Saturday, October 8, 2011

Malacca Trip Day 1

We revisited Melaka (Malacca in Malay Language) in August 2011. We had visited this city of heritage many times. But, that was our second visit after the city has been listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2008, 608 years after Parameswara found the old Malay entrepot. We started our journey from Kajang, Selangor at 9 am and took one hour and thirty minutes to reach Air Keroh Toll.

Our complete itinerary, the first day starting at 10:30 am- Melaka Zoo, hotel check in and then, lunch at Pahlawan Square followed by Melaka Philately Museum. At night, shopping and dinner at Jonker Street night market. The second day- Sultanate Palace Museum, Hainan Chicken Rice for lunch, searching for snacks and chendol at Jonker Street, followed by Melaka River Cruise at 2 pm. Then, Melaka History and Ethnography Museum in Stadthuys and A' Famosa. Later, we dined and went for a movie at Pahlawan Square. The third day- Taming Sari Tower ride and shopping at Pahlawan Square before departed home around 2:30 pm.

Photo taken in front of the Stadthuys (right). Surrounded by the Christ Church Melaka and the clock tower, the square in front of the Stadthuys is one of the most visited area in Bandar Hilir (Heritage Area).

We decided to visit Melaka Zoo first, which is located less than 2 km from the toll. We had visited the zoo before (at least four times). We didn't expect any element of surprise. We just wish to see our "old friends" over there. Some of them- capybara which LS once mistakenly thought that they were wombats, Bengal tigers in big and nicely landscaped exhibits, the strong looking seladangs, and the shady aviaries. The zoo was well-maintained, like old time, with a plus of new species.The zoo is the second largest zoo in Malaysia, after the National Zoological Park with around 1500 animals from 200 species.

The same old familiar entrance of Melaka Zoo (upper left). Our photo at the reception area of the zoo (upper right). The tram service (lower left) and most of the food outlets were close during our visit because of Ramadhan.

Some of the animals available in Melaka Zoo. Name them if you can :)

Tigers exhibits are really nicely landscaped, like a 5 stars hotel.

As we were visiting during Ramadhan, most of the food stalls were closed, the tram service was temporally off, and moreover, it was showering. However, we still had an enjoyable time there. We spent almost 3 hours in the zoo. Before we left, the workers there friendly reminded us that for the first time the zoo would launch the night safari on the next day and invited us to come again. Our really hoped that we were there, but exhaustion on the following day drew us away.

The zoo opens 9 am - 6 pm daily, with the entrance fees of RM 7 for adult and RM 4 for child. The night safari opens only on Friday, Saturday, and the eve of Public Holidays. The entrance fees are RM 10 per adult and RM 5 per child. The opening hour of night safari is 8- 11 pm. The zoo is located around 13 km from the city centre. Our advice is, visit the zoo first once you enter the toll, or keep it to the last on your way back. By doing that, you can save a total of 26 km of journey with heavy traffic.

The zoo is clean, but mosquito is still the uninvited pest. To avoid the unpleasant bites, long sleeves or mosquito repellent is necessary. Shoes offer better comfort for the long walk, and for the sandy paths and slippery slopes. There is a six-storey observatory tower beside the safari, looks battered and old, but it is still safe and guarantees a nice scenery to those who are willing to labour their muscles. Umbrella is needed for the rain, not for the sun, as the zoo is well shaded by shrubs and trees.

Panoramic view six storeys above the ground. We can see the giraffes in the safari (lower middle). Green view is good for mind and body. You can see the dark clouds of the rainy morning. However, we got our umbrella with us :-)

The observatory tower.

We learned about the traffic in Melaka in the hard way before. So, we decided to stay in the hotel nearby the heritage area (Bandar Hilir), where we could park our car there, while roam around by foot. Fenix was our choice. Located just opposite of Pahlawan Square, it is really a strategic place to stay. 5 minutes walk to A' Famosa, 10 minutes to Stadthuys (town hall in old Dutch), and 15 minutes from Jonker Street. The hotel was newly renovated, the staff, friendly and helpful. Plus, private parking with free jockey service, and RM 160 per night. However, there were no breakfast and wifi.

Pahlawan Square was our first stop, a brief stop to settle our empty stomach. Can you imagine that we took A and W for our lunch? What a waste, but that's the fastest way to gain our strength. Then, we visited Melaka Philately Museum (or Melaka Stamps Museum) around 3:30 pm. The museum is located beside A' Famosa, about 3 minutes walk from Pahlawan Square. With the entrance fee of RM 2, the museum offered us more than what we had expected. We learned many history about Malaysian philately history there, and got excited to found out that we actually had owned most of the stamps issued by our own country. We spent around one and a half hour there till 5 pm. The museum opens 9 am - 5:30 pm daily.

Pahlawan Square (or Dataran Pahlawan) is a mega shopping complex in the middle of the city of Melaka. The shopping complex can be divided into three different parts- a two storey complex which the upper floor is a nicely landscaped square with lawn (in front of the grey building), and two multi-storey shopping complexes (one of them was under construction during our visit). The shopping complex is just several steps away from A' Famosa Fort, as you can see at the middle.

Melaka Philately Museum is not big, nor grande, but promises the visitors a gain in knowledge. The museum is a must visit site for stamps collectors.

The modest outlook of Melaka Philately Museum (upper left), and the exhibition about the history of the philately.

Jonker Street is well-known as one of the oldest street in Melaka. It is located at Hang Jebat Road (Jonker Street is the unofficial, but well-known name of this road). The whole street is about 500 m long, surrounded by old two-storey colonial style shop houses. However, deliberate renovations make many of these structures lost their originality. Located just 10 minutes by foot from Pahlawan Square, it used to be the place where the town folks carried out their daily routines- grocery shops, bicycles shops, laundry shops, cake houses, coffee shops (kopitiam), book stores, blacksmithes, etc. But now, souvenir shops are the majority, while many others serve tourism purposes as well, such as pubs, guesthouses, boutiques, and hotels, and eateries. As a tourist's spot, it is a good place for an evening walk, especially when the night market is on (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays). The night scene is nice, and the hawkers are dominated by Chinese. For its fame, the night market is a must visit site in Melaka, at least twice- once on daytime, and another, night. We spent about 2 hours at Jonker Street night market.

Jonker Street at night (left) and day. The hawkers are setting up their stalls right on the street.

The night market at Jonker Street. The night market is a place for both locals and foreigners, spans from the riverside till the end of Hang Jebat Road. Most of the food stalls are gathered at the far end of the river. As the crowd is massive, finding a car park is not easy. Another thing which is hard to be done- bargaining. You might never get sort of 50% or 70% of discount there, which is quite easily been offered in Bangkok or Siem Reap markets. The street is safe during the night in Melaka. However, we still need to keep alert and take good care of our belongings.

A singing competition held during our visit drew many local supporters at a side of Jonker Street. The food stalls are located just behind the stage. From what we could see, the middle-aged and old Melaka folks are still enjoying their slow moving pace with leisure life. However, the hustle-bustle tourism industry are eroding their peaceful life (as the crowd can be seen at far right at Jonker Street).

We can find some delicious food around Jonker Street. We tried Nyonya laksa, Nyonya curry fish, durian chendol, and "suan panzi", a traditional Chinese food. All the food were quite delicious. We didn't bought anything there, as for us, the items were not unique to us.

Our trip continued with Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum, Hainan Chicken Rice, Melaka River Cruise, Stadthuys, A' Famosa Fort, and many more. Click here to follow us.

Take a look on all our sharing about Melaka:


  1. We ended up spending all our time in the historical quarter and Jonker Street. Only on the last day did we realise that there is a big mall in Melaka!

    1. The mall is never a highlight. Glad you had most of your time in the historical area of Melaka and saved the mall for the last :)

    2. We found your blog interesting! Will put a friend link to yours. Happy sharing!