The West Coast of Malaysia

SEREMBAN

Global Mark : 12.50

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 4 3 3 2 4 2 3 12.00

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
1 100% 100% 100% 13 13.00


Description : An ugly & noisy small town with, fortunately, a few interesting surroundings...

Comments : This is obviously not a place for backpackers and very few travelers indeed stop here. I believe they should, but probably not for the night. There is a great place for that further east...

What to do ? 
- In & around town : Spot some great examples of traditional Minangkabau architectures / Walk (without shoes) around handicrafts and Royal historical artifacts / Check out a 1898 steam engine & canons on the grass / Get map & info at the Tourist Centre (open 9 to 17 daily) / Have a talk with a bird, have a look at colorful parrots, have a jog around the Lake Garden / Shop in commercial centers / Discuss with the friendly locals, not accustomed to see too many travelers around here / Stuff yourself with bakeries 
- In the surroundings : Spot another architectural wonder constructed without the use of a single nail / / Walk (still without shoes) the rooms of the former Royal Palace, spotting a few objects along the way / Compare the size with the new modern palace nearby / Explore the area a bit / Wander along a river / Climb a mountain and enjoy a great panorama / Listen to the forest / 

What you may not like ? 
- In & around town : The town itself / The traffic noise & pollution / The grotty hotels / The difficulty to get reliable info from the local people (I was pointed to 4 different directions for the night market and that is because I could not fly nor dig) / The ugly & noisy (obviously in order to be heard above the traffic noise) State Mosque / The not so clean lakes, the not so well maintained lawns, the not so impressive garden, the not so talk active birds / 
- In the surroundings : Visiting Ulu Bendol on WE, when local people are busy throwing away rubbish, in and around the river / The remaining rubbish, well after the WE is over / The nothing special exhibits at the Royal Museum, especially without any translation / The trip to reach it (beautiful though) / 

How long ? Not too long in town, except if you brought a gas mask and earplugs. Scenic & relaxing Ulu Bendol could however be worth a few days...


Where to stay ?

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online & save money !

I found in Seremban the worst quality-price ratio accommodations of all my Malaysia's trip : R25 minimum, grotty looks and all very very noisy ! 

  • Oriental Hotel, Jalan Tuanku Munawir / The main entrance may look closed but there is a small door on the left side of the building / Dbl w. sink & some furniture 25, more quiet in the back 30 / Unfortunately the best deal in town : large & acceptably clean rooms but very noisy 
  • Chiew Kee, continuing north / Sgl 25, Dbl 30, Trpl 35 / Relatively fresher atmosphere with a more friendly host but rather small rooms badly isolated from each other (noise plus light), thanks to very slim and short wooden walls. 
    Continental, Jalan Dato Sheikh Ahmad / Grotty, dirty & unfriendly / Go there for a look to feel better about your place...
  • Happy Hotel, Jalan Tuanku Hassan / Dbl w. AC & shower 40 / More comfortable but also grotty as no window and an atmosphere of brothel...
  • None of the above being too exciting, here comes the good news : it is possible to stay in a government Chalet w. fan & shower at beautiful Ulu Bendol for R10 only (2 beds but Sgl occupancy OK). A real bargain and a great opportunity to relax or explore the mountain... I would recommend to call before heading there (4888948/50) but there are other accomodation options as well (incl. camping) so it should be no problem. WE may be a bit busy though...


Where to eat ? There is a small not too exciting night market near Jalan Lee Sam, the road west of Jalan Tuanku Munawir (turn left after Oriental Hotel). Desserts receive a better treatment with a lot of bakeries around town, in particular on the east part of Jalan Dato Sheikh Ahmad. Food options in Ulu Bendol are more limited and slightly more expensive but you shall not starve. 

Internet ? PAC Computer Center (open 10:00 to 20:00 daily) at No33 Jalan Dato Sheikh Ahmad (opp. Continental Hotel) : R2.5 per hour with R1 negotiable minimum charge. 

Orientation ? From the bus station, walk north toward a church, passing a shopping Centre on your left. Turn right and you will reach Jalan Tuanku Munawir where the "best" cheapies hotels are. Other hotels are nearby, in perpendicular streets. The ugly State Mosque and the Lake Garden are in the east part of town, a 10mn walk from the bus station. 


Why is it worth coming ? 

- The Cultural Handicraft Complex : Free / Open 10 to 18, closed Friday 12:15 to 14:45) : In addition to the lovely State Museum, you will find the Mapang Tingoi Palace with nice carved woods and the only remaining sliding doors in Peninsular Malaysia. The Tourism Office (open 9 to 17 daily) is also worth a visit / It is about 3km west of town on the way to the North-South Expressway. The road is very unpleasant to walk so better catch a local bus for the 5mn ride. 

- Ulu Bendul Recreational Forest : Free / Open anytime / The main reason to stop and a rather good one. The base of the area is rather big & developed (cabins, watch towers, hanging bridge, ponds, bathing pool, etc.) but nature remains the definite host. The walk along the river is easy & pleasant while the climb up Bukit Angsi at 825m (officially 4 hours up) should prove slightly more challenging / Take a bus to Kuala Pilah and get off 20km before the town (R1.2, 30mn). The last bus back should leave Kuala Pilah at 18:30. 

- Sri Menanti Palace and Royal Museum : Free (any charge would be a rip off) / Open 10 to 18, closed Friday 12:15 to 14:45) / The museum was a disappointment (especially after Melaka) : very few exhibits and no explanations in English. The 1908 structure however is interesting (not a single nail was used), and you can watch some weaving demonstrations. The nearby area is also charming with a small mosque, a Muslim cemetery and the impressive modern blue roof palace, all surrounded by mountains / Take a bus to Kuala Pilah and get off at the junction (blue gate), 13 km before the town. The royal town is 7km. The road is charming enough for a walk but you should have no problem hitching your way. No public buses are going there.

 << Discover a few sights


How to visit ? Considering the state of accommodations in Seremban, I would suggest the followings : 
Coming from Melaka or KL via the Expressway, ask to be dropped at the State Museum / Get a map and (hopefully) reliable info at the opposite Tourist Office / Catch a local bus to the bus Station, 5mn away / Leave your bag and go have a look at the ugly state Mosque and the OK Lake Garden / Buy some snacks & drinks / Board a bus to Kuala Pilah and get off at Ulu Bendol, 30mn away / Check into your private chalet set in a lovely environment / Head toward Sri Menanti (7km by bus, then 7km by hitching) / The next day, climb Bukit Angsi.

Bus Schedules ? 

To  Price Class Duration Time Nb Freq.
Kuala Pilah 2.2 ordi 1 6:30 to 19:30 a lot 30mn
Melaka 3.8 ac 1-1.5 6:30 to 19:30 a lot 30mn
Port Dickson 1.8 ordi 1 6 to 20 a lot 20mn
KL 3.1 ac 1 5:15 to 21:30 a lot 15mn
Int. Airport 3.2 ac 1.5 6:45 to 22:30 a lot 30mn

Notes :  To Kuala Pilah for Ulu Bendol (R1.2, 30mn) or Sri Menanti / To Port Dickson, bus No67 or 72


The trip to Kuala Lumpur : SS / L / R3.1 / 1 hour / AC Bus
Not much to write about this short highway ride except that the bus is usually full when leaving and that most people are getting off near the Pasar Seni LRT Station. The bus station is another 5mn away.

See also the trip from Melaka