For the Easter long weekend at the end of March, we decided to visit Malacca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I've wanted to visit it for its history and food trail. We decided to brave the Easter crowd on the highway and visit anyway.:P
We took a luxury coach from Concorde Hotel at Orchard at 8am after having our tickets and visas verified at their office. The seats were very comfortable. They offered us a bottle of water each and they stopped for breakfast on the way. It was Maundy thursday but the coach had only 2 empty seats. They had free wifi and also an individual entertainment system with inbuilt speakers on the headrest. My 2 and half year old 'N' watched a bit of a movie familiar to her, 'Bahubali' after her nap.
We got to the Tuas immigration pretty quickly. As we had a toddler, we had to stand in a longer queue for foreigners at the Singapore immigration. The Malaysia immigration was very quick despite us having to scan our luggage. From there, we had a guide 'Beena' on board the bus who explained more about Malacca and was very friendly.
|Welcome to Melaka|
The interiors were really well thought out. We reached by 1.30pm and the room was ready. After freshening up, we headed to the Bica & Co cafe in the hotel for lunch. They don't have room service and their cafe offers a minimal all-day menu of sandwiches and dessert. Nevertheless, what we ate was yum.
I had a sore throat and was on medication for it but on the day of the travel it got worse and my neck was swollen! So after N's afternoon nap, we headed out to Poliklinik Bandar to get it checked. The doctor put me on antibiotics and asked me to have ginger ale :).
We walked to the Red square with the beautiful red buildings.
|A Famosa, A Portugese fortress|
We crossed this place twice a day no matter where in Melaka we went. So basically, that is the centre of the city. One good thing about the city is that though it is not exactly wheelchair friendly, there aren't too many slopes that can prove tricky for prosthesis users like me. We did carry N's stroller and I'm so glad we did. She was on it through the day so there's no reason for anyone not to. You might be inconvenienced a little in carrying it down an odd step or so.
|The famous Jonker Street|
From there we walked down to the river cruise.
The cruise is best done in the evening when it is less hot and the city lights up.
The graffiti and art along the river is beautiful :) N did get bored in short spells so we kept her entertained with dried fruits!
After the cruise when we walked out, N was super excited to see the colourful and bright trishaws lined up and asked if she could get on one. She chose the Hello Kitty trishaw and we had them take us to Jonker street. They usually charge RM 20-25 to take you to a certain point in the city and RM50 for a one hour ride.
We dined at Geographer's Cafe. The food and ambience was fine. N enjoyed her food.
As we had a leisurely long 4 days at Malacca, we lazed in the hotel after a good sumptuous breakfast and I watched a movie on TV after many many years. 'The Odd Life of Timothy Green'. Yayy! We headed out to Calanthe Art Cafe for lunch.
I ordered their Signature Laksa (without the fishballs and meat but I suppose the prawn paste was in the broth.). It tasted good and had plenty of veggies and did a world of good to my throat. N enjoyed both the my Laksa and the chicken main that Yogesh had.
We went off into Dataran Pahlawan Megamall so could make use of the Air Co, N could sleep in her stroller while we indulged in some retail therapy.
After N woke up, we walked out towards Menara Taming Sari. We let her play in a garden playground on the swings and slides for a while.
Menara Taming Sari is a revolving viewing tower that allows for 360 deg views of the city. It is a rather new attraction and as touristy as it may be, all of us enjoyed the short experience. They offered us a bottle of water for each ticket. The ride was quite short. It felt like it was for 10-15 minutes. We went during sunset and enjoyed the views. N was excited to see the sea and the lights below.
|Flora Del Mar - Replica of a Spanish Ship that sank off the coast of Malacca. Now part of the Maritime Museum|
As it was a Friday night, the Jonker Street night market was bustling but with a toddler in tow, we went to Sid's pub nearby for dinner. Though the menu wasn't great for kids, N managed to fill her tummy with parts of my Veg Burger (that was yummmmm) and the bowl of poppadam (our good ol' Kerala pappadam). They didn't offer fresh juice so I just let N have juice made from the Mango puree they had. The mommy in me feels guilty and then I tell myself she is on a holiday too. The two compromises Y&I make as parents when we're on a holiday is that we won't be too stringent on the kind of food N eats (though I'm a freak & I try to keep it healthy as much as possible!) and the other that she's allowed to use the ipad or our phones. (These devices are strictly not available to her otherwise). The ambience was nice and cozy by the river.
After dinner we walked along the night market. Was very lively and colorful. I love bustling street markets. That is for me the true essence of a city and its people. The husband is not fond of crowds and tries to avoid such places. Seeing N's enthusiasm, Yogesh rolled his eyeballs saying.. 'There's junior you. She's loving this place.' I said a silent prayer. :P
We did take her on the stroller and there were many other kids on strollers too. So as crowded as it is, there's space for everyone. Just be patient.
After breakfast, we took a cab to the Sultanate Palace Museum. Since a 2.5 year old cannot be expected to enjoy museums (and with a husband who would just tag along because I want to visit museums myself), I decided to stick to only one and chose this. It probably wasn't a bad choice after all. We left the stroller at the entrance and headed inside. This is a replica of a real palace and was built in the mid 80s.
N had fun looking at all the pictures and tried to walk into some of the model rooms, 'the royal court' and the 'sultan's bed chamber'! The gardens looked pretty too but we avoided visiting as it was very hot.
|Looking at the different attires of the region during different periods|
As Malacca offers a variety of good food, we took a trishaw (this time a minion one for N) to 'Wild Coriander' for lunch. It definitely offers a very variety of vegetarian/vegan dishes. We had their signature rice dish which was a carb overload but my rice-crazy little one loved it :)
|Best place to get a massage. For weekends you may have to book before you travel.|
Sights in Little India at Malacca
We stuck to our afternoon routine in an air conditioned mall.. this time to Mahkota Parade.
After a short nap, N woke up excited (we were in a huge children's section with toys and clothes when she opened her eyes!). We took her to the entertainment zone that had a very good variety of arcarde games and rides for toddlers. At RM 1 per ride it was a steal for us.
We saw a sketch artist doing instant sketches and caricatures. We got our family sketch done. At RM 40, (10 per face, 10 for lamination) it wasn't exactly cheap. But it was a wonderful experience to watch being made in 10-12 minutes!
We went to Nadeje's in the mall to try out their mille crepe cakes. We tried their original and strawberry cheesecake. They have many wonderful alcoholic options too but with N around we decided not to order any of those. They were yummm but very heavy on the stomach.
As Liverpool was playing, I found a couple of places where the husband could watch the match. We decided to sit at 'Bamboo Hut' as that was the nearest place screening the match. There was live music on one side of the open restaurant with a South American singing some old classics and a TV on one side that Y was glued to. I ordered cheese croquets but they tasted funny. At half time we went to the next nearest place. Sid's Pub from the previous night. We were intially walking to another place but as we crossed Sid's pub that in the 5 minutes of the second half, liverpool had scored a goal, he decided we could just sit there. N was playing some activity game on the ipad and wanted me to tell her stories instead. So I spent the next 40 minutes telling her stories.. showing her the boats passing by and cooking up the life of the people in it, about the fish in the water and so on!
Many must-eat foods like the coconut milk shake and cendol had to be missed because of my throat but we wanted to try the Putu Piring, the sweet Malacca version of the Kerala dish Puttu. While in Kerala steam rice cakes with coconut are cooked adding salt and eaten with a curry, this was of very similar taste, rice powder, coconut and Palm Sugar (Gula Melaka). That was dinner and it was yumm.
We headed back to the hotel on our last night.
We checked out leisurely by 12pm and took a cab to Hatten Square from where we had to take the coach at 3.30pm. We had lunch at the Chatterz restaurant. Y had satay while I had the Wok fried rice. N ate both! We bought some breads/buns for the return journey as we were told there would only be bathroom breaks. Armed with juices, healthy and packed foods, we moved to the bus station. Many many buses were heading back to Singapore at the end of the Easter long weekend. Our bus left on time but after an hour on the highway, the bus broke down. The staff was helpful. In half an hour, we were on another luxury coach bus but this was not as comfortable. Seats were more basic, no tv or wifi. But the worst thing was.. the traffic. The one kilometer before the Malaysia checkpoint took us 90 minutes to cross. The check point was swarming with people but the queues moved swiftly. At Singapore immigration, things moved quickly too and we were inconvenienced much. But the bus breaking down & the endless traffic resulted us in reaching Concorde Hotel at 12.30am. A good 9 hour travel. The only good thing was that my extremely notorious little one was a gem and the most cooperative child through this journey. Stories, cars outside, some activities on the ipad and nursery rhymes kept her (almost) in one place for almost 9 hours. Since I always single-handedly plan all our holidays, Y sarcastically remarked, 'You say we can't travel to Europe as it'll be a long journey for N. So what was this, then?'