Bukit Jambul Orchid
Hibiscus And Reptile Garden

A stroll among the flowers and animals at the Bukit Jambul Orchid Hibiscus and Reptile Garden

Penang is known as a nature lover's paradise for several reasons. It has a world-famous butterfly farm, botanic garden, two aquariums, recreational forests, numerous hiking trails and a Orchid Hibiscus and Reptile Garden. Enough to provide the most satisfying experience that an adventurer and a nature lover can have, one
might hasten to add.

An exciting addition to Penang's natural wonders.

The idea behind the creation of the Bukit Jambul Orchid & Hibiscus Garden and Reptile House, as it is called, came from two friends, a orticulturist and herpetologist. It is located along Persiaran Bukit Jambul, close to the Hotel Equatorial and easily within reach from any part of Penang.

The park is very popular with foreign and domestic visitors, and sees many visitors per day. Peak days are on Friday, weekends and public holidays.

Presently, the two hectare park is home to an amazing variety of plants and animals, some of which are unique in this part of the world.

They include:

  • A pair of Bengal tigers which arrived at the farm about 6 years ago when they were cubs. The baby tigers were very popular with the crowd because photography sessions were permitted. The tigers are fed a daily diet of meat and chicken.
  • A collection of flightless giant birds like the emu, ostrich and kasawari.
  • A variety of 150 to 200 flowers.
  • About 15 types of snakes.
  • A talking parrot which greets visitors with a cheery "hello!"
  • Four giant land tortoises from Seychelles.
  • Snapping turtles.
  • Six arapaima gigas (one of the largest freshwater fishes)
  • A pair of hibiscuses named after former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed and his wife Siti Hasmah.
  • The world's largest tiger orchid, whose flowers measure 3 inches across. It blooms but once a year, in September.
  • Cactus garden.

Passionate about all things scaly? Then head on to the building which houses 50 glass tanks filled with a variety of exotic reptiles including:

  • The Chinese rat snake (Elaphe carinata) also known as King Ratsnake or interestingly, the Stinking Goddess, because of a strong odour which it emits when being handled.
  • Green tree viper (Trimeresurus albolabris)
  • Albino Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) which can grow up to 6 meters.
  • Green anaconda (Eunectus murinus) - growing up to a maximum weight of 200kg (441 pounds) and measuring 9 metres (29.5 feet), the green anaconda is the largest of the giant snakes found in South America.
  • Blue tongue skink (Tiligua gigas)
  • Pair of saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus)

All snakes are fed weekly with white mice and chicken meat. When they fall ill, treatment is conducted in-house or by a visiting vet. Incidentally, a Burmese python that has been painstakingly 'tamed' for photography sessions with visitors died suddenly. Training a Burmese python must be done from infancy and takes years, and the garden has plans to train a new one. After that, photography sessions with the python can be resumed. Burmese pythons are the preferred choice for mingling safely with humans because they are more docile than other breeds of pythons.

Make sure you allocate some time at Orchid Hibiscus and Reptile garden to catch the snake show which is performed twice on weekends and public holidays at 11.30am and 3.30pm. They are designed not only for entertainment but for education as well, so bring your kids along to watch.

Some interesting facts that will be learnt include, for example, the warning to keep away from rivers and water bodies because those are the natural habitats of snakes. Did you also know that snakes would rather run away from humans than to attack them? You will also learn that there are also different 'strengths' of snake bites, ranging from scare tactics to those that paralyse and kill. And what's a snake show without the thrill of watching the snake charmer plant a kiss on the head of the king cobra, one of the deadliest snakes, and live to tell the tale?

Other attractions on the Garden grounds are a cascading waterfall, ornamental Japanese pond and pottery corner. To take a break from the adventure, you can cool down and rest your feet at a tea kiosk.

Part of the pleasure of visiting the park comes from the ability to take some of it back with you when you leave. Several species of orchids, hibiscuses, bromeliads and banana plants are available for sale, with prices ranging from RM10 to RM100 for orchids, RM25 to RM80 for bromeliads and RM25 to RM50 for dwarf banana trees.

While shopping, don't forget to check out the souvenir shop selling t-shirts, fridge magnets, frames, Chinese vases, wooden snakes and other things to remind you of your visit.

* The above article are for your informational purpose. The garden are no longer available for public.

Written by photographed by Adrian Cheah
Courtesy of www.tourismpenang.com.my © All rights reserved