Negeri Sembilan

As a result, a fight ensued between a bull representing Sumatrans and a tiger signifying the Javanese. The bull miraculously defeated the ferocious tiger, which accredited the victors the title of Minangkabau, which means ‘Victorious Bulls’.

Later during the 16th century, these Minangkabau migrated to Peninsular Malaysia. They brought with them the cultural and social system called Adat Perpatih, which is a matrilineal system that dictates women as the leaders of society and inheritances are passed down to daughters, not sons. Also evident around the state is the horn-roof style of architecture typical of the predominant ‘bull’ element of the Minangkabau. Geographically, the state covers a large mass from sandy seaside hotspots to tranquil kampung-style districts.


Seremban is only 60km north of Kuala Lumpur and is a mere 30 minutes from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Taxis and buses go to all parts of the state. The main bus-cum-taxi terminal is at Jalan Sungai Ujung, Seremban. Taxi services also link Seremban to other major towns around the peninsula.



Only 35 minutes from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) via the North-South Expressway (NSE), the capital could be your first stop off the plane. Also the administrative centre of the state, Seremban is a quaint district with many Minangkabau-inspired buildings.

State Legislative Assembly Building

Housed within the Wisma Negeri Complex, the building is an important government building fashioned in the traditional styles of the Minangkabau. The eight-pointed roof emulates the horns of the buffalo while the elegantly carved wood panels, interiors and furniture of the main chamber complement the traditional exterior, which is closely linked to the Pagarruyung Palace in Sumatra.

Negeri Sembilan State Museum/Complex Centre

A restored palace, the once magnificent Istana Ampang Tinggi is today the State Museum as well as the Cultural Complex. Located at Jalan Labu within the Cultural Handicraft Complex, these edifices are the epicentres of Negeri Sembilan’s socio-cultural heritage. Comprising three main buildings, they are the Teratak Perpatih, the Ampang Tinggi Palace and the Minangkabau House. Teratak Perpatih features exhibits like artefacts, handicrafts, traditional clothes, woodcarvings and photographs. Next to the museum is the authentic Minangkabau House where visitors may roam and learn in greater detail the state’s history and culture. The tourist information centre is also here.

Seremban Lake Gardens

The Lake Gardens is a popular spot among visitors. It has something for everyone – from jogging paths for the health conscious to two lakes with boating activities for families and playgrounds for children. Cultural shows are also often organised on a floating stage here.

State Library

Not far from the Lake Gardens is the State Library. Once the State Secretariat Building, English architect D.B. Hubback built it in 1912. The structure is a poignant reminder of the country’s colonial period. Walls of back-to-back references comprising journals, photographs and other materials from the country’s post-Independence era occupy the library.

Jelita Ostrich Farm

This is an ideal setting for the world’s largest bird. Located along Jalan Pantai the farm was erected on a piece of grassland approximately nine kilometres from Seremban. Visitors may feed the ostriches here that roam freely. If you can gather the courage to ride one you will go home with an Ostrich Jockey certificate.


The home district of the royal family of the Yang-Di-Pertuan Besar or ruler of the state until 1931, the Seri Menanti Palace is the district’s most significant edifice. About 38km from Seremban, the district resonates with nobility and heritage with its bull-horned buildings. Due to the palace’s location within the district, it is also known as the Abode of Culture. It is definitely worth a stopover.

Seri Menanti Grand Palace

The official residence of the ruler, this modern palace sits just 200 metres from the old Seri Menanti Palace. Built in 1933 the turret rises proudly amidst the rolling greenery of landscaped grounds. Located within the palace is the Balairong Seri or Throne Room where the ruler and his consort, the Tengku Ampuan hold audience. It is also the venue for all major state functions like swearing-ins and the pledging of allegiance by state leaders and clan chieftains.
The palace also houses regalia belonging to the royal family. The keris, spears, swords, umbrellas and other royal paraphernalia are permanently displayed here. Located nearby is the Royal Mausoleum where past rulers and members of the royal family are buried, including the first King of Malaysia, the late Tuanku Abdul Rahman and his consort.

Seri Menanti Royal Museum (Sri Menanti Old Palace)

An architectural wonder, this former palace was built without a single nail and put together entirely by wooden pegs. Built in 1908 based on traditional Minangkabau architecture it remains sturdy to this day. The structure incorporates 99 pillars, representing the 99 warriors who served at the palace. The palace is now a royal museum and is open to the public. Visitors can also take a horse-carriage ride to tour Sri Menanti or watch demonstrations of songket weaving.

Terachi Cultural Village

This cultural village is located at the junction of Seri Menanti. Here you can see Minangkabau culture and traditions at their best with dances, music and handicrafts to charm visitors


This district is renowned for its acres and acres of fruit orchards such as rambutans, mangosteen, mangoes and other local favourites.

Lata Kijang

Embedded within the dense forest of Jelebu, Lata Kijang is only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles. Those wanting to venture here should be prepared for a narrow and steep ride. Along the way you will get to see an Orang Asli (indigenous people) settlement. After about an hour on foot, your bounty will be what Lata Kijang is all about – a 300-foot waterfall worthy of every mosquito bite along the way!

Port Dickson

Only 32km from Seremban, Port Dickson is the place to have fun in the sun. It beckons weekenders and tourists alike with its 18km of fine beaches dotted with accommodation ranging from international-class hotels to more affordable ones. Restaurants and quaint seaside food stalls are also common in this seaside haven. PD – as the locals affectionately call it – also has other attractions such as the Pasir Panjang Recreational Park, the Kuala Lukut Floating Fishing Deck, the Lukut Estuary Fishing Jetty, the Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse ( Cape Rachado) and the Pengkalan Kempas Historical Complex.

Pengkalan Kempas Historical Complex

A village along the Port Dickson-Melaka trunk road, Pengkalan Kempas is renowned for three effects: The Rudder, The Sword and The Spoon. These three megalithic stones were named after the shapes they resemble and stand erect next to the grave of Sheik Ahmad Majnun, a fearless local warrior who dared to go against Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca. Dubbed the Living Stones they are said to glow at night.


Rembau is an area that is home to many superb attractions, not to mention the ever-present Minangkabau inspired buildings. A 30-minute drive from Seremban lies one of its attractions – the Pedas Wet World Resort, which features hot springs that fill the pools of the resort. Also in Rembau is the Sukabumi Village Resort. Revolving around eco-tourism, the resort was privately developed by residents in an attempt to preserve the delicate environment around it.


A land rich in natural settings, Jempol is the place for the outdoors person. It is home to numerous beautiful recreational parks like the Serting Ulu Recreational Park and the De Bana Recreational Park. Jempol is also home to iconic Malay poet Tan Sri Zainal Abidin bin Ahmad, who contributed greatly to the country’s economic, political and social well-being. Nicknamed Pendita Za’ba (Learned Man), his house in Kampung Bukit Kerdas is now known as Teratak Za’ba. The district’s geographical terrain also makes it a perfect spot for extreme sports like motor-cross racing and canoeing up the rapids of the Serting River.


Tampin is 49km from Seremban and borders Johor. In 1992, a railway station was constructed here to ease transportation problems between the two states. The Gemas Railway Station is still fully operational to this day.



Port Dickson or PD is the most popular seaside retreat in Malaysia. Ideal for the perfect weekend getaway, the favourite stretches among locals are Purnama Beach, Cahaya Bulan Beach, Telok Kemang, Blue Lagoon and Taman Aman. Offering a panoramic view of the Straits of Malacca, the 137-year-old Rachado Lighthouse stands at Tanjung Tuan ( Cape Rachado).

Recreational Forests

Negeri Sembilan has many recreational parks and forests. The 1,240-metre Gunung Hantu ( Ghost Mountain) is a favourite among eco-tourists. Located along the Seremban-Kuala Pilah trunk road the Ulu Bendol Recreational Forest is truly a paradise within the Angsi Reserved Forest. The place has magnificent waterfalls, wildlife and priceless wood species such as Keruing and Meranti. Ideal for picnics, visitors can enjoy a swim, camping and also jungle trekking. Facilities like log cabins, camping sites, food stalls, souvenir outlets, a prayer room and children’s playground are also available. Other popular places to enjoy nature are the Lenggeng Recreational Forest at Lenggeng Village and the Serting Ulu Recreational Forest near Simpang Pertang.


For a state as small as Negeri Sembilan, its capital Seremban is a hive of shopping activity with malls such as Seremban Parade, The Store, Parkson Grand, Terminal One Shopping Centre, Seremban Centre Point and Giant Hypermarket. Other places in Seremban that offer wholesome fun for the family are Holiday Planet and Golden Bowl.


Negeri Sembilan is truly a pot of various cuisines. One of its most popular dishes is masak lemak lada api, a fiery serving not for the weak stomach. A combination of onions, turmeric, lemon grass and lada api (fiery chillies) simmered in coconut milk, this dish is eaten with rice and can be prepared with many types of fish like ikan semilang (catfish) and ikan pekasam (pickled fish) and white or red meats. Sambal tempoyak daun kayu contains no less than 44 types of spices and is a combination of various leaves cooked in thick and rich gravy. Commonly served in Malay homes during the festive periods, lemang is a dish made from glutinous rice packed in banana leaf-laced bamboo stems and cooked over a roaring open fire. It can be eaten plain or with the Malay version of a spicy beef goulash called rending. For sweet endings try the kesirat, a mixture of sugar, coconut milk, glutinous rice and coarse rice flour. Penganan is another dessert of sugar, coconut milk and glutinous rice flour.


For decades, tourists from other countries like Japan and Australia have flocked to this isle to enjoy its slow way of life, tropical beaches, clear blue seas, mouth-watering hawker food and historical sites. The state’s history dates back to 1786 when an English captain established it as the first trading post in the Far East. Sir Francis Light persuaded the Sultan of Kedah to cede Pulau Pinang to the British in exchange for military protection. Over the years, Penang became a major trading port for tea, spices, china and textiles. Today it is a bustling metropolis with a unique identity that reflects its glorious past.


Penang is accessible by air, sea, train and road. Malaysia Airlines connects Penang directly with major cities around the region like Singapore and Bangkok. The airline also operates daily frequent flights between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. AirAsia offers daily flights on the same route at very affordable fares. The Penang Bridge, links Seberang Perai to Gelugor on the Island. Ferry services from Butterworth to the island operate 24 hours a day. Travelling to Penang by car from other states within Malaysia is convenient and safe. The North-South Expressway (NSE) links Bukit Kayu Hitam at the Malaysia-Thai border in the north and to Johor Bahru in the south. The East-West Highway links Butterworth to Kelantan on the East Coast. Taking the train from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth is also possible.




Teluk Bahang Forestry Recreational Park

Within the 100 ha Teluk Bahang Forestry Recreational Park are fresh water pools, a children’s playground, rest huts, jungle trails and a Forestry Museum. Various species of tropical timber, timber products and insects are showcased in this museum.

Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve

Declared a Penang National Park in 2003, Pantai Acheh is unique as it contains several different types of habitats including wetlands, mangroves, mudflats, coral reefs and turtle-nesting beaches. Green turtles make their way here from April to August while the Olive Redley visits the shore from September to February.


Tropical Agro Farm

Tropical Agro Farm cultivates and preserves tropical and sub-tropical fruit trees from neighboring countries. It is a 25-acre farm with four acres covered with durian trees, while the remaining land is planted with 140 different types of fruits. The trees are cultivated on hill terraces that enable easy inspection. The terraces of trees also make a nice setting for photographs. Visitors can also buy the juicy fresh fruits from the farm. Guided tours are available.

Mengkuang Titi Village

Located 30km away from Georgetown, this village cultivates agriculture treasures such as rubber, oil palm, padi and coconut. Small home industries here include the production of Mengkuang leaf handicrafts, germination of bean sprouts, preparation of traditional herbal potions and pottery. Although the pottery products are made using simple equipment and traditional methods, the craftsmanship is still of high quality.

Pulau Aman

Pulau Aman, which means ‘The Island of Peace’ in Bahasa Malaysia, is a centre for aquaculture. Aside from its cockle culture project, the island is also home to activities such as kayaking, fishing and jungle trekking. There are also other historical spots like an ancient graveyard, a cave used by pirates in the past and a World War II ammunition depot. Chalets are available for those who want to spend a night here.


Fort Cornwallis

Fort Cornwallis is a historical site where Captain Francis Light first landed in 1786. A moat and a fort of Nibong stockade once surrounded it until 1804, when convict labour reconstructed it with bricks. Today you will find a crafts shop, an open-air auditorium and a bunker within the fort. Historical photographs and documents are well kept and displayed here.

Dewan Sri Pinang

Located at Lebuh Light, west of Fort Cornwallis, the hall houses the Penang State Library and Penang Art Gallery. The island’s colourful culture is reflected in the many artworks on showcase. It is also the venue of many art and cultural events.

Penang State Museum

A statue of Captain Francis Light occupies a spot at the courtyard in front of this museum, which is situated at Lebuh Farquahar between the Cathedral of the Assumption and St. George’s Church. The museum displays artefacts, costumes, paintings and embroidery that detail the rich cultural heritage of Penang’s many ethnic groups.

Cathedral of the Assumption

Built in 1860 and was known as the Church of the Assumption, it was later renamed Cathedral of the Assumption.

St. George’s Church

Convicts built this Anglican church situated at Jalan Farquhar in 1818. It is regarded as the oldest Anglican church in Malaysia and one of the oldest buildings in Penang.

Kuan Yin Teng Temple

This famous temple is decorated with finely crafted dragons and lion sculptures. It is the oldest temple in Penang and was built in 1800 as a dedication to Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Mar Chor Poh, the patron saint of seafarers. Devotees come here to worship all year round and especially during anniversary celebrations on the 19th day of the second, sixth and ninth months of the Chinese lunar calendar. Visitors come to join in the celebrations and enjoy the colourful puppet shows and opera performances.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple

Built in 1883 and located in Lebuh Queen, this temple showcases interesting sculptures of Hindu deities. Its interior is fascinating and a feast for the eyes. During the annual Thaipusam festival, the temple comes alive with colour and the sounds of spiritual chanting.

Kapitan Kling Mosque

Located at the former Pitt Street (now called Jalan Kapitan Kling), this mosque was named after Indian Muslim merchant and headman of the South Indian community, Caudeer Mohudeen, who built the mosque in 1880. It features a dome-shaped minaret and architecture that reflects Indian Muslim influences.

Tua Pek Kong Temple

Tua Pek Kong is next to the Yap Kongsi. Founded in 1844 by Khoo Teng Peng as a dedication to the Chinese God of Prosperity, the temple used to be a base for the Tua Pek Kong secret society.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s Penang Base

Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the leader of the Chinese revolution against the Manchu government, is also known as the father of modern China. He used this shop-house at 120, Lebuh Armenia as the meeting venue for supporters of his movement between 1906 and 1911. On November 13, 1910, he planned the Penang Conference, which resulted in the Canton Uprising of Spring in 1911.

Syed Alatas Mansion

Situated at the junction of Lebuh Armenia and Lebuh Acheh, Syed Alatas was a wealthy merchant during his heyday and the mansion is a reflection of his wealth and taste. He was leader of Bendera Merah (Red Flag), a Muslim underground society. Today, the mansion plays a more subdued role as an office for Penang’s Heritage Centre.

Acheen Street Mosque

This is the oldest extant mosque in Penang. Syed Sheriff Tengku Syed Hussaid Aidid, a wealthy merchant from Acheh, founded it in 1808. The architecture symbolises the unique mix of the Achehnese, Anglo-Indians and Chinese. The unique features of this mosque are the pagoda-like minaret; swallow tailed roof and fanlights. The tomb of the founder remains in the compound of the mosque.

Khoo Kongsi

Khoo Kongsi is a grand temple that shines brightly along Lebuh Cannon. It was built to serve as a clan-house for members of the Khoo family. The walls, pillars and roof are richly decorated with intricate carvings and the beams are made from wood of the finest quality. The temple was rebuilt in 1902 after it was gutted by fire. During the seventh lunar month, the temple comes alive with Chinese opera performances.

Weld Quay

Weld Quay comprises water villages first occupied by the early Straits Chinese who were stevedores. The villages are made up of houses on stilts. Also known as jetties, the biggest and liveliest here is the Chew Jetty.

Nagore Shrine

The shrine is a memorial to the caliph Syed Shahrul Hamid and is inspired by Mogul architecture. It is located at the junction of Lebuh Chulia and Lebuh King. Faithful devotees come to offer prayers here on Thursdays.

Wat Chayamangkalaram

A Buddhist temple of Thai architecture that houses a 33-metre long gold plated reclining Buddha, Wat Chayamangkalaram is one of the longest in the world. Behind this statue, there are niches with urns containing the ashes of devotees. A pair of serpents adorns the entrance, which leads to the inside of the temple where statues of Buddhists deities with gold leaf finishing can be viewed.

Dharmikarama Burmese Temple

The Darmikarama was founded in 1805 and has a prominent pair of white stone elephants, which welcome their guests at the entrance. Magnificent images of Buddha are housed in the temple. Within the pagoda grounds stands a Bodhi tree and a wishing pond. It is the venue of many interesting festivities, especially during April’s Buddhist water festival.

Nattukotai Temple

Nattukkotai Temple is situated at Jalan Kebun Bunga. It is dedicated to Lord Bala Subramaniam. The grand Thaipusam festival is also celebrated here.

State Mosque

The State Mosque in Jalan Masjid Negeri symbolises Islam as the state’s official religion. Its architecture is a clever mixture of Islamic and modern influences. The biggest numbers of worshippers congregate at the mosque every Friday, which can accommodate up to 5,000 people. Permission to visit the mosque can be obtained from the State Religious Department in Lebuh Pantai.

Kek Lok Si Temple

The Kek Lok Si (a.k.a. the Temple of the Supreme Bliss) stands with dignity atop a hill overlooking the Air Hitam Valley. It is perhaps the finest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. Built between 1893 and 1905, the attention-grabbing Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas was skilfully built in tiers. It combines a Chinese octagonal base, a middle tier of Thai architecture and a Burmese crown, reflecting the beliefs of the followers of Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism. Among other interesting features are lush scenic gardens, a turtle pond, shrines and beautiful sculptures. This is one of Penang’s most famous attractions.

Bukit Jambul Orchid, Hibiscus and Reptile Garden

This garden is located along Persiaran Bukit Jambul, near Equatorial Hotel. The many different species of hibiscus and orchids offer a wonderful experience to blossom lovers. There are also many species of snakes and iguanas that have found their home here.

Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR)

Better known as KOMTAR, this building is a prominent Penang landmark that houses government departments, commercial offices, department stores, shops and restaurants. The 65-storey building stands at the southern end of Jalan Penang. It also houses theatres, squash courts and a geodesic dome, which serves as a multipurpose hall. A panoramic view of the city can be seen from the 58th floor, where the Tower Tourist Centre is located. KOMTAR also serves as Georgetown’s main bus and taxi terminal.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

This is Penang’s high profile private restoration project that was conferred the inaugural UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Conservation Award in 2000. Today, it serves as an exclusive hotel. It is a mansion specially tailored based on Feng Shui and incorporates 38 rooms, five courtyards, seven staircases and 220 windows. Fine interior decorations such as sculptures make it a classic treasure.

Botanic Gardens

Charles Curtis, the first Superintendent of the Botanic Gardens, founded this green spread of over 30 ha at Jalan Ayer Terjun. The view of plants, tress and flowers of various hues makes it a heavenly place to visit. The species that are cultivated here are of great importance in the world’s herbarium. Hiking is also possible here, where the nature trail leads up to Penang Hill and Mount Olivia.

Penang Hill

Rising 830 metres above sea level, Penang Hill is a popular rendezvous for locals and tourists. It is accessible via a funicular train service from the base at Jalan Air Terjun or powerful four-wheel drives on tarred road. Nature lovers can expect to see flora and fauna, small farms, fruit orchards, farmers’ houses and old colonial buildings during the train ride. The summit offers refreshing cool air and an impressive panoramic view of Georgetown. A 12-room hotel offers accommodation to visitors who want to enjoy the hill’s lush green treasure.

Penang Butterfly Farm

Located at Teluk Bahang, the farm is a sanctuary of tropical butterflies. It is a conservation unit for butterfly species that suffer from habitat destruction. The farm is also home to more than 4,000 colourful butterflies of 120 different species. Flora, fountains and streams finally make it all the more charming. The Asian Gallery of Asian Artefacts is also here, the largest display of Southeast Asian art in the country, as is the Insect Museum.

Penang Bird Park

On the mainland in Seberang Jaya, one can find the two-hectare Penang Bird Park, a paradise housing 300 species of birds from around the world. An impressive collection of orchids, hibiscus, palm trees and other interesting flora decorate the park. There is a bus service KOMTAR to the park.


The beaches of Penang offer stretches of golden sands, crystal blue sea and coves with clusters of rocks. A range of beachfront resorts of famous international chains line the shore of Tanjung Bungah. Some resorts provide sea adventure facilities such as parasailing, windsurfing and water-skiing. Tanjung Tokong comes alive after sunset as most of the nightclubs and karaoke bars are here. Delightful hawker food can also be found at the Fettes Park residential area. Then there is Batu Ferringhi. Apart from its beautiful beaches, this spot offers delicious local and international food and souvenir shops. Teluk Bahang is situated at the extreme northwest corner of the island, hence its past name The End of the World.


Island Plaza

Fronting the busy Jalan Tanjong Tokong, this beautifully-designed shopping mall offers a well-planned tenant mix comprising an anchor tenant, family entertainment & amusement centre, regional/local cuisine restaurants, food court, cineplexes and more than 150 specialty shops.

Gurney Plaza

It is one of the largest shopping malls in Penang. Located along Gurney Drive and just five minutes from Georgetown, Gurney Plaza houses 500 retail stores. There are also a wide variety of restaurants, cafes and bistros here.

1-Stop Midlands Park

1-Stop Midlands Park Centre is located on Pulau Tikus. It is a mall with five shopping levels that house more than 300 stores. A food court that caters to local favourites is on the sixth floor. Funzone and Great World Park on the seventh floor offer simulated rides and high-tech game machines. Diners can also opt for popular fast food chains or restaurants offering Thai, Japanese or Chinese cuisine. Its 32-lane bowling alley is also a favourite for those looking to relax after a hard day of shopping. The Water Theme Park on the rooftop offers a fun time for family and friends with its exciting water slides and rides.

Super Komtar

This is a leading departmental store and supermarket in Penang. It is located within komtar

The Garage

A part of heritage conservation on upper Penang, The Garage has an exquisite interior. It houses over 30 shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. The shops here retail unique, exclusive yet affordable gifts, antiques, collectibles, outfits and accessories.

Local Handicrafts

There are some places to visit in Penang for its hidden treasures of local handicrafts. Avid curio and antique lovers will find some interesting items at Lebuh Bishop and Lebuh Chulia. Ladies will find Jalan Pinang and Lebuh Cambell a delight as skilful goldsmiths produce some of the finest oriental jewellery on the island along these roads. A bazaar offering cane and wicker crafts can also be found at Jalan Pinang. The Chowrasta Market, Air Hitam Market and Kek Lok Si Temple offer local snacks like preserved nutmegs, betel nuts and satay fish that tantalize the taste buds. For art aficionados, the galleries in Penang are a must-visit. The reputable ones are Penas Cultural Centre in 1-Stop Midland Park, Yahong Art Gallery in Batu Ferringhi, Penang Arts in Lebuh Leith, Conservatory of Fine Arts in Gelugor, Arts of Asia in Teluk Bahang and Equator Academy of Arts in Jalan Anson. Most galleries showcase masterpieces of local talents.


Penang is just the place to be for mouth-watering hawker food. Among its irresistible hawker delights are laksa, nasi kandar, char koay teow, pesembor, loh bak and roti jalar. Its appetizing array of Nyonya food includes otak-otak, enche kabin and curry kapitan.Balik Pulau and Ayer Hitam Market are famous for laksa while nasi kandar stalls can be found at Burma Road, Jalan Dato’ Keramat, Magazine Road, Pitt Street, Penang Road and Chowrasta Lane. Treat yourself to local favourites such as chicken rice, bee-hoon and prawn noodles at open-air conventional Chinese cafés around Lebuh Chuliah. Dining at 8-row in Krian Road will give you a pleasant experience as its restaurants and bistros boast heritage settings. Shopping malls also offer hawker food in comfy, air-conditioned environments. Delicious fresh seafood is found in abundance along Jalan Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang.


Penang is indeed an island in the sun but it is just as lively after dark. Nightclubs, pubs, spas, bars, lounges and other hangouts cater to all types of tastes. Popular nightspots and places to wine and dine are all along the prestigious Belissa Row. Numerous pubs along Jalan Gottlieb, The Garage and Esplanade offer beers, cocktails, foosball, pool, dance floors and feet-tapping music.


Golfers will not feel left out in Penang as there are four excellent golf courses, namely the Bukit Jambul Country Club on the island and Bukit Jawi Golf Resort, Kristal Gold Resort and Penang Golf Resort on the mainland. These courses not only come with challenging greens but also well-designed clubhouses. For example, the Bukit Jambul County Club has a fantastic clubhouse with an Olympic-size swimming pool, an all-weather tennis court, squash courts, a gymnasium and a 32-bay driving range. There are numerous other sports clubs in Penang including the Penang Motor Sports Club, the Penang Rifle Club, the Penang Swimming Club, the Penang Squash Centre and the prestigious Penang Yacht Club that fronts the sea.


He named it Malacca after the Melaka tree. Malacca rose to become a prosperous port-of-call between the East and the West, and eventually became an established empire. Gold, silk, tea, opium, tobacco, perfumes and countless other items from nearby countries and from as far away as Europe and South America were traded here. The state fell into the hands of the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch in 1641 after a fierce battle. In 1795, the English took control of the empire to prevent it from falling to the French when the Netherlands was captured during the French Revolution. It was returned to the Dutch in 1818 under the Treaty of Vienna but was later exchanged by the British for Bencoleen, Sumatra. From 1826 onwards, it was ruled by the English East India Company, which also controlled Singapore and Penang under the Straits Settlement administration.


Malacca is about 147km away from Kuala Lumpur and 245km from Singapore, sandwiched between the states of Negeri Sembilan and Johor. An excellent road network to and from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore links it. Internally, it is serviced by a good network of roads leading to every corner of the state.


Proclamation of Independence Memorial

Built in 1912, the former clubhouse of Malacca Club now houses invaluable exhibits of the country’s struggle leading to Independence. Exhibits are in the form of relics, manuscripts, videotapes, films and slides.

Malacca’s Sultanate Palace

Based on the description and reference to Malay annals, the wooden structure houses the Cultural Museum of Malacca. Situated at the foot of St. Paul’s Hill, it is the only Malay palace from Malacca’s glorious past built with such detail and refinement.

The Stadthuys

Built in 1650 as the official residence of Dutch governors and their officers, the edifice is a fine example of Dutch architecture. Preserved in its original structure and form, it now houses the Historic and Ethnography Museums.

A Famosa

The hallmark of Malacca and perhaps the most well known historical architecture next to the Stadthuys, it was built by the Portuguese in 1511 as a fortress. It sustained severe structural damage during the Dutch Invasion. The Dutch had set to destroy it but timely intervention by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1808 saved what remains of it today.

Bukit Cina

Bukit Cina, or Chinese Hill, was the official settlement of the Chinese entourage that arrived with Princess Hang Li Poh. She was sent to Malacca by the Emperor to marry the Sultan to mark the advent of diplomatic relationships between Malacca and China. The entourage stayed on in this settlement until the Portuguese Occupation in 1511. The site is today an expansive Chinese cemetery with many of the tombs dating back to the Ming Dynasty.

Baba and Nyonya Heritage

The Straits Chinese or Baba and Nyonya are Chinese of noble descendants who have adopted much of the Malay culture into theirs. The public can view the heirlooms unique to this heritage at private museums run by the group in the city centre.

Jalan Hang Jebat ( Jonker Street)

Jalan Hang Jebat, formerly known as Jonker Street, is known worldwide among antique collectors as one of the best places to hunt and bargain for antiques.

Light and Sound

The best way to learn about the history of Malacca is to watch Southeast Asia’s first light and sound show at Bandar Hilir, Padang Pahlawan. Significant events in Malacca’s history are re-enacted by means of lights, narrative, dialogue, music and sound effects that project real-life drama.

Auyin Hill Resort

Based on the philosophy of Feng Shui or geomancy, every element has been placed relative to the principle of celestial and terrestrial positioning accuracy to enhance its chi – power and prosperity.

Mini Malaysia

A stupendous theme complex that enables visitors to view the traditional houses of the 13 states of Malaysia in a single place, the complex displays life-size authentic houses crafted by master builders.


A unique theme park conceived as the summary of prominent cultural elements of the countries that make up ASEAN, visitors would acquire a definitive sense of history and culture of the countries based on the features of the houses constructed to remarkable detail.

Christ Church

Standing exactly the way it has since 1753, the church is testimony to Dutch architectural ingenuity. Take note of the church’s handmade pews, ceiling beams constructed without joints, Brass Bible, a tombstone inscribed in Armenian and a depiction of The Last Supper in glazed tiles.

St Francis Xavier’s Church

Built in 1849 by Reverend Farve, a Frenchman, the Gothic-towered church is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier.

St Paul ’s Church

Built by a Portuguese captain by the name of Duarte Coelho, the chapel was turned by the Dutch into a burial ground for their noble dead and renamed as St. Paul’s Church from the Portuguese Our Lady of the Hill.

St Peter’s Church

The church is the only church in Malaysia with a life-size alabaster statue of The Dead Lord Before The Resurrection. Built by the Portuguese in 1710, its architectural style blends Oriental and Occidental influences.

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Cheng Hoon Teng is the oldest Chinese temple in the country. It was built in 1646 with materials shipped out of China. The fine workmanship is evident in the ornately decorated mythological figures, carvings and lacquer work inside the temple.

Kampung Hulu Mosque

Built in 1728 by Dato’ Shamsudin, it is the oldest mosque in Malaysia. Its unique architectural style is not found anywhere else in the country.

Sam Po Kong Temple

Dedicated to Admiral Cheng Ho, the temple was named after a fish that miraculously saved the admiral’s ship from sinking after it had been hit by a storm en route to Malacca from China. The fish mysteriously placed itself against a damaged hull, preventing it from taking in water.

Malaysian Youth Museum

The museum is dedicated to contributions made by the country’s youth in the fields of economy and social well-being.

Maritime Museum

A one of its kind in Malacca, the museum is within a life-sized replica of the Portuguese galleon “Flor De Lar Mar” which ran aground off the Malaccan coasts on its way to Portugal. The historical archives in the museum include exhibits of ships dating back to the beginning of the great age of European exploration and ‘seafaring’.

Crocodile Farm

The farm is the largest in the country with more than 100 species of crocodiles, including the rare Albino and hunchbacked species. The farm has also been beautifully landscaped to provide an environment conducive to the reptiles.

Pulau Besar

A haven for holidaymakers seeking exclusive rights to sandy beaches, clear blue waters, the sun and seafront chalets on stilts, the island is an excellent resort for swimming, fishing, picnicking and snorkelling.

Portuguese Square

Located within the Portuguese Settlement, the square is the culmination of Portuguese culture in its full splendour and colours. Organised events during weekends will be quite the experience to bring home as pleasant memories.

Butterfly Farm

The place is one of world’s most comprehensive butterfly and insect farms with well over 200 local species, including rare ones like the Raja Brooke and Birdwing butterflies. There is also a collection of more than 400 insect specimens.



An excellent network of roads in Peninsular Malaysia allows you to drive comfortably to Kelantan from most major towns. Travelling from Kuala Lumpur using the Karak Highway eastwards takes you through Pahang and Terengganu in a matter of hours. If you prefer a more relaxed journey, hop into a comfortable express bus or take a train to Wakaf Bharu or Tumpat stations. There are also daily flights to the capital city.


Kota Bahru

This is the capital of Kelantan and is a stopping point for many visitors on their way to neighbouring Thailand. A mixture of old and new architecture, it has the outwardly charms of an ancient city but also modern infrastructure for convenience. It is situated on the northern end of the Kelantan River, which is the centre of a fertile rice basin, and is also the place where the Kelantan royal family resides.


Museums here are located near Padang Merdeka, otherwise know as Independence Square. They are open daily except on Fridays.

Bank Kerapu ( War Memorial Museum)

The building this museum occupies was built in 1912 by the Mercantile Bank but was taken over by the-then Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank after World War II. It contains a collection of photographs from the Japanese Occupation, as well as other materials relating to the forced pursuit of the state.

Syura Hall (Islamic Museum)

This mosque-like building, which was once known as Serambi Mekah or the ‘Annex of Mecca’, is where the history of Islam in Kelantan can be found. The ground floor of the building was once used as a classroom for its first religious school. On display here are artefacts and inscriptions relating to the involvement of Kelantan Rulers in spreading Islam. Islamic art, handicrafts as well as a photographic collection of Prophet Muhammad’s personal belongings are also on display.

Istana Jahar ( Royal Customs Museum)

This palace was built in 1887 during Sultan Ahmad’s reign from 1886-1889 for his son Long Kundur, who eventually succeeded his father to the throne. A work of art in itself, the palace highlights carved and intricate wooden panels and frameworks alongside iron staircases – evidence that Kelantanese craftsmen are among the most gifted around. A visit here will surely leave you trying to imagine what it must have been like to witness the grandeur of the royal ceremonies that took place here long ago.

Istana Batu (The Royal Museum)

This is the brick extension of Istana Jahar built in 1939. It was turned into the present museum in 1991. Housing replicas of crown jewels, costumes worn by royalty and other paraphernalia, the Royal Museum is also a good place to visit to learn more about the social activities and personal life of the Kelantan royalty through precious photographs.

Museum Negeri (The State Museum)

The main office for the Kelantan State Museum Corporation, Muzium Negeri houses an art gallery on ceramics, traditional musical instruments and much more.

Kampung Kraftangan ( Handicraft Village and Craft Museum)

Looking to take home a piece of authentic Kelantan? This place is a must as it sells a wide range of handicrafts and shows the visitor the traditional processes involved in making silver articles, batik printing, and songket weaving, to name just a few. There are also 30 species of palm trees around here that gives the place an authentic village-feel.

Cultural Centre

This is the hub of all of Kelantan’s cultural activities, where tops the size of a human head spin effortlessly, giant gaily-coloured kites frolic in the air, and wayang kulit (shadow play) and rebana ubi (drums) thump to the rhythm of your pulse. Indeed, this is the only place in Kelantan where you can also watch other traditional performances like the Mak Yong. Interestingly, wayang kulit is a unique form of theatre inspired by Hindu epics such as Ramayana and Mahabarata. The Tok Dalang (puppet master) tells his ancient tales by manipulating the puppets behind a silhouette screen. The puppet figures are carved from buffalo hide and mounted on rattan sticks. Mak Yong combines dance, drama, opera and comedy and for many centuries popular as court entertainment. Performed mainly by women, Mak Yong conveys tales of legendary princes and princesses passed down the generations. The Cultural Centre is located along Jalan Mahmud near Perdana Hotel and admission is free on Saturdays and Wednesdays between February and October.


A visit to Kelantan would not be complete without making at least one fishing village excursion. Two of the most well known ones here are at Sabak Beach and Kuala Besar. Both are about 14 to 15km from Kota Bahru. To fully appreciate the experience, make your way to these places after lunchtime, which is about the time fishermen arrive back at shore with their daily catch. The scenario that follows is priceless and you will witness the din associated with sorting the fresh catches and the haggling between wholesalers and fishermen.


Pantai Cahaya Bulan

This beach is located at the northeast stretch of the state’s coastline. An ideal getaway, the shore is shaded by swaying casuarinas and coconut palms and is a must among picnic lovers and campers. Only about 10km from Kota Bahru, the road leading to this beach is flanked by various cottage industries selling handicrafts such as batik prints and kites.

Pantai Irama

Pantai Irama or the Beach of Melody is one of the most pristine beaches along the coast of Kelantan. Located 25km south of Kota Bahru in the district of Bachok, the clean stretch is a welcome sight for the tired soul.

Pantai Bisikan Bayu

Feel the sea breeze run through your hair and whistle in your ears as you visit Pantai Bisikan Bayu, which ironically translates to the Beach of the Whispering Breeze. Located about 50km from Kota Bahru, it is near Semerak in Pasir Puteh.

Pantai Seri Tujuh

This is another stretch that gives you the feeling that you are lost in time. Located near the border with Thailand, it is only seven kilometres from the state capital. It is also the venue for the annual International Kite Festival.

Pantai Dasar Sabak

Pantai Dasar Sabak is graced with a quaint fishing village and many other rural hamlets that will enthral you with a whole new cultural experience.


Cascading waterfalls are also one of Kelantan’s many attractions. Take a dip in any of these waterfalls hidden within Kelantan’s lush forest. Most of these waterfalls are located close to the state capital and are easily accessible by road.

Jeram Pasu and Jeram Lenang

Jeram Pasu and Jeram Lenang are about 12 metres high and are rejuvenating, to say the least.

Lata Beringin

Another interesting waterfall is Lata Beringin, which towers majestically at 120 metres. One of the highest waterfalls in the country, the captivating views from here of the state’s natural wonders makes it an ideal spot for avid campers.


Gunung Strong

One of Kelantan’s highest peaks at 1,422 metres is Gunung Strong. Tackling this mountain is a challenge not to be missed by adventurers and mountain climbers. While you are doing that, do not forget to pay a visit to the nearby Gua Ikan cave. Its name was derived from a solitary rock that looks like a fish. Explore the cave and its surroundings and you may just stumble upon treasures believed stashed away during the Japanese Occupation.


The outskirts of Kota Bahru is dotted with cottage industries that line the beaches and other places, and provide you the opportunity to see Kelantanese culture at its best. Kelantan is famous for its batik – both manufactured by hand as well as those produced using modern methods. Among the places you should visit are Kampung Puteh, Kubor Kuda and Kampung Badang. Songket was only used by royalty in the olden days but is now prevalent in Malay ceremonies such as weddings. The songket cloth – usually silk – is laced with gold or silver threads to form geometrical designs. A good to get your songket is Pantai Cahaya Bulan at Kampung Penambang. Wau - or kite-flying is one of the oldest traditional games in the Malay culture, especially in Kelantan. The skill and patience that go into kite-making are worth every effort when they are ready to be flown; these gaily-decorated giant kites swaying high up in the sky add a colourful persona to Kelantan’s unique being. Numerous kite designs have been spawned since the early ages. They include the peacock kite (wau merak), bird kite (wau jalabudi), moon kite (wau bulan) and cat kite (wau kucing), and come in various sizes, shapes and designs. They are also sought-after collector items. One of the most popular kite-flying spots is also Pantai Cahaya Bulan, as well as Kampung Kijang and Kampung Redang. The shops here usually open all-day. Kelantanese silverware is also popular among tourists who love the tea sets, jewellery and vases for their intricate designs. Made using the filigree technique among others, these wares can be found at Kampung Marak and Kampung Badak, en-route to Pantai Cinta Berahi. The craftsmanship of Kelantanese woodcarving is also among the best in Malaysia. Favouring motives inspired by floral designs, you can observe the making of these wooden art pieces and buy them in places like Pakatan Jurukir Tradisional in Pengkalan Chepa. However, please remember that these shops are usually closed on Fridays.


Shopping is a must wherever you go in Kelantan. Indeed, the state is a proverbial treasure chest waiting to be discovered by you. Other things the state is famous for include silk and/or batik kaftans, woven mats, household items and trinkets that would delight your heart but would not be heavy on your wallet.

Buluh Kubu Bazaar

Buluh Kubu Bazaar (Bamboo Fort Bazaar) is one place to look for bargains. It is a one-stop, three-storey shopping complex that also sells t-shirts, silver ornaments, mats woven with mengkuang leaves and other knick-knacks.

Central Market

This market is made up of stalls selling all sorts of vegetables, seafood and meats. What is most interesting about this place is that the majority of traders here are women, something you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in Malaysia.

Jalan Temenggong

A visit to Jalan Temenggong is definitely worth your while as you stroll along the beautifully decorated shops that offer jewellery, textiles, brassware and other goods. Even haggling over the price is an experience not to be missed. It may even provide you with fond memories and tales to tell of shopping in Kelantan.


A truly Kelantanese experience must include the food. The local Ayam Percik is a skewered chicken piece marinated in a special sauce and then barbequed. Another mouth-watering Kelantanese dish is Nasi Dagang – glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk. The rice, which is white or pinkish in colour, is usually served with fish or chicken curry, cucumber pickles and coconut sambal. You can also have it with beef or seafood curry. There is also Nasi Kerabu, which is bluish or yellowish rice normally served with fish, sambal and other dishes. In addition, there is also Nasi Berlauk and traditional Kelantanese pastries such as Sekaya, Serabai and Cik Mek Molek. These and many more local delicacies can be found at restaurants and food stalls all over.