Negeri Sembilan

Unveiling the Unique Charms of Jelebu

Beyond just soaking in the fascinating cultural vibes, Jelebu is also a chill spot with its natural allure and some seriously delicious culinary delights, making travellers trip here one for the laid-back memories.

Rumah Gadang Budi is one of the iconic cultural landmarks in Jelebu

Beyond just soaking in the fascinating cultural vibes, Jelebu is also a chill spot with its natural allure and some seriously delicious culinary delights, making travellers trip here one for the laid-back memories.

While Jelebu might not be grabbing headlines like other hotspots in Negeri Sembilan, it’s nonetheless a hidden gem filled with all sorts of cool and exciting stuff that travellers would regret missing out – whether you’re from around the block or halfway across the globe!

Together with Negeri Sembilan Tourism Board and Jelebu District Council, Gaya Travel Magazine recently paid a visit to Jelebu to discover the essence of this second-largest district in Negeri Sembilan. Buckle up and read on, because you might want to add these fantastic spots onto your bucket list when you are in Jelebu in the future!

Rumah Gadang Budi

Rumah Gadang Budi
In addition to the Budi traditional house, its expansive area also features a fish pond, garden, animal replicas, and a Rice Barn House.

Originally, Rumah Gadang Budi was a traditional wooden house with a kajang pedati-styled roof owned by the noble descendants of the Minangkabau chiefdom, located in Sri Menanti, the former capital of Negeri Sembilan. Built back in 1912, this place is made of top-notch wood featuring 12 strong main pillars sourced all the way from the Siak Kingdom in Riau. Rumah Gadang means ‘large house’.


Previously, this house with its windows and slightly curved roof, was used for discussions and meetings related to the Minangkabau customs and traditions. After the capital moved to Seremban, this place was abandoned, just waiting for someone to bring it back to life.

Rumah Gadang Budi
The exquisite interior of Rumah Gadang Budi

And then, enter Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim, the man who swooped in to save this historical edifice. He relocated it to his two-hectare playground in Kampung Gagu, his hometown. The structure of the house remains, but the roof had been converted six years ago into bagonjong style, resembling the traditional Minangkabau Rumah Gadang that sports roof in the shape of buffalo horn. Motifs like pucuak rabuang (bamboo shoot) at the tip of each gonjong (upward-curved finials) were directly brought from Bukittinggi in West Sumatera, the land where the Minangkabau originated.

In addition to being a cultural tourism site, the house now serves as the venue for the Datuak Ampek (the customary chief of Kampung Gagu) council meetings, held every six months. Traditional art performances such as silat, randai, saluang, talempong, and dances are also periodically held here.

The house also features a garden, a fishpond, and replicas of legendary animals such as Si Kinantan and Si Binuang, in addition to the Rice Barn House (or Rumah Lesung), in its grounds.

Address: Rumah Gadang Budi, Kampung Gagu, 71600 Kuala Klawang, Negeri Sembilan

Bahulu Panas Pijoi, Kuala Klawang

This humble, road-side stall has been operating for almost a decade. Although it sells other traditional delicacies like lemang, dodol, and wajik, it is kuih bahulu that has become the real crowd-puller, especially when it is hot and on the house (I mean, just for tasting).

Using learned recipes, these freshly baked bahulu, cooked over charcoal, are available on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays. However, the shop is open every day from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

The selling price for a container of 45 pieces of kuih bahulu is RM20.

Kedai Kopi Gedebab

Kedai Kopi Gedebab
Some of the menus served at Kedai Kopi Gedebab

Western food enthusiasts can give this cafe, which is just a walking distance from the Kuala Klawang Bus Station, a try. Some of the enticing menu items include chicken chop, chicken grill, lamb chop, chicken wings, and dishes like batang pinang (tenderloin) meat soup and buttermilk chicken spaghetti. The cafe also serves a variety of ice-blended options such as chocolate frappe, vanilla oreo, hazelnut, and mango.

Operating hours: 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Saturday to Thursday) / 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. (Sunday)
Address: No.16, Jalan Syed Abu Bakar, Kampung Jelebu Tengah, 71600 Kuala Klawang, Negeri Sembilan
Contact number: +6012 966 4471

Klawang’s Murals

One of the influencers, Mohammed Hafiz Shariff (@hafizbinshariff) poses with the murals near Cultural Museum

Right in the heart of Kuala Klawang town, travellers can capture photos with numerous three-dimensional murals scattered around it. One of them is right across the Cultural Museum, which is fascinating! This mural is like a snapshot of the local scene, with a splash of traditional food staples like dodol, lemang, and ketupat stealing the show.

Station 85

Station 85
Station 85’s satay is a must-try

One of the recommended dinner spots in Kuala Klawang is Station 85. While Western cuisine is popular here, Station 85’s satay is a must-try. The satay varieties include chicken, beef, bone, and lamb. Also on the menu are various delicious options such as fried noodles, mushroom soup, fried kuey teow, a selection of burgers, and more.

Operating hours: 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (Every day except Tuesday)
Address: 1A, Jalan Petaling, Kampung Mengkan, 71600 Kuala Klawang, Negeri Sembilan
Contact number: +6011 2130 3307

Salai Kayangan Jelebu

Salai Kayangan Jelebu
The palatable traditional menus at Salai Kayangan Jelebu

Just kicked off in February 2023, Salai Kayangan Jelebu, situated along the Kuala Klawang – Seremban Road, quickly gained fame for its oh-so-yummy masak lemak cili api smoked dishes. Apart from smoked chicken, duck, meat, and fish cooked in spicy yellow coconut milk gravy, the crowd-favourite here is siput sedut (mud creeper snail), especially during lunchtime.

Negeri Sembilan dishes are generally known for their spiciness, but the fare at Salai Kayangan Jelebu takes a different approach, not overly spicy so that its deliciousness can be enjoyed by folks of all ages and backgrounds.

Salai Kayangan Jelebu
The restaurant’s staff smoking the chicken

For its owner, Nur Azwanie Abdul Majid, a true-blue Jelebu native, the business she runs with her husband is special because they were among the first to bring smoked dishes into the spotlight in Jelebu. What’s more, they prepare the dishes using family recipes. Fun fact, the name ‘kayangan’ (which means heaven) comes from her old cendol gig back in the day in Jelebu.

Apart from masak lemak cili api, the eatery also offers a variety of other options, for instance chicken soup and ayam masak kicap (chicken cooked in sweet soy sauce), along with refreshing beverages and desserts like cendol and air batu campur (mixed ice).

Address: Kampung Batu Serambai, 71600 Kuala Klawang, Negeri Sembilan
Operation hours: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Everyday except Monday)
Contact number: +6016 332 8728

Nam Theng Kopitiam

Nam Theng Kopitiam
The front, quaint facade of Nam Theng Kopitiam

This laid-back kopitiam is a timeless spot loved by locals from all walks of life, no matter where they are from or what they believe in. Here, it is all about relishing good communal vibes besides the comforting beverages and comestibles because this is where locals come together to kick back and savour tasty breakfast.

Nam Theng Kopitiam
The hearty spread of menus available here

This 55-year-old kopitiam business is now being run by Chok Liang Kok, the second generation, who is still committed to continue dishing out joyous breakfast joy fare. Some of the popular choices include nasi lemak, roti canai, Hailam-style fried noodles, toasted bread, and more.

Address: 135, Jln Dato’ Moyang Salleh, Kampung Jelebu Tengah, 71600 Kuala Klawang, Negeri Sembilan
Operation hours: 6:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday) / 6:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Saturday & Sunday)
Contact number: +606 613 6969

Customs Museum

Customs Museum
A diorama showing a traditional wedding ceremony according to Adat Perpatih

This museum not only highlights the customs of Negeri Sembilan, but functions as a treasure trove of information on the customs and cultures of the diverse communities throughout Malaysia. It serves as a hub for researching, collecting, exhibiting, and disseminating knowledge and information on customs and cultures for the whole country.

Officially opened on February 2, 2008, the museum is a brainchild of Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim who served as the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Malaysia during that time. Establishing it in Negeri Sembilan was apt due to its moniker as Tanah Beradat (Land of Customs).

The museum consists of four exhibition spaces namely the Introduction of Customs Gallery, the Life Cycle Gallery, the Intellectual Tradition / Government and Power Gallery, and the Adat Perpatih Gallery. It showcases 258 exhibits comprising cultural artefacts related to the customs of various ethnic groups, categorised according to functions such as daily use, agriculture, ritual ceremonies, weddings, and more.

Operating hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Everyday)
Address: 196, Jalan Dato’ Ombi, Kampung Jelebu Tengah, 71600 Kuala Klawang, Negeri Sembilan

The Hooton Retreat

The Hooton Retreat
Dome Otus, one of the best-selling accommodations here

Not just a regular glamping spot, The Hooton Retreat goes above and beyond when giving travellers a truly meaningful experience, especially those who seek to stay close to nature but refuse to compromise on comfort. This property offers four types of accommodations: Villas, Dome Tyto, Dome Otus, and Bubo Cote, each possessing its own flair.

Beyond accommodations, The Hooton Retreat hooks travellers up with a full board package for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From our experience, the food here is top-notch, especially the tantalising Signature Banana Leaf Rice!

And that is not all; the property even has communal facilities that are perfect for chilling with loved ones, family, or friends such as ChillOwl Cafeteria, Campfire Teepee, barbecue pit, and restrooms.

If travellers were not sure what to do, just ask the staff for ideas because there are many activities available. Travellers can embark on jungle trekking to Bukit Batu Sawa or nearby waterfalls, do the flying fox, learn some picnicking hacks, brew coffee for The Jungle Barista session, or take a shot at archery. 

Address: Lot 2773, Jalan Kuala Klawang, Mukim Pertang, 72300 Kuala Klawang, Negeri Sembilan
Contact number: +6019 208 0633

Batu Sawa Hill

Standing at an elevation of 333.33 metres above sea level, climbing Batu Sawa Hill is one of the recreational activities worth doing when visiting Jelebu, especially in early morning to catch a glimpse of sunrise.

The ascent takes approximately 40 minutes, depending on one’s stamina. The journey leads through rubber plantations before traversing forest trails and reaching the summit. On a clear day, the view from here is truly lush and soothing. If you were lucky, you might witness the mesmerising phenomenon of a carpet of clouds!

For more information on Jelebu and Negeri Sembilan, visit Lembaga Pelancongan Negeri Sembilan’s Facebook Page.

Images by: Hasif Hamsyari / GAYA TRAVEL

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