Hello and I would like to welcome you to another Do It Yourself tour post after a long long time. I would like to apologize about the delay due to Backpacking KL’s website upgrading works and I would like to thank all of you readers for your patience. We are ramping up Backpacking KL to greater horizons, most particularly outside of Kuala Lumpur. To start off, lets talk about our most popular destination down south. Malacca.
Malacca is a popular spot for most travelers and it is believed to be the birthplace of the country. Settlers from China and Indonesia set foot to this town, which is named after a tree, in the early 1400’s and soon after, the Portuguese, Dutch and British rulers has conquered this historical standpoint until Malaysia’s independence. To this day, you can still see the influences of the individuals whom had set foot here. From the red buildings of Stadthuys, the Church of St. Paul, the fort of A’Farmosa, just to name a few.
To start off the journey, I would suggest to take the earliest bearable bus from TBS to Malacca. The 7:30am bus should be perfect and you will expect to reach the Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal in 2 hours time. There after, take the No. 17 Panorama Bus ( Melaka Sentral – Ujong Pasir) to the heart of Malacca’s attraction, the Stadthuys buildings. The bus ticket will cost about RM 2 per way and you will get down the bus as soon as you see the red buildings. The frequency of the buses varies from 20 mins to 40 mins depending on the peak times and traffic. Do note that the last bus leaves at about 9:30pm.
Bus No. 17 to the Red Building
As soon as you arrive, I would recommend to check into the Discovery Cafe and Guesthouse to drop off your luggage. This hostel slash guesthouse as been the best pick for most backpackers in Malacca. It costs RM 18 for a bed in a dorm room which comes with free breakfast and an awesome, lively cafe at the bottom. You will make friends here. Trust me.
Discovery Cafe and Guesthouse
In Malacca, food is one of the greatest reasons why you should visit this place. Since we have a small time frame, lets get down the essentials. If you had chicken rice in Kuala Lumpur and think its awesome, you never been so utterly wrong. Head to Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant in Jonker Street for the chicken rice you’ll always remember. Here, they serve rice in a shape of a ball. Yes you read it, in balls of rice. Be punctual, you will see a line building up as soon as you get there.
Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant
Balls of chicken rice.
After a rice-ball filled belly begins your journey to explore. Head towards the Stadhusy building and feel free to explore the square. The oldest Protestant church in Malaysia, Christchurch, is in the square and it still a place of worship since the days of the Dutch invasion. With a plethora of museums and exhibits in the square, take some time here. Sit by the fountain or toss a coin in it. Take it all in.
Red Square (Stadhusy Building)
Christ Church of Malacca
Once you are done reminiscing, head behind the red building and towards the cemetery. From here, you will head uphill and will come across signs leading you to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Built by the Portuguese, the remains of the old church on the hill is one of the evidence of the Portuguese invasion of Malacca. The old church was the center point of the Portuguese regime, with fort walls surrounding the majority of the river bank. Not too far off from the church stands the symbol of historic Malacca. The A’ Formosa. This old fort entrance is one of the oldest remaining European architecture in South East Asia. Dated back to 1511, this old fortress was built to overlook the Straits of Malacca and it’s passing cargo ships which brought trade from the east to west.
St. Paul’s Church
A Formosa Fort
Once out from A Formosa, head towards the big ship. You wouldn’t miss it if you are around that area. The big ship is the replica of a treasure ship during the time of the Portuguese invasion. The original ship was sunk in Sumatra in the 15th century and to this date, the ship nor it’s treasure has not been found. Today, this giant ship in Malacca houses a museum filled with maritime history of Malacca.
Malacca Maritime Museum
Now, with the sun setting down, it is the perfect time to take the river boat cruise along Malacca’s canal. The terminal is right behind the big ship museum. Tickets are sold for RM 23 per adult and the boat departures are fairly frequent. Taking the cruise covers various famous attractions of the city. As a local born in Malacca, it is one of the best ways to see everything here.
Night view of the Canal
After the cruise, the excitement of Malacca is not over. The night market in Jonker Street is beginning to come alive. Stalls of souvenirs, food, and many more are starting to start up shop. The are various variety of local street food here. Here are some of the best things to try here:
Fried Ice Cream
Curry Fish Balls
Fried Radish Cake
After a long day, it is best to find somewhere to grab a beer and relax. One of the best deals in town is in a small riverside Thai bar slash restaurant not too far from Jonker Street called the Tuk Tuk Kitchen and Bar. Beers over here are as cheap as RM 9 all night long. You can also head to Discovery for a drink or two before heading off to bed. Beers over there are reasonable as well and if you are lucky they might have a live band there too.
Tuk Tuk Kitchen and Bar
Riverside Chill Spot
Up and early the next morning, with the hostel breakfast filled up to the brim and ready to finish off the few hours left in Malacca before heading back to Kuala Lumpur.
The first stop is to head to Cheng Hoon Teng Temple. This is oldest temple here in Malaysia. Built back in 1645, this temple marks Malacca as a significant stop for the Chinese traders heading to the west. The black and gold embellishments highlights the beauty of this landmark along with the structural design which differs from the usual temples you see here in the country.
Temple Main Hall
Now, having to make a trip to Malacca is not complete without experiencing Nyonya culture. The prestigious Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum is personally, one of the most beautiful exhibits which portrays the essence of Malaccan culture. The arrival of the Baba and Nyonyas comes from the clash of cultures of the local Malays in Malaysia and the Chinese traders whom had come to Malacca to trade. These marriages between Malays and Chinese has formed a new identity called the Nyonyas.
Baba Nyonya Culture
Nyonya culture is highly upheld by old strait towns like Penang , Melaka and Kedah. Though these groups are getting smaller in numbers, their tradition is loved and adored by all Malaysians. From cuisine, clothes to the ways of life of a Nyonya signifies one of the blends of cultues where it is classified as truly Malaysian. The museum opens at 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5pm daily and entrance tickets are priced at RM 16.
To complete your Nyonya adventure has to end with a taste of what the culture shouts the loudest, the food. I would recommend Kocik Kitchen on Jonker Walk. The hidden tucked away restaurant is located behind the Geographer’s Bar.
Restaurant Cosy Interior
Lemak Nenas Prawn
Sadly, it is time to head back to Kuala Lumpur as we are nearing to the 24 hour mark of our Malacca experience. To grab the bus back to Malacca Sentral, you should wait for the bus at the same stop as where you came because it would take a huge detour before they start heading back to the terminal. I would suggest that you wait for the bus at the start of Jonker Walk near the Chinese school. It would save you about 40 mins grabbing a bus from here instead from the red building stop.
Here is the bus stop heading back to Malacca Sentral.
Now, that my friend is the end of the 24 hour Malacca adventure. Boiling down the essentials of what to cover in this interesting venture down south of the Peninsular, Backpacking KL has your back in covering the best of what Malaysia has to offer. Signing off and stay tuned for more articles from the newly revamped Backpacking KL. Cheers.