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Pahang ~ Sungei Lembing

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The Sungai Lembing Museum • Lao Zi Temple •

This sleepy little town is a place of peace and tranquility, especially if one can take a little time to enjoy the surrounding countryside. The sandy flats are ideal for fishing or bird watching.

This serene town tucked away about 42 km northwest of Kuantan, and is almost deserted nowadays. During its heyday, with 700m shaft and 322km maze of tunnels and employing some 15,000 people was once thriving mining community. Today, its people has dwindled to a couple of thousand, many of whom commute to Kuantan to work.

Sungai Lembing had the largest, longest and deepest subterranean tin mine and was once the richest town and producer of tin in Pahang. The Japanese when they invaded Malaya in the WW2 tried to work these mines but without the proper know-how of the Europeans they failed.

And when the Europeans returned after war they worked these mines again. But as time went on, the mines became uneconomical and were closed.

Now abandoned and neglected, nature has worn away many of the mines shaft tunnels and the supporting wooden beams. If you wish to enter the tunnels, a guided tour is recommended as some parts are dangerous. Do engage the services of ex-miners or ex-workers who conduct guided tours. - A safety helmet, a pair of safety shoes and miners’ grade torch lights are a must.

The Sungai Lembing Museum
The Sungai Lembing Museum, a refurbished former general managers bungalow has been reconstructed to give the appearance and atmosphere of a working tin mine. In this Museum you can find various exhibits and
artifacts from the town’s glorious tin-rich days, including mining equipment, mineworkers’ costumes, furniture and tableware. Not far up the valley past the museum is the mill, where huge were iron balls were lifted around revolving steel cages and used to crush the ore into powder for refining. This process is clearly shown in the museum.
The Museum is open daily from 9am till 5pm

The old expatriate club, close to the museum serves simple but excellent meals and strong hot village coffee. Past the club on the way to the mill is a small family run biscuit factory. The crisp, wafery coconut biscuits are quite famous throughout the eastern part of peninsula Malaysia. 

Visitors to Sungai Lembing today will still be able to see some of the town’s old characteristics, such as houses and shophouses still spotting a blend of the Pahang Malay traditional architecture with a Western influence. Houses occupied by tin miners in the old days are still standing, including 40 bungalows meant for British officers

If you wish to enjoy a beautiful sunrise as well as a healthy morning exercise, you can do by starting your climb up Panorama Hill by 6am. It takes about an hour to reach the summit. Be properly attired for the climb and bring along sufficient water. A torch light is a must and if you can get a miner’s headlamp (that straps around your head), it is a bonus. Bring along a camera and a fresh set of clothes for changing after the climb.

Lao Zi Temple
On the way to Sungai Lembing, at the 12 km milestone, located within a 6ha plot of private land is he famed Lao Zi temple. With close to 100,000 visitors a year coming to pay homage to the founder of Taoism, the main attraction here is a sculpture of the Golden Dragon, reputed to be the longest in the world.

Taking about 15 minutes to walk the 823m path, visitors are taken on a guided tour inside the dragon, going in through its tail and coming out from its mouth. Written on the walls are a 5,000- word scripture, known as the “Book of Tao and its Virtues.”

Among the other attractions are the sculpture of Lao Zi measuring 7m high, a fish pond surrounded by 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac, brass image of the Goddess of Mercy dating back to the Ming dynasty, a wishing bell, a pair of longevity and prosperity tortoises, a pair of “Earth” dragons, images of the 18 Lo Hans (arhats) and the prosperity Buddha.

There is also a beautiful landscaped garden with fruit trees, rocks inscribed with words of wisdom and an Antique House containing antiques of Chinese origin. Most of the antiques are of Chinese origin comprising porcelain wares, ancient stone carving, brassware and other rare artefacts.

The origin of Taoism and Confucianism could be traced back to the Zhou dynasty (1122 to 221 BC). Lao Zi was then the head of the state library and much of his time was devoted to learning through self-effacement and without fame. After witnessing the decline of the Zhou dynasty, Lao Zi departed on an oxen to travel westward. In response to a request from Yinxi – a guardian of the Western Pass – Lao Zi wrote a book in two sections dealing with Tao religion. In later times, the book became the most important scripture of Taoism and hence, Lao Zi was widely regarded as the founder.

It is a common belief here that when one comes out from the Dragon’s mouth, one will be blessed with the mystical prowess of the dragon, and will therefore obtain good luck and fortune.

Visitors would often be asked to make a wish and touch the dragon’s pearl, strategically perched in front of its majestic head.


Pahang ~ Gunung Tapis & Gua Cheras
Other attractions on the way to Sungei Lembing is the beautiful nature park of Gunung Tapis and the reclining Buddha at Gua Charas (Charas Cave)





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