Rafflesia Boardwalk

Difficulty
3/10
Distance
600m
Scenic value
6/10
Walking Time
30-45 minutes return (loop trail)
Flora & Fauna
6/10
Trail Markings
None
Download a PDF file providing information about some of the labelled trees on the Rafflesia Boardwalk —> Here (81kb)

 

Trail Description

Rafflesia Boardwalk

The boardwalk starts from behind the Park HQ, away from the road. A small creek has been dammed to make a pretty little swimming-hole; and a couple of shelters have been built next to the pool. It is a nice spot for a refreshing dip before or after walking the trail.

Trees along the boardwalk are labelled right from the start. There is a fascinating diversity of trees along this walk, and the attached document Labelled Trees on the Rafflesia Boardwalk in Gunung Gading National Park provides an introduction to them and some of their more interesting aspects. Print it out and take a copy with you. But don’t forget that the trees are only part of the rainforest – look out for small lizards, butterflies, birds, millipedes and other insects, as well as a bewildering variety of other plants, including liana vines, ferns, palms and orchids (growing on the ground or as epiphytes high up the larger trees), gingers, aroids, and countless others.

The trail runs up the left-hand-side of the creek, which above the swimming spot babbles cheerfully over smooth boulders into small clear pools. One of the first trees you will encounter is Scorodocarpus borneensis (bawng hutan) – the “jungle garlic” tree. It has edible leaves and seeds, and smells strongly of garlic when cut or crushed.

The trail  crosses this creek a couple of times. In places the creek bed widens out, and the forest is thickly draped in tangled hanging liana vines. Some of the trees are quite large and have impressive buttresses. Because of the dense forest canopy, the understory (forest floor) is quite open, with onlt small patches of light filtering through here and there. If you are very lucky, you may see a Rafflesia flowering (or budding) on one of the larger vines growing along the ground near the boardwalk (mostly they seem to prefer more remote parts of the Park).

After about 5 minutes from the start, the trail to Viewpoints 1, 2, and 3 branches off to the right.

The trail crosses the creek again, and climbs fairly steeply through a natural boulder garden. Eventually, it wanders up beside and around a very large boulder. This is a good place to catch your breath after the climb up. Just around the corner is a huge tree which is unlabelled, other than a small metal tag with the number “103” barely legible on it. This is a lun (Shorea patoiensis). It is a dipterocarp, the family of trees for which this forest type (“mixed dipterocarp rainforest”) is named. Shorea are the largest and most commercially valuable genus of dipterocarps.

From here, the trail descends gradually, before climbing to a small bridge raised high over a small boulder-strewn creek bed.

After a short while, the trail comes to a T-junction where it meets the Waterfalls Trail. Depending on how long you took looking at the trees and scenery, it should have taken you between 20 and 30 minutes to reach this point.

To the left at the junction, it is about 5-10 minutes easy stroll back down to Park HQ. Or if you’re in the mood for a swim under a nice waterfall, continue up the Waterfalls Trail to the right.

Special Considerations

This boardwalk is well made so the walk is quite accessible and should be doable in any weather conditions – just be careful of slipping in the wet. Nonetheless, it does climb, and the less mobile or fit may find the steeper bits sweaty business. Take your time, and remember to drink plenty of water.