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Port Dickson is perhaps one of the lesser known tourist destinations in Malaysia. Located about 45 minutes from KL airport, it is a very convenient one! We have been there three times and found it a lovely place to hang out and relax for a few days (especially in a fabulous water chalet at Avillion Port Dickson or a private pool villa at the Grand Lexis), enjoying what Malaysia has to offer without feeling like we have to rush around like crazy being “good” tourists.
It is a great alternative to Kuala Lumpur for a transit in Malaysia if you would prefer a beach destination to a city.
Port Dickson does, however, have some nice attractions to visit. We found plenty to entertain us for a couple of days. In this guide, you will find our list of what to do in Port Dickson as well as other information to make your visit a success!
Here’s our list of what to do at Port Dickson…
Port Dickson is home to a museum for the Malaysian Army and one of the top places to visit in Port Dickson is here. There’s two sides to the museum: the galleries covering the military history of the Malay peninsula and the old military hardware – some of which you can climb on. It’s the armored cars and helicopters that’ll be more engaging to kids.
For the history side there are two buildings and a tunnel covering events and exhibits from early European involvement all the way to UN peacekeeping. The tunnel is a recreation of the ones used by Communist guerrillas during the Malay Emergency. A few rooms just had captions in Bahasa Malaysian but most had English too.
I liked the galleries, as there was a lot to read. This didn’t interest S, who was with me. She was much more interested in the big things, especially ones she could climb on. There was a train, lots of armored cars and jeeps, and some helicopters and planes which were the highlight for S. We comfortably spent a couple of hours here.
I think Mr 3 (who coudn’t join us) would have loved this even more.
The museum is located approximately 500 metres from the traffic lights that are 1.5km south of Avillion. Entry is free.
Located in the south of Port Dickson is this surprisingly fun attraction. It is definitely one of our favourite things to do in Port Dickson with kids. While Ostriches are the stars of the show, there is actually quite a lot to do and many animals to see.
There are quite a few ostriches which you can feed (although I’d not recommend that for small kids – they’ve got big beaks) and pet. These birds do get very big – up to three metres tall and 150kg.
The big draw card for our kids was the chance to ride on an ostrich! Anyone under 40kg can have a ride – it costs RM10 for kids and RM15 for an adult. The kids were well looked after with two staff making sure they didn’t fall off and guiding the ostrich around. The rides didn’t go for long but the kids loved them.
What we liked even more were all the other animals – especially the rabbits and guinea pigs. There were horses, donkeys, goats, fish, chickens, turkeys and peacocks as well. Most animals could be fed (you had to buy the feed – RM3 a bag). A few animals ran around outside of the pens or in pens you could go into. You could could get close to most of the animals. Some could even be picked up and patted which S and Z both really enjoyed.
There’s a cafeteria at the farm serving ostrich satay sticks and burgers (“it’s very fresh!” I was told) in addition to more mainstream options. Plus a small playground that had turkeys wandering in it. In addition to the animals, there’s paint balling, archery and horse rides for those too big for an ostrich.
The Ostrich Farm is a well set up destination. The staff were really proactive in encouraging the kids to interact with the animals and help them handle them. Two hours flew by here. If we didn’t have to get back to our hotel, we could have spent more time.
Entry was RM15 for adults and RM10 for kids.
A different Port Dickson attraction is the Yun Loon (a.k.a. Wan Loong) Chinese Temple, a colourful temple located approximately 5km south of the Avillion Port Dickson. It is not big, but it is richly decorated and makes for an interesting sight.
The big attraction for kids is the small pond and garden where there’s lots of turtles and one large tortoise. The temple’s claim to fame was a giant tortoise who was (apparently) over 100 years old but sadly he died earlier this year (according to reports). It was explained to us that the turtles were thought to bring good luck, as was rubbing their shells, and some people sponsor baby turtles to get good fortune.
The kids loved to pat the turtles and tortoise and watch them go into and out of their shells. They could get right up close and observe although the big tortoise was not fond of the attention. Having never been that close to turtles or a tortoise that big they were really fascinating to watch – even for me.
You can enter the temple and grounds for free. There’s a donation box in the temple itself.
We didn’t have time to visit this place, but one of the popular Port Dickson activities is the Alive 3D Art Gallery. The gallery has around 50 3D/isometric art murals and paintings that let you look like you’re part of the action. If you’re not sure what that means then have a look at our Made in Penang Interactive Museum entry in our Penang guide.
It’s not a unique attraction by any means but these types of places can be fun, and if you are looking for an indoor, air-conditioned, activity this could be a good choice.
The Alive 3D Art Gallery is located in Lukut, which is to the north of the Port Dickson area. Consequently it might be hard or expensive to get to without your own car.
The most popular of the Port Dickson things to do is obviously its beaches. These beaches are lovely for relaxing by and great for kids to paddle in the water (there’s no surf and shallow water for up to 50 metres from the edge of the water). These beaches are picturesque and relaxing places and are unsurprisingly popular with Malaysians.
The beach just south of Avillion, Tumasek Beach, has a playground and some facilities like toilets and a place to change as well as food and drink vendors in the car park. You can get a basic but cheap meal in the afternoons/evenings and watch the sun set over the water.
In addition to the places to go in Port Dickson above, one of the best parts about Port Dickson is its proximity to many other places in Malaysia, primarily Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. Melaka is only an hour away and Kuala Lumpur about an hour and a half. It is easy to make a day trip to either of them. You can read more about things to do in Kuala Lumpur here.
As you can probably tell already, we think Port Dickson is an excellent destination with kids. We visited with our 3 and 5 year old and they had a great time. It was also very easy for us parents with some fun things to do in Port Dickson with kids, the beach and a great resort.
We had a clear favourite resort in Port Dickson – the Avillion Port Dickson. We love the water chalets here and the primary reason we returned to Port Dickson for a second time was to stay here again – these chalets are excellent and work well with kids.
The resort also has great facilities – three pools (including an adults only and a kids option), kids’ playroom, several restaurants, a petting zoo and just beautiful grounds.
We then had to return to Port Dickson for a third time when I heard about the Grand Lexis and their villas which weren’t just over the water but also came complete with a private pool! All for a good price as well.
We love this resort. There are some nice facilities but the best part is definitely the over-the-water pool villas. You can see inside our executive pool villa here:
We absolutely loved staying here and this is definitely one of the best villas we have stayed in ever.
Some other great hotels in Port Dickson are:
You can read our full guide to the best hotels in Port Dickson here.
There are buses to Port Dickson but we found it easier to take a taxi. A coupon taxi from KLIA2 cost RM94 and took just under an hour. Taxi prices on to Kuala Lumpur varied quite a bit. We found a taxi happy to do it for RM150 including tolls. It took about an hour and a half.
Port Dickson is quite spread out and is hard to navigate by foot. Footpaths vary in quality, from non existent to okay. When they do exist it isn’t always for large stretches. Strollers won’t work well here.
To visit the things to do at Port Dickson above you will need to either have your own car or take some taxis. There are limited public buses, and there are just enough taxis to make it a viable option to get around but if you haven’t arranged one (directly or through a hotel) you might need to spend five minutes waiting for one to go by.
That’s if you’re on the coastal road. Roads off this had less taxis. Taxi drivers usually gave a card with their number so it might be a good idea to call one up if you’re off the coastal road and need one.
Port Dickson cabs don’t use meters, instead going off distance. We paid RM 4 for a few kilometres, 10 for up to eight km, and RM 20 for anything over that. Although it sounds dodgy (“No, we don’t use meters in Port Dickson…”) the drivers were reasonably consistent with prices so it didn’t seem like a scam.
Taxis have yellow roofs and a yellow sign on top but otherwise no consistent colour or quality as most are privately run.
If you have your own car, the places we went have ample parking spots. Beaches usually have car parks as well, but these can fill up on weekends.
We love visiting Port Dickson. It’s a nice, easy place to be where we can relax and unwind. There are enough activities in Port Dickson to keep us busy for a couple of days, but not so much that we didn’t have plenty of time to relax and enjoy our lovely water chalet.
It’s an especially great place for kids. We find our kids are happier in easier going destinations and the activities at Port Dickson worked well for them. There is a reason we returned for a second time and the fabulous accommodation options ensured we came back for a third!
It is a low key destination though. If you are looking for a beach destination in Malaysia with lots of attractions and more people then I would recommend Langkawi. Port Dickson is a good choice for people wanting an easy weekend break or to fill in a few days while in transit in very affordable luxury.
Have you been to Port Dickson? What do you recommend?
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