I asked the boy if we needed a Touch and Go card and he said no. We ended up having to get one in the end, as most toll stations do not accept cash payment. It cost us RM20 with a RM10 value which I thought was ridiculous. The first toll is at the Singapore checkpoint and cost us S$3.20 (the same charge applies when you re-enter Singapore), followed by four more tolls on the way to Malacca which cost us approximately RM16 in total. The first three tolls were within the first half-hour, and the last toll just before we entered Malacca. The return journey cost us approximately RM58 in total.
We left our home at 7am on a weekday and there were less than 10 cars ahead of us at the checkpoint. There was no traffic jam after the Checkpoint, and although the maximum speed limit is 110/hour, we travelled at 130km/hour for more than half the journey when we saw all the other cars zooming past us. The best way to drive is to stay on the innermost lane, and when you notice the car behind catching up on you, switch one lane to the left to let it pass. At the speed we were going, it took us just two hours to reach Malacca once we were through the Tuas checkpoint.
Once you are on the Malaysian highway, go straight all the way until the highway splits into two, towards KL/Melaka on the left, and towards JB on the right. It is a bit tricky to find the town centre, but once you see the sign below, it's time to enjoy!
We parked on Jonker Street and went to the various attractions on foot, since they were mostly within walking distance from each other. There are parking lots along the street, and you can get individual parking coupons from some of the shops there. These coupons will cost you RM0.10 more than if you buy them by the booklet, but parking is so incredibly cheap we didn't mind.
Our first stop was Dutch Square, where the Christ Church Melaka, and a day market was. You could park for a couple of minutes by the side of the day market, but it is preferable to get a permanent lot at Jonker Street and walk the ten minutes there. Since it was our first time to Malacca, we stopped at Christ Church first, as we had no idea where we could park, or how far the attractions were from each other.
(Christ Church was built in 1953 to commemorate 100 years of Dutch occupation in Malacca, and no expense was spared. Each ceiling beam was cut from a single tree, and the pews were elaborately hand carved.)
Once we found a parking lot at Jonker Street though, we decided to head for the popular Assam Laksa at Jonker 88. Jonker Street isn't very big, so just walk around the area to discover other yummy food like Chicken Rice Balls.
I had my fave assam laksa and the boy had the normal laska. The ingredients were similar for both, except that the boy had a hard boiled egg in his laksa, and I had sardines in mine. Unlike the assam laksa in Singapore, this one had yong tau foo and prawns in it. The sardine also came in huge chunks instead of being finely mashed and distributed throughout the soup, which is equally sour and spicy.
The noodles are larger and chewier than the Singapore version, similar to Mee Tai Mak.
After our breakfast, we headed back in the direction of Christ Church and saw policemen on horses. Horses in the city, that's a first for me!
Up a little hill you will find the ruins of St Paul's Church, which to me, is the most beautiful sight in Malacca even if the walls are moldy and the place smells sourish. There are stone tablets with inscriptions, tombstones and exhumed graves, and the walls are beautifully weathered. Inside, you'll find artists displaying their sketches and paintings on makeshift tables in the hope of selling a piece or two.
Through the church and down two flights of stairs, you'll get to A'Famosa. Or what's left of it. You can see Mahkota Parade (the orange building in the first picture below) and Dataran Pahlawan (the grey building in the second picture) in the distance. Well, I did say that almost everything is within walking distance :)
The Porta de Santiago, one of the gates to A'Famosa, is the only thing that's left of the fortress built by the Portugese and later destroyed by the Bristish. Saved no less by the founder of modern Singapore.
After loitering in the afternoon heat trying to get some decent shots, we headed for the malls, some air-conditioning, and a nice cold mug of root beer float.
The float whetted our appetite for more food and we headed over to Nadeje Patisserie Cafe at Mahkota Parade to try their famous mille crepes.
I chose the rum and raisin mille crepe and the boy had the green tea mille crepe. They cost approximately RM8 and are basically made up of flavoured cream sandwiched between many layers of crepe. I liked feeling the layers seperate as I chewed on mine. You can find something similar at Cathay cinemas by the way.
We did not get to experience the bustle of the Jonker Street night market since we went there on a weekday. In fact most of the shops were closed during the day, and we learnt that many food stalls wrap up before noon or whenever the pre-prepared food for the day is completely sold out.
Rows of old shophouses. Not so Chinatown or Arab Street back home.
Beautiful Peranakan tiles. I want these for my new home!
We had our final meal at Tames Cafe which serves authentic Peranakan food. It is located near the entrance to Jonker Street.
The food was pretty good though not cheap at all. We ordered only two dishes as I was starting to get a terrible migraine from the heat, and even then, I only managed to eat the chap chye and the poor boy had to finish almost all the Babi Ponteh.
The chap chye tasted more like my own home-cooked version (with the strong taste of fermented soy beans) than those you get at the hawker centres in Singapore.
Would I visit Malacca again? Probably not, considering the five-hour drive to and fro. The food we tried was good, but not spectacular, and the two malls, though relatively huge with many shops selling items cheaper than in Singapore, didn't have anything moderately interesting. You can find Etude House and The Faceshop there though.
As we wanted to leave Malacca before it got dark, we did not have enough time to visit the Johor Premium Outlet on the same day, but it is along the same route, Exit 304, and a mere half-hour drive from the Causeway. We'll save it for a boring weekend :)
And what's a holiday without a souvenir to remember it by.