My impressions and memory of PD was lousy, dirty, crowded beaches with murky waters and ....nothing to do. I was pleasantly surprised that it did not turn out that way. Maybe because my expectations were so low.
Firstly, looking for a place to stay in PD is not easy, not because of the lack of places. On the contrary, there are too many places so if you don't know it is hard to decide. PD is like a bigger version of Batu Ferringghi in Penang, I think. With stretches of hotels and beaches. Only, there is much more space, so there are many more beaches and many more accommodations. However, it is either very expensive and beyond my means or within budget but poorly maintained.
Eventually we settled for Avillion Admiral Cove which is the sister hotel of Avillion. It is half the price of the original Avillion and therefore more affordable for us. I thought the Legend International Water Homes looked exciting for the kids with a private pool in each room but of course it is way above our budget.
Back to Avillion Admiral Cove, if you are looking for a nice place to relax with beaches right outside your hotel, then you'd probably be disappointed. We were looking for a place to stay overnight that was affordable so it was ok for us. We got a very lovely view and a clean beach that we could walk to nearby.
As for activities, we took the kids to the Army Museum. I had expected a few miserable army tanks and that was it. Again, I was nicely surprised. The museum had a good collection of army vehicles, trains, tanks, helicopters and planes. It even had an underground tunnel to explore. Not bad.
The Army Museum
Secret meeting in the underground tunnel
We also went to the Lighthouse located at the Forest Reserve at Tanjung Tuan which is right next to the PNB Ilham Resort. To get to the lighthouse, you have to walk up 1 km of deserted road in the forest. You can hear birds and monkeys and my son insisted he heard a lion. :) The monkeys gave us a scare but we made it to the top and even managed to climb up the stairs that lead to the lighthouse. We were rewarded with a nice sunset. The place closes at 7pm. We went about 6pm.
Hutan Rekreasi Tanjung Tuan
The Cape Rachado Light House
Sunset viewed from outside the Lighthouse
Finally, we also did some bicycling, not on ordinary bicycles but on something called a KMX. It is a fusion of a go-Kart, BMX and mountain bike. It is low on the ground with a go-kart kind of seat but has three wheels and you peddle it like you would a bike. It is available for rent at the hotel. We paid RM10 for half an hour on an adult bike and RM8 for a child bike. There is a small road with a little roundabout for you to ride your bikes there. They also rent out a Segway, which has two large wheels where you stand upright and hold on to a handle and move along on the beach. We also saw a couple riding on a two seat bicycle while their child ran beside them. Cute.
We're not very good at hunting for places to eat so we just ate at some restaurants we found along the way for our meals. Funnily, PD looked like a sleepy place with many shops closed even on a Thursday. (Maybe we weren't in the town itself but in the slight outskirts). That gave us the impression that it was a Sunday and the fact that we were on a holiday made us forget about parking tickets. We failed to buy and display a parking ticket and received a RM30 summons for it. Luckily, it was easily settled because PD is not very big. We managed to find the Majlis Perbandaran PD and promptly paid it. It was RM10 if paid within 7 days, probably the same amount a booklet of parking ticket would have cost. :)
Or you could try Thistle previously called Guoman, Port Dickson. Perhaps I can try there next time. I haven't been there but from what I see online, it is only slightly more expensive then Avillion Admiral Cove but the beach, pool and rooms look much bigger and more comfortable. Anyone who has been there that would like to share their experience, please feel free or if you have written about your trip on your blog, please leave me your link in the comments. Thank you.
I left out many details but if you have anything to ask because you wish to bring your young kids there, just leave me a comment or email me. I will try my best to answer you. Better still, if you have been there with young kids, why not share your experience? I would most certainly like to go back there so I need as much info as I can. :).