I honestly did not know what to expect about Malacca (Melaka). I felt like having a blank canvass waiting to paint stories but wasn't so sure what my storyboard as about. Whatever was waiting for me in Malacca was something beyond my consciousness, but a certain charm draws me closer to the city.
Bagged with excitement and curiosity, the TBS bus station was the gateway to Malacca from Kuala Lumpur. I was quite impressed since this terminal actually looked like an airport, there are plenty of buses to choose from, you will just have to check which matches your schedule the best.
What greeted us was a carefree kid playing on a fountain at the gates of Jonker Street. I felt then a sudden spark in my wanderlust about this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Went little more steps onward and the flock of tourists was in the path we were taking.
Coming in at lunch time, people start to queue up on long lines outside the local restaurants and although I wanted to try what the hype was all about, I was famished myself and so we yielded to another local restaurant, Famosa Chicken Rice Balls. Ten minutes after getting our seat, a long queue had started to fence in the entrance. Til then did I knew that this is one of the famous restaurants along Jonker Street.
Famosa isn't difficult to find, it is just a few meters away from the entrance of the Jonker Street, you'd easily identify that red facade and a hungry crowd going in it.
It wasn't a few minutes after sitting that I knew the reason why it was such a hype. As a universal rule in looking for the best place for food, if you want to search for an extraordinary local dining experience, look for a restaurant that has a long line outside.
After spotting one, know the reason behind. Famosa was famous because it has an amazing sense of taste, serving us with authentic Asian taste. It was just superb, I'm not a huge fan of vegetables but theirs could be my reason to convert to being vegetarian.
Having that lunch surely did gave me energy for the rest of the day. There was so much time for the day so we decided to go around the place where everything is within walking reach, the cultural side of Malacca is just a few block away from the Jonker so we took a stroll in this laid-back, charming city.
The Jonker Street market is only open during weekends and being there on a Saturday, it was very festive. When the afternoon comes, the street closes its way for vehicles and weekend merchants start to hoist their tables and tents.
The street basically has everything you need from clothes to trinklets, sandals to hats, electric stuff to hand made crafts, the best part? All kinds of food. Just when I thought I had enough for lunch, here comes these Taiwanese sausages, rice cakes, dimsums, ice creams, tea and everything edible you can imagine.
As the night crawls in the town, the street becomes more lively and the city gets more festive, pubs start to get filled by group of friends or family who wants to have some lazy good time. There seem to be a lot of energy in the place, instead of losing some of it, the good vibes is the street is actually contagious wanting you to get some more time here. This probably is one of the best street markets in Asia, among those that I have been to.
The night is also the best time to sail on the river cruise in Malacca. The village that the river separates sparkles at night and everywhere apparently becomes a happy place. Their are foot bridges that you get to sail underneath of, pass by people having an al fresco dinner.
Of course missing the chance to dine in a venetian way was a ridiculous idea. This doesn't come very cheap but dining under the stars is something money can't buy. I'm not quite sure what restaurant this was but they surely has a cozy ambiance to dine. They have both Malaysian and Western cuisine, their chicken and mashed potato, dressed in some Malaysian style-gravy along side the spicy Nasi Lemak and a brownie sundae treat to top it off.
A trip to the Malacca from Kuala Lumpur can be done in a day, but who would want to leave such a charming city immediately, The Hotel Hong is perfect for those who wants to have a homey feeling for a good night's rest with an inexpensive but impressive hospitality. We got the chance to personally meet the very kind owner of the hotel, gave us some Curry Empanadas for breakfast and drove us to catch our bus to Kuala Lumpur with his family, their hospitality was just so warm that I would recommend their hotel to anyone wishing to visit Malacca.
It is very close to Jonker Street and the room and toilet were clean and comfortable. The hotel is humble but your the level of comfort isn't really put at stake.
They also have an open space for meeting up with other hotel guests over some beers and chit chat on the third floor. Book and get more details about this place "Here".
Leaving Malacca the following morning had me sighing deep, stepping foot on this town brings you to a spell you don't want to let go. I have always been chasing a moment to just relax and watch other people's pace, eat and walk in a un-overwhelming environment. This is what Malacca is all about, the reason why I would definitely be back.