Kuala Pilah is one of the main towns in Negri (as the locals call Negri Sembilan). It is a nice old valley town with many of the pre-war Chinese shophouses still fronting the main streets. This is one of the better places to savour Minangkabau food and there are a few Nasi Padang foodstalls that serve piping hot rice with a variety of savoury, spicy dishes you can choose from.
Kuala Pilah town itself is a main stopover for transport routes. It is made up of a sizeable Chinese community that have been around since the mining days during the early British rule.
The Sim Tong Chinese Temple is the oldest temple in town and is worth a visit if you have not been to one before. Behind the temple is a large hexagonal shaped market place with lots of food outlets selling local food from chicken rice to fresh water turtle soup. Turtle soup is a delicacy here. The slaughtering of these turtles is most horrid. This was once witnessed at a market some years ago where the vendor used a turtle, usually of the same sex to entice the chosen turtle to stick its head out of the shell. The sight of a rival aggravates the chosen turtle, it sticks its head out and locks its jaw on the other in a battle. The cook then chops off their heads with one fatal blow of the cleaver!
On the main road is a Chinese-styled arch dedicated to Martin Lister who was the first Resident of Negri Sembilan. If you have a chance to stay over, you have a choice to stay at the old Kuala Pilah resthouse. Although there have been some changes to the old government built resthouse, many English folk who had lived here during the British occupation return to these resthouses to rekindle fond memories of their days in Malaya. In the early years, resthouses were the only available motels and where everyone from businessmen to travellers stayed. The Kuala Pilah Resthouse whips up some pretty good seafood dishes and is a popular place with locals and out-of-towners.