Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nature Attraction: Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest

Hutan Rekreasi Tanjung Tuan

Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest is located in the administrative area of Alor Gajah Municipal Council (MPAG) and is bordered with Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan. It is about 20 minutes by bus from Melaka Town. The beach is a newly established recreational area for the whole family.

Various activities can be done here such as picnicking, boat riding, kite flying and swimming. There are services like horse riding but it is chargeable.

Every morning, local residence from the vicinity come to the beach to catch 'geragau shrimp' (a very tiny shrimp), which is in abundance from August to October. This activity is seasonal according to the monsoon wind.

'Geragau' shrimp is very popular among local people in Melaka. They are made into 'belacan' (shrimp paste) and 'cencalok' (shrimp sauce).

Every Sunday from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, there is a free "Dondang Sayang" performance. There is also a lot of food and fruits stall along the beach. This beach promises serenity and tranquility to relieve stress after a hard week of work.

Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse

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 Melaka.

The lighthouse 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 lighthouse. To reach the peak of the lighthouse, one has to climb 72 flight of steps. The lighthouse is controlled by the Shahbandar of Melaka as Tanjung Tuan is a territory of Melaka even though it is located in Port Dickson (Negeri Sembilan).

View from the top

Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve, Port Dickson

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, try to use your imagination skill to create the numerous fighting scenes between the Portuguese and Dutch armadas in the sea below that took place over 500 years ago.

Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve

The entrance to Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve is right at the mouth of PNB 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. 


Migratory birds and their route.

During March every year, birders from all over Asia and world would descend upon Tanjung Tuan to watch thousands of raptors fly overhead from the Straits of Melaka. 

Spotted Eagle

Purple Throated Sunbird

Pink Necked Green Pigeon

Red-Eyed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus brunneus)

PNB Ilham Resort

Birding spots around PNB Ilham Resort :

1) Observatory Tower at PNB 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) Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse - Lots of Olive-Winged Bulbuls over here. There is a guide to raptors right at the top over here. Visitors can spot the usual sparrowhawks 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 species.

Tanjung Tuan Wildlife Santuary

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 lighthouse is located.

Dusky Langurs or Dusky Leaf-Monkeys (Trachypithecus obscurus)

The local Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis)

Green Turtles

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.