Dungun - Terengganu Malaysia

Kuala Dungun's fish market. Good place to pick up fish fresh from the sea

Kuala Dungun was once a busy little coastal town made popular by iron mining activity in the early 1940's. Like many mining towns in the country, the lustre and lure of the place waned after the mine shut down. Today the town is a little more than a village with wooden shops lining its main road. The buzz in town is at the fish market where fishing boats unload their daily catch. There are a few Chinese motels with very basic amenities and a police station at the end of the street.

Gerald Durrell, one of the early pioneers of wildlife conservation efforts, (also a prolific and wonderfully funny writer) came on a reconnaisance mission to Malaysia in the 50's and stayed at one of the motels in Kuala Dungun on his way to Taman Negara. The roads in those early days of development were not as convenient as it is today and getting to Taman Negara took travellers on a convoluted and sometimes frustrating journey. One of the major obstacles travellers had to overcome was having to cross numerous streams and rivers. Travelling then meant hours on the road and hours of waiting for the river ferries to transport vehicles across which also meant many hours spent in little town motels like those in Dungun, to break the long journey.

Today, the highways connect towns and cities. Unfortunately, towns like Kuala Dungun fall into oblivion. Hardly any visitors drop by these days. If they do, it is to catch a boat to Pulau Tenggol.