Weekend in Port Dickson – The trails of Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve
Slightly over an hour away from KL, Port Dickson is the place we go sometimes for day trips or quick weekend getaways. We are often lured by the short drive – it almost feels like a staycation noting the hours we spend in KL traffic. The pace is slower, service is lovely, seafood abounds and everything is just cheaper.
Away from the frenzy of PD Waterfront and beaches of Teluk Kemang is the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve which has several starter-type hiking trails, perfect for younger kids.
Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve is technically protected and maintained by the state of Melaka but is located in Port Dickson. The coastal forest is about 30 hectares and perched at the top is the the Tanjung Tuan or Cape Rochado Lighthouse – a site of historic significance. The original lighthouse was built by the Portuguese during their occupation of Melaka in the 16th Century. It was destroyed in a battle and re-built by the British in the 18th century and is still in use!
If you are driving, expect a slightly winding road. It takes about 20 minutes from Melaka and 15 minutes from PD town. Park your car outside, near PNB Ilham Resort. Adults pay RM1 to enter and it is free for kids.
Shaded by generous jungle trees, the first part of the climb is via a slightly hilly road that cuts through the jungle. The walk up takes about 30 minutes – inclusive of time to tie shoelaces, crunch dry leaves, hear sounds of different birds and read some signage in Bahasa (yeay!).
It is a route for migratory birds and we saw a few birdwatchers heading up as well.
At the top, you will find the white washed lighthouse, said to be the oldest in the country. It is closed to public, except on special occasions or by permission. The kids loved the idea of going up the lighthouse but we could not find any keeper in sight and it looked deserted. During raptor watch weekends organised by the Malaysian Nature Society, the lighthouse is said to be open to public. I will have to keep a look-out for that.
The real attraction beckoned – perched at the edge of the hilltop was an expansive view of the Straits of Melaka. What a lovely reward to take in after the walk.
From here, a trail is visible – another 20 minutes of steep walk downwards is necessary. At the end of the footpath, the view of a secluded beach is a welcome sight.
We didn’t spend too long ambling here because we suddenly could hear the rolling of thunder. Not wanting to be caught in the rain in the middle of a jungle, the trek up was sweaty and breathless. We managed to get to a wooden shelter – not before we were fully drenched in a splendid tropical downpour. The kids loved every minute of it!
There are other more challenging hikes in the reserve including Bukit Batu Putih which we are definitely looking to explore soon.
Things to Remember:
- Mosquito patches and insect repellent
- Water and more water
- Small snack
- Water proof bag for phone, camera, etc.