Sungai Lembing, now is a small town in Kuantan district, in Pahang state of Malaysia. This small town which used to be called the El Dorado of the East, serves you one of Malaysia’s vivacious sites. It is not one of the island experiences you would expect. Although, you can just go to Kuantan town and head to one of the beaches there. Sungai Lembing, the once richest town in Malaysia provides you with a forest experience along with a historical longest & deepest underground mining exposure. The rainbow waterfall is another of this tin-mining town’s gem.
How to go there
You can go for a road trip to Sungai Lembing. It will take around 3 hours for you to reach there, It is a good option if you want a picnic sort of day.
Book a bus ticket either from Kuala Lumpur International Airport or TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) to Kuantan. You would get dropped at Kuantan Station, and then wait for Rapid Kuantan Bus 303. The last stop would be Sungai Lembing, so in the middle you may have to switch to Bus 500 which would take you there.
Where to stay
“Time Capsule Retreat” can be a very good option if you want to relax. It is a family owned and run retreat that has innovative accommodation rooms for you to stay in the middle of the forest. There is wifi as well, so you can be living the forest life while enjoying the perks of technology. The retreat also offers tour around the town. As the name suggests, one option that this retreat provides is “Capsules”. There are two types of capsules, one with more privacy than the other. Capsules are a great choice for a couple or two people. Spending weekend in a capsule is definitely a fun thing to try.
If you are planning to travel with 3 or 4 people, you should look at “Parallel”. Parallel is made of two bedrooms, and the whole thing is made with glass. You can enjoy the serenity of the forest in the comforts of the bedroom and you do not have to worry about bugs. There are three types: “Aurora”, “Corporate” and “Discovery”. Parallel Corporate is recommended if you are visiting with a group of friends or family. The room is like a studio apartment with mini bar facilities. Parallel Discovery wins the competition by a long shot. It is a superb place to take your date. You can soak yourself in a jacuzzi at night out in the open and relish the nature.
The white cottage is a good option if you have a concern for budget and want to take a trip with a family. It caters to all the needs of a modern family. Your kids can play in the yard while you watch. This gives you a full experience of living in a forest in a cottage.
Interior of Parallel Discovery
You can also look at Booking.com or Airbnb for ordinary, yet comfortable places to stay in Sungai Lembing within budget.
Facebook of Time Capsule Retreat:
If you are up a hike, you are in for a treat. Panorama Hill is a great opportunity for tourists to hike up the hill for a panoramic view of the once golden town. Start your hike, so you manage to catch the sunrise. Nothing matches the pleasure of watching the sunrise on top of the hill after a hike. You can get a guide from your hotel. Time Capsule Retreat offers you two activities in a day where you first watch the sunrise and then head for the Rainbow waterfall.
This waterfall has a breathtaking speciality. During the early hours of morning, you can get a glimpse of the rainbow as the rising sun shines through the water. You can get a guide from the hotel you are staying at. Time Capsule Retreat offers you the guide who will wake you up at the early hours of dawn, say 5 am. But, it is definitely worth waking up early for. Once you reach your destination, climbing across slippery jungle treks, you would be amazed at the beauty of nature. You would be pretty exhausted too, so do get water. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants, and good shoes as the roads and stones are quite slippery at times. Take along some ointment to avoid insects.
Hanging bridge is a historical site which falls en route to the mines. You can drop by the hanging bridge first before continuing to the mines. The hanging bridge was built for the miners who had their wooden quarters on the other end. It was a form of a communication for them to go to work daily. Now, it has some food stalls serving traditional dishes.
This used to be El Dorado of the East for a reason. It is a mining town boasting to have the longest and deepest underground mine in the world. It had vast amount of gold, copper and tin back in the days. The underground tin mining dates back to the 15th century. This town flourished during those times but became an ordinary town after the prices of the tin collapsed in the 1900s. Sungai Lembing would take you back to the British and Chinese past. Get a guide from the hotel who would take you there or call a cab. You need to arrive at the site at noon and get an entrance fee to see the mine that had been mined for 100 years. Get on board of the train that will take you underground. The train service is inclusive of the entrance fee and the ride is only around 2 minutes.
After you reach, you need to explore on foot. You will see how the miners used to work in those tunnels. The tunnels are well-lit with bulbs but the atmosphere is chilly down there. The floor of the water is wet and slippery, so watch out. You can only visit the first storey of the mine as the others are inaccessible after the mining stopped. There are some samples of equipment the miners used back in the day. You leave the tunnel watching the signs through another exit.
The town might seem quite dreary but is safe. But like they say, it is better to be safe so you do not lose your belongings. There is Sunday morning market in the town selling tasty Malaysian dishes. The food stalls or Mamaks in the town close around 6pm so you have to have dinner early. Hope you enjoy your stay in this Malaysian town.