What to see and do in Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - DAULAT TUANKU -

OVER the years, the Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan gov­ern­ment has in­tro­duced sev­eral mea­sures to pro­mote its tourism des­ti­na­tions and it in­tends to do even more to in­crease the num­ber of tourist ar­rivals.

De­spite hav­ing the finest beaches south of Kuala Lumpur in Port Dick­son, the state’s tourism rev­enue is still low, which has prompted the new ad­min­is­tra­tion to do even more to at­tract tourists.

Un­like its neigh­bours which at­tract tourists from all over the world, the bulk of tourists vis­it­ing Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan are lo­cals who usu­ally make day trips to eco­tourism des­ti­na­tions still un­known to many out­siders.

Many oth­ers come to the state to sam­ple its pop­u­lar dishes such as the spicy Mi­nangk­abau sta­ple dish masak lemak cili api, nasi padang, Hakka mee, hand­made tra­di­tional cakes and curry chicken bun.

Apart from Port Dick­son, there are a few places which at­tract tourists by the bus­loads such as the 150-year-old Then Sze Koon Tem­ple, the Cheng Koo Tem­ple which houses the 9.1m-tall Kuan Yin statue (said to be the tallest in the coun­try) and the Ni­lai 3 Whole­sale Cen­tre, said to be the largest in Malaysia.

Ac­cord­ingly, the Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan gov­ern­ment has vowed to look at the big­ger pic­ture to get more tourists to come to the state.

Men­tri Be­sar Amin­ud­din Harun, who also as­sumed the tourism port­fo­lio last May, said his ad­min­is­tra­tion will fo­cus more on pro­mot­ing home­s­tay pro­grammes, wa­ter sports, tra­di­tional dishes such as the pop­u­lar Ja­vanese cui­sine nasi am­beng, lo­cal cul­tural dances as well as its her­itage trail to pull in the tourism ring­git, among oth­ers.

“We need to di­ver­sify and look at more ways to get tourists to come to Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan.

“One way to do this is to pro­mote our home­s­tays like the one in Desa Pa­chi­tan, our tra­di­tional dances un­der the Colours of Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan ban­ner and wa­ter­sports events such as snorkelling, fish­ing and jet ski­ing,” he said.

Amin­ud­din said the lo­cal com­mu­nity can also play a role in pro­mot­ing tourism and ben­e­fit from it by or­gan­is­ing ac­tiv­i­ties such as batik paint­ing and din­ing while sit­ting cross-legged on the floor (makan bersilo), as well as sell­ing lo­cal dishes such as nasi am­beng.

Nasi am­beng – of­ten served in a plat­ter for a small group, es­pe­cially dur­ing wed­dings and fes­tive oc­ca­sions – is a pop­u­lar dish that con­sists of steamed white rice, ei­ther chicken or beef curry and spicy fried co­conut flesh or meat flakes.

Amin­ud­din said since the state has many home­s­tays, it is only prac­ti­cal that they are pro­moted as they would.

Many of these home­s­tays are also lo­cated near pop­u­lar eco-tourism des­ti­na­tions which lack proper lodg­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

Prior to this, the state gov­ern­ment had in­tro­duced the ko­r­ban and aqiqah pro­gramme dur­ing the Hari Raya Aidi­ladha cel­e­bra­tion to at­tract Mus­lims from Sin­ga­pore.

The pro­gramme was a suc­cess as tourists were not only able to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gramme, but also able to ex­pe­ri­ence life in a tra­di­tional Malay vil­lage.

Amin­ud­din said his ad­min­is­tra­tion would also pro­mote the her­itage trail in Serem­ban so that tourists could visit some of the older build­ings in town.

These in­clude grand and stately colo­nial build­ings built more than a cen­tury ago, the King Ge­orge V sec­ondary school, the Ban Joo Lee build­ing which was once the dis­trict po­lice sta­tion, Masjid Jamek Serem­ban, the Lit Sent Gong and Tam Gong tem­ples as well as the Sei Yap As­so­ci­a­tion and Fui Chew As­so­ci­a­tion build­ings.

Other in­ter­est­ing places to visit in Serem­ban in­clude the Sri Bala Than­dayutha­pani Hindu Tem­ple built in the late 1890s, the Church of the Vis­i­ta­tion (1899), Wes­ley Methodist Church (1915), Sri Selva Vi­naya­gar Tem­ple or Chet­tiar Tem­ple (1922), the Vir­gin’s Tem­ple or Kanni Kuil built atop Vic­to­ria Hill, the State Mosque (1967) which has unique ar­chi­tec­ture, state mu­seum and cul­tural com­plex.

There is also the Tuanku Ja’afar Royal Gallery, which houses ex­hibits on the for­mer state ruler who reigned for 42 years as Yang-di-Per­tuan Be­sar Negeri Sem­bi­lan.

To achieve its tar­get for tourist ar­rivals, the state ad­min­is­tra­tion can also do more to pro­mote other sup­pos­edly un­der-pub­li­cised tourism des­ti­na­tions in the state.

These in­clude Lata Ki­jang, which is among the high­est wa­ter­falls in the coun­try as well as Jeram Toi, Jeram Tenggek and Jeram Gad­ing in Jelebu.

The state is also home to Gu­nung Be­sar Hantu, which is rich in its bio­di­ver­sity and among the clus­ter of moun­tains lo­cated at the tail-end of the Ti­ti­wangsa Range. It is also re­puted to be among the high­est peaks in Penin­su­lar Malaysia.

Gu­nung Datuk, Gu­nung Angsi, Gu­nung Te­la­pak Bu­ruk and Gu­nung Berem­bun are also pop­u­lar with lo­cal tourists, who usu­ally make day trips to trek up the hills.

The state also has recre­ational parks such as Bukit Maloi, Ulu Ben­dul, Pasir Pan­jang and Tan­jung Tuan as well as the Sun­gai Menyala edu-eco­tourism cen­tre and Pedas Hot­springs which if prop­erly pro­moted, can be an­other source of rev­enue for tourism.

Sculp­tures of the ‘eight im­mor­tals’ greet vis­i­tors to the Then Sze Koon Tem­ple in Ulu Temi­ang, Serem­ban.

Built in 1900, Masjid Jamek Serem­ban is be­lieved to be the old­est mosque in the state and among the old­est in the coun­try.

The goods sold at the Ni­lai 3 Whole­sale Cen­tre come from all over the world such as these ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers from Ja­pan.

A crowd en­joy­ing a fire­works dis­play at the Church of the Vis­i­ta­tion in Serem­ban.

Amin­ud­din says his ad­min­is­tra­tion will pro­mote the her­itage trail in Serem­ban so tourists can visit the older build­ings in town.

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