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Thursday February 22, 2007

Taiping tulips all year round


TAIPING: Glorious tulips which have drawn visitors to Bukit Larut here may soon be admired all year round. 

Ever since the inception of the hill's tulip farm in 2002, visitors can only see the blooms for three months – from December to late February. 

“Tulips are a seasonal flower in Holland, where we import the germinated bulbs from,” said tulip farm operator Datuk Kamarulbahrain Zainuddin, when explaining its limited period of bloom. 

“Many visitors who visited the hill before December or after February were disappointed when they found no blooming tulips at our farm, so we have recently turned to Australia as an additional source,” he said. 

Normally blooming from March onwards, the Australian bulbs would be germinated on Bukit Larut itself, he added.  

Pretty sight: Visitors admiring blooming tulips at Bukit Larut in Taiping on Monday.
“We have been told that in a controlled environment the lifespan of the ungerminated bulbs from Australia can be extended even longer than three months so, if we can germinate them in batches, visitors may view them year round,” said Kamarulbahrain. 

The bloomers are sold at RM5 per pot but Kamarulbahrain said he had no plans to increase the price despite escalating import costs.  

“Even if we sold them at RM10 each, we would still be losing money but this is an obligation we must undertake in view of the state government’s trust in us,” he said.  

Kamarulbahrain, who was given a 25-year lease by the Perak government to undertake the tulip-growing project around Cendana Hut, a refurbished colonial bungalow located some 1,200m above sea level, recently submitted a proposal to refurbish a similar bungalow, the Tempinis Hut, nearby. 

“Once approved, there will be more rooms for overnight visitors in addition to the existing six rooms at Cendana Hut and the other rest houses operated by the district office on the hill,” he said. 

Kamarulbahrain said that in view of the growing demand for accommodation he also planned to provide a camping site for backpackers who prefer the outdoors. 

“It will have safety features like fences to prevent wild boars from trespassing,” he said. 

Visitors can visit the hill, reputed to be the country’s first hill station, by taking a jeep ride operated daily by the Larut Matang and Selama district office from 8.30am to 5pm at RM4 per return trip.  

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