Secret Squirrel Spot 4: Ulu Geroh

on Monday, March 12, 2007

Lying about half way between Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur and the popular tourist destination of Penang, lies a relatively unknown Orang Asli (indigenous tribe) village of Ulu Geroh. Although, it is less than half an hour from the main North-South Highway, it remains little known for now, although that may be changing soon. With the help of a couple of non-profit organisations, the local villagers have learnt how to become guides for tourists and have become protectors of their natural heritage instead of being forced by poverty to unsustainably harvest the forest for short term limited gain.

What makes Ulu Geroh special enough to make it on to Squirrel’s Secret Spots? Well, here be the amazing Rafflesia flower, the exquisite Rajah Brooke Birdwing Butterfly, a traditional Orang Asli village with rich cultural offerings and also a beautiful forest waterfall and stream.

The Rafflesia is the world’s largest diameter flower. It is also special cause it exists as a parasite within a jungle vine and has no visible parts until it buds and flowers. Be warned though that smelling the flower is more likely to conjure images of Pepe le Pew rather than floral scents. This is because the Rafflesia is pollinated by flies and so smells of rotten meat to attract the flies.

Big Stinking Flower

The Rajah Brooke Birdwing is a beautiful butterfly and a favorite of collectors even though it is now a protected species. Ulu Geroh is blessed by the right combination of plants for the caterpillars and a number of mineral springs that attract the adult butterflies. The result is a high concentration of all sorts of butterflies and the Rajah Brooke Birdwing in particular.

Pretty Flitting Butterflies

A visit to the village will reward you with exhibitions of the traditional ways of life and crafts using jungle materials. If you are fortunate you may witness the Sewang dance or try a jungle feast – the traditional way.

The jungle trek may have left you hot and sweaty but that only makes dipping in the stream and standing under the waterfall even more rewarding at the end of the day.

To learn more about this place, you can visit Visit it soon as it will not remain a secret much longer.

Refreshing Jungle Stream

Hot Jungle Disco


Janice Thomson said...

WOW! What a fascinating place to visit...I have seen pictures of the
Rafflesia before - what an amazing flower! The butterflies are exquisite and I would love to see a sewang dance. The sights and sounds of other countries are so inviting. There truly is so much beauty in the world.
Loved this post LGS!

Open Grove Claudia said...

I agree - WOW! What an amazing world we live in - and those are amazing butterflies, naked swimming kids, dancers, and flower!

Thanks for sharing the joy of discovery and a refreshing swim!

geewits said...

That is one big creepy flower! I don't like weird flowers - I don't even like orchids. That thing really gave me the creeps. The butterflies calmed my nerves, though. VERY pretty!

Dave said...

It simply amazes me how rich a cultures there are around this world! We can get so tied up in our own little worlds if we fail to branch out and discover! Thanks for the insight!

Jocelyn said...

I am so glad I read this post and got to see that flower, those butterflies, and the refreshing plunge at the end of the day.

I always know I'm going to learn something when I visit your blog!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Glad you liked it. it is rare to see so much in one small location.

Hehe. I forgot that naked swimming kids are part of the attraction. Thanks for reminding me and glad you liked the post.

There are a few flowers even creepier than the Rafflesia but there are also loads of beautiful butterflies to distract you. Is it just roses for you?

Welcome. I am also enjoying insight to your world too. Funny thing is we probably suffer from being too familiar with things around us that we forget it can be fascinating to others.

I try. Learning and exploring is fun. One of the reason I visit blogs is to open my mind wider and learn.

etain_lavena said...

whahahahah....disco.....can you feel it....wowi those butterflies are awesome...I have read about that stinking fun fun:)

Becky Wolfe said...

I've heard about that giant smelly flower before but I could not remember where it was located. Well, now I do know. It is amazing. Like a big floppy cartoon flower.

Thanks for sharing this little secret spot!

Cheryl said...

What beautiful photos. How wonderful that you were able to see these amazings sights in person. Thanks for sharing them.

Anonymous said...

Looks like fun! DOes that big flower smell? Is it good or bad? The University here has a "Corpse flower" it's really huge and smells like, a corpse,eewww, and yet people still line up to smell it.

No Thank you, pictures suit me just fine.

squirrel said...

Asia sure has some pretty places doesn't it?!

Gary said...

That's an amazing flower.

Josie said...

LGS, Omigosh, that looks wonderful. I'm going to visit the link to learn more about the people. I really hope they can hold onto their way of life.

That Rafflesia is one scary flower!


Molly said...

Those butterflies are gorgeous! Though I would prefer if they were called flutterbyes....seems more descriptive!...or there's a descriptive word!

nancycle said...

That flower is amazing.

I feel a little worried about the future of not only this beautiful albeit stinky flower, but for the butterflies as well. I guess once something is a protected species, it implies plenty.

If only secrets could stay secret!

Canada said...

Another place to add to my list of "must-sees". I may forgo smelling the flower, but wow, those butterflies are amazing.

CSL said...

Looks like that flower could swallow you whole! Beautiful butterflies, beuatiful place. It really is a rich world.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I might have oversold the disco but it is fun.

you're welcome.

we are all blessed in some way. I fully realise that I am fortunate to have been able to enjoy these things first hand.

Big flower, bad smell. interesting that you have a corpse flower at the Uni. I wonder if they are related.

Why thank you, I do believe Asia has some beautiful places but many of them are under some threat.

not sure you'd want it in your garden though. Actually, no one has yet discovered how to cultivate it.

the people have a wealth of knowledge about the forest and are naturally the best custodians and guides for the forest. Unfortunately, many are almost terminally shy because of language barriers and low level of education and have low self esteem.

"flutterbys" makes perfect sense. How very clever! You'll have to explain the German word though. It's beyond my limited linguistic skills.

Your concerns are well founded. There are only two real ways to protect something. One is to keep it entirely secret. The otther is to put it in the spotlight so that people notice if illegal harvesting is occuring. In this case, we kept it secret for close to 10 years but now, too many people already know so we have to now put it in the spotlight.

Let me know when you are coming over.

This world is full of wonders.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating! the butterflies are beautiful and the flower is amazing.
I only pray this secret place can remain pristene and out of the hands of greedy people.

Molly said...

Schmetterlinge is merely the word for flutterbyes, auf deutsch! Couldn't explain why, it just feels like exactly the right thing to call them....logic not being my strong suit!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post, I had never heard of these people. The flower is "interesting", sort of ugly, wouldn't want a bouquet of those in my house. I enjoyed the photos, especially the one of the stream. Those kids look like they are having a blast!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

top cat,
We share your concern. We think empowering local indigenous people to benefit from the natural attractions and making them the guardians is the way to keep it from being exploited by outsiders only concerned about the fast buck.

Schmetterlinge / flutterbyes is a great name.

yes, this is the type of flower that one admires from a distance. Not suitable for one's own garden.

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