NEGERI SEMBILAN, which means “nine districts”, is a small but interesting state steeped in Minangkabau culture and history. It is a land blessed with sun-kissed beaches, ancient palaces, old forts, paddy fields and natural attractions.
THE LEGACY OF MINANGKABAU CULTURE
The Minangkabau people migrated across the Straits of Melaka from Sumatra centuries ago and brought along their wealth of culture and tradition. Today, the Minangkabau heritage is very much alive in Negeri Sembilan, which is evident in the buffalo horn-shaped roofs of many State-owned buildings and buffalo horn-styled headgear of its maidens. According to folklore, the buffalo representing Minangkabau defeated the tiger which represents the Javanese in a fight for supremacy.
Another prominent feature of Minangkabau culture is the “Adat Perpatih”, a matrilineal system where the wife heads the household, inheritance passes down the maternal line and children take the name of their mother. It also involves communal administration of the village, something which is considered unique to Negeri Sembilan.
Visitors are invited to experience the lifestyle and culture of Minangkabau through the homestay programmes. Enjoy a soccer match at the paddy field, merry-making at a Minangkabau wedding and traditional games. One of the famous homestay programmes is the Gemas Homestay involving Ladang Village, Ulu Ladang Village, Bangka Hulu Village and Londah Village.
Seri Menanti Palace best illustrates the Minangkabau blue tiled roof. Built in the 1930s without any nails, it now functions as a Royal Museum. The Cultural Complex or “Taman Seni Budaya” in Jalan Labu, Seremban is another example of Minangkabau architecture. It exhibits handicrafts and artefacts of Minangkabau culture.
In Rembau, Astana Raja features a replica of the ancient Minangkabau city where the first monarch, Raja Melewar, established his kingdom. The Pengkalan Kempas village is renowned for its three megalithic stones in the Historical Complex. The stones are known as “The Rudder”, “The Sword” and “The Spoon”. Another stone is the “Ordeal Stone” which has a hole in it.
WHERE NATURE BECKONS YOUR ARRIVAL
The most popular beach in Negeri Sembilan is Port Dickson. With its close proximity to Kuala Lumpur, many city folks travel there during the holiday seasons to enjoy scenic views of the two famous beaches, Teluk Kemang and the Blue Lagoon. Teluk Kemang is one of the longest stretches of beaches in Port Dickson while the Blue Lagoon offers serenity, tucked away from the main road. Port Dickson has been the venue for two exciting events, the Port Dickson Fest and the International Port Dickson Ironman Triathlon.
Ecotourism is also being promoted aggressively by the State Government. Now is the best time to visit any of the 11 recreational forests: Ulu Bendul, Tengkek, De Bana, Serting Ulu, Lata Kijang, Jeram Toi, Lenggeng, Pasir Panjang, Gunung Datuk, Gunung Tampin and Batu Maloi. These forests are well facilitated with camp sites and canopy walkways which are popular spots for a quiet picnic and enjoyable family outings.
If you prefer a leisurely stroll by the lake, Lake Gardens at Jalan Taman Bunga is the place to be. Here, topiary arts, jogging tracks and beautiful landscapes of flora and fauna are the highlights. Pedas Wet World is the first hot springs water park in Negeri Sembilan. It is believed that the hot springs were discovered by the locals when their cattle jumped in fright at the springing of hot water from the ground. Today, this water park promises a fun-filled time for all the family.
Overall, Negeri Sembilan, with its rich Minangkabau culture, is a truly unique state. It’s called “nine states” but scores a perfect ten with visitors!