THE RACHADO LIGHTHOUSE
The Rachado Lighthouse sits on a hill overlooking the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve. It is the oldest light house in the country, first built in 1528 before being remodelled over the years to its current look. The lighthouse was originally built by the Portuguese in colonial times to guide its ships, while the area of sea in front of it is where a historical battle between Dutch and Portuguese forces took place.
To access the lighthouse, you need to enter the entrance of the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve. From there, a steep road takes you up. A warning sign outside prohibits vehicles from entering, but many who do not want to take a long walk will drive their bikes or cars in. At the top, the lighthouse sits on a small hill where you need to climb another 72 steps to reach it.
Once there, walking to the front of the lighthouse will enable you to catch a panoramic view of the Malaccan Straits and the clear blue seas below. Over here, the wind is breezy and the sight of ships sailing in the wide sea is breath-taking. On clear days, you can even catch a glimpse of Sumatra’s outline in the horizon. Also look down at the shore from the top and you can see some corals in the waters.
TANJUNG TUAN RESERVED FOREST
The Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve is a protected park which spans about 80 hectares in size. It is also know as Cape Rachado and it is at the top of the park where the historic lighthouse sits. This small forest reserve consists mostly of coastal forest with some mangroves at the bottom.
The park, though small, is a rich area for flora and fauna, especially birds such as jungle fowls, hawks, buzzards and kites. There are two main jungle trails which can be accessed from the lighthouse area. Both will take you to scenic beaches which are practically unspoilt and pristine.
Tanjung Tuan is located at the 10th Mile of Port Dickson. This is a place that nature-lovers and bird-watchers should not miss. If you don’t mind the short but tiring walk through the forest, the beach is awesome and is probably the most beautiful of Port Dickson’s beaches.
Fort Lukut is located north of Port Dickson in Lukut town; a very short distance away from Port Dickson. Built in 1826, the fort was used by Raja Jumaat to safeguard the tin trade in the area during that era. Raja Jumaat was a famous Bugis chieftain who led the Bugis community which migrated from Indonesia to Lukut.
Climbing up a series of stairs, visitors will be greeted with what looks more like a park than a fort. Indeed little remains of the fort save a few wells, some bricks that line the sides of the hill and a small moat. Instead, this place should be used for recreational purposes or to imagine just how expansive and impressive the fort was in its heydays.
The Lukut Museum is located on the same grounds of Fort Lukut, at the foothill. Housed in a nice wooden bungalow, the museum exhibits a wide range of artifacts and relics relating to the tin mining industry during the olden days of Lukut. The exhibits, posters and dioramas also explain the historical aspect of it, including the wars between local chieftains and the influence of British colonists.
Opened just several years ago, the museum is air-conditioned and separated into four galleries; History of Lukut, Customs and Traditions, Negeri Sembilan and Nassau. Besides artifacts and relicts, visitors can also view photos and models of tin mining equipment. Entrance is free and a food stall is located just outside for snacks and drinks.
THE ARMED FORCES MUSEUM
The Armed Forces Museum is located 8 km away from Port Dickson town in an area where military bases and camps are located. Opened a few years ago, the museum has spacious grounds to house a wide range of former combat vehicles, artillery and planes. The museum is on an elevated land, and a fountain cum monument for fallen soldiers in battle sits in the middle.
Around the monument are rows of decommissioned artillery, trains, vehicles and tanks. There is also a fighter jet plane, a transport plane and a helicopter parked at the sides. There are two buildings; one is an office zone while the other one is where you will find the galleries dictating the successes and achievements of the military, navy and air force. There are models and decoys to demonstrate equipment in the military including historical weapons like canons.
The highlight is a subway tunnel that runs below the building and exits near the cargo plane at the side of the museum grounds. This tunnel is a realistic simulacrum of tunnels used by communist soldiers during the war for communication purposes. At the sides of the tunnel are glass cases displaying weapons and military equipment as well as dioramas of soldiers engaged in meetings, medical treatment and sleep.
Fort Kempas is about 23km from the lighthouse, there is a small village called Keramat Ujung Pasir. Here you will find a15th century tomb of a leading historical personality, Ulama Sheikh Ahmad Makhtum, with its famous carved megalith. Beside his grave are the famous stone inscriptions or “Batu Bersurat” which depict his struggle and victory.
The mystery surrounding the stone remains unsolved to this day. Of special interest is the ‘ordeal stone’, an ancient lie-detector, through which a person puts his arm when answering questions. If he lies, the stone tightens like a vice.