Located approximately 16km from Merang and about one square kilometer in area; Bidong Island or Pulau Bidong once sheltered almost 250,000 Vietnamese refugees between 1978 and 1991. There were longhouses, schools, vocational workshops, a church, temples, and even bars to accommodate a better living environment or lifestyle for those who fled unjust treatment from their homeland. It has marked the history of Malaysian foreign affairs concerning handling refugees and her sovereignty. That is why Bidong Island is the most historical island in Malaysia.
Today, those buildings are gone and almost forgotten. What’s left are some monuments, a few gravestones on the hill, and underwater boat graveyard that manifests as a reminder about her history. Although Bidong is not a National Marine Park, it has been gazetted as Malaysian National Heritage sites and safely guarded by able Terengganu Museum personnel stationed there. Visiting rules are almost the same as Marine Park.
Since there are no chalet or permanent structure apart from University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Marine Research Center, the surrounding marine life are healthier compare to other Archipelago nearby. You can even spot schools of barracuda and black tip from the Bidong Jetty itself.
Just come over, get geared, and discover it for yourself! Words will never be enough to describe her wonders.
Bidong Island trip also covers smaller islands surrounding her that are Pulau Karah (also known as Kapak), Pulau Gelok, and Batu Tengkorak (also known as Skull Island). This location offer more than a dozen fascinating dive sites, to name a few;
- Vietnamese Wreck
- Underwater Heritage Replicas
- Mid Way Reef (Karang Seler)
- Karah’s Boulders Rock
- Skull Rock
Our Typical Itinerary
- 0730 Registration at Dive Center
- 0830 Equipment assembly
- 0845 Depart to Bidong Island
- 0930 First dive
- 1030 Surface interval
- 1130 Second Dive
- 1230 Rest, lunch and monuments walk
- 1430 Third Dive
- 1530 Depart back / return to Merang’s Jetty