It was a quick stopover, a little more than twenty four hours before we head out to our next destination. It was a breather from our hectic itinerary and with no fixed plans (well, what’s new?), we headed to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Melaka.
Fresh from our Bali and Yogyakarta adventures, we arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 at around noontime and headed straight to the ground level where the city and provincial busses were stationed. We booked a 4:15 p.m.Transnasional bus that will bring us to our destination (Melaka Sentral and Mahkota Medical Center are the drop off points, the latter is within the city itself; They have fixed schedules starting from 12:15 a.m. to 9:15 p.m.). We paid 24.30 Ringgits each (US$ 6.40) and
snoozed rested on our comfy
The 130 km. smooth bus ride lasted for two hours. We arrived at Mahkota Medical Center and walked our way to our home in Melaka. We immediately checked in at Hotel Imperial Heritage Melaka and after we settled, we met up with Fiona, our newfound friend based in Melaka who brought us to our dinner place, the Ban Lee Siang, for a nice Satay Celup (I will devote a separate post about food in Melaka).
Afterwards, she drove us to the Spice Garden where one of the docking areas of the Melaka River Cruise was located. It was a lovely idea, cruising, but I was thinking, why would we set sail at night? Halfhearted, we paid 15 Ringgits each (US$ 4) and waited for other passengers to arrive. The boat can fit in forty persons but needed at least eight for the tour to start.
|On board the Melaka River Cruise|
And then we sailed off. At first, it felt like we were a group of students on a magical river cruise with the colorful lights and stuff but as we progressed, and as we intentionally listened to the voice prompt guide, I got a grip of the nice historical facts about Melaka.
It was a nice 40-minute boat ride experience and I couldn’t thank Fiona enough for suggesting it. It was the perfect way to have a quick overview of the city. It would’ve been perfect though if we did the cruise at sunset, but then, we had limited time.
The next day was crazy. We wanted to stroll as smooth as possible, but the thought of leaving town before sundown made it quite stressful. So we decided to just go with the flow and let our feet decide on where to go and what to do.
Fiona collected us from our hotel and brought us to Kedai Kopi Chung Hwa to try out their famed Chicken Rice Ball (don’t fret, I’ll write about it on my next post). Afterwards, she dropped us off at Jonker Street, the famous, well, walking (but not walking) street of Melaka.
The 500-meter long street was empty when we arrived; at nine in the morning, the day was just starting. It is the center of Melaka’s Chinatown district and the once inhabited houses are now transformed into shops, boutiques, galleries, and more. There were still some structures that looked like residential spaces, but as Fiona told us, who would want to live on a crazy tourist-flocked street like this.
We went further and found ourselves on the quiet parallel street of Heeren where everything seemed to be the opposite of Jonker. The structures appeared to be be a lot less commercialized and you could take a leisurely walk without bumping into warm bods and getting honked upon. I loved Heeren much more than Jonker. I hate crowded places (grouchy me).
Situated along Jalan Tokong, Cheng Hoon Teng is a Chinese temple that was founded in the 1600s. It is quite unique for it practices the Three Doctrinal Systems of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. It's also considered as the oldest functioning temple in Malaysia. No entrance fee was collected during our visit.
|Cheng Hoon Teng|
Next was the Masjid Kampung Kling along Jalan Tukang Emas. Again, we paid no entrance fee and were aware beforehand of the etiquettes when visiting asuch a place. Built in 1872, it is one of the oldest mosques in Melaka.
|Masjid Kampung Kling|
We went further and passed by some galleries, museums, old bastions, and other interesting structures until we reached the famed Melaka Dutch Square.
|Malaysia Architecture Museum|
|Melaka Merdeka Memorial|
|A Famosa Portuguese Fort|
|Dutch Middleburg Bastion|
Brick red; it’s as if someone from the heavens mistakenly dropped a huge bucket of paint in brick red. The Melaka Dutch Square is uniquely in monotone, except for the fountain in the middle of it all.
This small parcel of land in the middle of a crossroad is bordered by the Christ Church (oldest Protestant church in Malaysia), the Youth Museum and Art Gallery, the Tang Bee Swee Clocktower and the Stadthuys (town hall). The Dutch obtained Melaka from the Portuguese and used it as their trading point for spices and stuff.
|Queen Victoria's Fountain|
|Melaka Clock Tower|
Before, everything was built from bricks, and then they painted it in white. The British then came and changed it to red, but the Malays transformed everything in its current state-or color-thus, becoming its identity. Whew, too much drama on colors eh?
|Brick Red everywhere|
Hundreds of people, taking their selfie sticks with them everywhere, were looking for the perfect spot to click those shutters. Tents lined the square selling some knickknacks and what-nots (all the tents were uniformly colored, and yes, in brick red). Dozens of embellished pedal-powered tricycles were waiting for willing passengers.
With all that’s happening around, me and my buddy found refuge inside the Christ Church where we saw some two or three ladies selling something with their table and stuff. So you thought you can escape them, eh?
|The view from Christ Church|
We went beyond the Melaka Dutch Square to find a much quieter place to spend our remaining hours left in the city. We just wanted to chill, prolly glug a beer or two. And then we found peace on the riverside. We were there for an hour or so.
We walked along the riverside pathway and found the perfect spot we're looking for. Stillness. Happiness.