Best time to travel to Malaysia

Rafflesia in Malaysia

This flower is big, impressive, heavy, rare, unique and very stinking

Best time: April–May | September–October


Malaysian nature owns very rare and unique species, and probably some of them can break Guinness records with its size, weight or weird features. Among them, rafflesia has a fame as the biggest single flower in the world.

Rafflesia is a parasitic plant, which grows in a wild only in Southeast Asia. Malaysia is proud to have seven species, with two being endemic to the country—Rafflesia keithii is found in the Lohan Valley of Sabah and Rafflesia tuan-mudae in Gunung Gading National Park. The best starting point for rafflesia flower search is the Tambunan Rafflesia Information Centre, located about one-two hours south of Kota Kinabalu.

The biggest representative of this genus is Rafflesia arnoldii, which also inhabits Malaysian lands. Its flower can reach 1 meter in diameter and weigh up to 10 kilograms. Rafflesia is also called by local people as a "corpse flower" because during the blooming period its smell is similar to the one of decomposing meat. In fact, this is necessary to attract flies who assist pollination.

Rafflesia flower lives from three to five days only. There is no exact blooming season of Rafflesia, but it is believed that rainy season is more favourable. Thus, if you want to visit Sabah region, where there is the highest concentration of these plants, monsoon period in April-May or September-October would be perfect.

Practical info

Where are Rafflesia flowers found in Southeast Asia?

Rafflesia flowers can be found in the wild only in Southeast Asia, with the highest concentration of these plants being in Malaysia, particularly the Sabah region. To make the most of your visit to Sabah, head to the Tambunan Rafflesia Information Center. In Sabah, you'll find Rafflesia keithii in the Lohan Valley and Rafflesia tuan-mudae in Gunung Gading National Park. Show more

When is the best time to view blooming Rafflesia flowers in Sabah?

Although there is no specific blooming season for the Rafflesia flower, the period of rainfall is believed to be more favorable for blooming. If you plan on visiting Sabah, which has the highest concentration of these plants, considering the monsoon period of April-May or September-October would be ideal. Visiting in these periods increases your chances of seeing the Rafflesia flower in full bloom. Show more

What makes the Rafflesia flower unique?

The Rafflesia flower stands out from other flowers in several ways. For instance, it is the largest single flower globally and can weigh up to 10 kilograms with a diameter of one meter. Parasitic in nature, the Rafflesia only grows in Southeast Asia and requires a specific host plant to survive. It is also referred to as the 'corpse flower' because it's blooming period produces a smell like that of decomposing meat to attract flies, aiding in pollination. Show more

What is the lifespan of a bloomed Rafflesia flower?

A Rafflesia flower blooms for only three to five days, a short-lived display of its beauty. It is advisable to see the Rafflesia flower in the morning when it's at its best as it begins to wither by midday. Its brief blooming period shouldn't deter you from seeing this remarkable flower, an unforgettable experience worth the effort of making the journey. Show more

What's the reason for the name - Corpse Flower?

During the blooming period, the Rafflesia flower produces a smell similar to that of decomposing meat. This smell helps attract flies that aid in pollination. This scent is a survival technique developed by the plant, which lacks nectar, the typical attraction for insects. Despite the scent, the rare and exquisite beauty of the plant draws many visitors to regions where the flower grows. Show more

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