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Negeri Sembilan

Negeri Sembilan (NS) lies in the central region of Peninsular Malaysia, just south of the state of Selangor. Seremban, the state capital, is a mere 40km from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Hence, it is well connected to major towns and cities in the western coast of the Peninsula. There is also an excellent network of roads linking it to the east coast. Besides this, the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) commuter trains also services this area making it highly accessible to Kuala Lumpur. While Seremban is the state capital and administrative center, the royal capital is that of Seri Menanti.

During the height of the Malacca Sultanate in the 15th Century, the Minangkabau of West Sumatra migrated and settled in the verdant valleys of Negeri Sembilan. These settlements gradually developed into a group of 9 fiefdoms - Sungai Ujong, Rembau, Johol, Jelebu, Naning, Segamat, Ulu Pahang, Jelai, and Kelang. Hence its name Negeri Sembilan or 'Nine States'. Today, however, there are only 7 districts.

Measuring a mere 6,645 sq. km, NS comprises of picturesque valleys and plains amidst undulating hills and mountains. As the Titiwangsa range of the Peninsula tapers down towards the lowlands of Johor, the mountainous and forested terrain of the eastern part of the state gradually gives way to the gentler, undulating rubber and oil palm plantations of the western region.

Mainly an agricultural state with an emphasis on rubber and oil plantations, NS's manufacturing sector has, of late, contributed greatly towards the state's economy. The main industrial areas are Senawang, Tuanku Jaafar Industrial Park, Nilai, and Tanah Merah.

NS is the only state, which practices the tradition of "Adat Perpatih". A Sumatran tradition, Adat Perpatih is a unique custom that emphasizes on the matrilineal system where the woman is regarded as the head of the home. This code of ethic still filters through the social-culture of the people here, including the system of government.

NS is rich in culture and traditions. Colorful music, dance, and games like the Cak Limpong, Tumbuk Kalang, Dikir Rebana, Tarian Randai, and Bongai have been passed down through generations. Today, they form an integral part of NS's social lifestyle especially in the rural areas.

One should experience the unique Minangkabau style of cooking, which sees generous portions of 'chili padi' (small & extremely hot chilies) being used. Try the "Masak Lemak Chili Padi - fish, meat, or vegetables cooked in coconut milk blended with turmeric and ground chili padi. Another NS specialty is "Lemang", glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk in a bamboo stem over an open fire. This is normally served with Rendang, a deliciously thick, dry meat curry.

NS is a scenic state, which maintains a strong Minangkabau identity in its characteristic architecture that features buffalo horn shaped roofs! Besides, NS houses are perhaps the only authentic villages with wooden houses that feature double story construction. In the past, unmarried girls were normally housed on the 2nd floor while parents took up the 1st floor as a security measure. A perfect example of such architecture is the Istana Lama Seri Menanti with its elaborate hallways, multistoried structure, and spectacular carvings.

Elsewhere, the rustic villages and lush forests coupled with splendid waterfalls, cool, crystal clear streams, and rivers make NS ideal for agricultural and eco-tourism. To experience true NS hospitality, home-stay vacations can be arranged at any of the villages.

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