Tag Archive | trek

A Homestay Experience in Madikeri, India

Madikeri, is a beautiful hill station in India’s Karnataka State. It was here, in Southern India, we decided to do a homestay. As travelers, we really enjoy talking and learning from the locals. So, when the opportunity to spend two days and a night with a local Indian family arose, we were thrilled.

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The area surrounding Madikeri is a trekker’s paradise. We spend two days with our host, trekking through these beautiful landscapes. Along the way, our host shared insightful information about the various plants and species inhabiting the lands. This was some of the best trekking we had ever done. Aside from the views, what made the trekking very special and memorable was the connection we had built with our host.

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Living and spending time with the locals was a lot of fun. We ate all our meals together with the family and shared stories. We even had some time to hang out and play with the kids. They showed us their schools and village. It was interesting to observe how the locals lived. It gave us a better sense of what life was really like in a village. When I needed to take a shower, for example, I was given a huge pot of hot water. This was way people bathed in this village, there were no showers.

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Our host family was extremely kind and welcoming to us. This experience left us with great memories and the desire for wanting to do more homestays in our future travels.

Video: Just having some fun while trekking!

Witnessing the World’s Largest Flower: The Rafflesia

Situated in Malaysia, The Cameron Highlands is one of the country’s most extensive hill stations. It is home to plenty of vegetation, fresh as well as cool air, and the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia arnoldii. To witness the Rafflesia fully bloomed is a very rare event. This unisexual flower opens up after 9 months and only lives for 5-7 days.

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This flower is one of the 28 species that belongs to the genus Rafflesia, which is now becoming endangered. It is a huge five-petaled flower that can weigh up to 10kg! Interestingly, this parasitic flower has no leaves, stems, and roots. To obtain nutrients and water, the Rafflesia attaches itself to a host plant called Tetrastigma.

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The flower is notorious for its bad smell that aims to attract flies for pollination purposes.

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While we happened to be visiting the Cameron Highlands, we were informed there might we a possibility to see a fully bloomed Rafflesia. We trekked for a few hours in the beautiful rainforest, before came upon some buds of the Rafflesia.

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This bud was likely to bloom very soon.

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Eventually, we were lucky enough to spot a fully bloomed Rafflesia! The flower was indeed huge! The redish brown petals of the Rafflesia were peppered with white freckles.

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The trek through the rainforest was definitely a worthwhile adventure. We got the rare opportunity to not only see the fully bloomed Rafflesia, but also its earlier and later stages. We got a sense of the complete cycle from the buds to the bloomed flower and eventually to the dying Rafflesia.