6 Hours in Melaka or Melacca | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

6 Hours in Melaka or Melacca

6 Hours in Melaka

Luckily, nothing came too hurried during the few hours stay in Meleka, though our lunch was brief and simple. Hubby and I didn’t rent a car or bike, instead we walked from her historic core to Chinatown where we continued to move around on foot and enjoyed a nap in an award-winning cafe, after which we also managed to catch up a boat trip that took us to the ‘Little Amsterdam’.

It was the public bus #17 that brought us from the bus terminal, the same place where the coach drove us all the way from Kuala Lumpur stopped, to the center of Meleka — the Dutch Square. The bus was not that full, but it took us a few moments to locate two stable seats. In 10-15 minutes, we safely arrived.

Bus, Melaka
Bus, Melaka

Dutch Square
Off the bus, almost immediately came to our sight were blocks of bright red buildings, the Victorian marble fountain, the clock tower, the Christ Church, all situated around the Square in less than a minute’s walk.

Dutch Square, Melaka

I believe no tourist would leave Melaka without taking a picture of this Square, which is said to be the oldest surviving part of Melaka though the fountain and clock were built at a later time.

At 11:00a.m., the sunlight however didn’t come in the right direction for taking photos, that is why we returned to this landmark again in the afternoon. Even you have not been here, I bet you must have seen similar shots somewhere.

Dutch Square, Melaka

Dutch Square, Melaka

China Town
Heat, humidity both drove us to look for a drink, a seat and a shelter from the sun before going further down to Chinatown. Without looking much further, we hided ourselves into a restaurant serving the renowned chicken rice balls. The rice which resembled a dish of fish balls was served side by side with a dish of chicken. Despite that the dish was presented in that interesting way, I must say I still like those chicken with rice in Kuala Lumpur or Penang. Yet this eatery had not gone wrong with their two popular drinks, lime with salted plum and jobs tears water.

Restaurant for Chicken Rice Balls
Restaurant for Chicken Rice Balls

Probably, the upside of sightseeing a tourist site under the sun was that we avoided the crowd. Even along Jonker Street (Jonker Walk or Jalan Hang Jebat) in Chinatown, Meleka’s antique centre and supposedly the busiest area, was not packed with visitors.

China Town, Melaka (Melacca)

China Town, Melaka (Melacca)

The streets were not with many vehicular traffic either. So with much convenience, we crossed the road from right to left and left to right, seemingly following a zigzag path both for photos and spying around. Occasionally, there came a few colorful, flowered trishaws, one of its passengers even waved to me in distance. That was a father and a son (I guessed) enjoying the ride (they looked so), to whom I waved back.

Trishaw, Melaka (Melacca)

The buildings, mostly in two stories and attached adjacently one after another, were mostly constructed in Chinese architectural style. Typical of the decorations were red lanterns and wooden plaques on which Chinese characters were written to symbolize good luck, or prosperity, or peace, or simply to represent their family names.

China Town, Melaka (Melacca)

China Town, Melaka (Melacca)

China Town, Melaka (Melacca)

Taking a closer look, you shall soon notice that Melaka is banking a lot on her tourists. Although most of the buildings are well-preserved, they are mostly renovated and converted into guest-houses, restaurants, shops selling handicrafts, souvenirs, accessories, small eats, Nyonya*-styled shoes and even Peranakan* furnitures.
*Peranakan is also known as Straits-born Chinese, or more commonly Babas for men and Nyonyas for women.

Guest House, Melaka (Melacca)
China Town, Melaka (Melacca)
China Town, Melaka (Melacca)
China Town, Melaka (Melacca)
China Town, Melaka (Melacca)

Dotted among those tourist spots, you may also find temples and clan houses that again spell the Chinese culture. We visited one of the temples that was built in the mid 19th century, and met another group of young tourists, who were actually students but looked different in their ethnic background.

Clan House, China Town, Melaka (Melacca)

Chinese Temple, China Town, Melaka (Melacca)
Chinese Temple, China Town, Melaka (Melacca)

Shopping in Chinatown actually doesn’t have to be restricted to artifacts. I regret that I have not brought one of these back. But if you were there next time, and you are environment-friendly, get these aged angled gourds to work for you in the kitchen. They are not only as good as the kitchen sponges but also carry no chemical substances because they are just the fibrous interior of aged angled gourds. Yet they are durable and were once very popular among our elder generation.

Sponge Made from Aged Angled Gourds, Melaka (Melacca)

Taking a Break
Having seen much of the Eastern legacy, we instinctively chose to take a break in a cafe painted in yellow and green. Only after nourished by a coconut drink, swallowed half a sandwich and strolled around, I discovered that she had once been awarded the best cafe and bistro in Melaka. This is she, Geographer Cafe.

Geographer Cafe, Melaka (Melacca)

Geographer Cafe, Melaka (Melacca)
Geographer Cafe, Melaka (Melacca)
Geographer Cafe, Melaka (Melacca)
Geographer Cafe, Melaka (Melacca)

Boat Tour
Leaving the Chinatown on the western side of the river, we moved ourselves again on foot to the jetty behind the Maritime Museum where we took a boat tour. In that 45-minute ride, I was most interested in seeing a Malay village with old and new houses, some of which even built like a bungalow and came with courtyards. To me, although the site did not too resemble Amsterdam, the tour was a relaxing one probably also due to the fact that the boat was less than half-full.

Boat Tour, Melaka (Melacca)

Boat Tour, Melaka (Melacca)

Boat Tour, Melaka (Melacca)

Boat Tour, Melaka (Melacca)

Goodbye Melaka! Unlike some of the guide books hinted, we easily got a taxi near the Dutch Square and returned to Melaka Sentral (the bus station) in just 5 minutes; where we waited for the next coach to Kuala Lumpur. And just a day later, we flied back to Hong Kong.

Would I be back for this UNESCO World Heritage city again? I would, if staying overnight during weekend is possible, when we could find chances to join the crowds and enjoy a meal of Nyonya cuisine.

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  1. Mary Moh

    A beautiful account of Melaka. Love all the pictures. It’s a very interesting and nice place to visit….rich in it’s historic heritage. I visited it many many years ago. Would love to visit it again one day.

  2. Pepy @Indonesia Eats

    The pictures remind me of The Little Nyonya, a serial drama which has about Peranakan and also the food. 🙂

  3. Angie's Recipes

    A really beautiful place to visit…and GOSH…these kitchen sponges…good for massaging and washing the feet…I miss these old times…..

  4. Christine@Christine's Recipes

    Very descriptive post of your stay in Melaka. I’d like to visit this special city and try the Nyonya cuisine.
    Those red sandals are great for being souvenir, lol.

  5. the lacquer spoon

    Thank you for the beautiful travelogue of this time! It really reminds me summer is time for travel! Ridiculously hot in Tokyo now, so I should be away to somewhere to cool me off 🙂

  6. mycookinghut

    Beautiful! The last time I went to Malacca was ages ago! Definitely would love to make a trip there again..

  7. tigerfish

    The dried luffa….now I know how a bath sponge can look like. Thanks for sharing your trip photos. The last time I was in Malacca was when I was a kid. I can’t remember anything now.

  8. Mei Teng

    Melaka (or Malacca) has been and still is one of my favourite places to visit in M’sia. The old buidlings are really charming.

    Don’t visit during major holidays (or school holidays) as the traffic can be really crazy.

  9. Mei Teng

    I don’t fancy those chicken rice balls as they tend to taste too moist. I like the regular chicken rice.

    A good buy would be one of those Nyonya kebayas. There’s a guy who makes really beautiful and authentic Nyonya kebayas and his shop is situated along a row of red old buildings leading up to the Stadhyus.

  10. pigpigscorner

    Beautiful! I haven’t been to Melacca in such a long time!It has changed so much.

  11. food-4tots

    Besides Peranakan/ Nyonya cuisine, I love the Portugese cuisine too. Haven’t been to Malacca for ages.

  12. yenman

    I had recently visited Malacca again too! It’s a waste that you did not spent a night during the weekends, for that’s when Jonker street comes to life.

    If you ever go back there again, do try
    Xiang ji pork satay @ Jalan Portugis
    Capitol satay celup @ Lorong Bukit Cina
    Durian cendol/abc @ Jonker Street
    Nyonya restaurant (not too sure the name of the restaurant) @ Jonker Street

    btw, love reading taste HongKong, keep up the good work, especially on the recipes! =)
    Portuguese grill @ Portuguese village around Ujong Pasir

  13. TasteHongKong

    @food-4tots, Right, should take into consideration the Portugese cuisine as well, yet interestingly it seems to be less mentioned. Thanks.

  14. TasteHongKong

    @yenman, Thanks for the list and thanks for sharing with us here. Wish you enjoy reading more and I, writing more.

  15. Sook

    I want to go to that Chinatown! 🙂

  16. Heavenly Housewife

    What a lovely little town. I want a pair of those red shoes, so cute 😀
    *kisses* HH

  17. Ivy @ My Simple Food

    What a beautiful trip. Malacca has changed a lot to cater for tourists and yet preserving its historical heritage.

  18. J2Kfm (Malaysian Food Blog)

    The thick, caramel of gula melaka (palm sugar syrup) drizzled on the shaved ice with Cendol, the chicken rice in lumpy balls, the authentic Nyonya cuisine, and the delicious grilled fish by the sea.

    I love Malacca, for a short getaway or two. An hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur makes it all sooooo enticing.

  19. baba

    i am glad you enjoyed your short trip to melaka
    i am from melaka, i would like to point out that there is no chinatown in melaka and never be…
    the locals of chinese origins is almost 30% of the 23million almost the same as hk population
    to label jonker street as chinatown is demeaning the locals chinese, you had visited cities in malaysia kl(even petaling street), penang… you see the local chinese are unlike chinese in uk or the us of a, as chinese culture is part of malaysian culture and mind you that chinese new year is a national holiday
    btw thank you for your kind post

  20. TasteHongKong

    I see, thank you for your advice.
    I think I have come across the term Chinatown more than once in travel books mentioning Melecca. To me, it conveys no negative meaning and neither do I.
    Anyway, thanks for addressing the point and welcome back again.

  21. Jacyln

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed Melaka!
    On weekends, Jonker Street has its weekly night market,
    view from St Paul’s Church is quite breathtaking and…
    popiah (spring roll) in front of Madam’s King, Jalan Bunga Raya is quite famously delicious.

  22. TasteHongKong

    Thank you.

  23. Louise W

    Great pics and great write up. Thanks! I am planning to visit Melacca (from UK) and this is really helpful. I do hope I will find the old site for Ying Wah College. My father is possible their current oldest old boy alive at 81! And of course, I love Straits Chinese food :o) yum yum.

  24. TasteHongKong

    @Louise W,
    Glad if this humble piece of information could be of help.
    Good luck to ‘old boy’! I wish I could witness him visiting his college, seeing him ride on an invisible time machine to return to his young ages and tell us his stories back in the older days … (or do I wrongly assume that he will join you?). Greedily, I would love to see your pictures there.
    Enjoy your trip and foods in Melacca!

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