Located 333km from Singapore in the state of Negeri Sembilan, a weekend road trip to Port Dickson is a popular option for many Singaporeans. Prided mainly as a beach destination, Cape Rachado Lighthouse was shortlisted from a quick web search as one of the few worthy attractions in sleepy port town. After a yummy detour to Malacca, we managed to reach the foot of Cape Rachado (Tanjung Tuan) at around 5.30pm.
We could not make much out from the signboard contents as they were written in Malay language. There was however an indiction of the distance we had to travel on foot to reach the lighthouse and it seem to be quite a walk! Our later reference on wikipedia revealed that Cape Rachado Forest Reserves was gazetted as a wildlife sanctuary since 1971 and has been designated as an important Bird Life Area.
The ascending path reminded me of our own Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Cyclists and joggers were spotted from time to time and shade from the lush greenery made it a rather pleasant walk. The absence of street lamps along the path meant that we have to make it out before dark.
We encountered side paths trailing in from the main path. We did not have the luxury of time to check them out, perhaps they leads to the bird conservation areas within the nature reserve.
It took us around 20 minutes to reach the supposedly oldest lighthouse in Malaysia. It was allegedly built between 1528 and 1529 by the Portuguese to guide its ships in the Straits of Malacca. I was pretty disappointed when I first caught sight of the lighthouse. It looked too new to be over 480 years old!
Even the long flight of stairs looked new.
I nearly lost it when I realised the lighthouse compound was out of bounds to unauthorised personnel. Omg.. after all that walking and climbing…
The lighthouse is basically a 24m high circular tower with a lantern and gallery constructed of masonry and finished off with a layer of whitewash. It’s basic function has now been replaced by a new tower completed in 1990. The new tower holds a MEASAT radar at the top of the structure designed to monitor ship traffic in the Strait of Malacca and aid in communications.
Technology is fast changing the way we do things. Previously lighthouses were operated manually, but less manpower was required with MEASAT. As manual jobs are increasingly replaced by advanced ways of doing the same task with technology, do Malaysian workers with old skills have avenues to adapt and arm themselves with the new skills?
In Singapore we have the e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) which recently started operations at their new Jurong East building to upskill workers of various backgrounds (PMEs included) and match them to better jobs. What job seekers can find at the new e2i are career counselling, job fairs, training courses and skills assessment tests.
But it’s not a one size fits all approach, there is targeted assistance for all workers on workplace advisory matters and training.
Actually to think about it, just because we are educated now, doesn’t mean our qualifications will be that useful in the future when things change. Does an education which is 5, 10 or even 20 years ancient guarantee us lifetime jobs?
I wondered if the Malaysian workers from the old lighthouse are given a similar place or opportunity to upskill themselves for radar operations, or if they were able to find another job with the skills they currently have from the last time they were trained/educated.
With no option to enter, we explored the narrow dirt path that circled the lighthouse’s fort-like foundation.
When I saw the unobstructed view of the Straits Of Malacca, I realised the true highlight of the place. There was a small group of locals chit chatting at the edge of the cliff taking full advantage of the gorgeous view.
Flora lovers will also take pleasure with the cheerful multi-coloured flowers found along the cliff.
The golden brown sunset at Cape Rachado Lighthouse was unforgettable. How many of such magnificent sights can you witness in a lifetime?
Mindful of the unlit path down the nature reserve, we made our way down swiftly and head straight for Grand Lexus Port Dickson for our well-deserved rest!
If you are someone who likes a little nature and trekking in your trip, Cape Rachado Lighthouse will be a nice addition to your stay at Port Dickson. Else, you may be disappointed with what the lighthouse has to offer. Make your visit worth the effort with the sunset. Here’s the full information of the attraction:
Cape Rachado (Tanjung Tuan) Lighthouse
Address: Rumah Api, Tanjung Tuan, 78200 Alor Gajah.
Facebook Fan Page: CapeRachado
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here