Follow my journey through the #ICYDK Melaka programme that was organised by both the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and Gaya Travel Magazine, in conjunction with Citrarasa Homestay Malaysia 2016 Carnival, to explore the other parts of Melaka, the land where the past meets the present.

Melaka is one of the smallest states in Malaysia, yet it recorded 15.78 million tourist arrivals in 2015 alone, remarkably high despite its size. And it’s easy to understand why – Melaka is competitive, progressive and at times aggressive in catching the attention of travellers: the state government puts billboards in all Malaysian states including popular shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur to constantly be travellers’ top-of-mind destination; it organises domestic and international road shows, and it even created a ‘Destination Melaka’ mobile app for travellers’ convenience.

With such effort, no one can deny that Melaka is confident with its offerings. But what if you’ve seen the iconic A Famosa, the Stadthuys, the museums and the churches? What other attractions that you can visit in limited time?

 

The Sights of Melaka

The SHORE Sky Tower

The SHORE Sky Tower

The SHORE Sky Tower

Being the tallest man-made building in the state, at 163 metres above street level, The SHORE’s rooftop naturally becomes the ideal vantage point to enjoy a panoramic 360-degree view of the historic city up to 50 kilometres away in every direction on a clear day. It also makes an interesting venue for outdoor events such as weddings and New Year’s Eve celebration complete with fireworks and twinkling lights under the sky. Travellers can challenge their fear of height by standing on the glass bottom ledge called Sky Deck that overhangs from the side of the building to capture the beautiful moment using professional photography services (no selfies allowed). Entrance fees to the Sky Tower are MYR25 per adult and MYR18 per child. It opens daily from 10:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. (closes at 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).

 

A: The SHORE, Pinggiran @Sungai Melaka, Jalan Persisiran Bunga Raya, Melaka, 75100 Melaka
GPS: 2.202848, 102.249648
W: skytower.theshoremelaka.com

 

The SHORE Oceanarium

The SHORE Oceanarium

The SHORE Oceanarium

Deciding whether aquariums are good or bad for the animals is still in grey area; nevertheless, we can’t deny that they are indeed educational. Besides, there’s something heartening when it comes to visiting aquariums since they offer the opportunity to form a more personal and emotional connection with marine life. After all, not all are brave enough to dive deep into the ocean just to admire the underwater world. So for travellers who are interested in the marine ecosystem, do consider spending an hour or so at The Shore Oceanarium, where its visitors can experience closeness with underwater animals and learn interesting facts about them via its ten sections: Interactive Touch Pool, Shark Quest, Jungle Quest, River Story, Sea Shells Museum, Ocean Theatre, Ocean Journey, Kampung Penyu, Living Fossils and Dangerous Marine Species.

Expect to see various species of underwater animals up close like piranha, clown fish (Nemo), lion fish, moray eel and even the transparent species of Asian glass catfish called ghost catfish or the phantom catfish. The Oceanarium prides itself as the first aquarium in Malaysia that brings a three-dimensional (3D) experience by requiring travellers to put on 3D glasses to watch the 3D light board displays located at certain spots within the premises. There is also a 3D movie entitled ‘A Turtle’s Adventure’ being screened at the Ocean Theatre. Entrance tickets are sold at MYR35 per adult, MYR25 per child/senior citizen. The SHORE Oceanarium opens daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

 

A: The SHORE, Pinggiran @Sungai Melaka, Jalan Persisiran Bunga Raya, Melaka, 75100 Melaka
GPS: 2.202848, 102.249648
W: www.oceanariummelaka.com

 

The SHORE 3D Interactive Park

The SHORE 3D Interactive Park

The SHORE 3D Interactive Park

Located on the second floor, this interactive park is also part of The SHORE Melaka mixed development owned by Kerjaya Prospek Group. It is an art gallery that features a ‘trompe l’oeil’ technique comprising the illusionary two-dimensional (2D) art pieces that looks like 3D, inviting visitors to become creative while posing with these paintings as if they are part of the original artworks. There are 10 differently themed zones in total, ranging from a variety of 3D and optical illusion arts to gravity and up-side-down tricks. There are also interactive videos implemented within the park that uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology, allowing visitors to create effects like defying gravity in outer space and taming the Malayan tiger. But my personal favourite is the haunted room, where visitors can experience an eerie sensation that comes from the ghostly shadows, impressive apparitions and flickering broken television screen. The gallery is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and the tickets are sold at the price of MYR30 per adult and MYR20 per child.

 

A: The SHORE, Pinggiran @Sungai Melaka, Jalan Persisiran Bunga Raya, Melaka, 75100 Melaka
GPS: 2.202848, 102.249648
W: www.facebook.com/3dinteractivepark

 

The SHORE Toy Museum

The SHORE Toy Museum

The SHORE Toy Museum

Many visitors to the museum will experience a flood of old memories, so expect to hear a lot of “awwwhh” and cheery faces and excited finger-pointing, because this is where the 80s and 90s babies find their favourite childhood toys. The museum’s impressive collection features as many as 10,000 toys ranging from antiques, games, dolls, dollhouses, plush toys, miniature aircrafts, vintage cars, figurines to even TV shows- and movie-inspired scale miniatures (Super Mario, SailorMoon, Doraemon and Slamdunk). Fans of Star Wars will also become excited to see the special zone inspired by this epic movie series, filled with life-sized Stormtroopers and Darth Vader. But if you are a Marvel geek like me, be prepared to be blown away by the sights of life-sized characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor and Iron Man – and even Iron Man’s Hall of Armours that make an excellent background for a photo op! The entrance fees are MYR30 per adult and MYR20 per child. It opens daily from 10:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

 

A: The SHORE, Pinggiran @Sungai Melaka, Jalan Persisiran Bunga Raya, Melaka, 75100 Melaka
GPS: 2.202848, 102.249648
T: +06 288 3366
*The SHORE also offers fantastic dining experience through its two F&B outlets: The SKY Deli and River Quay Dining & Lounge.

 

Morten Village

Morten Village

Morten Village

The story of Morten Village dates back to the 1920s when the locals of Kampung Jawa had to move from their original homes to make way for development. These locals then found a piece of land near Malacca River that is suitable to set up a new kampung; however, the price of the land was too expensive that Datuk Othman Md. Nor (the founder of the village) had to seek help from the British Land Commissioner F.J. Morten to loan them money. In return, they named the new village after him in honour of his assistance.

Today, Morten Village is valued as the only surviving traditional village amidst modernity in Malacca City. It still embraces a fenceless community concept, which features classic Malacca houses with intricate wood carvings, pitched roofs and colourful front tile-covered entrance staircases. Due to its cultural significance, the Melaka state government finally gazetted the village as a heritage area since 1988 and turned it into a tourist attraction, where both local and international travellers can experience the quintessential Melaka kampung culture, especially at a ‘living museum’ called Villa Sentosa – owned by Datuk Othman’s family – that has vintage collectibles, antique furniture and classic small wedding room complete with traditional Malay-style dais.

There is a free guided tour called Kampung Morten Cultural & Heritage Guided Walk organised by the Melaka state government and Melaka Museums Corporation (Perzim) should travellers want to learn more about Sentosa Villa and the village. It runs only three times a week: Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 4:00 p.m. Be mindful, though, that there is a limit of 30 participants per walk, therefore advanced booking is required. Call +6 06 281 4226 or +6 06 282 6526 for more information.

 

Also, consider:

  • Shopping at Jonker Street: The popular stop where travellers can hunt for antiques, crafts and lip smacking local and western food.
  • Riding The Melaka River Cruise (melakarivercruise.my): This 45-minute ride along the river passes by historic buildings, old warehouses, mangrove strands, Morten Village and cafes. (Tickets start at MYR10 per adult and MYR5 per child.)

The Taste of Melaka

Buah Melaka: A popular ball-shaped snack often associated with the state, which is boiled, stuffed with palm sugar, and coated with shredded coconut. It is typically eaten during afternoon tea and Ramadan (Muslim fasting month).

Buah Melaka

Buah Melaka

 

Inang-inang (Glutinous Rice Crackers): Not many people know that these crackers originated from Melaka, originally made by the royal nannies back during Melaka Sultanate period. These nannies were called Mak Inang, hence, inspired the name of the snack. Today, they are commonly served as afternoon tea snack and even as door gifts during Malay wedding.

Inang-inang (Glutinous Rice Crackers)

Inang-inang (Glutinous Rice Crackers)

 

Peranakan Cuisine: Of course, no trip to Melaka is complete without having to taste proper Peranakan cuisine. One great place to experience it is at Nyonya Suan Restaurant, which serves Southern Nyonya delights. Service is quick and prices are also reasonable. Most importantly, the quality of its dishes will satisfy travellers’ cravings for authentic Peranakan flavours. Try the chef’s signature meal, ikan lemak nenas, and sambal bendi as they will definitely give your taste buds a real treat. The restaurant opens daily at 11:00 a.m.– 3:00 p.m. for lunch and 5:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. for dinner.

A: 1336D, Jalan Merdeka, Plaza Merdeka, 75000 Melaka
GPS: 2.189959, 102.248980
T: +6 06 286 4252

Peranakan Cuisine Malacca

Peranakan Cuisine Malacca

 

Spicy Mutton Curry: To cook mutton is tricky; if you cook it wrongly, you’ll end up with unpleasant flavour. That’s why most people would just avoid this type of meat altogether. But in Melaka, there is a popular eatery at Simpang Bekoh that offers “power” spicy mutton curry – not for the meat’s strong gamy taste, but for the dish’s thick fully-spiced gravy that is so ‘powerful’ you’ll beg for a second helping! The curry comes with delicious, soft tender chunks of mutton and can be eaten with rice or nasi impit (compressed rice). Just be sure to come early to the shop because the curries are typically sold out by 9:00 a.m. The shop opens from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. only on weekdays.

A: Warung Kari Kambing Power & Asam Pedas Claypot
KM42, Jalan Tambak Merlang 1, Kampung Simpang Bekoh, 77100 Asahan, Melaka
T: +6 012 777 5006/+6 013 682 2800

 

Spicy Mutton Curry Melaka

Spicy Mutton Curry Melaka

 

Biskut Tongkat (Rusk): Also known as Biskut Mayat, Biskut Lutut or Biskut Azan, Biskut Tongkat (rusk) is a hard, dry biscuit commonly served with hot coffee during tea time. There are plenty of brands of this biscuit available in the state; yet, I recommend those by IKS Biskut Tongkat Kampung Bekoh for its cheap but high quality Biskut Tongkat, made fresh daily.

A: IKS Biskut Kampung Bekoh
Lot 4325, Projek Memproses Biskut, Padang Lebar Simpang Bekoh, 77100 Asahan, Melaka
T: +6 012 613 4198

 

Biskut Tongkat (Rusk)

Biskut Tongkat (Rusk)

 

The Hospitality of Melaka

The Settlement Hotel

The Settlement Hotel Malacca

The Settlement Hotel Malacca

Bright and airy, the hotel makes an exclusive sanctuary ideal for those seeking privacy. It is set in a renovated 1960’s four-storey government building, where each space tells stories through a collection of exquisite antiques including porcelain wares, abstract paintings and prints collected over the years by the owner.  I must say that they also treat guests with impeccable service and such warmth that make you secretly wish you could stay longer!

 

Homestay Alai

Homestay Alai Malacca

Homestay Alai Malacca

If travellers are interested in experiencing local culture and lifestyle, they should consider staying at a homestay, which is not only value for money, but also gives the chance for travellers to be immersed in the destination by meeting and staying with a local host – travellers get to learn a few words in Malay and even visit places off the tourist trails that only locals know! One great example is the Kampung Alai homestay programme, which has hosted plenty of local and international travellers. There are plenty of activities that can be done here, including traditional games, cultural performances, village tour and traditional kuih-making demonstration. On top of that, travellers also get to learn about Dondang Sayang with the popular Seri Warisan Baru Alai Dondang Sayang group led by Tuan Hj. Mohd. Isa, established since 2011. The package rates start at MYR120 per person per night.

A: Homestay Kampung Alai, KM 7.6, Jalan Hj. Said, Kampung Alai, 75460 Melaka
GPS: 2.181614, 102.303421
T: +6 016 666 6649 (Mr. Akramuddin)

 

Gaya Travel Magazine would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC) Malaysia for the fruitful collaboration in organising the #ICYDKMelaka programme and making our trip to the state a breeze.

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