more about Khao Sok National Park & Our Adventures:

One Comment »

Leave A Response »