The Dusun is 800 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Titiwangsa Main Range, so expect cool nights. Next to us is the Berembun Forest Reserve, 4,000 acres of protected virgin forest rising to 3,900 feet.
This is a dipterocarp forest, little known outside the orang Asli community, rich in birds and plant life of all kinds. The tigers died out a generation ago, but there are still wild boars and deer, although what you are more likely to see are giant millipedes, monkeys – and leeches. The Batang Penar river arises in this reserve and is a primary watersource for Seremban.
Pantai is in the district of Seremban. Pantai is also the name of the village or two rows of shops before you turn off Jalan Jelebu towards us. You can find a few food stalls and basic groceries close to the police station and mosque at breakfast and lunchtime. You’re also likely to find a villager who’s happy to chat. There isn’t any food for sale in Pantai at night.
Pantai is the Malay word for beach. Many ask, Where is the beach? Some may know the river in Pantai is sandy and popular with sand miners. Maybe these sandy spots have inspired Pantai’s name.
Stalls brimming with a huge variety of local fruit are available all along Jalan Jelebu.
Petai is a forest delicacy, mainly because someone needs to climb the straight trunk of the tree which can reach up to 30 metres.
Seremban is the capital of Negeri Sembilan, with a population of almost 400,000 people. Much like the rest of Malaysia, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Orang Asli, and others live together in this modern city. In Seremban, you can find malls, cinemas, cafes, restaurants and satellite cities for Kuala Lumpur commuters.
Scenes from the Wet Market. Upstairs is a treasure trove of random and practical finds.
Temuan is a tribe of Malaysia’s Orang Asli, or original people. There are two Temuan villages close to us. Most of our staff are from this community. The Orang Asli’s knowledge of the jungle is unparalleled. The rainforest was a source of food and medicine in this culture.
Many families still own small farms inside and by the jungle. But many also enjoy the stability of wages as Seremban, and its surroundings get busier. The Orang Asli would forage for medicinal eaves and roots to cure the ill. But aside from a minority, modern medicine is preferred amongst the youth for being more convenient.
The Temuan speak their own language and are traditionally animists. Their sacred graveyards are hidden deep in the rainforest. The Temuan treat the jungle with great respect; believing that each river, tree, shrub and rock has a guardian spirit. Much of Temuan life was guided by taboos, herbal remedies, rituals and a bit of magic. Although, these days, many Orang Asli have converted to Islam or other religions.
Our first forays into the jungle were accompanied by Orang Asli (aborigines of Malaysia) who have pockets of fruit farms within the jungle.
The Orange Asli used to find every day medicine in the forest. Now many find it more practical to take modern medicine.
Negeri Sembilan shares borders with Selangor, Pahang, Melaka and Johor. Affectionately known as Negeri or Nogori, it certainly is a unique state in Malaysia. Most of its original Malay population came from the Padang region of Sumatra in the 18th and 19th centuries and are known as Minangkabau or Minang people. It is a matrilineal culture known for exemplary hospitality and distinctive cuisine.
Also distinct is their dramatic yet practical roof architecture, which rises up at the corners, letting heat rise and leaving the house cool. You can view this roof in state buildings in Seremban and one magnificent centenary house in Pantai. It is on the right as you leave Pantai, heading towards Seremban.
Our Manager, Asmaq on her wedding day. The happy couple is in traditional Minangkabau dress.