Say that you want to see the world’s biggest flower. The rafflesia can be found in a forest near Bukittinggi, west Sumatra. A big challenge, if you want to see it on your own, as local guides eager to show it to you grow like mushrooms everywhere in town.
In the hotel reception, with the tour they offer, the waiter in the restaurant, a guide himself, some friendly people in the street (‘hello, sir, where do you come from’ usually ends up with yet another offer for local guides). Even the guy at the tourist information office quickly offers us a ride in his motorbike to see the flower!
After some time asking around, we make our way to the village, packed in a public bus (did you know that up to four people can comfortably fit in the front seat of a van?).
Once we hop off the bus, there are a few guides waiting to take tourists on the ‘very difficult’ 30 minute trek to the middle of the forest. To their despair we kindly decline this last offer.
Asking local people, we finally make it to the flower (Claudia’s pathfinder skills make a difference here), and we have a sense of achievement for being able to enjoy all this on your own.
Just us, the flower, the forest, the rice fields, and the local people in the village, who look at us curiously as if we were sheep that just escaped from the rest of the cattle.
[flickr-gallery mode=”tag” tags=”Bukittinggi” tag_mode=”all”]