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The Port Dickson Rundown

Deliberately developed beach destinations provide predictable, no muss, no fuss holidays to a specific brand of tourist. Enter Port Dickson, Malaysia’s exceptionally calculated resort area in the state of Negeri Sembilan. In a very real sense, “PD” (Malaysia’s penchant for place-name acronyms extends even here), is a prototype and foremost sign of a pugnacious push by the federal government to lure upwardly-mobile tourists from the UK and Singapore for long-term stays.

The meticulous strategy has all the hallmarks of other attempts to seduce weary middle- and upper-middle class tourists with the opiate, siren call of package holiday bliss. The incessant popularity of the Algarve, Costa del Sol and, to some extent, Bali, owes much to the dependable formula. Build it - on the coast, of course - and they will probably come. This, in a sense, is the story of Port Dickson.

That Port Dickson is only 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and 60 minutes from the commercial capital is, of course, no coincidence. Proximity to KL has been PD’s secret sauce for quite some time. Under British rule, the town was a base of tin ore export that eventually grew in popularity as a convenient refuge for colonial officials. The coast was summarily built up to practical extinction by the late 1980s. Thanks in no small part to the Asian financial crisis, subsequent plans to resuscitate the moribund area came and went in fits and starts. With the recent help of powerful foreign investors, however, Port Dickson is now the veritable crown jewel in the “Malaysia My Second Home” Ministry of Tourism programme. As a no-nonsense, straightforward beach resort close to KL then, Port Dickson is a safe bet for some.

Port Dickson’s Top 10

10. Muzium Tentera Darat Port Dickson is a vital army town in Malaysia - there is even a movement under way to hyphenate the name as such. The Muzium Tentera Darat, or Army Museum, chronicles the military legacy of the area. 5. Negeri Sembilan State Museum is 30 km from Port Dickson, in state capital Seremban.
9. Tuluk Kemang Mini Zoo is the only zoo in Port Dickson. 4. Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium, also in Seremban, draws well over 20,000 strong for Malaysia Super League football.
8. Kota Lukut, or Fort Lukut, was a mid-19th century stronghold built to protect the tin ore trade. 3. Port Dickson Night Market attempts, sometimes successfully, to re-create the inherent appeal of spontaneous urban night markets in a purpose-built, tourist-designated zone.
7. Pengkalan Kempas Historical Complex, or Fort Kempas, was similarly erected to safeguard commercial interests in the turbulent colonial era. 2. Cape Rachardo (Tanjung Tuan) Long before the British were in Malaysia, the Portuguese mapped the coast extensively, from Melaka to Thailand. A lighthouse at Cape Rachardo is a reminder of those exploratory efforts and stands as the oldest in the country. On a clear day, the coastline of Sumatra is visible across the straits.
6. Tuluk Kemang Ostrich Farm is, for some, a welcome distraction from the beach. 1. Blue Lagoon is a scenic coastal enclave some 15 km from Port Dickson proper. Popular with water sports enthusiasts.

Port Dickson History

  • Muzium Tentera Darat - The Malaysian Army Museum in Port Dickson houses the vehicles and aircraft used by the Malaysian royal army.
  • Fort Lukut - Here you can still see the remains of the weapons used in the tin trade.
  • Fort Kempas - The tomb of the great Islamic figure Ulama Sheikh Ahmad Makhtum is displayed here.
  • Lukut - An important mining town in the 18th century that was populated by Chinese immigrants.
  • Lighted Lighthouse - Built by the Portuguese to guide their ships when they conquered Malacca in 1511.

Port Dickson Art & Culture

  • Centro De Arte Moderna - You can acquire amazing perspective about Portuguese contemporary art.
  • Muzium Istana Diraja Seri Menanti - An incredible royal museum built without the use of nails and screws.
  • Om Sri Anjaneyar Alayam - Once you enter this mystical Hindu temple, you can certainly feel the ethnic diversity of the area.
  • Masjid Lama - This is one of the oldest mosques in Port Dickson.
  • Gaya Handicraft - Get intricately made handicrafts that are perfect for presents, too.

Port Dickson Shopping

  • Night Market - For a taste of Port Dickson, do not miss the delectable treats offered here.
  • Central Market - You can sample delectable Malay dishes here, as well as get stunning antiques.
  • Teluk Kemang - An assortment of beach-themed stores where you can get shirts and locally made handbags.
  • Souvenir Sanctuary - If you are quite stingy, you will enjoy this bargain hunter’s utopia.
  • Oceanic Mall - You can get your necessities and visit the many outlets here, too.

Gay & Lesbian Port Dickson

  • Sunshine Bay - This is where everyone flocks to for a barbeque and a beer.
  • Cumulus -A trendy bistro that offers wonderful songs from a live band.
  • The Legend Water Chalets Karaoke Bar - Belt out some tunes in English, Chinese or Malay at this cosy bar.
  • El-Cactus Bistro Bar - Down a couple of shots of tequila at this Mexican fusion restaurant.
  • Jungle Fringe Karaoke & Bar - It’s an African-inspired bar in Port Dickson with soundproof karaoke rooms.

Port Dickson Outdoor

  • Ostrich Farm - You will fall in love with these magnificent creatures; they even have man-against-ostrich challeng
  • Port Dickson Mini Zoo - It is the perfect place to bring your kids.  
  • Tanjung Tuan - It offers a variety of activities; you can either trek in the jungles or relax on the beach. 
  • Cape Rachado Forest Reserve - The forest reserve is teeming with wildlife; it’s also an amazing place to go bird watching. 
  • The Blue Lagoon - One of the most popular tourist destinations in town, with a breathtaking view.
 

Port Dickson Sport

  • Score a hole in one at either the Guoman Golf Resort or the Royal Springs Golf Club.
  • Check the best place to go sailing, the Yacht Club, where you can actually get a temporary membership.
  • Experience windsurfing in the Straits of Malacca.
  • Try the exhilarating jet skiing and ocean water skiing at Port Dickson Beaches.
  • Go canoeing or ride a banana boat to enjoy the water even more.

Port Dickson Local

Port Dickson is not a city, or town, per se, but a beach resort area with 18 km of coastline from Tanjung Tuan (Cape Rachardo) to Tanjung Gemuk (Fat Cape). The coast has been heavily developed in recent years to offer tourists a wide range of accommodation options, from cheap rental apartments and beach bungalows to luxury above-water chalets.

Port Dickson Eat & Drink

Hotels and resorts in Port Dickson offer the usual variety of cuisine, from typical Malaysian and Western, to Chinese and Indian classics. The vast majority of restaurants line Jalan Patai, the main Port Dickson drag.

Weng Yin Seafood Village is a reliable seafood bet. Open until 1 a.m. Restoran Kal Hoe has cold beer and prepares seafood Chinese-style.
El Cactus Bistro and Bar is popular for generous portions of Tex-Mex, American and British food. Restoran Kemang Seafood lures big crowds of diners, especially on weekends and public holidays.
Coconut Grove is one of the most popular restaurants in Port Dickson. The menu is international and the al fresco atmosphere persuasive. Anna Thai is part of the Tiara Beach Resort complex.
Restoran Pantai Ria serves affordable, family-style Malaysian-Chinese fare in a no-frills environment. Dixon Coffee House is part of the Delta Paradise Lagoon Hotel complex.
Tino’s provides a pizza and pasta fix, with a few Malaysian staples thrown in for good measure. Kedai Kopi Pak Lang serves Chinese cuisine in a convivial room off the coast.

Port Dickson Events

If you pore over government and Ministry of Tourism press releases from the past decade, it seems every effort is being made to lure a wide variety of domestic and international events to the Port Dickson area. Here are a few of the most notable thusfar.

The Port Dickson International Triathlon brings the ultimate in endurance tests to the Negeri Sembilan coast in late July.

Port Dickson Festival celebrates the coastal charms of the resort area with five days of events in late March at Dataran Teluk Kemang.

Tourism Malaysia sponsors the Malaysia Water Festival every late April and early May in Port Dickson. Inherent beachside events range from jetski races to paintball.

The Admiral Marina & Leisure Club has held music and other festivals in years past.

When To Go

While Port Dickson is a popular holiday destination throughout the year, the months of March, April, October and November experience abundant precipitation. As a result, monsoon rains can dampen enjoyment of beach areas in particular.

As is the case with equatorial climates, temperatures in Port Dickson generally hold between 73°F (23°C) and 90°F (32°C) for the year. The tropical heat and humidity is noticeably more tolerable on the coast than inland.

Getting Around

Via the efficient North-South Expressway, the drive to Port Dickson from Kuala Lumpur takes about one hour. Seremban and Melaka/Malacca City are within easy range as well. Singapore is 320 km away.

There is a ferry connection between Port Dickson and Dumai, Sumatra, Indonesia.

Bus service is availalble from most major destinations in Malaysia. Taxi service is abundant and reliable throughout the Port Dickson resort area.

What To Miss

In order to ensure a holiday free of surprises, prospective visitors to Port Dickson need to manage expectations and abandon any illusions of what the destination is and is not. While the primary tourist drag offers some ostensibly unspoilt coastal areas, PD is far from pristine. Rampant industrial activity and real estate development has led to abhorrent chemical and waste levels in the water and, moreover, the wholesale depletion of fish stocks. If the unassailable environmental degradation of the area makes it difficult to suspend disbelief and bliss out, you may want to look elsewhere for affordable beach holiday fun.

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Hotels in Port Dickson

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From US$107

1 Thistle Port Dickson

5 stars
4.0 / 5 9 reviews

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Set on 36 hectares of tropical gardens, Thistle Port Dickson Resort welcomes holidaymakers to an exquisite retreat with three kilometres of private sandy beach in this part of Malaysia. While on a... More

can improve .. especially during the hoildays
My suggestion : After 9.30pm food on the buffet table half price .. we walked in at around 9.45pm for dinner & there were only 2 couples sitting .. sad to see all that food wasted.
2 Dec 2014
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2 Grand Lexis Port Dickson

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Grand Lexis Port Dickson Resort, with its ideal location, amidst the natural surroundings, offers a peaceful environment for guests to stay and explore the city of Port Dickson. Some of the area... More

Fun trip but a little crowded
Check in was delayed due to large number of people checking in at the same time, otherwise, the experience was awesome. Pool was comfortable and room spacious too
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3 Lexis Port Dickson

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With tasteful accommodations, seafront location and relaxing atmosphere, Lexis Port Dickson Resort makes for an ideal getaway while in Port Dickson. This sophisticated resort echoes traditional... More

Nice hotel!
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4 Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson

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Great retreat place
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Regretable
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