Sunday, 16 October 2011

Weekend in Melaka - Unesco World Heritage Site

a heritage building along Jonker Street

It has been quite a few years since I stepped foot into Melaka - the last being a company team-building trip.  Melaka used to be a school holiday destination when I was younger, but it lost its appeal to concrete, development, traffic and a dirty smelly river. So you can imagine how 'thrilled' I was that my cousin's wedding in Melaka meant that I had to spend a weekend there.

In most countries, riverside land are prime areas; unfortunately in Malaysia it's treated as a rubbish dump. However,the smelly dirty river that I remembered was no longer the same - it's been spruced up, cleaned up and somewhat beautified. Ok, so it's quite touristy and tacky, but at least it's no longer yucks.

view from hotel - see the river?

Hokkien Huay Kuan - look at the relief work on the pillars
Attaining the Unesco World Heritage Site status in 2007 has done a lot for the town - at the very least, the heritage buildings are conserved and restored.  It also preserves Melaka's rich history from the 15th century Malacca Sultanates to the Portugese and Dutch colonisation periods.

wooden clogs for sale
With only a few hours to spare, Big Dog and I decided to wander down the Jonker Street area.  Walking along Jalan Tokong, there is an Indian temple, a mosque and a Chinese temple.  Quite a muhibbah street - mind you the places of worship date back to the 1780s.  The Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple was built in 1781 and is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia.  The Kampung Kling Mosque is also one of the oldest mosques in Malaysia and interestingly, doesn't have a Byzantium dome.  The Cheng Hoon Teng temple is the oldest functioning temple in Malaysia.

Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Kampung Kling Mosque with its Oriental influenced minaret

ice shaving
A visit to Melaka isn't complete without taking in some chendol - a shaved ice dessert topped with gula melaka (palm sugar) and the green chendol.  Due to the tourist factor and hygiene awareness, it's rare to see the chendol man peddling his wares from the roadside bicycle anymore.  We found ours in a shop called Bibik House.
While it's almost impossible to get lost in Melaka, it did take us a couple of rounds to find the Portugese Settlement ( the one-way roads threw us off).  We wanted some Portugese seafood.  Lunch there was a 50/50 affair as only 2 stalls were opened for business.  We picked Joan & El Chico's because it looked cooler.  Hmm, maybe lunch isn't popular as it's murderously hot during mid-day?  Lucky for us, our 50% turned out to be a winner. Woohoo...lunch was chicken dable (devil's chicken), ladies' fingers fried with sambal, mussels in ginger and chilli padi and garlic butter scallops.  Er, we were famished.  We came, we ate and we left a pile of shells.  Total damage? RM63, which included 3 drinks (er, we were thirsty too).  Value for money! 

Portugese seafood for lunch

We are going back to Melaka.

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