Negeri Sembilan, which is just about 50 km south of the nation's capital, Kuala Lumpur, is one of the earliest tourism draws of the country. Thanks to the existence of a beach resort known as Port Dickson, it has received countless streams of visitors seeking fun and splash under the sun. With the completion of the Kuala Lumpur Seremban Highway which subsequently became part of the North South Expressway, accessibility into the state has improved considerably. One can also reach Seremban, the state capital, by rail and the town's railway station is one of the attractive landmarks in town.
Measuring 6,645 square kilometers, Negeri Sembilan offers more than just beaches. There is a little bit of everything for everyone, from the history buff right to the nature lover. A first time visitor to Negeri Sembilan would perhaps be drawn to the significant feature of a great majority of traditional houses which have the distinctive style of the Minangkabau people who had migrated across the Straits of Melaka from Sumatra centuries ago.
Their traditional houses consist of sweeping buffalo horn shaped roof peaks and such features have even been incorporated in newer buildings like the State Mosque and the State Secretariat Building. Interestingly, the Minangkabaus of Negeri Sembilan still practice the matrilineal social system known as the "adat perpateh" making the state the only one to adhere to such social norms.
It is the Minangkabaus who hold the key to the history of Negeri Sembilan. The Minangkabaus were immigrants from West Sumatra who settled in Negeri Sembilan between the 15th and 16th century, at the height of the Malaccan Sultanate.They continued the practice of their rich cultural heritage, which continues on today in the form of the fascinating Adat Perpatih, a matrilineal system of rule and inheritance, unique only to Negeri Sembilan. The Minangkabaus and their adats, or traditions, and are indeed to be credited with Negeri Sembilan's many interesting aspects. This is clearly seen and felt even today, especially in the customs of marriage, ownership of property and dance forms.
The Negeri Sembilan that the early Minangkabaus knew was a rather loose confederation of nine fiefdoms in a secluded valley of the region. It was only in 1773, and with Raja Melewar as the Yam Tuan or ruler, that the 9 separate fiefdoms of Sungai Ujong, Rembau, Johol, Jelebu, Naning, Segamat, Ulu Pahang, Jelai and Kelang were unified.
Negeri Sembilan's modern history then began with British intervention in the districts of Sungai Ujong, Rembau and Jelebu. In Sungai Ujong, the British took the opportunity to intervene in the region's politics by taking part in and then ending, the conflict between Dato' Kelana and Dato' Bandar, which was affecting the trade of tin along the Linggi River. The British's support of Dato' Kelana was rewarded by the appointment of W.A. Pickering as British resident in 1874.
Come 1889, a treaty was signed between the Yam Tuan Seri Menanti and the four Datuk Undangs, installing the Yam Tuan as ruler of Negeri Sembilan, who was to be "aided" by Martin Lister as the first British Resident of Negeri Sembilan.
Moving around Negeri Sembilan is relatively easy. The state is well served by road and rail links. The spanking new bus station in Seremban, described as the most colourful in the country in view of its bright bold colours, is usually a hive of activity with buses going to all parts of Negeri Sembilan as well as the major towns of Peninsular Malaysia. Taxis are also easy to come by. Prices are reasonable. Enquiries can be made at the ticket counters of the bus and taxi station at Jalan Tuanku Munawir and Jalan Sungai Ujong. Seremban also connected to other parts of Peninsular Malaysia as well as Bangkok and Singapore by rail. There are various departures and arrivals on different trains at all times of the day. Enquire at the Seremban railway station (Tel:06-762214) or the Kuala Lumpur Station (Tel:03-2747442).
Eating out in Negeri Sembilan is usually an enjoyable experience as there is a large variety to choose from. Western foods is easily available in topnotch restaurants while local cuisine is found throughout the state. Chinese and Indian cuisine in Negeri sembilan also rank high among gourmets. For those who love hot and spicy Malay food, the dishes found in Negeri Sembilan are usually done according to the Minangkabau tradition which often see a generous portion of "cili padi" (small hot chillies) being used. Among the hot favorite is "masak lemak cili api", a dish made from coconut milk blended with tumeric powder and group "cili api" added to fish, meat or vegetables. Another specialty of Negeri Sembilan is the "lemang", glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and served with "rendang", a curried meat dish. These local delicacies can be found at many roadside stalls in the state. There are several fine restaurants for dining in style at some of the hotels in Seremban. In addition, the town also offers other eating establishments which are within walking distance and serve a wide array of mouth watering dishes to suit every palate.
For the culturally inclined visitors, they can see the unique Minangkabau culture performances, which are held sporadically in major hotels at Port Dickson and Seremban. Among the popular ones are Tarian piring (saucer dance), top spinning, percussion drum or embraphone, Rentak kuda (the rhythm of horse) and Cha-Lempong (Small gongs).
Places Of Interest
Cultural Handicraft Complex
The Complex, which has been modelled along the traditional Minangkabau dwelling, is located on a four-hectare site along Jalan Labu. Various handicraft items and historical artefacts are on display in this complex which seeks to preserve Negeri Sembilan's rich cultural traditions.
The State Museum is a "must" item for local history lovers. Located within the grounds of the Cultural Handicraft Complex, it is actually an old wooden palace, which has been reassembled for public viewing. Built entirely of wood, this palace that has seen greater days of royal splendour at its old site at Kampung Ampang Tinggi, houses various old and historical artefacts, which will interest those with a keen eye for local history, like weapons as well as brass and silverware. Also on display is a tableau portraying a grand royal wedding. Situated next to the state museum is the "Rumah Minang", depicting an actual Minangkabau house. Also found at the Complex grounds are the megaliths from fort Kempas.
Sitting on a tranquil, hilly area in full view of the Seremban Lake. The state mosque built in 1966 is adorned with nine pillars to symbolize the seven districts. Described as one of the most attractive modern mosques in the country, it offers a scenic view of the Seremban Lake amid the tranquillity of its surroundings
Situated in the vicinity of the Seremban Lake Gardens is the state library, which used to be the State Secretariat Building. Built in 1912 by B.P Habback of Britain with the assistance of the state Public Works Department, this stately building reflects the colonial architecture of a bygone era.
Sri Menanti Palace / Royal Museum
Negeri Sembilan's rich traditions go back a long way. One of these has been manifested in the construction of the Sri Menanti Palace in Sri Menanti. Built at the turn of this century to replace an older palace, which was burnt down, this uniquely constructed palace has now become a tourist attraction after it was turned into a Royal Museum in 1992. The Sri Menanti Palace was the official residence of the royal family until 1931 when it was found to be inadequate for the growing functions of the state. Designed by two local craftsmen and carpenters, "Tukang Kahar" and "Tukang Taib", the wooden palace or "Istana Lama" (old palace). Which was completed in about six years in 1908, was built without the aid of any nails or screws. The palace, which features 99 magnificent pillars to denote 99 warriors of various "luak" or clans, is often the subject of study and research among students of architecture.
Port Dickson Army Museum
The Army Museum, known locally as Muzium Tentera Darat, is located next to a military base off the main road at 5th mile, about 7km away from Port Dickson town in Sirusa district. A property of the Malaysian Royal Armed Forces, the museum traces its exploits and achievements through history, trumped up with dramatised aspects and romantic story-telling. In addition to the museum buildings, the spacious grounds also house decommissioned military vehicles, including planes, tanks and artillery guns, and a memorial fountain dedicated to soldiers who served through Malaysia's war history. Open daily from morning till evening, entry is free for all visitors.
The Army Museum (Muzium Tentera Darat) is located next to the Malaysian Army Camp. Canons, tanks, locomotives and vehicles including a large aircraft used during the war are displayed here. Inside the museum, you can see the history of Malaysian Army from the Portuguese, British Colonial and Japanese Eras until the Malaysian Army of today. It is located at 4th Mile, just 1 miles or 2.5 km away from the resort. Opens daily, free admission.
Muzium Tentera Darat
Kem Si Rusa
71050 Port Dickson
Negeri Sembilan, MALAYSIA
Tel : +606-6409481, +606-6409482, +606-6409484, +606-6409486, +606-6409488
Fax : +606-6464263, +606-6462359
email : email@example.com
This fort, situated about 30 km from Seremban, is steep in history. Painstakingly built between 1826 and 1827 to be exact, its existence came into being during the heyday of the state's tin industry. Located about a kilometre from the Seremban-Port Dickson trunk road, Fort Lukut was built by Raja Jumaat to provide a safe haven during more turbulent times in the state's history. The fort has now become another tourist attraction for Negeri Sembilan. Travelling to Fort Lukut will bring the visitor past many neatly planted rows of rubber trees and oil palms, which are among the mainstays of the state's economy.
In Fort Kempas, about 23 km from Port Dickson lays the grave of a leading historical personality, Keramat Ujong Pasir, Ulama Sheikh Ahmad Makhtum. Beside his grave are the famous stone inscriptions or "Batu Bersurat" which depict his struggle and history.
Tanjung Tuan (Cape Rachado)
Near the Blue Lagoon is Tanjong Tuan, formerly known as Cape Rachado, renowned for its lighthouse built many years ago on a hillock overlooking the straits of Melaka. On a clear day, one can see Port Dickson town and the outline of Sumatra across the straits of Melaka from this vantage point.
Nilai, in the northern part of the state, is turning out to be the centre of growth in Negeri Sembilan. Its proximity to the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport in nearby Sepang district in Selangor has spawned a host of industrial development. Once a sleepy hollow, it is an interesting town to view contrasts of new development against the backdrop of the traditional village houses and the neat rows of old shop houses in town.
Ulu Bendul Receational Park
The Ulu Bendul Recreational Park located some 16 km from Seremban on the Kuala Pilah Sri Menanti route, at the foot of Bukit Angsi provides a welcome respite to the weary traveler. The park is one of the six recreational park parks in Negeri Sembilan developed for ecotourism purposes. Picnic lovers should find this place inviting because of its shady and leafy surroundings. The refreshing and cool water from the stream that meanders through the park offers a fun place for visitors bent on having a dip. For the more adventurous, they can go jungle trekking. To savour the best out of this park, visitors may prefer to stay at the specially designated camping grounds or rent one of the chalets in the park.
Seremban Lake Gardens
The Seremban Lake Gardens is one of the most picturesque gardens in the country. Its lush greenery and well-maintained lawns are a delight to the tired eye and often have a calming effect on many a weary soul. There are jogging tracks in The Lake Gardens for the more energetic visitor while children can frolic in the playground. For those who are content to watch the world go by, this is just the place with benches erected in various spots overlooking the lake and greenery.
Pedas Hot Spring
It is located on the 16 km road to Tampin. Pedas Hot Spring is a popular tourist spot in Negeri Sembilan. Rooms are provided for those who like to feel the natural warm baths at reasonable in the area. To get there, one can take the Southern Omnibus Company from the Seremban Bus Station and alight at Pedas. Taxi service is also available in Seremban. Wet World Hot Spring Pedas is located 15km from Seremban town in Negeri Sembilan, along the old trunk road headed to Tampin. Alternatively, if you're using the North South Expressway, you just need to turn off at the Pedas-Linggi exit and follow the road signs to Pedas and the Wet World Hot Spring there. The Pedas Wet World has everything you're looking for in a water theme park, promising a fun day out for you and your family. The hotspring is believed to have been discovered by locals while grazing their cattle, when the hot water of the spring caused their cattle to jump away in fright. All the facilities and attractions in this park are built to fulfill the needs of visitors of all ages. For the brave and courageous, have a go at the two giant slides that will take you through twists and turns high above before dunking you into a swimming pool at the end of the ride.
There are two types of hot spring pools to choose from, so the choice is yours whether to soak along with other visitors in the public hot water pool or take a private soak in one of the many hot spring 'bathroom' facility. At about 27°C - 34°C, the naturally hot water contain minerals that is said to have healing properties - it is said to provide relief for arthritis, joint pains, body aches and a variety of skin ailments. So for those with skin irritations, do not miss out on the chance to have your own dermal hydrotherapy, particularly the hot spring footbath pool.
Pasir Panjang Recreational Park
Just adjacent to the site. It was opened to the public in 1985. This is also one of the favourite spots for bird watchers. It is along the coastal area with a panoramic view, rest house facilities are found in this recreational forest. Nearby this recreational park, you will find food stalls operating late into the night. located amidst a fishing village, this stalls offer delicious mouth-watering dishes (grilled or otherwise) of fish, shrimps, crabs and squids fresh from the sea.
Blue Lagoon Beach
Accommodation is easily obtainable as a number of hotels and motels are located here. The sea waters here are calm and particularly shallow, a result of the bay's naturally deep recess and sandbanks that protect the Blue Lagoon from strong tides and currents. At night, beams of light can be seen emanating in circles from the lighthouse at the hilltop of Cape Rachado, while visitors camp and fish from the beachside. During the day, the shallow waters and sandbanks prevent most water sport activities from being carried close to shore, which thankfully limits the number of jet skis and motor boats dramatically. At low tide, it is also possible to walk tremendously far out to sea, and yet encounter only knee-deep waters.
Port Dickson Beach
Port Dickson or more popularly known as PD has long been a weekend retreat for many inland dwellers, especially those from the city seeking to temporarily escape the hustle and bustle of a hectic life. Located about 32 km Seremban, PD that is in the Pantai Laut district, offers one of the best beaches on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. All along the 18 km of beachfront are shady casuarinas trees that "sing" along with the gentle breeze. Port Dickson usually comes alive in August each year during the "Pesta Port Dickson". Besides this, there are also cultural presentations at the annual festival. The most famous picnic spot in PD is the Blue Lagoon near Cape Rachado. One can easily reach the Blue Lagoon either by bus or taxi that ply along this popular coastal route from the main terminus in town. PD boasts of many international class and budget accommodation, ranging from luxury establishments to simple guesthouses. Currently, rates are from as low as RM 80. Food stalls can be easily found along the beach as well as the town centre. PD specialty is seafood, be it Malay, Chinese or Western cuisine.
Over the years, shopping has become a fun thing to do in Negeri Sembilan, especially in Seremban it has a string of modern shopping complexes and department stores that can satisfy even the most demanding of shoppers. These include establishments like the Store, Parkson, Seremban Parade, Seremban City Square and Centre Point. Duty -free items like exquisite watches and sophisticated photographic equipment are widely available at competitive prices.
Negeri Sembilan boasts of several places for recreational sports. There are several golf clubs like the Seremban International Golf Club, Royal Sri Menanti Golf Club and Bahau Golf club. Many more golf courses are being developed to cater for the increasing popularity of the game.
Choosing a place to stay in Port Dickson should pose no problem for the visitor. This resort town has several types of accommodation to offer, ranging from comfortable beach hotels to spacious chalets. Those who are used to the comforts of good hotel accommodation can choose to stay at the beach hotels or apartments. Or they can choose to stay at the beach hotels or apartments. Or they can choose from budget dwellings, which are found in the town centre or along the coastal road.