Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kampung Morten, a Tranquil Island in the Ocean of Development

Kampung Morten, or Morten Village is a village in the middle of the city of Melaka. Named after the British Land Commissioner, F. J. Morten who had contributed to the opening of the village, the village was found around 1920 an by Othman Mohd. Noh. Surrounded by skyscrapers and highways, Melaka River is the only barrier that eludes the tranquil village from the bustle world on the opposite bank.

Retaining the traditional architecture, the peaceful village is claimed to be the living museum. Most of the residences there are fenceless, which means visitors can actually take a very close look and feel the daily living of the community. Of course, most of the families have cars and motorbikes park in their houses.

To reach the village, a walk along the walkway beside the Melaka River from Melaka Tourist Information Centre (near Stadthuys) will take around 20 - 30 minutes. If you stay in Ramada Hotel, Bayview Hotel, Orchid Hotel, and Hotel Central Melaka (formerly Continental Hotel), then the village is just one to two minutes away by foot, through a bridge beside Putra Specialist Hospital.

Kampung Morten consists of more than 50 traditional Malay residences. Beautified Melaka River draws border between the village and the city, dividing the modern and the traditional.

 Kampung Morten is surrounded by modern buildings.

The red traditional village rooftops can never be harmonized into the skyscrapers behind. The visitors on board of the cruising water taxi can feel it the best.

Nicely decorated walkway spanning from the tourist centre at the middle of the city to the village. One thing is lacking- the cover. So, umbrella is necessary for those who wish to take the journey in the middle of the day.

The bridge that connects the new and the old, the modern and the traditional, like a time machine.

A late afternoon walk in the village is definitely a leisure experience. Villagers are coming out for outdoor activities, drinking tea and coffee, chitchat with their neighbours while kids are playing around. 

"Apa khabar?" (How are you?) or simply "Hello" will yield fruitful conversation from the villagers. Even if we simply wave to the pakcik (uncle) sitting in front of the house, a replying wave and a big smile is surely followed.

Villa Sentosa is opened to public daily from 9 am - 5 pm, with one to two hours of lunch break from 1 - 3 pm. The address is 136, Kampung Morten, Malacca. Tel no.+606-2822988. Visitors can actually go into the house for a visit with resident tour guide.

Many traditional kampung houses adopt open community concept, which the fences are built for decoration, not to refrain anyone from moving freely within the compound.

 Very old-fashioned kampung house.
See, the door is open for better ventilation, with nobody at home... We can't really experience the lifestyle like this anymore nowadays in the city.

Drying clothes in an open space in the middle of the city will end up with something stolen, but not in Kampung Morten. Villagers trust the visitors, as much as they trust their own neighborhood.

5:30 pm, the sun goes down and children start coming out for their outdoor activities.

How close you can go to count how many fishes are there in the aquarium? Well, you can go as close as you wish to.

To be frank, Kampung Morten is too young to stand side by side with Stadthuys or A' Famosa. It is too quiet to be compared to Jonker Street. However, if you are in Malaysia, and have not visited any traditional Malay village yet, then Kampung Morten is definitely a worthy choice. Neither long journey nor overnight stay are required, as Kampung Morten is located right in the heart of Melaka city area. Plus, the entrance is free.
 Several homestays are available within the the village area.

 Modern and old- chairs in front of a house.

Very cute curtains.

In 1988, Melaka State Government gazetted the village as a heritage area. Well, tourists start to come, and of course, business opportunities emerge. Well, our personal opinion, grabbing the opportunity is good, but don't get it overdone.

The wooden booth built beside the road promote the souvenirs and tourism related business, while creating jobs for the villagers, but at the same time spoilt the peaceful village atmosphere.

We really appreciate nice looking village house, but this one is a bit... overdone. Well, originality is what the visitors treasure.

As the development of the surrounding area is intense, it is important for the village to be kept as close as it's original state.

If you ask, is this kampung a must visit site in Melaka? Well, it depends on your schedule. If you have a tight schedule, then save your time for the historical sites such as A' Famosa and Stadthuys, as well as the museums and Jonker Street. If you have some time to spare, then, visiting Kampung Morten will be a great option to fill your itinerary.