Enjoy the good view from the top of the hill overlooking the Straits of Melaka where the light house is located. From this vantage point, one can see the town of Port Dickson and the outline of Indonesia's Sumatra across the Straits of Melaka.
While you are here, use your imagination skill to create the numerous fighting scenes between the Portuguese and Dutch armadas in the sea below that took place 500 years ago...
The star attraction here in Tanjung Tuan, the light house was built by the British in the 18th century on the highest point of the cape. The site of the light house is said to be the same site where an old light house was built by the Portuguese during their occupation of Melaka in the 16th century which was later destroyed in a war. It is the oldest lighthouse in the country and is still in use today. In the 1990s, a radar for monitoring purposes of crossings by large ships was installed in the light house. On a bright and clear day, one can see Sumatra Island across the Straits of Malacca.
The light house is not open to visitors, nevertheless the keeper is more than willing to bring visitors for a tour if one were to request. There are 66 flight of steps leading to the light house. To reach the peak of the light house, one has to climb 72 flight of steps. The light house is controlled by the Shahbandar of Melaka as Tanjung Tuan is a territory of Melaka even though it is located in Port Dickson.
The entrance to Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve is right at the mouth of Ilham Resort. The forest is worth checking out since it's chockful of forest birds and there's a lighthouse at the very end of the trail. When I was here, a huge tree fell right across the path so I had to crawl under it to get to the lighthouse. Hopefully, the tree has been cleared by now.
Come March every year, birders from all over Asia would descend upon Tanjung Tuan to watch thousands of raptors fly overhead from the Straits of Melaka. Well, since I had no wish to join the crowds, I was here during the start of the migration season ( Oct ) . Since it was the fasting ( Puasa ) season, the rooms at the best resort here were pretty much empty and I even received a hefty discount for staying there!
I highly recommend birding during this early migration season.
Here's some birding spots around Ilham Resort :
1) Observatory Tower at Iham Resort - You can watch raptors glide on warm thermals during the hot noon hour. Bird's eye view of tanjung Tuan from here.
2) Light House - Lots of Olive-Winged Bulbuls over here.There is a guide to raptors right at the top over here. You can spot the usual sparrowhawks over here during migratory season. Or, if you're not into birds, you can see the narrowest point of the Straits over here.
3)Jungle Trails in the Nature Reserve - Lots of forest birds.
Though this is Malaysia's oldest lighthouse, not many people have heard of this white-washed high on top of a hill in Tanjung Tuan, Port Dickson. It's believed to have been built by the Portuguese eons ago, in the 16th century for guiding ships into the harbour and more importantly, for checking on enemy ships passing through the narrowest channel between Malaysia and Sumatra. Well, since the Portuguese have long gone back, this spot is more of a hotspot for geek birders like me. Yes, come every March or Sep, every birder around the region would descend to this spot to look at the impressive raptors ( eagles, buzzards, etc) and forest birds in the surrounding reserve area.
To escape the cold of northern winter, millions of birds migrate to the southern hemisphere. Every year from January onwards, the birds would make their return journey to the northern hemisphere to places like Siberia, Japan or the remote areas of eastern China.
Due to its starategic location, Tanjung Tuan is one of the place where the migratory birds would make a stop over before continuing their journey. Every year in March, flocks of migratory birds like sparrows, honey buzzards, swifts, hawks and eagles can be spotted here. Some of these birds are called raptors (eagles and its related families) hence the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) would normally organise the Raptor Watch Week every year for bird watching here in Tanjung Tuan.
Check out the website of MNS for more details on the bird watching activities.
Tanjung Tuan, being one of the last remaining undeveloped beaches along the coast of Port Dickson, offers a variety of flora and fauna in its vicinity to the visitors.
Most of its attractions are located around the Hutan Rekreasi Tanjung Tuan (Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest). Take a walk up hill from the recreational forest's main entrance to the top of the hill where the famous light house is located where you will find a variety of flora and fauna along the way. You can also take a walk along the jungle trails here for a closer encounter with nature.
It is good to note that the Melaka state goverment has announced that Tanjung Tuan will not be developed and would remain one of the last remaining coastal hilly rainforests in the country.
The Tanjung Tuan Wildlife Santuary is located half way between the main entrance of the Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest and the peak of the hill where the light house is located.
Here, you'll find monkeys in group along the way but if you venture further in the jungle trail, you'll be able to sample some of the coastal hilly rainforests' flora and fauna. For easy navigation, the jungle trails are clearly marked.