A Weekend Trip to Malacca

At the end of 2018, I have gone through one of the most important shift in my life. I got a new job and moved to Singapore. I’ve been living away from my family all my life, but this one is a bit different because I moved to a completely new country. All of different feelings mixed into one, but I tried my best to enjoy this season of my life. One of the thing that I started is to explore a few different weekend activities which I’ve never done in Jakarta. I mean, Singapore is small, we need to be a little bit smart not to die of boredom HAHA. So, at one of the weekend, I decided to go to one of the towns of the neighbor country, which is Malacca.

Malacca is a small town as part of Malaysia which can be reached by land from Singapore. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage city with lots of historical landmark and tons of authentic Peranakan cuisines. You can go ask people who have ever been there, “What could you do in Malacca?” I’m 100% sure that most of them would answer with ‘eating.’ There are just lots of amazing foods that you should try there!

I took a bus trip to go there from Singapore. The bus ticket costs around SGD 25 one way and in normal time, it took approximately 4 hours to reach the city. However, I went there on Friday afternoon, where lot of people from Malaysia, like Johor Baru, went back to their home. So, with the heavy traffic, my trip took about 6-7 hours including the queue in the immigration office. I took off the bus from Singapore at 5.30pm and reached there around midnight. I know it was unexpected. One lesson learned for me, I will definitely need to go on the weekdays instead of weekend.

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The bridge that connects Singapore and Malaysia, the view from my bus.
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My bus stopped at this terminal, Melaka Sentral.

I planned this trip last minute together with my friend who stayed in Kuala Lumpur. He went from KL by bus too and it took only around 2-hours from there. Can you guess what was the first thing we did when I reached there over midnight? Yes, of course – eating! Lol. So, most of the things I shared here will most likely be list of the culinary foods which we tried when binge-eating there!

Where to Stay?

There are lots of hotel or hostel with affordable price in Malacca. The city is not so big too, so you can practically go anywhere by walk or Grab taxi’s fare is also quite cheap there. So, it’s not a problem at all wherever you stay. Just follow your own preference. For us, we decided to stay in a capsule hotel: Stay With Me Capsule Hostel. I’ve always wanted to try staying at a futuristic capsule hotel and finally it did come true.

This hostel is quite nice. There are 3 floors with a lot of capsules boxes where you would need to book one capsule per person. The hostel has shared bathroom, divided by men and women area. However, it is squeaky clean! You don’t need to worry although it’s a shared model. The location is not very near to the Malacca city center, but it wasn’t a problem because we could easily take Grab taxi there. This hostel also offers to lend you bike and tumbler to go around with.

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Hotel Lobby

What’s Our Itinerary?

Pak Putra Tandoori and Naan Restaurant

This is the first restaurant we’ve had when I first reached Malacca at around 12AM that night. The good thing is, this restaurant open in long-hours so we could still go there by midnight. What’s amazing is, whether it’s early or midnight, you still saw this restaurant packed up with customers, both of local and tourists. I’m not into Indian foods, but so many people recommended this restaurant – so we decided to give it a try. What’s the verdict? I would say, this is the best chicken tandoori I’ve ever tried in my life.

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DAY 1

Breakfast at Lung Ann Refreshment Kopitiam

On the next day, we woke up a bit early and went straight to the city center. This would probably the hippest area of Malacca, which is in Jonker Street area. We took a Grab taxi and stopped by the side of Jonker Street.

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Jonker Street

Our first stop is to have breakfast at this Lung Ann Refreshment Kopitiam. By the time we reached there at around 8.30AM, the place is already crowded with people. We ordered the typical coffee, kaya toasts, and soft-boiled eggs. This coffeeshop uncle is the third generation running this business and you could certainly taste the authenticity of the foods here.

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Christ Church Melaka

After having our fulfilling breakfast, we walked to the area of Malacca’s Chinatown centre. Across the bridge from the Jonker Street, you would find the red-brick building which is one of the most iconic landscape of Malacca. Before arriving at the location, we saw a beautiful view by the side of Malacca River.

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Christ Church was built by the Dutch when they took possession of Malacca from the Portuguese in 1753. We didn’t go inside as it was very crowded and just went up from the outside stairs to be able to take picture of this beautiful building.

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Melaka Sultanese Palace

From there, we walked for about 15-mins to reach Melaka Sultanese Palace. This place was located at the base of our next destination, which is the St. Paul’s Hills area. According to what we heard there, this beautiful place was built entirely without nails and supported with carved, wooden pillars only. This place now also presents cultural museum where we could learn more about Malacca’s traditions and history.

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St. Paul’s Church & Hill

The ruins of St. Paul’s Church are located at the summit of St. Paul’s Hill. A marble statue of St. Francis Xavier stands within the complex to commemorate Malaysia’s best-known missionary. From here, you could also see the top view of Malacca city.

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Inside the ruins of St. Paul’s Church, you would find another stone-wall ruins and I just recently found out that this area was actually a graveyard of Dutch nobles that were buried there.

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A’Famosa

A’Famosa is one of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. It is located near the Sultanese Palace and at the downhill of St. Paul’s Church. It was probably one of Malacca’s best sightseeing spot.

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Chicken Rice Balls for Lunch at Kedai Kopi Chung Wah

We were back to the Jonker Street area and looking for one of the most wanted restaurant that we’d like to try here in Malacca, which is the chicken rice balls, Malacca’s most celebrated dishes. There was long queue when we arrived there and we ended up to wait for almost 1-hour to try this famous dish that everyone talks about.

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The queue.
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The place is located just right at Jonker Street’s intersection.

So, what is this uproar all about? It’s actually just steamed chicken dish, served with super soft rice balls and chili sauces. The dish itself looks very simple and not much of appetizing. However, when you take the first bite, you would quickly understand why people are willing to queue for along time for this. The chicken tastes delicious, just like any other steamed chicken you could find anywhere else. However, the rice balls… this is the bomb! The rice is super soft and tasteful. I said it’s like Indonesian’s ‘nasi uduk’ served in the form of rice balls.

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‘Cendol’ for Dessert at 60 East & West Rendezvous

I know, one round of dish won’t be enough while you are at Malacca. We decided to stop by at this famous shop which is located not far from the chicken rice ball’s place. This shop serves the specialty of Nyonya Zhang cake, which is claimed to be the best one in Malacca. Nyonya Zhang cake is a glutinous rice wrapped in banana leafs with generous fillings of homemade meat, mushroom, and wintermelon. However, since we were already full with the lunch we just had, we decided to buy one bowl of ‘ice cendol’ shared for both of us.

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Exploring City by Malacca River

Malacca is indeed a very special city. It has lots of beautiful landscape, cafes which are nicely decorated, heaven of foods, and awesome murals. We took time strolling around the city and visited a few museums. One of the most beautiful museum we visited is the ‘Baba Nyonya Museum’ which is the authentic house of the old Peranakan family in Malacca. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos inside the house. But, I would suggest you to definitely visit this place when you are at Malacca.

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Coconut Shake Klebang

This is also another well-know Malacca’s dish, which is the original coconut shake. The place is huge, there were a lot of people dining in as the restaurant doesn’t only serve coconut shake, but also a lot variety of snacks. Apart of the people dining in, you would also see cars parked alongside the booth waiting to get their drinks to-go.

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Jonker Night Market

At the evening, this street is filled in with souvenirs, clothes, and food stalls as the night market. It was exceptionally crowded. A lot of people were there from both of locals and tourists. We enjoyed a bit of food street here and there. One of the most special dish we’ve had is the ‘durian puffs’ at a stall called as Taste Buds. The rule to eat this durian puff is by swallow it as a whole, no bite!

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This tastes amazing!

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Malacca River Cruise

After getting our tummy full, we decided to take a cruise through Malacca River Cruise. The whole journey took about 20-minutes and we were able to see Malacca City’s night-view.

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DAY 2

Dim Sum Breakfast at Loh Yong Moh

On the second day, we had another amazing breakfast: dim sum! I know, dim sum is pretty common dishes that you could find anywhere. But, this one is very delicious indeed. It’s not all you can eat kind of restaurant, but the servers will go around the restaurant and offer you to pick up many kinds of dim sum.

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Melaka Straits Mosque

Melaka Straits Mosque or Floating Mosque is one of the interesting spot in Malacca. It appears as floating when the water level is up and it could give you a nice reflection during the sunset.

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The Baboon House

To kill the time before our trip back to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, we visited one of the most interesting cafe in Malacca, which is The Baboon House. The decoration of this cafe is like a traditional Peranakan style and they have a very nice coffee in the house.

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There are actually a bunch of other snacks we tried that weren’t captured because it was just too much! I know we literally ate non-stop during these 2 days.

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"Perhaps, then, this was what travelling was, an exploration of the deserts of my mind rather than of those surrounding me?" - Claude Levi-Strauss

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