The impressive Istana Lama, a black hardwood palace, was completed in 1908 as a temporary replacement for an even older palace that was razed by British soldiers during the Bukit Putus War. When we passed through, long-standing renovation work was in full swing (and due to finish in 2020), but visitors could tour the grounds and the outside of the palace.
Note the ornate, gilt eaves and the roof, assembled using a traditional method known as lipatan gunting (folding scissor) technique.
Arranged over four floors, with long galleries, and a distinctive gabled tower in the centre, the palace was fashioned without the use of metal nails. It’s elevated on 99 pillars, many of them carved with foliated designs, with each post said to represent one of the legendary 99 luak (clan) warriors of Negeri Sembilan. Climb to the top floor for views over the gardens.
Inside are displayed the king and queen’s bedchambers, the children’s playroom, a large dining room and huge dining table, as well as kris weaponry and royal regalia.
It's located straight across the main roundabout as you drive west along Sri Menanti's main road.