Friday, 14 June 2013

A day trip to Malacca

History: A Very Short Introduction of Melaka

Founded in 1403, Melaka (Malacca) is rich with history culture, heritage and tradition. Under the rule of a Muslim Sultanate, Malacca was arguably once the greatest and most powerful empire and busiest seaport in South East Asia.

Because of its ideal location, Malacca was a vital stopping point for Chinese Muslim admiral Zheng He's fleet. Zheng He's first voyage comprised of a fleet of 317 ships. The largest fleet of ships,holding almost 28,000 crewmen such as the world had never seen.

To strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries, Emperor of China betrothed his daughter Princess Hang Li Po to the Sultan Mansur Shah (the Fourth Sultan of Melaka) in 1459 AD Sultan of Malacca but this is disputed whether Hang Li Po ever existed since she was never mentioned in the Ming Chronicles of the ruling Chinese Ming Dynasty.

Just like we question whether or not there was ever a real English outlaw named Robin Hood existed in medieval England. The legendary bandit for highway robbery in the English Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. He is doing something morally wrong for a noble cause by stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Stealing is wrong no matter what purpose it serve, stealing is still stealing.

Nor can we say conclusively that the legendary warrior Hang Tuah did not exist.

How did Melaka got its name?

There is an interesting local folk tale on how Malacca got its name. 



The last king of Singapore (known as Temasek in the past meaning 'Sea Town' or 'Sea Port') was defeated in one Majapahit naval attack in 1398 and  fled north to scout for a new piece of land.

While taking shelter and resting under a tree, he witnessed a strange face off confrontation. During a hunting trip, one of his dogs cornered a mouse deer or known locally as Sang Kancil.  In desperate retaliation, the mouse deer kicked the dog on its nose. 
The Indian prince was so impressed by mousedeer’s had the guts to fight back.

That encounter give him an inspiration to stir him up, urging him to never give up hope even when the chips are down.

Chinese Proverbs said: "Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up." 

 Learning from the observations, he take the cue as a good omen to build his new kingdom. Later, he asked a local what's the name of this place? 

The local misunderstood him, what he thought were the name of the tree replied that it was called Malacca.

Parameswara decided to established a new kingdom and name the state as Malacca which based from the name of that tree.

Within decades, the new city grew rapidly and became a wealthy hub of international commercial activity. A bustling, cosmopolitan port in Southeast Asia which later attracts as much envy as it attracts admiration of other nations.

Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511 under the lead of Alfonso de Albuquerque to capture the spice trade. Later the Dutch took over in 1641 after defeated the Portuguese with the help of the Sultan of Johor. Dutch ruled Malacca and  remained so until the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 was signed. The Dutch hand over Malacca to the British under an exchange programme for Batavia(Jakarta) in Indonesia.

 The British were in Malaya from 1786 to 1941, briefly halted when the Japanese invaded and took over after the defeat of Japan in World War II on 1945. The British then resumed their rule over Malaya until 1957, when the country gained independence.

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Malacca has wide road on the outskirts but as soon as you  we started
entering the heart of the old city area, the roads begin to narrow down.


This is a Melaka tree which  Parameswara, who named his new kingdom after the name of the tree he was resting .A common species in South East Asia and India.


On a hot Sunday afternoon, get a sip of ice cendol can helps to cool you down.

  Mmmmm...Nothing beats a good old-fashioned quenches thirst like a refreshing bowl of cendol on a hot sunny day. 
Cendol is a traditional desert belief to be originating from Java, Indonesia. The main cendol ingredients consist of coconut milk, palm sugar, a worm-like green jelly made from rice flour and served on shaved ice. Those bold adventurer can try durian-enhanced cendol, which is quite delicious but is definitely not for the faint-hearted Europeans. Andrew Zimmerman the host of bizarre foods is disgusted by the pungent of durian fruit smell. So durian is his final test for the "Holy Grail" bizzare food and he failed the ultimate hurdle.

Located at the foothill of Bukit Cina and next to Sam Po Keng Temple, Princess Hang Li Poh’s Well (also known as King’s Well). This ancient well was order to be dug in 1459 by Malaccan Sultan Mansur Shah fifth wife, Princess Hang Li Poh for her exclusive use.

Nevertheless whether or not the argument on the basis whether existance of Princess Hang Li Po ever exist is a very debatable subject since she was never recorded in Ming Dynasty records. One mystical fact is the well never dried up even in the severest droughts.
Also there is no written record of the existence of Princess Hang Li Po, Hang Tuah or Hang Jebat and the stories that made into the history text books are just myths or legend as pointed out by Historian Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim.

 One of the problem in Malacca is you will need to buy the parking coupon as there is no parking meter.  We spend less time shopping as we only able to buy one coupon (one hour) from another tourist from Johor before displaying the coupon on the dashboard
If you drive to Melaka, you make sure the first stop is to buy the parking coupon(RM0.60 per hour) . When parking at the road side, you need to display the parking coupon on your car. Malacca is the only states in Malaysia even it is on weekend -Saturday and Sunday, there is no free parking. I don't know about Public Holiday whether we are required also have to pay parking tickets?


Dataran Pahlawan Mega Mall, there has a food court, arts and crafts, local handicrafts, toys and dolls, gifts, pewters and an endless range of souvenirs throughout the market

A visit to a Malacca is like treating yourself to a walk through a time tunnel to stroll back in time through the olden days of this country's history, culture and traditions.
Reminiscent of the  colonial past . When you pass through  this Gorgeous old abandoned house, you stare and wondering about the lives of the  people who onced lived there. That is so sad that such a beautiful era has slipped into the past.

Melaka and George Town, Penang were named as UNESCO World Heritage Sites  

 This rows of red painted shops leads to The Stadthuys of Malacca. A historic town with
beautiful colonial buildings and traditional.


Melaka is know for it's beautifully decorated trishaw to attract customers. Trishaw or referred locally  as beca is the preferred choice if you choose to see the city of Malacca close-up. The numbers of trishaw has dwindle down,  today they are operated mostly as a tourist attraction. No longer as common means of transportation.
 In Penang, Trishaw driver sits behind the passenger seat giving more spacious compared with their Malacca counterparts.


A kebaya is a traditional dress originated from Indonesia which spread to neighbouring countries. It is usually wear with a sarong with other woven garment.

In Malacca it was commonly worn by the Peranakan people which are descendants of late 15th and 16th century Chinese immigrants to the Indonesia and Malaya(now Malaysia). A large population of Peranakans can be found in Malacca and Penang who are descendants of interracial marriage with the local people. Most of them are still practising part of Chinese cultural traditions but oddly speak Malay fluently as a first language while unable to speak their native Chinese. The men folks are called 'Baba' while the female are referred to as 'Nyonya'.

My mum used to have the tailoring skill to make kebaya but not anymore. Sewing the different floral material on the kebaya is very time consuming and elaborate process. To get a kebaya tailored to fit is becoming expensive and depends on the material choose by customers as well as how complex the customer wants the floral patterns to be. 

The art of making and wearing kebaya is slowly dying off, its contemporary use is mainly limited to members of the older generation, many young women who are fashion-conscious do not wear the traditional kebaya.

Recently some younger women have replace sarong, they sometimes match the kebaya blouse with jean. 

Those who have a tall and slim physique to fit into a tight, body-hughing kebaya can make her look very charming. Just look at Singapore Airlines stewardesses dressed in sarong kebaya uniform has gained worldwide recognition. The outfit became one of the most recognized signatures of the airline.

You might have extremely trouble finding a parking space when you're at the heart of Malacca's town or tourist attraction sites. Since street in the older town are very narrow, naturally most of those roads there are also one-way. So plan ahead your route properly cause if you miss an exit you have to continue and make another around until you return to your exit.

We finally found one parking space near the Performance Stage of Jonker Walk after half an hour looking. I remembered there is a famous temple nearby here somewhere as the first thing we should seek God's blessing so that we have a smooth and safe visit to Malacca.



Performance Stage of Jonker Walk - Malacca Town. Hey! look at stage advertising poster. It's mine team -Manchester united with Wayne Rooney appeared on a Mr Potato advertisement also Ashley Young and strangely to say Queens Park Rangers' Ji-Sung Park but in MU shirt.



 One of the oldest village recorded since the Dutch era in Melaka is 'Kampung Ketek' or Ketek Village


A traditional miniature Malay Rumah Melaka


 various old household items for Malays in the olden days
Item 1 (Start from the left). Granite stone mortar and pestle are typically found in Southeast Asia domestic household. The pestle is a heavy club-shaped object, the bottom part is used for crushing and grinding. The material to be ground is placed in the mortar and ground, crushed or mixed with the pestle. The Asian typically uses the tool to grind and pound up chili paste.

Item 2. An old, hand opertated grain grinder. My Grandma used to turn rice into batter, i.e. a mixture of powdered grains and water with the GRANITE RICE GRINDER.

Grain was served into the center of the upper stone using a spoon. As it turned, the grain shifts towards its edge, being cut, crushed and ground by the stones as it moves, turning into flour during this process.The grinder was often used to grind rice to make Chinese New Year homemade goodies and other delicious rice cakes.
During those days, rice flour was not available. So, everything has to be DIY personal touch because there were no such Ready-made available for your convenience.

Item 3. Milling is the process made by grinding cereal grains, or other seeds are ground into flour. Traditionally, and in most parts of the world to this day by grinding the grain between two stones, a lower, stationary stone called the quern stone and an upper, mobile stone called the handstone. The handstone would have been used with two hands repeated rolling motion.

Item 4. In the old days when there is no home water piping system, big pottery jars are used as water containers for washing ones feet before entering a house. A basin filled with water is placed on the wooden or concrete platform at the entrance of a rural house. A smaller bowl floating inside is used for scooping water from the large basin.




Cheng Hoon Teng is the oldest and finest temple in Malacca. It is located along Jalan Tokong (formerly Temple Street) in the core zone of the Malacca UNESCO World Heritage Site.The name Cheng Hoon Teng translated as Temple of Clear Clouds in Hokkien. It was founded in the early 17th century - around 1645 - by the leader of the local Chinese community at that time, Kapitan China Tay Kie Ki alias Tay Hong Yong.


One of the most significant features of Cheng Hoon Teng temple is the seven-metre red flag-pole
 facing the left wing of the main prayer hall

The Cheng Hoon Teng temple consists of a complex of several prayer halls, with a large main central prayer hall 
dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva avalokitesvara in a black, gold and red-robed.



Unlike the usual Chinese temples, the Cheng Hoon Teng does not feature door gods deities. Door gods have been a popular adornment on Chinese temples with the intimidating figures it will protect the temple grounds by frightening away evil spirits with fierce facial expressions.
Instead the doors are guarded by the famous Taoist monks, The Eight Immortals. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple main front door has a beautifully decorated roof and eaves with stone carving animals and flowers symbols of good fortunes feng shui.

The Chinese in the olden days pasted the painting of Door Gods on their main door, with the imposing and fierce looking figures will ward off evil spirits. Scary looking ain't he?
One of the legend on Door Gods comes from a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Wu Cheng-en, the emperor murdered many people on his rise to power. The emperor was unable to sleep peacefully,tormented by the guilt he begin to hear eerie disturbances of spirit outside his palace chamber at night. When his two generals Chin and Yu-Chih volunteered to stand guard outside his palace entrance, the strange sounds ceased and the
emperor no longer felt disturbed. Worried that his general cannot keep awake every night during their long duration, he came up with a brilliant idea. He instructed picture of them to be hung on the door entrance and the replacement guardian worked as well the actual sentinels.




In 2002, Cheng Hoon Teng was awarded a UNESCO award for outstanding architectural restoration

Across the road is a traditional opera theatre, which forms a part of the Cheng Hoon Teng temple complex

The Cheng Hoon Teng temple (Chinese: 青云亭; "Temple of Green Cloud" is a Chinese temple practising the  Three Teachings of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism co-exist together located at No. 25 Jalan Tokong, Malacca Town, Malaysia. It is the oldest functioning Chinese temple in Malaysia


At the outer gate are the Eight Immortals ride in dragon
Chinese guardian lions or imperial lions statue have traditionally stood in front Chinese Imperial Palace, temples and homes of the wealthy as they believed to have mystical power to protect and guard that surrounding area.


The Cheng Hoon Teng is situated close to Jalan Tukang Emas, also known as "Harmony Street" because of its proximity to the Kampung Kling Mosque and Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple. Kampung Kling mosque was built in 1720 with its unique design resembling a  6 stories Chinese pagoda-style minaret.

It makes me wonder if those days, you will probably find the people here very friendly,hospitable and loving people to each other even towards other races and countries. Nowadays, you will hardly say a few words to your neighbours. Even worse, some didn't make an effort to get to know your neighbours?

Malaysia 13 State's Coffee They have all different coffee powders for the different states in Malaysia.
Strictly for Coffee Lovers


One of the best places to hunt and bargain for antiques


Ahoy there captains!...Permission to board dem ship...we come in peace.
The Maritime Museum, along by the banks of the Malacca River, housed in a life-size replica of the Flor de la Mar mean "Flower of the Sea", the Portuguese galleon which sank in the Malacca Harbour in the 16th century while on its way to Portugal, carrying loot plundered from Melaka.

Cruising the Melaka river at night excited to end the night to appreciate the scenery .

My sister gets mad at mom and me for not being enthusiastic about taking a 45 minutes boat river ride on Sungai Melaka which like seeing Melaka from the back door. I know how much she loves the ride, she had visited the ride before and wants us to experience an exciting and unforgettable night cruise.

There is still lot of room for improvement need to be done such as to constant rehabilitate Malacca River. If the polluted river gets smelly and muddy again then all the efforts to attract tourists will remain in vain.

Don't know why I have a hunch not to go the boat ride, maybe some other time.

Hotel Melaka Casa del Rio Melaka, Mediterranean-inspired boutique hotel, right on the edge of the Melaka River near the entrance to the historic Strait of Malacca. At around 500 miles long, the Malacca Strait is the longest in the world and one of the busiest straits in the world.


On the other side of the river you will find a tall revolving observation deck called 'Menara Taming Sari' standing at a height of 110meters. You can have a great panoramic view of Melaka city centre as this tower will turn 360 degree! It's really worth the money but this is not for those who have had a fear of heights called acrophobia or high anxiety phobia. My friend Cher Wai will have to skip this ride.

Beautiful Courtyard fountain, this place is perfect setting for enthusiastic shutterbug



What we've got here? Stranded? Lost? How did you get over here?
Nah, its a replica of Cheng Ho's ship at Jonker Street.
Legend says, Cheng Ho(Zheng He) may have discovered America 70 years before Christopher Columbus

If the reports are to be believed, Zheng He's ships would dwarf Columbus' 55 ft ships.





It's like going back in the past, Malacca is well known for its historical tourist attraction spots with well preserved building architecture over 100 years old. One will find many remnants of that glorious past in the form an old building .




So much food to choose and I don't know what to eat. ... Everything looks great, it seems
that there are lots of good and cheap food in Malacca

Malacca traditional Nyonya kueh are desert consist of broad items including cookies,cakes, pudding, dumpling and biscuits. Those are mainly made from rice glutinous and often sweet but some are savoury. The kueh are usually steamed rather than baked.
As years goes by, it is now difficult to ascertain which is Malay kuih or Peranakan kueh due to cross-cultural influence on both sides.
Poor mum have to walk long distances as my sister lead us walking from Jonker street
 till the Casa Del Rio Hotel and back which we have to cover a distance at least of 1km 

With all the crowds in close proximity, you are bound to get sweaty in no time. Make sure you dress down, whatever you choose to wear, you are comfortable in cotton clothing and not skintight. Wear something simple but no need to dressed torn and tattered clothes to portray you as somebody poor to get better bargain when dealing with the street vendors.

Clogs that old nanny used in the past still can buy here, can't use at home
 cause it will waking up the whole neighbourhood





Jonker Walk is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The street heats up with crowds streaming in  from as early as 5pm till late.  It is very difficult to move around with crowded people from all walks of life

If you are driving in Malacca, please ensure you are not parked on Jonker during evening or weekend because we almost get 'trapped', our parked car almost stuck in the crowded night market with unmaneuverable situation.

And man, imagine the nightmare because all the stalls were streaming in to start business and we couldn't get out. We would had to wait till everything ended around 1 am before we could move the car as one of the trader told us. Luckily my hunch not to go for the river cruise pays off or maybe the God has protected us from harm? Thank God.



My bro-in law gonna have to give it a miss, his favourite fried oyster omelette or locally known as Oh Chien. We have to exit fast as most of the street vendor are start moving in the area.

My bro-in-law ignored my advice when I asked him to make a turn, he insisted on following the GPS instruction to guide us to Seremban. He end up driving the old trunk road to Tampin before he can exit to highway. A lesson to learn here, GPS not necessary will lead you to highway as you preferred, it will uses highway or main road because logically the satellite think the either the highway or main/trunk road less obstruction. 
If he follow the GPS system, it can lead us to 'Holland'. ..colloquial meaning to nowhere, route ie. shortcuts, and not the main trunk roads ie. highways. So we still need to use our judgement not to follow GPS if we want to exit to highway.

Massive traffic jam in Malacca during school holiday season. We drove all the way from Seremban to Melaka for holiday. 



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