I have heard so much about Melaka, with all the grand colonial architecture and delicious foods. I have always wanted to visit Melaka but I never really got the chance.
The weekend was approaching and my mother wanted to go on a weekend getaway that is not too far away. I suggested Melaka and she was all for it.
Most Singaporeans would have either taken an overnight coach or a flight, but as we were going just after a public holiday and we wanted to avoid the crowd. We decided to stay a night in Johor Bahru before continuing our journey to Melaka.
Day 1 – Singapore to Johor Bahru
We took an evening bus into Johor Bahru from Kranji MRT station and got a cab to our accommodation for the night.
Kozi Hotel is really more of a no-frill motel in Danga Bay Jalan. We chose this place for its cheap price and proximity to JB Larkin Terminal where we are supposed to take the bus to Melaka.
The next morning, we had breakfast at Tea Garden which serves a good variety of local breakfast items such as toast and sandwiches, their signature nasi lemak, chee cheong fun, malaysian noodles and rice porridge.
After a scrumptious breakfast, my mother and I went to a shopping mall just across the street for a spot of shopping. We took a cab to Larkin Terminal and had a simple lunch. I have pre-booked our bus tickets online at BusOnlineTicket and I simply had to collect our bus tickets at the respective counter.
The bus ride from Johor Bahru to Melaka took around 3 hours. The bus was clean and air-conditioned, the 3 hours passed by quickly as we napped, chatted and watched the scenery go by.
We took a cab to Bayview Hotel, and checked in. After resting a little, we walked to Melaka’s famous Jonker Street . My original plan was to have dinner at Amy Heritage Nonya Cuisine, but as it was too popular and the restaurant was flooded with people, we were told that the food will take at least 25 minutes to be served. We were too hungry to wait, so decided to have dinner elsewhere.
Jonker Walk, the pedestrian-only part of Jonker Street, transforms into a lively night market when night falls with live performances at the central stage. There are rows of food stalls selling all the delights of Melaka. We walked and bought whatever caught our fancy till our bellies nearly exploded.
I like that Bayview Hotel is located around 10 minutes from Jonker Street, giving us the chance to burn off the calories from all the eating and admire Melaka’s night view.
Day 2 – Exploring Melaka’s Cultural Sites
We started the day early by having breakfast at a local coffeeshop called Kedai Minuman Siang Chiang which was packed with locals. We had a simple breakfast of kaya toast with eggs and coffee/milo and shared a packet of mee siam.
We spent the rest of the morning visiting the statue of Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leong (he won the titles of “Mr. Universe, “Mr. Asia”, “Mr. Malaysia” and “Mr. Melaka” as a bodybuilder), Kampong Kling Mosque, Eng Choon Association, Chee Ancestral Mansion, Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum and Cocoa Heritage. We didn’t go into the museums but we did explore the Malaqa House, a free-to-enter museum filled with old photographs, artefacts and furniture.
We stopped for a snack at Poh Piah Lwee which is famous on Tripadvisor for its popiah and nonya dumpling.
We crossed the Sungei Melaka and arrived at the Craft Centre. The Craft Centre is a dimly-lit old building filled with rows of small shops selling a variety of souvenirs and snacks. The Craft Centre is a good place to get some craft souvenirs but I feel it is too commercialised so do put your haggling skills to good use.
There are trishaw uncles who will take you on a roundabout tour to Maritme Museum, A Famosa, The Stadthuys, Christ Church Melaka and St. Paul’s Church for around MYR$40. The rate is normally for two persons. Make sure you agree on the price and what the tour covers before hopping into the trishaw. The trishaws are stylishly decorated with flowers and stuff toys, featuring cartoon characters like Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Doraemon with blaring pop music. The above-mentioned sites are all within walking distance of each other, but taking a tour on a trishaw is an experience in itself and you are helping families in Melaka by doing so (giving trishaw rides are many of these trishaw uncles’ only source of income to support their families as they are too old to work elsewhere). You can even hire a carriage pulled by real horses for around MYR$200.
We had our lunch at Dragon-I and continued on our way to Jonker Walk. We visited the famous San Shu Gong which was packed with tourists buying snacks. We tried the famous Durian Cendol at Lao Lian Ice Cafe and Famosa Chicken Rice Ball.
We had dinner at Nancy’s Kitchen, which is a really famous peranakan restaurant in Melaka. Try to make a reservation in advance if you can, if not you probably have to wait for at least an hour, but the food is well-worth the wait.
Day 3 – Melaka Straits Mosque
We had our luggage packed the night before and we checked out in of the early in the morning. We took a cab to Holiday Inn where our bus will pick us up at noon and we had a lovely breakfast buffet at Straits Restaurant.
We had a little time on our hands and I really wanted to visit the The Melaka Straits Mosque so we took a cab there. This is the grandest mosque I have seen so far and I was allowed to go inside after removing my shoes and donning a long full-sleeved robe and a hijab (you can borrow one from the closet outside the toilet for free). It is such an experience being in such a beautiful mosque.
Apparently, there are 13 things to do in historic Melaka. How many have you done?
This is the Melaka Tourist Map that I got at the Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal. It gives a short description and location on map of 16 must-visit sites in Melaka.