Posted in MALAYSIA, Pahang, Travel

Bukit Ibam, Rompin and Pulau Tioman

On 21st October 2008, I get the opportunity to go to Kota Kinabalu with Malaysian Airlines. Because the flight early in the morning I was asleep after departing from the KLIA. Approximately 30 minutes later I was awake and look out of the aeroplane’s window. Look under there, one of the interesting sight for me is view of a lake, in blue colour water, in the place surrounded with jungle greenery. “Where is this place?” I asked to myself.

pa210462Aerial view an area within Bukit Ibam in Pahang 

Several minutes later, the flight flying across a scenery that familiar to me. View of number of aquaculture ponds rearing eel, which is located in coastal area of Rompin. Then I know that the lake with blue water actually is former mined iron ore mine in Bukit Ibam. Bukit Ibam in 1960an was famous because of iron ore mining activities and its company RompinCo. Then, in the early of the 1980s some business in producing green jade stone in Bukit Ibam existed. However, the business of producing green jade stone was not viable and force its closed down several year later.

Bukit Ibam then was busy with mining activities, is now deserted. Muadzam Shah has taken over its role as the administration centre. There are only a few activities such as the existence of TUDM’s radar complex, also plans to build the first in ASEAN and the 16th of its kind in the world of the Facilities Monitoring not worth USD29 million in Bukit Ibam.

pa210463The lake with blue water attracts my attention actually were ex-iron ore mine in Bukit Ibam 

There is an effort to revive the former mine which operated from 1962 and had produced approximately 22 million tonnes of haematite and magnetite ore and closed its operations in 1970. Now, Grange Minerals Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned Malaysian subsidiary, holds 51% project equity in a joint venture with a privately owned Malaysian mining company, Esperance Mining Sdn Bhd begins it mining operation. Following successful resource drilling, metallurgical test work and viability studies Grange Resources announced Joint Venture capital expenditure approval to develop the Bukit Ibam magnetite mine in June 2008. It is planned to commence production at a rate of 100,000 tonnes per year magnetite concentrate for sale on the spot market and shipping out of Kuantan Port. Hopefully Bukit Ibam will continue to survive!

pa210464Aerial view of aquaculture ponds rearing eel for export market in Rompin, Pahang 

Bukit Ibam is has the special place in my life. That’s was the place where my first career in the field of engineering begins. However, my destiny to serve in Bukit Ibam was to short. PWD’s Office in Bukit Ibam only required 2 technicians for waterworks, but the information provided by the Head Quarters, Bukit Ibam’s Office requires 20 technicians. Therefore, 3 months later I was transferred back to the Head Office in Kuala Lumpur. My life would be different if I continue to set work in Bukit Ibam. This is because I have felt harmonious living there and the desire to contribute my motherland Negeri Pahang Darul Makmur.

pa210465Another view of the eel’s ponds in Rompin thats create havoc when its begins its operations of pumping water from the ground to fill up the pond.  Its effect ground subsided arround the area.  Now the area regain nature.

pa210466Eel produced from this business venture find a market for export to Japan and Taiwan

A few minutes later I saw an island that I believe is Pulau Tioman. I never set foot to this beautiful island. Pulau Tioman is a small island and well known for its legend and history. Pulau Tioman is located 32 km off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the state of Pahang, and is some 39 km long and 12 km wide. According to legend, Tioman Island is the resting place of a beautiful dragon princess. Whilst flying from China to visit her prince in Singapore, this beautiful maiden stopped to seek solace in the crystal-clear waters of the South China Sea. Enraptured by the charms of the place, she decided to discontinue her journey. By taking the form of an island, she pledged to offer shelter and comfort to passing travellers.

pa210467Aerial view of Pulau Tioman 

Pulau Tioman has eight main villages, the largest and most populous being Kampung Tekek in the north. The island has three of its peaks rising to about 1,000 metres and visible far out in the South China Sea. Much of its 114 square kilometers is covered with tropical rain forest. A narrow coastal strip is partly cultivated, and on it are found small villages and settlements, with a local resident population. The waters around the island are fairly clear divers can expect better visibility conditions in other waters, but one can generally expect between five and 10-metre visibility around Tioman. This, however, does not detract from the beauty of its coral reefs, which are a veritable underwater garden of colourful marine life.

pa210468Pulau Tioman known for its legend, coral and clear water 

Then, one and a half hour later, I safely landed in Kota Kinabalu International Airport.




Spent most of the life in engineering and project management. Now having the opportunity to see the world beyond my usual nest. Travel extensively to Third World Countries. Aaahh... now everything is possible

61 thoughts on “Bukit Ibam, Rompin and Pulau Tioman

  1. Hi Mustafar
    I am not sure where Wendy Dick now lives. Her father Brian Dick lives in Louisiana,USA, growing sugar.Philippa Newick is married and lives in New Zealand. Her Dad Dave Newick died some years ago and I thinl her Mum Pam lives in the UK. My eldest daughter,Tracy, went to the same Bukit Ibam school as you between 1967 – 1970 when we returned to NZ. She is married wtih 3 children and 2 grand-children. She lives near me in Palmerston North,NZ. We had an amah named Kamariah? at Bukit Ibam who had a son about Tracy’s age named Mustafar.Was that you?


  2. Hi Trevor,

    I lived in Bukit Ibam from 1963 until 1970. Attended the Bukit Ibam English School from 1965 until 1970. Have been trying to contact my classmates during that period. As I recall are Philippa Newick from New Zealand & Wendy Dick from Canberra, Australia.




  3. Hello Mark
    When did you live at Bukit Ibam and what surname? I lived there 1967 – 1970 near the Dawson house.
    Trevor Hislop


  4. Hi Karim,

    While we lived in Bukit Ibam, the Ibam Club manager was a man called Su Long (not sure is that’s correct spelling) but I never knew who actually owned it. Su had a house in Pekan, on the road from there to Kuantan.

    I was lucky enough to visit Bukit Ibam with my son last year (2014). The club is no longer there but there were still plenty of landmarks to bring back good memories.




  5. Hi Mark,

    do u still remember whose the owner of that ibam club ? FYI, my late mum is the current owner. before she died she did mentioned few of her old friends name but i cant recall. she stay in bkt ibam since 1968…


  6. Dear Beryl,

    Yes, I certainly remember the go-cart track near the dam. You can still make it out on Google Earth if you know where to look. I recall Greg Larkins buying a go-cart and being driven around the track by Greg. All of us kids lined up for a ride.

    I also remember swimming at the bottom of the dam spillway. Now, that is something that would not be allowed toady. When I stop and think about that I can still smell that great frash jungle smell as the water just poured over us.

    Happy New Year.

    Glenn Schumacher (Son of Butch and Betty),


  7. Hi Beryl
    I am happy to note of your beautiful remarks as well as your suggestion for a reunion.

    Hope anyone who reads this can response to Beryl’s suggestion.

    Happy new year 2015 to you Beryl.


  8. I’ve been reading some of the stories, names and memories of Bukit Ibam and wish it possible to have a reunion anyone who lived there . Photos are great. Wish there were more .Does anyone remember the go-cart track near a dam ? Before dad passed. Charles Kirby. He stated Bukit Ibam was some of his happiest years. Beryl


  9. I located Brian Dick now living in Louisiana growing sugar. To Wendy Wallach – my daughter Tracy Wills nee Hislop ex Bukit Ibam now lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand . We are in the Palmerston North phone book as is Tracy if you want to connect.


  10. My dad had worked in Bukit Ibam before in the early 60s. Does anyone has any photos taken in the early years of Bukit Iban Mining Co. I am planning a trip for my dad to visit the place this year.


  11. Does anybody have contact details for Brian and Fay Dick? Brian was a Mechanical Supervisor with me at the Rompin mine in 1967. I presume he and family returned to Australia in 1970 ?
    We left in May 1970 and lost contact.


  12. Hi Everyone,

    Wow, I didn’t realise so many other people had called Bukit Ibam home. I lived there with my Dad (73~76) while the sawmill was being built. At that time, there was still plenty of evidence of the mine operation but the mine itself was a lake already.

    The train line to Lanjut had been lifted and converted to a ‘road’. Lockwood Homes had a factory in Lanjut, so we often visited friends ‘at the beach’ there.

    In Ibam we lived in rumah 25. I wonder if there are other previous residents of No 25 out there?

    No international school in my days there. It was all correspondence from Wellington! I was allowed to use the snooker table & pool at the Ibam Club though, so was very lucky.

    Thanks for sharing your memories. I hope I’ve returned the favour adequately.


  13. Hi Najid
    Apa khabar?
    I also have not visited Bukit Ibam for quite sometime. Not sure what the state of the rest house right now?
    Anyone, pls update


  14. Mamadou,
    Bukit Ibam menggamit kenangan 1986-1997. Sudah lama tidak ke sana. Anybody knows what happen to the resort “Rest House” located at the back of Sek Keb Bukit Ibam? I used too knew one western guy but already forgot his name. During my childhood, my friends and i used to play and explore Bukit Ibam with him. If i’m not mistaken he’s own@operate the “Rest House”. Thanks.


  15. Hi Mamadou
    How do I download Bukit Ibam school photos to you?
    I have done so previously but forget!
    Trevor Hislop


  16. Hi Vicki
    Thank you for your drop by and giving your comments
    Hope our RompinCo’s friend would read this and continue our long lost relationship.
    Happy new year 2013 to you too.


  17. Wow- what great memories. We lived in Lanjut in late 60s until the mines closed in early 70s. My dad’s name was Freddie Miranda. My siblings are Molly Miranda, Victor and Milan. We all went to the Lanjut School. Mr Harvey was the headmaster. He is in Australia now. My sister remembers Pippi Newicks. We remember the Woods, Duncan’s, Zoe’s, Gans and many other wonderful families. We live in the US now as do the Zoe family. Can we do a reunion for all the Lanjut and Ibam families? Warmest regards and thank you for a lovely trip down memory lane. I have fond memories of my teacher Ms Ong Soo See. Anyone knows where she is? Happy New Year!
    Vicki Miranda


  18. Hi Kim
    Just wonder when you can give the photo graph and some brief details about her so I will try find my may to locate her or to get helps from newspaper because sometime they will give help too


  19. Hi again
    I was going through some photos and found one of me with my amah. Her name is Heng Leong Teow and my mother called her ‘Helen’. Any chance we might find her? I would like to send a scan of the picture when I can arrange this.


  20. Salam Sejahtera…we’re JKKK Bukit Ibam are really appericiate that all comments came on this blog site and looking forward that who’s are getting like to come and eyes see it.about nearly 50er Bukit Ibam was changing their enviroment…until now a mine still going on but in small quatities after closed on 70’s they was start about five year ago…


  21. dear mamodou,

    Sorry I cant quiet recall who you are but i could remember the place,school and everything else. Is this your real name and were you in the same class as Glenn? i too remember Mr.Dave Newick’s daughter as they were my classmates. I still find all these fresh in my mind and i still remember, before Mr.Dave Newick left he hand over his daughter PiPi’s ( if im not mistaken thats her nick name) bicycle to me. i too remember the others in the class like Sally,Wendy,Paul,Peter,and Zainuddin. Mr. Choo the music teacher while we were there,Mr and Mrs Gan and the malay office boy as well. Later on thats when, Mr.Schumacher left and Mr.Coveney came in as the principle of the school. I used to go to his house often for cooking class too. About 15 years ago,i visited bukit ibam with my siblings and shocked to see a lake in place of a huge mountain where back then tractors and heavy machinery used to travel. To my surprise,the lake was green in colour. I too have some photographs and would share it as soon as possible since it is with my brother Arasu,who was a former student of the Bukit Ibam International School.


  22. Dear Kim,

    I was talking with my Mother (Betty Schumacher) today and she told me that your Mum Neesa Dawson and were great friends. Mum tells me that she still has cook books that they both sharred. Mum also tells me she has photographs of your Mum, Dad and some of you children.




  23. Hi Kim
    Really sad to know Neesa had passed too recently. Hopefully the reunion will materialise.
    Who was you “amah”? May be someone know?
    Thanks Kim


  24. Dear Shoey

    Oh I am really delighted to have your response almost immediately. Currently I am updating my blog.
    Really appreciate your kind attention to share the valuable old photographs of Bukit Ibam with us
    I will contact you soon. Thanks


  25. Hi again from Kim Dawson. It has been quite a time since I last wrote. I am daughter of Ian and Neesa Dawson. Neesa recently passed too unfortunately. Perhaps there will be a type of reunion sometime in the future with families of rompin mining from those days. I wonder if anyone knows who (the family of) the ‘ama’ / helpers was we had as children there?


  26. Dear Mamadou,

    Many thanks for the feedback.

    I have a large number of black and white photographs taken in Bukit Ibam (and few from Lanjut) in the 1960s. I will scan the photographs and see if I can post them on your site.

    You have broght back some great memories of what seems like a different world. Indeed, in time and place it was. But, there was something else about Bukit Ibam and Lanjut. I cannot quite put my finger on it. It may well just be childhood memory that makes that time and those places so different but, I do suspect there is more to it than that. Graet place, great people and great point in time.

    Have a great day and thank you for your great site.




  27. Dear Mamadou,

    Having now had time to read all of the comments on you blog related to Bukit Ibam, I am very keen to try and make contact with others who had Bukit Ibam experiance just as I did. People such as Wendy Dunkerley, Kim Dawson and Lester Hanlon. Is there a secure way of circulating contact details such as e-mail addresses ?

    Many thanks once again.



  28. Dear Mamadou,

    I was deligted to see the old newspaper clippings regarding the iron ore mine at Bukit Ibam, Rompin, Malaysia. I grew up as a child in the mine town at Bukit Ibam in the 1960s. The company was ROMPINCO and still have many black and white photographs from then. I look forward to revisiting Bukit Ibam sometime in the future. Many thanks.


  29. I am overwhelmed to read your article as it is a trip down memory lane. My early childhood was spent at Bukit Ibam and my father worked as an accountant for Rompin Mining co. Reading the comments reminds me of the people I knew there particularly the children (Tracey Hislop was just one of many) I often wondered what happened to Bukit Ibam….one day I may be lucky enough to visit it again
    Regards Wendy Wallach (Dunkerley)


  30. Hi Lester.
    Thank you for your comment. Hope all the readers whom have interest in and about Bukit Ibam should take forward the suggestion made by Lester

    Thank you Lester.


  31. Hi Mamadour and everyone who has logged in:
    I read with interest the history and happenings of Bukit Ibam and Rompin as I was a founder pupil at Lanjut’s school and the school at Bukit Ibam under Headmaster Jon Hiser. I knew Ian Dawson, Ian Grey as they were assistants to my father Tim (N.J.) Hanlon (passed away in 1989) who was the Mechanical Superintendent in charge of operations during construction and in the early years of the mine when Donald Woods Senior was Mine Superintendent and Dave Newick Assistant Superintendentand, a whole host of others. I have many photos of the mine, still, and great memories of life there. I remember many of the people there particularly the main workshop staff and rest-house crews. My father who spoke fluent Malay had a terrific recall, were he alive today he would certainly know who your father was. Keith Watson the General Manager and ex Managing Director a great family friend also passed away in 1989. I am still great friends with one of his sons, Scott. Please continue with site, while we are still alive who knows who will read it! Sincerely, Lester Hanlon. N.Z. address


  32. To Baskaran
    I knew a Baskaran who was a Foreman in the main mine workshop – I think in the tractor bay.I am not sure if that was your father. I cannot remember any Baskaran in the workshop office.Greg Larkins lives with his wife Marie in Sydney. Brian Dick lives somewhere in Australia. Ian Dawson has passed on.Ian Grey who replaced Ian when he returned to New Zealand is probably in Australia. Bert Bain and Dave Newick have passed on.Graeme Scanlon is in Singapore ? I will try to download a few more photos from 1970.


  33. Hi,

    Actually my dad’s name is baskaran…i’m vignesh 🙂 …my father is doing great…just this morning i was going through photos of bukit Ibam in the 60’s with my dad…coming across this site is rather ironic…


  34. Hi Kim,

    My dad used to work with your father back in bukit Ibam back in the 60’s. Please do e-mail me at as my dad has plenty of photo’s from back then and there could be photographs of your father as well 🙂


  35. Hi Baskaran
    The names you have mentioned sound familiar to me. I will try to get you in-touch with them. How is you father doing now? Thanks for you remarks. Happy Deepavali.


  36. Hi, I’m writing on behalf of my father Baskaran Pillai who worked in the mechanical dept (office) of Bukit Ibam from 1963-1970. His chief mechanical supt. was a person named Ian Peter Dawson and a mechanical supervisor named Hisloop…other names such as Jones, Larkins, Ian Grey ….my father has shared plenty of photo’s from bukit ibam from the 60’s …please do let me know if anyone knows my dad as he was very excited to read all the posts on this site and would like to get in touch with his old buddies 🙂


  37. thanks so much! have made email contact with trevor already. he has sent me 2 photos so far and it feels really very good to have prompts for my memories. i will send some photos after i next visit my mother in christchurch. thanks again. kim ps is there a good link to information about rompin mining from those days?


  38. Dear Kim

    Feeling good that you still remember of yesteryear when you were in Rompin. Thank you for your offers to share of the photographs. You may send it to me at so I will post it in my next posting!

    Yes “amah”. The spelling is correct, used in daily coversation refers to our domestic helper but not in proper or official language

    Thank you Kim for your visit. Keep visiting


  39. hello
    my name is kim frances and i live in NZ. i am the daughter of ian and neesa dawson. my father was the mechanical superintendant of the Rompin Mine in Bukit Ibam. I was born in singapore (I assumed my mother went their to give birth). my father has recently passed away. my mother is alive and well and i have 3 brothers. the years we were there are in the vicinity of 1963 to 1966/67.
    the name Hisloop is is known to me. i think our family were friends over there.
    i remember going to kindergarten there, and my teacher had a magic trick involving ping pong balls – he would make us laugh and laugh. we have photos of the place if anyone is interested. kim
    ps. i had an ‘amah’ (spelling?) who cared for me. my mum taught european cooking and learnt malaysian cooking.


  40. Dear Trevor Hisloop,

    I very happy because you are a staff Rompin Mining Sdn Bhd. as a Mechanical Supervisor. You said you have experiance and many photo about your job during working there. Can you sharing your photo with me. I would like to use your photo and experienced to complate our studies about Ibam mining history.
    my email : TQ


  41. Hi Trevor Hisloop, Im really flattering to take a look the picture of the Bukit Ibam as you commented..
    Actually im doing my thesis regard “The history of Pahang”…Based on my finding, Rompin in 1980 was a well known for plantation in water melon,
    2) the history of Rompin get it is name based on “ruh tree” and
    3)the rompinco train.. what was interesting is the train still exist until now, it had been evacuated and located at Pekan Baru Rompin where Pejabat Daerah Rompin keep it as exhibition. The train was yellow and black.. it still in excellent condition.

    If i able to show the picture that you have to my profesor, she will be happy due to the evident that i got… i

    plz send to my email once you read my comment:

    thank you


  42. Dear Trevor

    Glad to know that you were there in Bukit Ibam sometimes 43 years ago! Bukit Ibam, Rompin (and Bandar Muadzam) has been transformed into plantation estates of oil palm under the development scheme created by the 2nd Prime Minister.
    Since then transmigration of new settlers from around the country to develop the estate under Federal Land Development Authority (FLDA / FELDA) makes these places as its today.



  43. I was interested to find your comments about Bukit Ibam. I was recruited from New Zealand in 1967 to work for Rompin Mining Sdn Bhd. as a Mechanical Supervisor for 3 years until the mines closure in 1970.
    I returned for a visit in 2005 and what a huge change in 35 years! I have many photos from when the mine was operating and am pleased to see it has been revived as a mine.


  44. Assalamualaikum Saudara Mohd

    Terima kasih atas penerangan dan undangan saudara itu. Tahniah dari saya atas usaha anda memajukan tempat istirehat dan kunjungan untuk para pelawat menikmati keindahan alam semulajadi di Bukit Ibam.

    Terima kasih


  45. Mamadou,
    saya juga penduduk di ibam, saya adik beradik dan beberapa keluarga kami memajukan ibam di tepi hutan simpan rompin dengan tempat untuk berehat, bersama keluarga dan rakan. Kami buat chalet-chalet dan rumah sewa, ada juga rumah atas pokok. Mamadou kami bina tempat rekreasi dan aktiviti lasak di sana.
    Saya amat gembira jika encik dapat datang ke tempat kami, kami panggil Edu-Agro-Picnic resort. Susah juga nak promosi. Hasrat kami nak bawa ke peringkat antarabangsa, bermodal kan sendiri. Mamadou ada masa boleh lah menjenguk ke sini. Ia tempat yang indah, tenang dan menghiburkan, jauh dari hiruk pikuk dan rimas di bandar. Agak sunyi. Mana tahu Mamadou ada cara dan cadangan nak memajukan lagi tempat kita. Terima kasih Mamadou bercerita mengenai tempat kita, ada masa kaborlah ke saya ye, udaranya masih macam dulu, nyaman, sunyi dan tenang sekali.


  46. Dear Nurhajarasarah.

    What you mentioned is true. Neglected and abandoned place except for a few establishments stationed there. What a sad place it now.

    Thank you for your visit and comment


  47. bukit ibam pada pandangan saya sAtu kawasan perkampungan yang menarik. kalau saudara dan saudari sekalian pergi ke bukit ibam anda pasti terkejut sebab bukit ibam sebijik macam bandar KOBOI!!!!!!!!


  48. Dear Matt

    My father worked with RompinCo then. When the operations stop we moved back to our ‘kampung’. Only photographs recollects our memories about the place.

    Thank you Matt.


  49. Hi!

    I read with interest your story of Bukit Ibam… I was 8 years old in 1964 and lived in Lanjut, at the mouth of the Rompin river. My stepfather ran the railroad that carried the ore to the coast. We returned to the area in 2002, but everything was long gone, and the locals seemed to want to know about the area’s history from us! I spent a school trip to Bukit Ibam attending school games, and remember the mine’s workings vividly. It was a beautiful place and I miss the wonderful warmth and genuine hospitality that was shown to us at the time.
    Thank you for sharing your story…


  50. Asslamualaikum Ayoh Awi

    Thank you for your comment. The glory of Bukit Ibam gone with time. Eventhough many effort have been given, but yet to revive Bukit Ibam to the previous status and condition. Those day before Muadzam Shah in place, Bukit Ibam was the centre of Pahang Tenggara. Memories bring us the meaning of life

    Thank you


  51. Assalamualaikum

    Begitulah kehidupan kita didunia ini selalu dapat ujian. Uncle Awang diuji dengan signal broadband yang kurang. Moga ia menambah kesabaran kita dalam menjalankan urusan dunia mau akhirat. Terima kasih kerana masih tekun melawati laman saya. Saat saat yang saya juga sangka dapat mempotret foto dari udara……..Terima kasih


  52. mamadou,
    When I was working in Felda Selanchar 2, Pahang close to the border of Segamat Johor, I used to go to Bukit Ibam where Felda’s regional office was located. I remeber the town as a very small town. I have seen the lake from very close too and I was astonished to see the colour of the water to be like the color of jade. Thank you for bringing back the memories of Bukit Ibam.


  53. Salam,
    Baru semalam saya ada melayari blog saudara tapi tak sempat nak buat comment sebab ..dah satu minggu nampak nya signal broadband kurang baik.Very,very slow.Kadang-kadang terputus.
    Cuaca baik waktu dalam pesawat memang seronok..lihat saja gambar yang saudara snap wah!!! begitu terang ,perfect.
    Thanks for commenting on my blog and have a nice day.


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