Bidong Island , Kuala Terengganu | Malaysia

The first time visit to Bidong Island , Because of Ministry Of Tourism And Culture (MOTAC) having an event on the Island then only I get to know know that Bidong Island was Exist at Kuala Terranganu . Now , Bidong Island where Universiti Malaysia Terengganu’s research station is located is one the many coral reef islands in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia .
Bidong Island can be reach by Speed boat from Merang Jetty that tooks 40 Minutes or Duyung Jetty tooks 70 minutes . Pulau Duyong is an island in the mouth of Terengganu River in the state of Terengganu. Previously, it was divided into Pulau Duyong Besar and the smaller Pulau Duyong Kecil, but sedimentation and reclamation have united it as well as changed its coastline substantially. The island is easily accessible via the Sultan Mahmud Bridge .
According to legends , once upon a time , two mermaids (‘ikan duyung’ in Malay) or dugongs were washed ashore during low tide . It is not known whether the pair was siblings or a parent and a child or a couple . From then , the island was named ‘Pulau Duyung’ which literally means ‘Mermaid Island’ . Some say that Pulau Duyung Besar (lit. ‘Big Mermaid Island’) was named after the mother dolphin while Pulau Duyung Kecil (lit. ‘Small Mermaid Island’ was named after the baby mermaid . Attraction for Pulau Duyung is a hub for the traditional boat-making industry and therefore a heritage destination .
We depart from Duyung Jetty with Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Boat ride to Bidong Island , 70 minute ride makes everyone sleepy and all of us ge a short nap in the boat .
We reach and transfer to smaller boat to approach the shore since there was no Jetty on the UMT Reaserch beach .
The Another side of Shore
There are proposals to turn Bidong into a vacation spot and so call a museum but thing has been going slowly, which can be affected by political reasons . The rest of the island was not open to the public. It would be a crime if the police found you in the forbidden area .
The dive sites in Bidong consist of fringing reef & a few submerged reef. At present there are no developments on the island except for a jetty & some buildings at University Malaysia Terengganu beach where a research center is located. Expect healthy hard corals at shallow reefs . Wreck dives can be done here .
History
In the 1970s, thousands of the Vietnamese fled Vietnam in order to escape from the communist Vietnam. Many of them bought a safe passage to leave their homeland with gold . They traveled in boat of any shape , type and size. The boats are always overcrowded with men, women, children and babies, hundreds and thousands of them .
With the help of the wind and waves especially during the northeast monsoon, they will normally arrive after weeks or months of sailing on the sea. But, not all of the boats reached their destination safely. Pirates are the main fear for most of the boat people. Rape, rob, beat and murder ..... Read More at https://www.terengganutourism.com/pulau_bidong .
Most dive sites here are expose to tidal current & there’s always an alternative dive site for divers to enjoy easy dives. A well plan dive is required for diving in these waters whether it’s shallow or deep dive .
A great spot for check out dive & beginners.  A few  man made structures were deployed here for a plan to make an underwater museum . Divers can experience to see a Keris , Tepak Sirih , Batu Bersurat Terengganu , Perahu Sekuci , Tengkolok , Bus , Lorry , Bicyle , Crane & Pintu Gerbang which reflected the Terengganu’s Malay Heritage . Small portion of coral growth can be seen & a few patch reef around this site .
Continued effort in the marine research program by the university of MALAYSIA TERENGGANU (UMT) and program mycoral edutourism, mycoral voluntourism, Mycoralfarm & Mycoralpreneur by the coral coral foundation (Ycm) continues to receive support from the federal government , terengganu state government and will be contributing to corporate funds against . Therefore , it is recommended to the state of terengganu to lift bidong and others island as a footprint of terengganu state heritage .
So, what happen to Bidong Island after the handover and after 1999? And what is left on the island? Though there was proposal to preserve the relics on the island, but when the first group of visitor stepped on the island after nearly 8 years being isolated from the world outside, those collapsed and rotting buildings and overgrown bushes imply that none of the preservation action has been carried out. Few buildings had been torched, equipment that remained in the vocational workshops has been smashed, wooden platform of the jetty was completely stripped…..by the nature, by the wildlife and also, by human .
Nevertheless, few structures are safe from the destructive action, such as an artificial boat besides the temple to commemorate those arrival on the island, statute of a father who pulls his beloved daughter out from the sea, cement memories with heart aching words inscribed, gravestones marking the burial plots etc. They stand like a mute reminder to the world .
Whether or not this island is going to be another island as famous as Redang or Tioman in the eyes of tourism, it remains a very special part in the heart for many Vietnamese and Malaysian. And, although Bidong Island is not familiar to the younger generation today, it will always has its place in the Malaysia’s modern history . Getting there : Please refer to Redang Island .



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