Cape Rachado Forest Reserve

Top choice nature reserve in Port Dickson

A world away from the resorts is 80-hectare Cape Rachado Forest Reserve. A paved road (pedestrians only) leads through towering jungle to brilliant-white Tanjung Tuan lighthouse, Malaysia's oldest.

In 1606 the seas around the cape blazed with a naval battle between the Portuguese and Dutch armadas; the Portuguese outgunned the Dutch but were later forced to capitulate. Since 1921 the area's been a nature reserve, visited annually by 300,000 migratory birds and used as an egg-laying site by turtles.

The reserve is 2km down a turnoff from the main road through Port Dickson. You can park at the Ilham Resort and then hike through the forest. Stick to the marked trails unless you're a trained survivalist.

The lighthouse, a 20-minute uphill hike from the park entrance, isn't open to the public, but you can walk around it for great sea views. On a clear day you can see Sumatra, 38km away across Selat Melaka (Strait of Melaka).