Sunday, October 10, 2010

STATE OF NEGRI SEMBILAN- MALAYSIA

Introduction

Negeri Sembilan simply means 'Land of Nine States'. The name is so-called because it once comprised nine separate districts, each ruled by a Malay Chieftain. Seremban, its capital is easily accesible by road and rail to Kuala Lumpur, about 50 kilometres away. Among the main attractions of the town are the Cultural Handicraft complex, the State Museum, the State Mosque and the Lake Gardens.

The state is often associated with the influence of Minangkabau migrants from Sumatra who came during the settlement era into Malaya long ago. The settlement then led to its strong unique and distinctive characteristic, best seen in the architecture and styles reflected in the construction of buildings as well as homes. One unique feature is the horn-shaped roof. The Minangkabaus also brought with them their 'adat' or traditions, in particular the matrilineal kinship system. This system is evident until today especially in the marriage customs, ownership of property and dance forms.

The music and dance, though not widely practised today by the locals, is still an area which is a pride here. There are different types of songs and dances. The songs are mostly lively and fast beat. They mostly have a significant sound of metal-made hollow drums called the 'cak-lempong' in the background. The 'tarian lilin' (candle dance) is a popular dance among the Minagkabaus where the dancers dance in the dark, with candles lit on saucers placed on their palms being the only lights that could be seen. Then, there is also another interesting dance performance called the 'endang'. 'Endang' is a unique dance that requires the dancers to sit on the floor in a yoga position or what the Malays call 'bersila' and do synchronized rhythmic movements in accordance to the lively background music.

When you're in 'The Nine States', there are lots to explore as it is a perfect example of a modern state embraced by rich customs and traditions. Here is a good balance of old and new attractions.

The Seri Menanti Palace, converted to the Royal Museum in 1992, is a classic showcase of Minangkabau structure and design. Built at the turn of the century by two local craftsmen, the wooden palace took six years to complete and is an architectural wonder as no screws or nails were used in its construction. Elsewhere, the pretty village settings are reminiscent of the Minangkabau influence.

The Arts & Culture Park or popularly known as Taman Seni Budaya Negeri is indeed a typical example where the legacy of the Minagkabau architecture exists. It exhibits some of the rich cultural traditions and artefacts of the state. In this area stands the Istana Ampang Tinggi (a palace which has been converted into the State Museum) in its original state since it was built in 1861. The palace exhibits various old weapons as well as brass and silverware used by the Royal families. One will also get to see a tableau that potrays a grand royal weddings on display.

Negeri Sembilan has a popular beach, Port Dickson (also known as PD), about 33 kilometres west of Seremban. PD lies on the shores of the Straits of Malacca. This resort town with its miles of golden beaches and a wide range of accommodation is a favourite 'playground' for the city dwellers of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore as well as the neighbouring towns. PD also host the annual Pesta Port Dickson or PD Fiesta between July and August. The Fiesta offers all sorts of fun and games as well as sea sports activities.

And if you've seen the film "Blue Lagoon", spend some time visiting Blue Lagoon - a popular spot subtly tucked away from the busy town of Port Dickson. Though not the actual location as in the film, those with video camera can at least imagine doing another sequel to the famous film. Once you leave the Blue Lagoon beach, take a half kilometre drive through an area surrounded by lush jungle which will lead you to a flight of steps. The 63 stairs will then lead you to the foot of a 16th century lighthouse, Tanjung Tuan lighthouse built by the Portugese, formally known as Cape Rachado. With prior permission, one gets enter the lighthouse to see a magnificent view the Straits of Malacca.

Another little town which has its own attraction is the Pedas Hot Springs. Pedas Hot Springs is where anyone can get a chance to relieve muscle ache or body ache in private bathing enclosures. Many believe that the hot water from the underground springs has medicinal values for certain skin and rheumatism problems.

One must also try out something refreshing for the mind and body. Ulu Bendol which is about 25 km south of Seremban on the road leading towards Kuala Pilah, is a perfect escapade. It is cool and peaceful and has lots of space for picnickers. Not far away from this fine spot, for those who are a little bit more adventurous, going for a hike up to Gunung Agsi is a great experience. Every step there is to make to the top is sheer pleasure as you will find lots of beautiful birds, lizards and sometimes snakes that you hardly find elsewhere.

One should also try out some of the traditional dishes offered by the locals like beef rendang (beef cooked in rich spices and coconut), gulai lemak cili api (tumeric gravy with chilli).

Negeri Sembilan is definitely a state of difference. With a culture so unique, put together with its music, lovely destinations and delicious food, it is a wholesome package that will undoubtedly cause one to bring home a wonderful exploration experience.



Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

About 15 km from Port Dickson town lies the Blue Lagoon which offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding greenery and the blue open sea. The lagoon is an ideal spot for swimming, boating, wind surfing and water skiing. This is where the action is when it comes to having fun in the sun. Accommodation is easily obtainable as a number of hotels and motels are located here.





Cape Rachado (Tanjong Tuan)

Cape Rachado (Tanjong Tuan)

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.





Cultural Handicraft Complex

Cultural Handicraft Complex

The Complex, which has been modeled along the traditional Minangkabau dwelling, is located on a four-hectare site along Jalan Labu. Various handicraft items and historical artifacts are on display in this Complex which seeks to preserve Negeri Sembilan's rich cultural traditions.





Fort Lukut

Fort Lukut

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 kilometer 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. Traveling 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.

Lukut Museum:
Open: 9.00 am - 5.00pm (Sun - Thurs)
9.00am - 12.00pm/3.00pm - 5.00pm (Fri)





Fort Kempas

Fort Kempas

In Fort Kempas, about 23 km from Port Dickson, lies the grave of a leading historical personality, Keramat Ujong Pasir, Ulama Sheikh Ahmad Makhtum. Beside his grave are the famous stone inscriptions or "batubersurat" which depict his struggle and history





Pedas Hot Spring

Pedas Hot Spring

it is located on the 16km road from Seremban on the way to Tampin. Rooms are provided for those who like to feel natural warm baths at reasonable prices. There are also restaurants serving delicious Negeri Sembilan dishes.





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source: cuti.com

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