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300 Vietnamese tourists visit Pulau Bidong, 22 years after it was closed

In March, about 300 Vietnamese tourists will visit Pulau Bidong, which was once a refugee camp for Vietnamese "boat people' who escaped the new Communist rule after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

The island, about 40km from here, will be reopened to visitors this March after it was closed as a refugee camp on Oct 30, 1991.

Terengganu Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman, Datuk Abdul Rahin Mohd Said said the 300 Vietnamese tourists were among thousands of refugees who were now residing in a number of countries including the United States and Australia.

"They are coming to see the monuments built and visit the graves when Pulau Bidong was a refugee camp," he said, adding that the state government allowed the visit but the visitors had to follow the regulations set.

"Their lives have changed for the better and they now wish to visit the graves of their ancestors and relatives who died on the island."

Abdul Rahin also said that the state government had approved an allocation of RM200,000 to clean up and maintain the natural beauty of Pulau Bidong, in line with the Terengganu Visit Year 2013 programme.

Pulau Bidong was handed back to the state government to be made into a tourist attraction following the closure of the refugee camp there.


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