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Southern Malaysia
by: Editorial Team

Southern Region


o        Negeri Sembilan - Magnificient Minangkabau Architecture

In Negeri Sembilan, Minangkabau architecture, with its distinctive horn-shaped roofs dating back to 17th century Sumatra, dominates in Seremban, the capital. Observe the magnificent roofs rise into two peaks like buffalo horns. Sri Menanti is the royal state capital located 40km east of Seremban. Of interest here is the 100 year-old Istana Lama Sri Menanti (old palace), now a museum housing weaponry, costumes and a bridal chamber. Port Dickson or ‘PD’ is a small town and gateway to beaches extending 16km south to Tanjung Tuan (Cape Rachado). The shaded beachfront, proximity to Kuala Lumpur and delicious seafood here attracts holidaymakers. Casuarina-lined beaches like Bagan Pinang, Teluk Kemang and Blue Lagoon have hotels, apartments, restaurants, souvenir shops and golf courses. Yachting was introduced to Malaysia in Port Dickson and the calm waters are perfect for sailing with the Admiral Marina and Leisure Club offering excellent yachting facilities.At Tanjung Tuan, a pleasant forest trail leads to the historic lighthouse. Bird-watchers know the location as one of the best to spot Honey Buzzards and other migratory birds flying from Europe to Australia.


o        Malacca (Melaka)
Malacca is a famous historic port strategically located on the Straits of Malacca. It was founded by a Sumatran Prince named Parameswara and thereafter flourished under the Malacca Sultanate. The state was known as the
Venice of the East when it was the centre of spice trade in the region. Turn down any street in its historic heart to discover something fascinating. Old buildings and traditional trades and crafts make this one of Malaysia’s most visited destinations. Buildings reflect Portuguese, Dutch and British influences and the city centre is ideal for walking around. Historical places include the Stadthuys, Christ Church, St. Paul’s Church and the A’Famosa fortress built by the Portuguese in 1511. Jalan Hang Jebat (Jonker’s Street) is home to antique stores, galleries and souvenir shops. For something different, take a ride in a colourful trishaw around Malacca.


Ø      Ayer Keroh, 15km from town offers attractions like a recreational forest, zoo, crocodile farm and ‘Mini Malaysia’.

Ø      Ujong Pasir is a Portuguese settlement, south of town where visitors can enjoy its lively square and eat Portuguese-inspired seafood. Visit during festivals such as San Juan and San Pedro held in June.

Ø      Another interesting sight is the Hang Li Poh Well, named after a Ming emperor’s daughter sent to marry Sultan Mansor Shah to seal relations between the two countries. Bukit Cina, a gift from the Sultan was established as their residence. The well was constructed by her followers for her personal use and was also the main source of water for the town. Bukit Cina has two adjoining hills which form a Chinese graveyard with over 12,000 graves, some dating back to the Ming dynasty. Malacca is known as a museum town.

Ø      The Independence Memorial Museum houses documents relating to the transition from colonial Malaya to independent Malaysia. The Maritime Museum is a replica of the Portuguese galleon, Flora de la Mar, which sank off Malacca. It displays exhibits of Malacca’s maritime history from the Malacca Sultanate to the colonial era. Malacca is home to Malaysia’s unique Baba and Nyonya community. Known as Peranakan or Straits Chinese, they are descendants of the original Chinese settlers who married Malays. Nyonya cuisine, with its use of different spices and Chinese cooking styles, is a culinary delight here.

Ø      Malacca’s Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum on Tun Tan Cheng Lock Street is housed in an ancestral home with authentic furniture, ceramics and textiles.


o        Johor - Beaches, Golf and Fruit Farms.

Johor is Peninsular Malaysia’s southernmost state and is linked to Singapore by a causeway and a bridge. Attractions here include golf courses, seafood villages, plantations and nature parks. The east coast of Johor provides access to beaches and islands while the west coast fronts the Straits of Malacca. Agro tours to rubber and oil palm plantations and fruit farms are popular.


Ø       In the north, Gunung Ledang or Mount Ophir at 1,276m provides a challenging two day return trek, passing through waterfalls and forests.

Ø      Explore the vast wilderness rainforest in Endau-Rompin National Park straddled across Pahang and Johor. This 80,000 hectare-park is one of the peninsula’s largest virgin lowland forests. It is a remote destination that appeals to adventurous explorers. Golfers are never far from a championship course in Johor with 30 venues from which to choose. Several are resorts providing accommodation, recreation and spas. Leading courses include Pulai Springs (two 18-hole courses) and Desaru Golf and Country Resort.

Ø      Desaru near the peninsula’s southeastern tip is a 25km beach resort destination for Johor folk and neighbouring Singapore. While there are several resorts, it has a remote and tranquil atmosphere.

Ø       Further south, Sebana Golf and Marina Resort includes a marina, hotel and an 18-hole golf course. Customs and immigration facilities exist for ferry passengers travelling to and from Singapore.

Ø      Tanjung Piai, 90 minutes west of Johor Bahru is the southernmost tip of the Asian continent. Boardwalks and hides offer an opportunity to appreciate the wetlands and there is a small resort and seafood restaurant.

Ø      The state capital, Johor Bahru is a shoppers’ paradise especially for Singaporeans who flock here for bargains. The city is known for its colourful nightlife, busy coffee shops, bars, nightclubs and open-air night markets. It has a border town atmosphere with hawkers, moneychangers, unloading and loading of goods and round-the-clockactivity.

Ø       In 1866, Sultan Abu Bakar the father of modern Johor built the magnificent Istana Besar as his official residence. Today it houses the Sultan Abu Bakar Museum, showcasing rare and beautiful treasures from all over the world. The Sultan Ibrahim Building, housing the state secretariat dominates the Johor Bahru skyline. Johor Bahru is a transport hub for travellers within the region. Trains head south into Singapore and northwards to Kuala Lumpur, Thailand and Kota Bharu in the northeast. Ferries also depart from Johor to destinations off Singapore and various parts of Sumatra.

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