Melaka Renaissance 2011-2012

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December 31st 2011
Published: January 7th 2012
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Saturday, 31st December 2011 ~ Monday, 2nd January 2012

We decided to spend the last day of 2011 in the city of Melaka, some 240km away from where we were in Singapore. Our 8am Luxury Coach departed on time from Concorde Hotel before we were held up for a good 1 hour at the understaffed Royal Malaysian Customs. Apparently, only 4 out of the 12 check-points were in operation this morning!

Visitors' traffic wasn't heavy considering the long weekend festive crush. It was just a matter of speeding things up a little during the immigration clearance.

Along the way, our bus stopped for an uneventful 20 minutes at Yong Peng Lucky Gardens before continuing the journey towards Melaka City. It finally dropped us right at the lobby of Equatorial Hotel slightly after 1.40pm. Coupled with another 20 minutes of walking under the scorching sun, we finally landed at our pre-booked lodging at Melaka's Chinatown at 2pm sharp, exactly 6 hours after we had started out!

While I do admit that the walk to the hotel and the delay at the customs wasn't a fantastic way to kick-start our holidays, all sorts of frustrations dissipated after receiving a warm welcome from Courtyard @ Heeren, a charming 14-room boutique hotel. This was where we would be calling home for the next 2 days.

After a quick laksa and chendol lunch at 86 Jonkers Street (the famous shop next door, Jonker 88 was packed to the brims), we rushed back to our comfy room to grab some rest. It was 5.30pm when we were up again for our early dinner at Hoe Kee Chicken Rice, located at the far end of Jonkers Street.

After the yummy Chicken Rice Balls dinner, it was time for some walks around the historical core to workout the extra calories. Nothing much had changed since the last time I visited even though the historic city has now become part of the growing list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The usual must-see sights remained - the Christ Church and the Stadhuys (Red House) were covered during this walk. A hike to the top of St Paul's Hill to catch the last sunset of 2011 was the highlight of the day even though for a first-timer, KW appeared more interested in those foods than the sights the city had to offer. Back in those days when we first visited the city in 2003, we were certainly more fascinated by the buildings left behind by the different colonial masters.

The skies turned dark as soon as we completed exploring the malls of Mahkota Parade and the newly built, Dataran Pahlawan. Finally, we ended the year at the Bamboo Hut Bistro for our last supper in 2011 before retiring for the night.

While ushering into a brand new year in Melaka, our next 2 days were mainly spent exploring the various food options within the city. Other than feasting on a generous spread of daily breakfast compliments from our lovely hotel, we also had a chance to sample some delicious Peranakan cuisine and purchased enough pineapple tarts to last us through the Lunar New Year.

My travel experience in Melaka wasn't unique to round up the year. Still, it presented opportunities for us to get away from our hectic lives to a place where we are relatively familiar with.

Travel resolutions in 2012 are currently planned to include a staycation in Johor Bahru (Mar 12), a short getaway to Bandung during the Easter long weekend (Apr 12) and a medium - long haul holiday to either southern Japan or New Zealand (Oct 12) given my hectic work schedule for the year.

By the time the year comes to a close, I hoped to have accumulated enough travel tales to share with fellow travellers.

Recap: My Year of Travelling in 2011

I started the year with a familiar trip to the city of Bangkok before hopping on a plane to Taiwan in May 2011. I had a memorable trip to Bali during my 32nd birthday before taking the skies of Paris and Italy in October. I slowed down for the remaining days in 2011 with short weekend getaways with some colleagues to Kuala Lumpur before continuing with a staycation in Singapore. Finally, we were in the city of Melaka on the final day of 2011 hoping that the new year would bring yet another memorable year of travelling opportunities.

Our Foody Trails in Melaka

>>Jonker 88
Laksa and Chendol - Prices had increased over the years, but their heavenly Gula Melaka Chendol and Nyonya Laksa continued to draw endless foodies every weekend.

>>Bamboo Hut Bistro
The Aldy Hotel is unmissable on the left as we walked back to Jonkers Street from Mahkota Parade - Try their divine Meat Rolls (ngoh hiang). Oh yes, the service was tip-top.

>>Hoe Kee Chicken Rice
Chicken Rice Balls - the shop is just next to the mammoth San Shu Gong Local Products shop along Jonkers Street.

>>Little Nyonya Peranakan Cuisine
Hidden within the far tail end of Jonkers Street hides, this is a nice place to try out authentic Peranakan Cuisine without breaking the bank. Compared to the likes of Nancy Kitchen, the clientele of Little Nyonya are mainly Chinese Malaysian families with the occasion tourist. The Pineapple Prawns and the Fried Omelette were our favourite dishes.

>>Restoran Old Village Satay Celub
While the likes of Capitol Satay had garnered long queues stretching along Lorong Bukit Cina, we decided to give Old Village a try. We had a choice of satay ingredients that went well with the hot satay sauce steaming from our cooking pot. The end result was a unique satay experience at this part of the city even though we were perspiring non-stop during the meal. I'm not sure how Capitol Satay's version tasted like. In fact, we were quite happy with what Old Village has to offer.

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