Port Dickson is a tiny town on the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia south of Kuala Lumpur. It is approximately 1.5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, which is well-known for its stunning beaches and holiday resorts.
While enjoying the water recreation activities and indulge yourself with the amenities provided by the resort, you should explore the surroundings of Port Dickson and visit some of the noteworthy spots.
I explore a few top tourist attractions in Port Dickson yesterday. Since it is still fresh in my mind, I want to give you an overview of these places so that you can make a better decision when you plan your trip to Port Dickson.
TL;DR: Plan half a day to visit the Cape Rachado and the Army Museum. Rest, you can forgo if you have a hectic schedule.
I drove from Kuala Lumpur after work, which took me 1.5 hours to reach our hotel in Port Dickson amidst heavy rain. Since I have to be back in Kuala Lumpur the next day latest by 2 pm, I practically only have half a day to tour around Port Dickson.
After a good night’s sleep, I started my trip by visiting the Cape Rachado, where the oldest lighthouse in Malaysia is located. Next, I drove to the Blue Lagoon Beach nearby, one of the best beaches at Port Dickson. From there, I head to the Army Museum to learn about the pre WW2 history of Malaya. Then we head towards the small town called Lukut, visit the Lukut Fort, and have lunch. After lunch, I planned to take some photographs at the Alive 3D Art gallery and then head back to Kuala Lumpur.
1. Cape Rachado (Tanjung Tuan) – Port Dickson
I visited Cape Rachado first because it is breezy and fresh in the morning, as other places will open at 10.00 am.
The traffic was smooth in this small town. Cape Rachado is just 9km away, which took me less than fifteen minutes. It is located about five minutes drive off the main road.
There is no official parking area outside of the entrance. Anyone can park their car at the roadside as long as you do not obstruct any traffic. I was the second visitor today since there weren’t many visitors during weekdays.
The admission fee is RM1. There was no one at the ticketing counter, so I decided to hike up slowly to the lighthouse. It took me fifteen minutes on the tarmac path while appreciating the breezy morning air and gorgeous view. Cars are not permitted to enter, so it is safe to stroll on the tarmac path. (Note: When I left, the ticketing personnel came and collected RM1 from me.)
You can rest at one of the gazebos along the path if you feel tired. However, it is an easy walk, and there are families with young children walking up with ease.
The lighthouse was closed to the public since it is a satellite monitor tower.
The back of the lighthouse is facing the Straits of Melaka, which is tranquil and serene.
Be careful when you walk around the perimeter of the lighthouse as the cliff is quite steep. There are several forest trails to take on for adventurous visitors. If you are lucky, you will spot monkeys sitting on the trees and raptors flying in the sky. However, I have no luck this morning.
It is advisable to bring your water as there is no food and drink stores. There is a toilet near the entrance.
I follow the trail with uneven steps that winds through the thick jungle to the Tanjung Tuan’s beach. The trail is quite steep, so be sure you are fit. It took me slightly more than ten minutes to reach the beach.
The beach is unpolluted, isolated, and clean. I sat on a rock and enjoyed the early breeze blowing lightly, smelling the saltwater and relishing the sound of the waves lapping on the shore. It is the perfect sanctuary for city dwellers who are looking for a respite to destress and unload the pressure from the city life.
Note: Bring along the insect repellent, drinking water, and wear a good pair of walking shoes. There are tons of mosquitoes while I was trekking down to Tanjung Tuan’s beach.
The History of Cape Rachado
The early history of Cape Rachado remains mostly unverified, with unofficial account tracing back to 1511 when the Portuguese established their settlement in Melaka. The name Rachado means ‘Broken Cape’ according to Wikipedia, and other sources said the cape was named after a Portuguese captain.
Cape Rachado is believed to be the oldest lighthouse in Malaysia. The Portuguese first built it, and the second version was constructed in 1817 by the British. In 1990, a second tower was erected to house the MEASAT radar.
2. Blue Lagoon beach – Port Dickon
After visiting Cape Rachado, we head to the Blue Lagoon Beach, which is a secluded bay only a few minutes away by car.
Blue Lagoon Beach is well known for its breathtaking view of the blue sea with the natural tranquillity sheltered by a dense cover of lush vegetation and forests from the surrounding. The seawater is calm and shallow, which is the result of the deep recess of the bay that safeguards the lagoon from powerful currents.
I sat down on the rocks, not far away from the beach, and listen to the waves crashing against the shore and the wind blowing away. Overall, the feeling is quite like when I sat down at the Tanjung Tuan’s beach. You may choose to visit either one if you have a hectic schedule.
3. Muzium Tentera Darat (The Army Museum)
After unwinding at the beach, my next destination is the Muzium Tentera Darat.
The museum is housed inside an army camp.
As you arrive at the museum, the front portion is occupied by howitzers, anti-aircraft guns, small to medium cannons, mortars, a tank. There are numerous army vehicles, including decommissioned helicopters, planes, and even a steam engine train.
Visitors are allowed to slip in to experience the heat of battles. Children will be pleased to clambering up the vehicles to explore, and adults were busy snapping pictures for the kids.
There are many exhibits of different famous battles during the era of Melaka, pre-independent if Malaysia, Malaysia colonization period, Malaya communism, WW2, and many more. The write up might be too worthy for casual tourists but is very informative for visitors who want to understand in detail what was happening. It is a living history lesson about Malaysia dates back to the independence era that you will learn more than in any classroom.
The most thrilling part of the museum is the underground tunnel. It is a replica of a typical Communist Party of Malaya’s stronghold, equipped with field hospital and kitchen. There are life-size figures in there with dim light and ominous atmosphere, which can be a little scary for young school children who came to visit.
There is also a suspension bridge that connects several trees near the exit of the tunnel.
Admission is free.
4. Lukut Muzium (Muzium Lukut)
The Fort was built by the Bugis warrior Raja Jumaat around 1847. It was about 200m long and 170m wide surrounded by a deep moat to deter attackers.
Within the Fort is the palace. There are wells within the Fort.
Today only part of the walls, the well, the trenches, and some foundation of the building still exists.
Don’t expect you will see all those I have mentioned. It is in a dilapidated state with no signboard to explain what remains, except a simple direction board to show about the location. I suggest you can skip this place and walk to the nearby museum instead.
The tiny museums have two levels. It showcases some artifacts which were unearthed during the excavation. There are pottery shards, stoneware, some old bronze cannons, and tiles during the glory days of the tin mining industry at Lukut. Skip this place unless you are interested to know the history of Lukut.
5. Alive 3D Art Gallery
Although there are some excellent comments on the internet, I find that it is a waste of time even to come here. (Note; It visited this gallery in November 2019. It might have been much better before.)
I had to pay RM20 to visit the gallery. The keeper can’t speak English, so I had to converse with Mandarin. She took my many and vanished without even given a receipt.
I was the sole visitor. Although there are articles that are saying that it has more than 40 murals on display, there were only less than twenty accessible in the gallery in this double story shop lot. I believe part of it has been closed as the next level was not available. I can’t ask for help to clarify this as I was the only person in the two-story shop lot; not even one workers were there. Feeling a bit eerie, lonely, and uncomfortable, I cut the visit short and virtually ran away in ten minutes.
On the positive side, it is a place suitable for a family outing, taking some hilarious, playful, and dramatic pictures. The murals rely on perspective and visual distortion to create the illusion. You can touch, hug, and post creatively to blend into the mural to trick your eyes with these 3D paintings.
I hope it is only a temporary hiccup. Please contact the gallery to check it out if they are fully operating before you plan your visit. Phone number : +606-651 5400
For tourists from other countries, Cape Rachado, and the Army Museum should be your target. Forget the rest of the places at Port Dickson and head down to Melaka, where there are more exciting spots to visit.
If you are a Malaysian who loves to dive deeper into our history of Port Dickson, you should visit the Lukut Museum. It is for the enrichment of your knowledge rather than enjoyment.
For family outings, the art gallery is a good place to visit, provided they must upgrade their service and let visitors access to all the paintings.