The colors of Seremban @ Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus : As we see it

Written by @Joehairie
(Photos by curiostraveller.com team members)

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Thought of the day-‘Travelling, it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.’-Ibn Battuta. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017.

The previous visit to Seremban was way back in 1996 when we did backpacking around Peninsular Malaysia. 21 years later, we had the opportunity to re-visit this medium size town. We were in Kuala Lumpur for some writing tasks and having completed all assignments we had nothing else to do. @Lan suggested that we take the opportunity to go to Seremban on day trip and so we did. This might be one good idea a.k.a itinerary for you if you happen to be in Kuala Lumpur and have enough of seeing that big city. To readers who have never been to this town, welcome to Seremban, Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus.

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Me, @Joehairie…

Kuala Lumpur and Seremban is not that far, one short trip that covers about 60 kilometers. While there are plenty and faster options to get to Seremban from Kuala Lumpur, we both decided to hop on the KTM Komuter service as we love being on trains! We departed from KL Sentral early in the morning, forking out RM17.60 for 2 pax, one way. There were not so many people wanting to go to Seremban that day, perhaps due to Chinese New Year public holiday, people might be heading to another popular destinations. Anyway, we were glad it went that way as there’s no need to rush inside the coach to get the limited seats (it will be, during peak hours).

For further reading about Negeri Sembilan in general, click HERE
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Seremban Train Station

The train ride from KL Sentral to Seremban was about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Several stops before reaching Seremban and along the way there’s plenty things that one get to see. Pretty interesting ride we’d say. We were a bit nervous as it was more than 20 years ago since we’ve visited Seremban, not sure how things are after 2 decades.

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@Lan looking for the exit!

It’s fun to plan a visit without proper details, we did not emphasize on the details when we googled about Seremban. Jotted down few names, printed out a map (as below) and that’s all. Whatever will be, will be, that’s what in our mind. We decided to make one big round (anticlockwise) of Seremban town, following the main road(s) as we go along.

Source: www.endemicguides.com

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From Seremban Train Station (Using the map as guide), we walked along Jalan Dato Bandar Tunggal before turning right to Jalan Berhala, going straight up Jalan Yam Tuan. We went to the left direction going to Jalan Tunku Hassan and then proceeded to Terminal One Seremban using Jalan Tunku Munawar before heading back to the Train Station.

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We came across this board, a name of the road near to Terminal One Seremban. Historically speaking, the original name of Seremban was Sungei Ujong or Sungai Ujong. Sungai means River in English, therefore Sungai Ujong is Ujong River. Founded in 1870’s upon discovery of Tin, a dispute between Dato’ Kelana and Dato’ Shabandar (tax, ownership and control issues) resulted in the intervention of the British (being invited by Dato’ Kelana). In return for the support, Dato’ Kelana had to accept the presence of a British Residence, advising in regards to matters other than religion and Malay Customs. Now, Sungai Ujong is better known as Seremban.

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First building that we saw upon exiting the Train Station, Seremban Parade. It is kind of one Shopping Mall to which we decided not to go into as we had enough with malls. We want to see something different than shopping malls, old shop houses attracts us more. Furthermore, we don’t have that much time to scale each floor of a mall.

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We walked straight until we saw one old building in red color that has the name of ‘Kelab Rekreasi Cina’ (Chinese Recreation Club). For some, this might just look like a normal building but since we admire any old buildings, we spent quite some time looking at it and take photos of course!  We wanted to go inside and have a look what’s about the red building but we abandoned the plan, not wanting to be chased away!

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We took a short cut through Jalan Berhala until we saw one beautiful Mosque. It’s the Masjid Negeri or State Mosque. The Mosque was built in 1966 and officiated in November 1967 by the state’s Yang Di-Pertuan Besar at that time, Tuanku Jaafar Al-Haj Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Built by incorporating contemporary design, it infused some traditional Minangkabau elements. The curved concrete roof is held together by nine pillars, representing the original nine districts of Negeri Sembilan (Johol, Jelebu, Klang, Sungei Ujong, Naning, Rembau, Jelai, Segamat and Pasir Besar).

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The old parking meter

Next to the State Mosque, at Jalan Taman Bunga is Taman Tasik Seremban (Seremban Lake Garden) that we did not go venturing as we needed to proceed further up. It’s a popular place among the locals for recreation purpose and is said to be one of the oldest natural lake in Malaysia. If you are to visit Seremban, do visit this place especially if you have plenty time, unlike us. While walking, we found some old parking meter here and there, not sure if it’s still working but in our state (where coupons are king), this is considered rare therefore we took time appreciating it.

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Along Jalan Yam Tuan, we came across the Seremban Municipal Council Recreational Field, nothing much to be seen here (as it’s a field for playing football or something) but there’s a big sign of ‘Welcome to Seremban’ on the other side (Jalan Dato Bandar Tunggal). A mandatory place for photos to prove that one have been to this Town.

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There were some official (royal) banners here and there announcing the Birthday of His Majesty, Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir, the current and eleventh Yang Di-Pertuan Besar/ Head of state of Negeri Sembilan. To know more about His Majesty, do click HERE. Happy Birthday Tuanku!

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@Lan not wanting to be left out by the lenses!

Since we crossed over to Jalan Dato’ Bandar Tunggal, we decided to go straight before going back to Jalan Yam Tuan through Jalan Dato’ Lee Fong Yee. @Lan did not want to miss any signboard of street names he saw, so pictures taken on his request! The town was not that busy when we visited, this was the 2nd day of Chinese New Year, most people were at home or at other places. It’s great though, making things easier for us as there were not so many cars on the road.

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Starting at Jalan Dato’ Sheikh Ahmad to Jalan Dato’ Lee Yee Fong, buildings became so interesting to see, at least for both of us. As mentioned earlier, we love the way people trying their very best to preserve old shop houses, turning em’ into business or residence unit. Below are some pictures that we have for sharing, do excuse us for not pointing out the exact name of the road or the name of the buildings but all are generally scattered along Jalan Dato’ Sheikh Ahmad and Jalan Dato’ Lee Yee Fong.

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Old and new shop houses
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Minangkabau pattern on the roof
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Front of some old shop houses..
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Colorful old and new shop houses
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Major banks occupies some old shop houses…
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Interesting building we say, just not sure the name of it..
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More old shop houses, some being renovated..

As we walked along Jalan Yam Tuan, we came across one interesting restaurant, Hj Shariff Cendol. We did read about this restaurant in some reviews and since all reviews bragging about the deliciousness of the Cendol, we decided to make a pit stop and satisfy our curiosity a.k.a hunger/thirst. Cendol is a dessert.

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Haji Shariff Cendol 

Apart from Cendol (RM2 per bowl), we ordered Rojak (RM4 per serving). A full review of this restaurant and its product will be posted in this blog after this particular entry. Both Cendol and Rojak were all right. The rojak is kind of Pasembur, a favorite in Penang Island. To know more about Cendol in general, click HERE. Click this LINK to read more about Rojak/Pasembur.

Cendol (Left) and Rojak (Right)
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The man, selling Petai/Bitter Bean

After that satisfying brunch at Haji Shariff Cendol, we walked along Jalan Yam Tuan before turning left to Jalan Tunku Hassan. On our way, we met an elderly man pushing his cart with some Petai or Bitter Bean on it (Petai is scientifically known as Parkia Speciosa). Click HERE to learn more about Petai. He nodded at us indicating that it’s okay to take his photos and so we did. It’s quite interesting to see the product he’s bringing with him, perhaps taking it to be sold somewhere else.

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Elderly locals at a small bus station

At one small bus station, three elderly people were there waiting for something, perhaps the bus or maybe just taking a break after walking from somewhere. We love to see the locals way of life. There’s an old bicycle parked nearby, not sure though if that belongs to the old man with white beard. Sometimes we both will simply sit down with the locals having some good conversation or just looking at what they are doing.

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At one quieter road…perhaps on non public holidays it is busy here

We kept walking until we found one quiet road that turned out to be a short cut going to Jalan Tunku Hassan. Though not a pretty sight, we’re still glad to see some old shop houses, again, here and there. When we reached another junction, Chinese New Year decorations were here and there.

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One of Chinese New Year decoration, lanterns

Street Art @ Jalan Tunku Hassan

At Jalan Tunku Hassan, on one of the smaller roads, leading to the back of some old shop houses, we found some interesting street art, ranging from smaller to medium size. There are about 9 of them and maybe there are others at different locations (to which we are not aware of). It’s interesting see street art paintings such as ‘Girl Catching Butterflies, Jovial boy enjoying the Lion Dance and many more).

To see more images and read more about Street Art @ Jalan Tunku Hassan, click HERE

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After viewing and admiring some of the Street Art @ Jalan Tunku Hassan, we came back to Jalan Dato’ Bandar Tunggal and went right to Jalan Dato Lee Yee Fong before coming out at Jalan Tuanku Munawir. We know that the Central Market or Pasar Besar is somewhere nearby but realizing that it’s closed for the Chinese New Year celebration, we decided to skip visiting it. How unfortunate but we will sure to come back and explore the market in the near future, local markets are colorful, we are aware of that, in fact we love looking at things in the market.

To read some articles by other writers about Pasar Besar Seremban, click HERE

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We continued walking and enjoying looking at the surrounding, the old buildings and some people, doing their routines. We love how easy it was for us to wander around with not so much traffic in comparison to the condition in big cities such as Kuala Lumpur.

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Things might be a little busy during weekdays but we are pretty sure that it’s not that hectic and things are much relax here. Again, while walking, we saw more old shop houses, similar to what we saw in Malacca and Penang. We do hope that the local government and locals will preserve such building. We love what we saw here and hope that things do not change drastically in the years to come.

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Rumah Tumpangan Lemon

Restore old buildings, turn it into something relevant for today’s context and not replacing em’ with too many high rise buildings. Too much development comes with a price, sooner or later and we hope Seremban ably to maintain some olden days elements, infusing it into modern days necessities.

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@Lan playing with the cat

We both are cat lovers and to found one playing by herself was indeed something ‘beautiful’. We took time playing with the cat! We continued walking towards Jalan Sungai Ujong until we saw Terminal One Seremban on the left and Wesley Methodist Church on the right. There’s another interesting old church (Church of The Visitation) near to Jalan Bomba but we did not have time to visit it.

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Wesley Methodist Church
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Terminal One Seremban, far left. 

Terminal One Seremban is not only a shopping Mall. It has one big bus terminal next to it where people can get buses to places in Seremban as well to other towns in the other states. Taxis are easy to get around here. Next to Terminal One Seremban is one monsoon drain where some people spend their time, fishing.

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At the other end of Terminal One Seremban, another Street Art is being displayed and it’s famously known as Medan Seni Ujang. Ujang is a local cartoonist and we are his fans! Seeing some bigger size characters in Ujang’s cartoon is indeed exciting. The emergency staircase next to Medan Seni Ujang is painted in bright colors giving some ‘life’ to this place. Medan Seni Ujang is just next to the Bus Terminal.

To see more images and read about Medan Seni Ujang, click HERE

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Laman Seni Ujang
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Colorful Staircase

We did not opt for the bus to get back to Kuala Lumpur instead we walked back to Seremban Train Station which is just about 5-10 minutes walk from Terminal One Seremban. The reason was, all buses going to Kuala Lumpur that day scheduled to stop at Pudu Station whereas we wanted to alight at KL Sentral, where our hotel is just next to it.

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The day trip to Seremban was indeed one exciting journey. We love what we’ve seen and experienced in Seremban. We’re pretty much amazed with the Colors of Seremban, colors that represent the heritage as in old buildings, its people, art and culture. While some people might think Seremban is just an ordinary town, we prefer thinking the opposite. Seremban, for us, offers many interesting things. We did not have the opportunity to visit the Museum, Pasar Besar and other landmarks but we are sure to come back in the near future as we are planning to visit Post Dickson later this year.

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While on the way to Port Dickson later, we are sure to drop by at Seremban again and indulge in more exciting activities. 21 years after 1996, we were able to be at Seremban again and we’re definitely grateful to have that opportunity. This particular visit was a short one but we enjoyed every minute of it. We did not regret choosing Seremban over the other towns in Peninsular Malaysia. Thank you so much Seremban and we will be back soon!

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