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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Malacca Day Trip (马六甲一日游)

I had wanted to go to Malacca for some time, but the boy was worried about driving into Malaysia in our small little car. Until a pump attendant said that it was safe precisely because of this. Lol.

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!

Malacca Day Trip

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.

Malacca Day Trip

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.)

Malacca Day Trip

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.

Malacca Day Trip

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.

 Malacca Day Trip

Malacca Day Trip

The noodles are larger and chewier than the Singapore version, similar to Mee Tai Mak.

Malacca Day Trip

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!

Malacca Day Trip
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.

Malacca Day Trip

Malacca Day Trip

Malacca Day Trip

Malacca Day Trip

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 :)

Malacca Day Trip

Malacca Day Trip

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.

Malacca Day Trip

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.

Malacca Day Trip

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.

Malacca Day Trip

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.

Malacca Day Trip

Malacca Day Trip

The boy had a cranberry calpis, and I had a peach calpis soda :).

Malacca Day Trip

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.

Malacca Day Trip

Rows of old shophouses. Not so Chinatown or Arab Street back home.

Malacca Day Trip

Beautiful Peranakan tiles. I want these for my new home!

Malacca Day Trip

Malacca Day Trip

We had our final meal at Tames Cafe which serves authentic Peranakan food. It is located near the entrance to Jonker Street.

Malacca Day Trip

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.

Malacca Day Trip

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.

Malacca Day Trip

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.




2 comments:

Rurousha said...

I was going (@_@) throughout this post, because Malacca is the giddiest collection of cultures I've read about in a long time!

Thanks for this very nice armchair trip!

PS: Jonker Street? There's a Jonkershoek (Jonker's Corner) in Stellenbosch, the (originally Dutch) town were I lived in South Africa. :)

chloe.poppy said...

I bugged the boy to bring me there mainly because I wanted to see and taste Peranakan stuff. There is a Peranakan Museum there, as well as a couple more places we didn't visit because of the lack of time.

Giddiest collection of cultures? Perhaps I am immune to it since I'm living in Singapore. Lol. But this trip did force me to become familiar with the history of Malacca :)

And there's a Chinatown in South Africa too. isn't there?