Malacca City is a place where I used to call home for a least 5 years. I was there for my tertiary education from mid 2000 to mid 2005. Since then I moved to Kuala Lumpur for employment opportunity, before decided to relocate back to Kuching. Since returning to Kuching, I never had a chance to visit the Historic City. I’ve been longing for a visit, especially it being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with George Town of Penang on 7 July 2008.
This time, I saw a great opportunity to plan a visit, as it’s a public holiday on May 1. It’s easier to plan a trip with my friends who are based in Kuala Lumpur to join the trip. Usually, I wouldn’t choose to drive to Malacca during public holiday. But, I don’t have much choice this time.
We set off from Kuala Lumpur near 11am. It is quite late already, not a good time to head to Malacca, especially on a Public Holiday. With Singapore also sharing the same public holiday on May 1, you will be expecting a lot of traffic coming from Singapore. Malacca city is one of the favorite destination for Singaporeans for weekend holidays.
The traffic was smooth almost all the way. We slowed down a bit when we were drove through Seremban, but just as when we thought we’ll be through all the way to the heart of Malacca city. We’re stuck at a long queue right at the entrance to Ayer Keroh toll. It was really crazy! It took us 15 minutes to clear a mere 500m!
After spending our last four hours on road, our lunch was long overdue. We were already hungry, but we couldn’t go anywhere being stuck in the middle of nowhere. First thing we after we cleared the traffic, was to grab for a quick bite. We drove straight to Batu Berendam for lunch. We used to go there a lot during our time in university, but because it was public holiday. A lot of shops were closed that day. Without much choice left to choose from, we just stop over the nearest shop, and ordered chicken rice. It wasn’t too bad. Chicken rice for three, with 3 drinks, cost us MYR 18.60.
Lunch, settled. Next, walk down the memory lane.
I then went off to my old uni at Bukit Beruang, just some ten minutes drive away from Batu Berendam. We rounded the surroundings of the university, before making entry into the campus. My friend let me drive around in Malacca, after his grueling four-hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. So I took over the driver’s seat, and head straight to Bukit Beruang. First stop for me, was straight to the house we rented. We made a quick round at area. The mamak, and the stalls have changed quite a bit. There are some new additions that area, new housing areas, new condo, new shop lot.
All seemed good. I didn’t stop over to take photos. I didn’t want to waste too much time there, we have more places to go in the town area! Then, I drove into the campus.
I wish I could do a thorough tour that time, but due to time constraint, I couldn’t. I did not want to keep my friends waiting for too long too. Multimedia University Malacca campus doesn’t have large compound if compared to their Cyberjaya counterpart. It is so much smaller . Formerly known as Telekom University, the university was initially a training institute for Malaysia’s largest telecommunication provider TM. They decided to turn the institute into a university in 1996.
After the short tour, it was nice to pay my old university a visit. But at the same time, it’s sad to see how it is lacking maintenance in a lot of areas! I wonder what the management has been up to since then. For those of you didn’t know, I graduated with a major in IT Management. And yes, I am no longer in the IT industry now. However, I feel that it’s good for me to have both the knowledge and experience, academically and professionally, in the IT industry. They still help me a lot even though I have moved on to other industry now.
Next stop, the city area. I was thrilled to find out how the city has transformed, especially since being listed as one of the World Heritage City. And since I was the driver, there was no photo taken along the road. Judging from what I saw along the way, there was not much changes there. The only notable change comes only when we arrived at the city centre.
The thing about the billboard is that the language used for the billboards around Malacca is primarily in Malay language. Even for brands like BMW, they’ve got to use Malay language as the primary language in the advertisement, and have to carry English as the secondary language. I personally find it weird, as most of the billboards or advertisement I see here in Kuching are mostly in English. I only notice this when I came back from the trip. I didn’t know that when I was there physically.
When we were at the Stadthuys, it was almost 6:30pm already. The traffic there was not friendly at all. I had to wrestle through my way to get to Mahkota Parade. Mahkota Parade hasn’t changed much, probably went through minor renovation with the interiors. The major change is the structure standing right across the road, opposite of Mahkota Parade. What used to be an open field, is now a large piece of commercial area, holding a host of retail outlets. That place is known as Dahtaran Pahlawan, literally Hero’s Square.
Dataran Pahlawan is a great place to hang out especially during the evening. Geographically, it’s not far from the sea, in fact, we were almost like a stone’s throw away from the Straits of Malacca. The lighting at that time was really nice and soft. I reckon that place is a common hunting ground for local shutterbugs, no?
Sadly I didn’t have much time, we were there for less than half an hour, as we had to muscle our way through for dinner.
We were undecided between Baba & Nyonya food and the famous Ikan Bakar at the Portuguese settlement at Ujong Pasir. Decision still has to come no matter how undecided we were. To the Portuguese Settlement we go.
Portuguese Settlement is located at Jalan Dalbuquerque, Ujong Pasir. Portuguese settlement is a unique place where it houses the Kristang community. It is about 5km from Malacca City. The Kristang are a Malaysian enthnic group with mixed Portuguese and Malay or for some possibly Indian or Chinese ancestry, which arose during the Portuguese colonial period. During Christmas celebration, the community here will decorate their residence beautifully, and have their houses open for visit. This little small area comes alive with lights during Christmas. It’s worthy to pay them a visit if you’re in town for Christmas!
Coming to the Portuguese Settlement for Seafood dinner on Labour’s Day isn’t a wise choice. The places was crowded! Almost all the stalls were full house! We were then diverted to one of the stalls, which they claimed is operated by the uncle. Three of us, hungry, and we were not really near our second choice. We couldn’t bother much.
We placed our order: Fried Lala, Steamed Prawn, Grilled Fish (with Sambal), Fried Squid with dry curry, and Fried Mixed Vegetable. These five dishes for three cost MYR 79.00. Well, to me, I thought it didn’t worth that value. Coming all the way from Kuching, I thought the food wasn’t really special. I could have ordered better ones here in Kuching. The Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish) wasn’t too bad, the sambal was pretty good. It’s not extremely spicy, but it has enough spices to tinkle your taste buds. To me, if it’s too hot or spicy, it will definitely kill the food, as spices usually numb your taste buds. My only complain for the dish is that the fish was too small. we didn’t have enough. It’s probably wrong choice of fish for the dish. I couldn’t tell what kind of fish they used, but it’s definitely stingray. Usually, they would opt for stingray for Ikan Bakar.
We were told about the Lala when we placed the order, they told us the Lala they had that day was pretty small. And when they served the dish, it was really small. We couldn’t really get much from the dish. Disappointment! Next complain would be the Fried Squid with dry curry. I thought it was pretty awful! I could still taste the curry powder in the gravy. It wasn’t nice at all.
By the time we’re done with dinner, it was around 10pm. Just enough time for one more stop before we head back to Kuala Lumpur.
How can be a visit to Malacca be complete without stopping over at Jonker’s Walk?
Jonker Walk houses Malacca’s traditional Chinatown, that exhibits Peranakan architecture. The street comes alive at night every Friday to Sunday nights. You could say that it’s like the night market, but it’s somewhat different. You get to find trendy items, souvenirs, and even rare, and old items in this street. I still remember there used to be a stall where they sell old, antique items, such as old audio records, old CDs, ancient coins and etc. They also have the Baba/Nyonya Cendol here, but for some reason, I couldn’t find the shop this time.
Jonker Walk also houses one of my favorite chill out places — The Geographer Café and Ringo Classic Café. Geographer Café was used as one of the filming location for a HK production film some 10 years ago. And my last visit to Ringo Classic Café was awesome. I think the café owner was there to sing some of the classic songs, I can’t recall which songs he sang, but it was definitely good! Again, there wasn’t enough time for me to go to all these places with details. It was rushing for me. All I could do was to hop around from one place to another.
We exit Malacca around midnight, and arrived Kuala Lumpur past 2am. It has been a long day for all of us. It was nice to be back in Malacca, despite it being a short visit. I definitely want to go back for a longer stay, and document the Historic city with more details. I missed out on few of the new iconic buildings, such as the Malacca Straits Mosque, an interesting piece of architectural design, and not to mention the Peranakan architecture in the city.
Until my next trip, I will definitely return for more. Same goes for Penang, the other World Heritage City.
I am ending this entry with a recap on my choice of equipments used during this trip. All images were taken on my EOS 50D, with the following lenses: Canon EF 50mm 1.8 II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L, Canon EF 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM and Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8. Flash used: Canon Speedlite 580EX. Most of the images taken were shot into Medium JPEG.