Port Dickson (PD) is a beach resort destination in the state of Negeri Sembilan, about 100km / 62mi south of Kuala Lumpur. It was originally a small fishing village named Arang. It was renamed after a British official named Sir Frederic Dickson who turned Arang into a port for transporting the rich tin ore deposits which had been discovered in the 1820s.
After the tin ore trade faded, the town grew into a beach resort destination, its popularity reaching a climax in the nineties as large numbers of visitors streamed from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Beachfront property development escalated at an alarming rate, buoyed by investor speculation and tourist crowds.
Overdevelopment and overcrowding led to a decline in the popularity of PD. Fortunately, the local authorities took steps to clean up the beaches and the sea. PD is once again a popular holiday spot.
I lived in PD for a few years in the 1960s. After we moved to KL we made regular day trips to PD for the sun, sand and sea. My memories of PD are of pristine and empty beaches. Its current incarnation does not have the same appeal. Nevertheless, it is a nice weekend bike-packing destination.
There are two ways that we cycle to PD from KL.
I have done both many times.
The inland route requires riding on the MEX Highway for the first 25km / 16mi. Which is quite pleasant early in the morning, when it is cool and the traffic is very light.
Once off the highway, the roads are generally quiet.
The inland route takes you close to the KL International Airport.
Much of both routes are lined with palm oil estates.
And sometimes with spectators.
If we come down the coast we often stop at this place in Morib for breakfast.
A natural stopping point on the inland route is the town of Sepang. Either at the small Shell station there or at one of the sundry shops that line the main street.
Sungai Pelek is a small town along the coastal route. We detour to it even when we ride the inland route so that we can take the short ferry ride across the Sepang River.
A narrow road through some mangrove takes you to the jetty.
It is about 30km / 19mi from the ferry to PD.
There are lots of possibilities for accommodation.
Refreshment options along the way include fresh coconut water.
You already know about cendol and ais kacang.
This may be a sad reflection on us, but we often stop here for lunch upon arrival in PD or for breakfast before we ride back to KL.
Sometimes nothing beats salty McDonald’s fries and a chocolate sundae.
A local roadside fast-food option is Cowboy Place, which is a grilled chicken stall.
All that is left to do after lunch is to enjoy the views.
A nice side trip is to ride past the Wan Loong Temple to the Tanjung Tuan lighthouse.
This lighthouse is believed to be the oldest in the country, its history allegedly dating back to Portuguese rule of Malacca during the 16th century. This area was originally called Cape Rachado. A Portuguese name meaning “Broken Cape.” The current lighthouse was erected in 1863.
Depending on how hot it was during the ride to PD and how much of our rehydration was of the golden foaming variety, we sometimes chicken out of riding the entire way back to KL.
It got to 36ºC / 97ºF last Friday on our way to PD. Numerous lagers were downed afterwards. We rode to the train station in Seremban on Saturday.
40km / 25mi on our bikes and the rest of the way to KL by train.
One upside of taking the train is we have time for breakfast in KL before heading home.
Perhaps a few more calories in than out that morning.
There will be another PD ride before the year is out.