Port Dickson Travel Guide
Overview of Port Dickson
Port Dickson is a famous beach retreat destination on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia in Negeri Sembilan. It is popular among both locals and tourists for the beautiful beaches, as well as to how close it is from major cities in the west coast, making it the go-to place for families to have a weekend getaway.
Fondly called “PD” by locals, Port Dickson was originally named “Tanjung” (meaning “cape” in Malay) due to its location, and “Arang” (meaning coal in Malay) after the nearby coal mine. According to some sources, the name was changed to “Port Dickson” after the British High Officer Sir John Frederick Dickson, who turned the area into a seaport. The development of the port transformed the small town into a bustling trading centre. Now, tourism is one of the main industries in Port Dickson, making it one of the top tourist destinations in Malaysia.
What to Do
The main attraction in Port Dickson are the beaches, which you can find along its 16-kilometres-long coastline. Besides the beaches, you can also visit the museums, ostrich farm, and art galleries.
There are numerous beaches in Port Dickson, where you can do leisure activities such as water skiing, snorkelling, banana boat riding and windsurfing. Some of the famous beaches include Pantai Cahaya Negeri, Blue Lagoon, Bagan Pinang Beach, Saujana Beach, and Teluk Kemang Beach.
Visit the Museums
If you are a history buff, there are two museums in Port Dickson—Fort Lukut and Fort Kempas—that you can visit and learn more about the local history. Besides that, you can also visit the Army Museum to learn more about the Malaysian Royal Armed Forces. Entry to the museums is free.
Enjoy at the Ostrich Farm
You can find PD Ostrich Farm near Purnama Beach, where you can get up-close, take photographs, or even race with ostriches. You can also visit the petting zoo that has domestic pets and farm animals; take part in extreme sports, such as paintball and archery; or go to the restaurant and enjoy ostrich meat dishes.
Visit the Art Galleries
There are two art galleries that you can visit in Port Dickson: Alive 3D Art Gallery and Upside Down Art Gallery. Both galleries are trick art museums that feature interesting and mind-blowing optical illusions.
Jungle Trek at Cape Rachado
Cape Rachado, or Tanjung Tuan, was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1921. The area features the oldest lighthouse in Malaysia built by the Portuguese, as well as two beaches—Blue Lagoon and Cermin Beach. Besides that, Cape Rachado is also popular for birdwatching and jungle trekking.
Visit the Turtle Hatchery
For those who want to see turtles up-close, you can do so at Glory Beach Resorts’ Turtle Hatchery Centre in Tanjung Gemok Beach. Together with the Fisheries Research Institute, the resort set up the hatchery centre to educate and create awareness among the Port Dickson community about Hawksbill turtles. The resort helps gather and hatch all the turtle eggs found on Port Dickson’s beaches before releasing them to the ocean in batches. At the hatchery centre, visitors will be able to learn more about the turtles, feed them, and even take part in releasing baby turtles back to the sea.
Cape Rachado Lighthouse
Further along the beaches of Port Dickson, you will find Cape Rachado Lighthouse or Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse. It is believed to be the oldest lighthouse in Malaysia having been built during the Portuguese rule of Malacca. It sits within the Cape Rachado Forest Reserve—a beautiful, quiet area popular for migratory bird watching and short hikes.
When is the Best Time to Visit
Like many places in Malaysia, the weather in Port Dickson is generally hot and humid all year long, making it the perfect place to visit anytime. However, travellers visiting here should note that the driest months are from May to August, while the wettest is from October to December due to the Northeast Monsoon. The peak season for tourists in Port Dickson is in March and April.
How to Get to Port Dickson
By Car / Bus
The best way to get to Port Dickson is either by car or bus. If you are using a car, drive along the North-South Expressway towards Negeri Sembilan and enter the Seremban-Port Dickson Highway. If you are driving from Kuala Lumpur, the journey will take you about 1 hour 30 minutes.
If you are travelling by bus, the most convenient way is to get on a bus to Seremban. From there, hop on another bus or grab a taxi from Seremban to Port Dickson. The journey from Seremban to Port Dickson should take about 1 hour.
Currently, there is no train service connecting directly to Port Dickson. The nearest train station would be in Seremban, and you would have to take either the bus or a taxi from the train station to Port Dickson.
If you are coming from Indonesia, there is a daily ferry service connecting Port Dickson to Dumai in Sumatra.
If you are flying to Kuala Lumpur, you can hop on a bus to Seremban from KLIA or KLIA2, before boarding another bus to Port Dickson.
How to Get Around
If you are driving your own car or renting one, you should have no problem getting around Port Dickson since most attractions are well connected by road. If you are not driving yourself, you can get around Port Dickson using taxi or ride-sharing services such as Grab.
What to Eat
Negeri Sembilan is popular with its rich, spicy dishes, and Port Dickson is no exception.
One dish you should not miss out on is the Masak Lemak Cili Api, which is a fish or meat dish cooked in coconut milk and spices. You may also want to try Rendang Cili Padi, which is slow-cooked meat that also uses coconut milk and spices mix. There are plenty of restaurants selling both, such as Warung Salai Port Dickson and Warung Mak Mah Nasi Ayam.
Besides that, there are plenty of other restaurants that prepare different cuisines, such as seafood (Kim’s Seafood Palace) and Chinese food (Restoran Mee Lazat Mian Joo)
For Mexican food (El Cactus Bistro and Bar)
If you want to eat street food, Port Dickson Town has a night market that opens every first Saturday of the month.
What to Buy
For necessities, you can get pretty much everything in Port Dickson as there are several supermarkets and shopping malls in the area. You can also go to Teluk Kemang for tourist knick-knacks or the Saturday night market in Port Dickson Town for cheap local delicacies.
Where to Stay
Accommodation in Port Dickson is easy to come by as the seaside town is one of Malaysia’s go-to holiday destinations. As such, there are plenty of lodging options you can choose from, including award-winning hotels and resorts as well as cheap backpacker hostels. If you prefer staying further away from Port Dickson, there is also plenty of accommodation in Seremban.
What to Bring
If you are spending most of your time on the beaches, remember to bring sunblock and proper beachwear. You should also bring drinking water to avoid dehydration due to the hot weather.
What to Wear
Since Malaysians are predominantly Muslims, it is best to dress conservatively. However, it is acceptable for travellers to wear bikinis or swimwear on the beaches. Sunbathing naked or topless is unacceptable.
You should also wear loose, comfortable clothing and footwear if you are planning to go around Port Dickson visiting places of attraction.