As many as a quarter of a million refugees spent some time at Bidong throughout those years. From the late 70's till 1991, Pulau Bidong was an island camp for Vietnamese refugees (boat people) fleeing from Communist persecution and hardship, and was declared a restricted zone, off-limits to visitors. Mainly ethnic Chinese, at its peak, there were as many as 45,000 Vietnamese 'boat people' living here. Today, all the refugees have been resettled in other parts of the world or have repatriated, and after 1999, restrictions on visiting the island was lifted.
Pulau Bidong's unusual past as a refugee camp has become a quiet tourist draw for many former Vietnamese boat people.
Meet & Greet at Hotel Lobby and transfer to Marang Jetty. Depart to Bidong Island by speedboat. Visit the Village left by Vietnsmese Boat People ‘Little Saigon’
It was a refugee camp , they "lived in makeshift huts two and three stories high made of salvaged timbers from wrecked boats, plastic sheets, tin cans, and corrugated iron sheets." Latrines and wells were inadequate; tropical rainstorms sent rivers of filthy water through the camp; all food and clean water had to be imported from the mainland. Water was rationed at one gallon per day per person. Doctors were abundant, but medicine was in short supply. Sanitation was nearly non-existent and hepatitis was rampant. But the refugee population was well organized and many small businesses and an efficient food and water distribution system was set up.
After a brief commentary, proceed for snorkeling boat trip.
After Tour proceed back by boat to main land Kuala Terengganu.