As the dates of this trip grew near in my mental calendar, I got excited. Forget pending job interview, forget school work, forget project management, I was waiting for this trip for a very long time.
Now I know that people reading this will think I’m crazy weird for getting all hyped up for a trip that’s essentially four hours away from her own country but one, I come from a broke background so I can’t go to places that will render us more broke and the other thing is the fact that Malacca’s not just a place I go to shop and stuff but it’s one of the very few places in Asia I wouldn’t mind going back again and again. So there, sentimental reasons.
This trip was a family trip so there’s not going to be any cast photos for privacy reasons. Except maybe for my cousins =P.
There were seven of us on the bus and we set off in the morning, going through the first link (Woodlands Checkpoint) and Johor’s new checkpoint building. We reached the Bus Interchange at Malacca Central just in time for lunch so before we headed to the hotel, we had lunch. We hoped to see the A & W from the last time we were there but nope, wasn’t there anymore. =(
No bother, we managed to get some local Malay food and Malaysian Macs. HAHA.
For some strange reason though, the McChicken in the Macs there tastes better. Oh well, moving on… Two cabs and we were at the Hotel within 15 minutes.
Hotel Puri was initially a house occupied by Peranakan households from the old times and like many other shophouses around the same area, it has many nooks and crannies to explore, a huge courtyard with many rooms and many have also turned to hotels like this one.
Apart from the rooms, Hotel Puri also has many walking spaces like gardens and heritage rooms, just waiting to be discovered. Our rooms were on the first floor so there was no trouble. After settling down, it was out on the streets!
Past the river, was the Dutch square and their Stadhuys (a.k.a. the Red Buildings) but there was something else we saw that was pretty different. The last time we were here, there was some remodelling going on along the river so imagine our surprise when we came back to find out what it was.
All this was on the way to the two big malls in Malacca, Mahkota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan. On the way though, we spotted the river taxi similar to that of Singapore’s Hippo Tours on the river, only RM5 a person. So being the funny people we were, we got on.
The river taxi ride was about 45 minutes down the river and back again. We were only given the recorded tour on the way back though, because the captain of the river taxi had to start at the top of the tour and well, we got on at the end of the tour. If that made sense.
Apparently the renovations, rebuilding and remodelling of the river side stuff included set up stalls, fish spas, fishing and tourist-y goods and other stuff. My cousins had a newfound love for Dodol, which is Gula Melaka (Malacca Sugar, loosely translated) together with coconut (sometimes) made into a paste like so:
The abang there was really nice, he knew we were Singaporeans so let us “play” with the Dodol mixture for photo ops. This was mine:
More walking (I think I seriously walked more here than I would ever walk in a day here) and we’ve reached air-con!! We reached Dataran Pahlawan, one of the newer malls in Malacca next to the Sultanate. This is where all the older street stalls got moved to, in the Heritage Corner. But that aside, we were glad to go into air-con after a long hot day.
Dinner was at a familiar place, Nando’s =P… weird because I only had Nando’s with Avariel and Raven a few days before I went to Malacca. But post-Dinner had me discover something so crazily magical I have to blog about it even though it was in the middle of mundane Orchard Road-like shopping.
BASKIN ROBBINS’ COTTON CANDY ICE CREAM IS LOVE!!!
Tasted exactly like cotton candy but in a Paddle Pop like texture. Might be a bit too sweet for those who can’t stand too much sweetness but I still love it!! Baskin Robbins’ Singapore please?!
Okay, now that my crazy ice cream rant is over, it was time for the famed Jonker Street Night Market.
The Jonker Street Night Market was like a weekly tradition for the people there. Every weekend, the stall owners will break out the night market tables and lights and sell everything from trinkets to munchies to bags to cosplay weapons and stuff. I call them cosplay weapons because they were essentially wooden carved toy sword thingies.
And because we always seem to be in Malaysia during the World Cup seasons, we got to see a parade of Carlsberg people go down the street, cheering for England.
Day Two was started with breakfast at the Heliconia Gardens within the hotel. Typical buffet breakfast but I always appreciate a nice one when I’m on holiday. HEE.
Today was Peranakan food and shopping mall exploration day, since we were mostly at Mahkota Parade and not Dataran Pahlawan the day before. After a quick rest and a walk around again, we ended up at Nancy’s Kitchen, which I must say, has made a name for itself here (I got a few recommendations from a few friends. They didn’t know I went there back in 2004. HAH.)
This time, it was a bit different because well, more people caught wind about Nancy’s Kitchen so we had to wait at the second level for our food and finish quickly because a tour group was coming down.
Post lunch activity was simply walking back to Dataran Pahlawan and heading straight to the Heritage Centre for the wooden souvenirs everyone comes home with. And here’s where the story of the trip happened.
Three years ago, 2007, the fam and I came to Malacca and met this guy who was doing all these wood art souvenirs and he crafted names and pictures and all that jazz on the wood really well. Plus his shop had the largest collection of wooden blanks, shells and bracelets to work with. So we ended up buying a lot of stuff from him.
Three years later, 2010, this is his shop:
It was really funny because my grandmother wanted to ask if it was Abang Johari and I had to egg her on until I said, “If you’re not going to ask, then I’ll ask for you.” Then she asked. HAHA. Turned out it really was him, he just switched profession. And he was surprised that customers would remember him when they came back.
This time, we came home not with the wood souvenirs, but with his FB address. HAHA. To check his works out, click here.
We were also browsing around the souvenir shops around Abang Johari’s shop. Regardless of how passe all these wooden souvenirs can be here, I never get tired of them, really.
The guy who did the souvenirs for us, Chonie, was quite nice as well. It’s like a whole community of artists in one area. Chonie actually offered to deliver our stuff to the hotel because there were so many orders from our group alone. Cripes.
Day Two ended with the kids in the hotel room and the grown ups back at the night market to buy munchies again. So that means I ended up playing Mario Kart DS with the cousins and the bro. HAHA.
We were supposed to be back at the Malacca Central Bus Interchange by 5-6 pm because of the bus going back to Singapore. So most of the morning was just tying up of loose ends, packing and making sure we haven’t left anyone out in the souvenir department. I was done with packing the night before so I went to snap photos of my loot =P
Lunch before departure was at Kocik Kitchen, a Peranakan restaurant down the road. Not a bad new find, we thought it was a really great lunch, seeing that we had to rush like crazy at a Peranakan restaurant the day before. GRARGH.
We actually took a trip to the History Room in Hotel Puri but I shall save that for one of Joelyn’s Museum Escapades. Highly interesting and cozy, if you ask me.
After that was just jetting off to the interchange, had cheaper Secret Recipe before we left for Singapore.
Overall, the trip was great. It’s great seeing all the changes and the things that didn’t change since the last visit and all the hustle and bustle of the night market. Two pet peeves though: Dirty Ass Public Toilets (not everywhere but I’m super BLEARGH even if there’s hair on my own bathroom floor so you’ve got to figure) and the bus journey back home (dusty seats and hordes of huge flies is not the way to travel over 4 hours, kthxbye).
We’ve got home safely anyways so that’s another story.