Sungai Lembing is a tin mining town 42 km northwest of Kuantan. Lembing is Malay for spear, and "sungai" means river. Per local legend, the local ruler saw a vision of a spear in the nearby river and thus named his town after this vision.
Until the 1970s, Sungai Lembing was a major producer of underground tin. Sungai Lembing town developed in the 1880's when the British set up the tin mining industry, although the history of mining in this area extends much further back. From 1891, the Pahang Consolidated Company Limited, (PCCL), which was under British control, had a 77-year lease to mine the area. PCCL managed the mine from 1906 until its liquidation in 1986 when world tin prices collapsed.
The pit mines were closed in 1986 due to high operational costs and low yields, but during their heyday they were among the largest and deepest in the world. The total tunnel length is 322 km, with a depth of between 610 m and 700 m. A museum highlighting the tin mining industry was opened in 2003. The museum is housed in an old bungalow once used by the mine manager. The museum houses a collection of mining artifacts.
Today the town of Sg Lembing is in decline although it was once the richest town in Pahang, known as El Dorado of the East. In the 1940's about 1400 people worked in the mine. Today many of the wooden shoplots are closed and people are moving away. The town straddles the river, and the main street on the right bank is split by an avenue of majestic trees. At the end, an old wooden building overlooks the padang where games of cricket and other social activities were held.
Nearby Sungai Lembing is Bukit Panorama, which is a popular place to watch the sunrise. 16 km from Sg. Lembing is Gunung Tapis Nature Park, where one can camp, fish, and shoot the rapids. Gunung Tapis itself is 1,512 m high. On the way to Sg. Lembing at the hamlet of Panching is Gua Charas, a temple cave that is a popular tourist destination, also Sungai Pandan Waterfall, which is 29 km from Kuantan.