|relaxing view of the Melaka River|
Malacca is a historical city included in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in Malaysia alongside Georgetown, Penang. It's Malay name is Melaka and is located on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula. The city center showcases unique history and culture gained from previous colonizations of Europeans such as Portuguese, Dutch and British.
|The "Red District"|
I want to give a very important note to travelers going on a day trip before I proceed, please BUY your return trip ticket as soon as you arrive. We did the exact opposite and on our way back to KL, all buses had their seats all sold out, since we came on a weekend and it was also a holiday. We had to do a re-route. Anyway, in the same bus station, you'd also be able to find the bus that will take you to Melaka Sentral.
After about half an hour, we alighted when we were already able to see the small city center with all the red painted buildings. We started taking pictures right away without actually knowing what we were seeing and what we were to do next as we didn't really had a plan at all. We went on a Sunday as we were planning to attend a mass, I read somewhere that most of the establishments are closed during Tuesdays so avoid going there on this day.
|The Queen Victoria Fountain that can be seen at the Dutch Square|
These very cool trishaws reminded me of Manila. They are almost just like our pedicabs but minus the paper mache decorations of flowers and all that stuff which some people might dig (but I don't). What I loved about them though were the hip funky music blasting on their stereos! It's almost like a party is happening... in mid daylight! We didn't ride them though as we still had enough energy to explore the place with our own feet but might have been an interesting ride especially for Westerners. They offer to tour you around for around 40-50 RM and these bad*ss rides are so cool to see during night as they are lighted and plays louder music!
|the uber colorful and radiant trishaws of Melaka|
The Dutch Square, or the "Red District" as how I would like to call it, is where you could see red buildings in Malacca. Ironically though, I later learned that the square did not have any Dutch influenced designs. It is said that the buildings used to be painted white during the Dutch regime but was changed to red during the British colonial rule as per the orders of the British governor that time.
This is the best point to start off our journey to the city as it enables us to see attractions like The Christ Church, Stadthuys, Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain, Tan Beng See Clock Tower in one go! There were also some stalls that sell food and some guys offering a chance to wear Baba-Nyonya or Peranakan clothing for 5 RM that we wanted to try though we eventually forgot to do.
|Christ Church, Melaka|
One of the major structures that will grab your attention when you go to Dutch Square is the Christ Church. It is said to be the oldest protestant in Malaysia and was constructed during 1753. We wanted to go inside but unfortunately, they were closed for the afternoon.
On the opposite side is the Red Clock Tower that was erected in 1886 in honor of a generous Chinese tycoon named Tan Beng Swee. It is also called the Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower.
|The Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower|
We had nothing at all, maps, names of tourist spots, nada. We just decided to follow where most of the tourists where heading, which lead us to the Tourist Information Center. Unfortunately, they were under renovations that time and was closed. Thanks to it though we noticed the Malacca Fort built during 15th century.
It was my first time to visit a former Dutch colony and was really ecstatic to have seen a Dutch-style windmill and a huge water wheel. Both were probably just replicas but I was unfazed. It was as close I could get to see structural icons closely associated with the Netherlands.
|a nice wall around Melaka|
We decided to head off to Jonker Street to look for good eateries as we haven't had any good meal yet at that time. We decided to eat on a small, not-so-crowded restaurant to sample our host's recommended food, which was the chicken rice ball. Jonker Street is mostly residential and also features lots of good cafes and restaurants.
We somehow ended up going to Cheng Ho Cultural Museum. There were some displays that catched our attention so we decided to go inside. There were displays of antique Chinese items such as furnitures and vases that were up for sale, I think. They have a separate display that one can enter for 20 RM.
|display at the entrance to Cheng Ho Cultural Museum|
It came to a point where we got tired of wandering aimlessly and consulted the notes our host gave us. She recommended the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum and The Baboon House so we set off to find where it was located by asking locals.
|reminds me of China's Terracotta warriors|
|a map (which I didn't find to be useful though)|
I wasn't really in the mood to see a museum since I'm not the museum-type kind of person but my friend insisted that we do. I thought the entrance fee of 12 RM was not bad though I was a bit disappointed to know that it was prohibited to take pictures. We came just in time for the last guided tour and we happily joined the rest of the group to see why this spot is one of the most recommended places when touring Malacca.
|exteriors of the Baba and Nyonya Peranakan Heritage Museum|
The Baba and Nyonya Peranakan Heritage Museum displays the local history of the Baba-Nyonyas. The Baba-Nyonyas are Chinese settlers who have migrated to Malaysia and have since then lived a unique and interesting combination of Chinese and Malay culture. This particular museum gave us a peek to Peranakan culture and showcased different aspects of the Baba Nyonya way of living. This used to be a house which was later on converted as a museum so it's like entering a friend's home and the mother touring you around. Be sure to go with the tour group as the hostess that conducts the tour is so knowledgeable about the house and Baba/Nyonya culture.
|picture courtesy of The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum|
|picture courtesy of The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum|
|full of colors!|
|a beautiful mansion that seems to be unattended|
|would have love to restore this old neglected house|
|the unique Melakan brown sugar|
It was almost past 5 when we opted to go back to that big ship we saw on our walking tour. We forgot the directions on where we came from so we hailed a cab to take us there. On our way, we passed by "Harmony Street" that is called so because of the temples from different religions such as Buddhism - Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Muslim and Hinduism - Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple. I was only able to notice Kamplung Kling Mosque though, a reminder of the Kling Indians who once lived in Melaka. The pagoda-like form of the mosque was quite peculiar as it was my first time to see something of this form.
|Kampung Kling Mosque|
|Malaccan roads and buildings|
We asked to be dropped off first at the opposite side of the "big ship" and we discovered that it was a market called Medan Samudera. Inside we were able to find tons of souvenir items, local handicrafts and even small eateries.
|Medan Samudera and some trishaws|
|you can also buy your standard pasalubong items here!|
We started to proceed to that big ship that one will not fail to notice while moving around the city. It was surprising to know that this is actually a museum. Muzium Samudera or Maritime Museum is actually housed in a replica of the former Portuguese ship called "Flor De La Mar" that was used centuries ago to carry vast amount of treasure from Melaka to Portugal. We decided to see what's inside and the 3 RM entrance fee made it irresistable for us to say no. The museum was also just situated near the Melaka river that gave us nice views during sunset.
|Malacca Maritime Museum|
|diorama of Malaysian traders during Portugues Galleon Trade|
The museum does not just focus on ship-related trivias but more of Melaka's history. We were able to know about how Melaka came to be a colonized by the Europeans. The paintings and life-sized statues made it easier for us to digest everything in. There were also tons of interesting displays of ship models and coins and many other more artifacts that kids will surely enjoy.
|old coin displays|
|cool ship models!|
It was already 8 PM and the sun was just setting down! We wanted to see the night scene in Malacca as I have heard it is absolutely pretty especially the views from the Malacca River. We ended up taking pictures of ourselves just to kill time. Yes, we all have those vanity moments, don't we? The loud music from the trishaws weren't helping either. They got local Malay music to Backstreet Boys to Ne-yo. That sure was one weird playlist.
|the museum overlooking Melaka River, time for photo shoot! haha|
To see the Melaka River during the night was the last point that completed our one day itinerary to Malacca. It really brings out a different vibe into the place, how I wished I still had enough money to take the cruise. It would have been lovely to do during this time of the day.
|The cruise at Melaka river during night surely sounds like a good idea!|
|looks romantic, doesn't it?!|
The night views of the Red District was also lovely. The whole place was lit up (like Christmas in the Philippines) and I was reminded of the night scene at Merdeka Square. We felt famished by the end of this tour that we decided to grab a last bite before we head back for KL.
|The Dutch Square during night|
|a small windmill that I saw up close|
I guess we really came on the right time as there was a night weekend market happening in Jonker Street that weekend. After dinner, we checked out the stalls around the area hoping to score some bargains. After a couple of minutes, it started to rain that also signaled the shop owners to close down (or maybe it was really closing time already?) We immediately looked for a cab that would take us to the Bus Terminal station. I felt like I've seen what I came to see at Melaka but I wanted to do more.
|the night scene at Jonker Street|
|the night crowd at Jonker street market|
|people busy looking at different phone cases and other cute souvenirs|
On another note, I really felt bad for the taxi drivers because we were negotiating the taxi fare for only 15 RM (which they agreed upon last minutes of haggling), but we ended up paying more of what was expected, I think we gave him 20-25 RM because the distance from Melacca to the terminal was really far. As I have mentioned earlier, we didn't book a return trip ticket for KL and we ended up missing the last bus to KL Sentral. And so I thought up of this plan of just buying a bus ticket to the airport (that costs twice as much) and from there taking a bus to KL Sentral because we didn't want to sleep at the bus station. Nevertheless, it was one hell of an experience and I have mustered up new skills on negotiating with bus operators and drivers. ;)
|the only thing I bought at Jonker street night market|
Malacca was a whole different experience for us and it was like being in Malaysia, but not really in Malaysia (haha I confuse myself sometimes). I felt like I was in Europe, but still seeing a lot of Malaysia and Asia around me. I extremely adored the Melakan food (that I will share on another post) and also the relaxed vibe of the place. It was absolutely a new adventure for us and I would love to come back here again with my family! I really recommend Malacca for people looking for a tour outside of Kuala Lumpur that is surely worth their time. It certainly deserves a day or two of your visit to Malaysia!
|Christmasy lights at Melaka River|