It’s the weekend again and you’re not sure what you want to do or where to go?
Well, if you are from Kuala Lumpur and staying in Seremban for the weekend or you are a local and feel like getting out and about you could consider taking a drive on the road from Seremban towards Kuala Pilah on Federal Highway 51, because not only is there a lot to see and do, there are some really tasty traditional food and drink options on the roadside.
On the way you get to travel across what is claimed to be the second highest bridge in Malaysia, Bukit Putu’s Viaduct, which is 48 meters high offering beautiful views of the jungles and mountains.
So pack the kids into your car and check out five of the best things-to-do on the way to Kuala Pilah.
1. ULU BENDUL RECREATIONAL PARK
There is no better place to cool off on a steamy HOT day than soaking in the river and pools at Ulu Bendul Recreational forest, just a 15 minute drive from Seremban via the Highway 51 .
You can swim in the large man-made public pools there built around the slow flowing streams or use the natural pools which locals and visitors have have created by damming the flow of the river. Lye back in your personal pond, relax and watch butterflies flutter overhead…it really does lower the stress levels.
Whichever choice you prefer, it is a great place to unwind but be warned, weekends can be very busy.
Guests can stay overnight at chalets and camp in the park. You can make reservations by calling the Kuala Pilah Forest Department at 06-481-1036.
There are also live snake displays and herb parks and if you feel strong you can climb the famous Gunung Angsi — all for free.
There are plenty of food stalls and traditional food restaurants nearby to buy lunch or breakfast as well as stalls selling knick-knacks and swimming paraphernalia.
For those wishing to climb Gunung Angsi it takes about 3 hours to go up and a little bit less coming down, making it a great half-day excursion.
Before climbing you must register at the park ranger’s office before starting your ascent and pay a small fee (RM 5 per person). It pays to arrive early as they may not let you climb climb if you arrive after 11am.
2. RESTORAN WARISAN’S TRADITIONAL NS FOOD
You may be getting hungry by now and both Seremban and Negeri Sembilan have a wonderful food history with influences from Sumatra in Indonesia prominent. So if you like traditional Negeri Sembilan food like Daging Salai Lemak Cili Api, Smoked Beef Curry, which uses the traditional Negeri Sembilan methods of smoking beef then Warisan Restaurant is the best bet to satisfy your cravings. It’s always a delicate balance of flavour and spiciness that can find here.
If the smoked beef doesn’t tempt you then perhaps you can try some makan sedan like Kapah Masak Pedas. Shellfish in a spicy sauce may be more to your taste which you can wash down with a fresh coconut shake. The menu here is large with rice and noodle dishes to seafood delights available.
Whichever you choose, the Warisan serve up very nice Negeri Sembilan style food and the restaurant is situated amidst rice fields in the Terachi Cultural Village at the junction of Federal Highway 51 and the N29 connection road to Seri Menanti.
It overlooks some paddy fields and has several horses in paddocks which children can pet, but the food is the highlight here, so definitely stop in and try it out.
There are so many stalls on the roadside selling everything from smoked roast duck, itik salai, to fresh vegetables and fruit, including dragon fruit, traditional medicinal vegetables like petai and delicious kelulut honey.
Be warned that Sunday afternoons the road becomes very congested with visitors heading home.
3. TERACHI MEGALITHS and MINANGKABAU HOMES
For Negeri Sembilan history lovers, just past the Restoran Warisan on the road to Kulah Pilah is the quaint Minangkabau village of Terachi which is home to a collection of ancient megaliths that nobody really knows how long they have been there – it could be hundreds but perhaps be thousands of years old – you may see them in the paddocks or on blocks of land as you drive along the road.
Three hundred new historic megalithic sites have been discovered around Lembah Terachi in the Kuala Pilah district, and they are set to become the state’s latest tourist attraction.
Kuala Pilah was already known to have a lot of megalithic sites but this collection, just before the village of Terachi on Federal Route 51 is a great example closely related to the Adat Perpatih customary laws, a practice that is unique to Negeri Sembilan- they are nicknamed Batu Hidup, literally translated means living stones.
The megaliths are traditionally believed to be sacred but the origins and history of them still remains obscure. Locals call them living stones because they appear to grow over the years.
The Terachi megaliths are located in a cemetery on the right hand side of the road as you drive to Kuala Pilah, so look out for the sign, Tapak Megalitik, just before the start of the village after you pass Restoran Warisan – ask the Warisan staff and they will direct you.
If you are interested in viewing other historic megaliths in the Negeri Sembilan area the best examples are near Port Dickson at a small village town called Pengkalan Kempas, on the banks of the Linggi river, which date back to the 1400’s.
Also keep an eye out for some of the many beautiful, open-shuttered Minangkabau houses dotted along the road, some with their steeply shaped roofs like the horns of a buffalo. There are a wonderful variety of designs, colours and gardens of these homes along the way to Kuala Pilah.
4. Seri Menanti – the palace with no nails.
Seri Menanti, not far from Seremban in Negeri Sembilan, is home to a historic timber palace that has been converted into a Royal Museum and is something that everyone should see whilst in the area.
The palace was constructed for the local sultan, or Yang Di Pertuan as he is known in Negeri Sembilan, between 1902 and 1908. Inside the palace are various items belonging to the royal families over the years, including photographs, letters, bedrooms, costumes and weapons of the era.
Believe it or not this four-storey building was constructed without any steel nails using only hardwood rods to piece the locally cut timber together – it is truly amazing to see and then walk the steep indoor stairways to each level. A terrific place for a photo as the gardens are well-maintained and picturesque.
The roof of this palace is typical Minangkabau architecture with steeply curved buffalo’s horns on each end representing a protective symbol of the palace.
Two local Malay carpenters, Tukang Kahar and Tukang Taib were responsible for building the palace which has 99 posts including four that are 67 feet long.
Don’t miss seeing this architectural marvel as it is truly fantastic and the items on display are worth seeing and reading about.
The gardens are wonderfully looked after and there are some old artefacts to look at outside and it’s a great Facebook or Instagram photo-opportunity. There is a beautiful large mosque nearby that the Yang Di Pertuan attends as well as local warns and eateries.
5. Ladang Alam Warisan
Also at Seri Menanti is a wonderful place that offers visitors, both Muslim and otherwise, a really neat Malay experience.
There is archery, horseback riding, horseback archery, traditional food, and pretty much an insight to a modern Muslim community, and family, in action.
It is called Ladang Alam Warisan and owner Akmal Dahalan describes Ladang Alam Warisan on it’s Facebook page as “a place to embrace the living environment of the traditional Malay people and customs,” and it is.
It is a great place to learn both archery and traditional horseback archery, horse riding with training for beginners right up to advanced levels available.
“Stay, relax and unwind in the tranquility of this natural ambience” is also the credo of this place which regularly hosts traditional events, weddings and archery competitions.
The farm has birds, deer, horses and other animals for the children to pat and feed and offer drinks and food for sale. Ladang Alam Warisan is one of the many attractions in Seri Menanti so check out their FB page ‘Ladang Alam Warisan’ for their opening hours, archery training schedules and events.
So if you’re sitting at home, turn off the TV and take a drive, bring the family, and enjoy the ride which also offers road stalls with barbecued roast duck, fresh petai, honey and countless other food, drinks and crafts.
Do drive safely along the windy roads to Seri Menanti as Sunday afternoons become very busy in the afternoon and there is always livestock crossing.