Port Dickson or more popularly known as, P.D. is a favourite weekend getaway for people from KL and Singapore. Especially for those, who are seeking some time away from the hot, stifling cities. During the weekend an estimated average of 45,000 people visited the beaches in the district stretching about 25 kilometers facing the calm sea of Straits of Malacca.
Refreshing cool breeze blowing in from the Straits of Malacca and the relaxed environment was one of the reasons for choosing this tiny seaside village as a colonial beach resort. Sir Frederick Dickson who 'founded' PD, was a leading official in the Straits Settlement during the 1880s. He had been searching long for a suitable deepwater port. To reduce transportation costs, he was hoping that he could shorten the travelling time from the interior tin mines at Sungei Ujong to the coast by setting up a port at PD instead of using the old, winding land route all the way to Klang.
Before Sir Dickson came along, all there was of the place was a small village called 'Arang', of which the villagers made their living from burning wood in kilns. Arang means 'charcoal'
Port Dickson has kilometers of fine sandy beaches fringed by Casuarinas, palms, and the intricate, above-ground root formations of the Banyan tree. A complete menu of leisure activities is available in Port Dickson, including water-skiing, canoeing, snorkeling, windsurfing, and sailing, all of which can easily be handled through the reception desk at your hotel.
At Kota Lukut, a mere 7 km from Port Dickson, stands the fort of Raja Jumaat, a renowned nineteenth-century Bugis warrior. The fort was built in 1847 to control the lucrative tin trade in the area. The road along the Malaysian coastline is very lovely and resisting to stop for a rest and a swim is almost impossible. Vendors along the road offer thirst-quenching drinks of coconut water and sugar-cane juice. Another rewarding site is the lighthouse at Cape Rachardo, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century in order to guide ships to the safety of Malacca's harbour. The lighthouse is still functioning today, and visitors can ascend its narrow spiral stair to the beacon, which offers a magnificent view of the coastline of Sumatra. The Cape is also a popular stopover point for migratory birds. From September to March, flocks of sparrows, honey buzzards, and swifts can be seen here, together with birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles.
To catch a glimpse of the locals at 'work', a night market comes alive every Saturday at an open car park next to the Petronas Petrol station on 4th mile. Lots of snacks, food and produce to buy for the weekend stay over.
Along the coastal road the lovely old bungalows are replaced by 10, 20, 30th floor condominiums, apartments and hotels. Blue Lagoon (10 miles from PD town) is still the favourite beach as it was 20years ago and is very popular with local visitors. It's the most famous picnic spot and is an excellent spot for the water sport enthusiasts. However, the more crowded beaches are often covered with litter and you may find it hard to find a clean bit of sand to park yourself. If only there were trash bins located along the beaches and a little bit of civic duty from the local holidaymakers, then the councils may be able to counter this predicament.
Other than numerous holiday resorts, Port Dickson is also well known for its oil refineries belonging to the giant oil companies of Shell and Esso. In addition to these two giant industrial complexes there are also another two oil related industries comprising of Castrol and Cabot to add to the landmark of Port Dickson.
The oil industries generate a huge number of heavy traffic comprising of oil tankers plying Port Dickson and other parts of Peninsular Malaysia.
Port Dickson is about an hour away from Kuala Lumpur. Take the North-South highway and exit at Port Dickson. From the exit, take a right turn at traffic lights after the toll. Follow signs to Port Dickson. There's another highway that leads to Port Dickson from there. On this stretch of highway, you can exit at Lukut or head straight to PD.