Cuisine in Melaka


A cruise worth taking in Malacca I WOULD like to congratulate the Malacca River Cruise for being awarded the Malaysia Tourism Awards 2010/2011 under the Man-Made Attraction category. I have taken the cruise a few times and each time I have come away with great satisfaction. The cruise itself I

s a success story which can be used as a point of reference for other tourist sites. I remember years back when Malacca River was nothing more than a dirty river. Visitors to the historical city would never want to look at the dirty, smelly river. Kampung Morten was dimly lit. Mangrove and lalang grew on both sides of the river. Clothes hung everywhere as the river served as a backyard to houses. Today, throughout the cruise, the river is beautifully and colourfully lit. The stench is no longer there. Kampung Morten is a great example of Malay traditional houses and it glows majestically at night. A jogging track has replaced the mangrove swamp and lalang and pedestrians can now walk along the river that has many benches for visitors to rest. Many bridges were renovated and upgraded with beautiful sculptures. The laundry has been replaced by creative wall murals painted by art students depicting historical events of Malacca. Wow! What a transformation! The Malacca River today was rejuvenated through collaborative efforts and hardwork by many departments and also the people of Malacca. Congratulations again to all who were and are involved in this project. Please continue to further improve this river cruise. I hope to see new things added the next time I take the cruise. Do continue to make Malaysia and Malacca proud! Tahniah. T.K. TEH, Kuala Lumpur.

Cuisine in Melaka


Go: Cruising down Venice of the East

The history of Malacca is about 700 years, perhaps older. PHILIP LIM goes on a river cruise and enjoys vistas of the ancient and modern

IF you are new to Malacca, one of the most pleasant ways of getting acquainted with the Unesco World Heritage Site (since 2008) is to take a river cruise.

I have been an absentee local visitor for the past 11 years. So a revisit to the city was long overdue. A friend told me that one of the nicest attractions in Malacca at present is to board a boat from the Quayside Heritage Centre and take a 45-minute cruise of Malacca River.

Much has happened in the years between the time when the river was an eyesore and it’s in fairly pristine condition now.

It has been about six years since the Malacca River was given a makeover and its murky waters had been treated and rendered visually presentable. The river boat jetty took about two years to complete.

A la Venice

The time spent on the boat is equivalent to a cruise along any of the big rivers in Europe. It is not a coincidence that Malacca in its golden era was nicknamed the Venice of the East.

The only difference is the temperature. The Malaysian weather on the day of our river boat trip is almost perfect.

The sky is a clear blue with only traces of clouds drifting above. There’s a gentle wind which caresses our cheeks as the boat skims the surface of the calm waters.

At last count, there are 26 river boats cruising the Malacca River ferrying passengers across a distance of about nine kilometres. These fibreglass boats are capable of sailing beneath the numerous bridges even at high tides.

At its lowest, the tide is still 0.8 metres which is manageable by the river boats.

A visual count during the river cruise reveals the presence of eight bridges.

They are Tan Kim Seng, Chan Koon Cheng (Ghostbridge of Malacca), Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Kampung Jawa, Kampung Morten, Old Bus Station and Pasar.

The river route has been deliberately designed and engineered for visitors to catch glimpses of river bank flower gardens, a Malay kampung, a windmill, a fort and the Christ Church of Malacca.

Excited cruisers
With us on the boat tour is a family of 10 tourists. They are quite enthusiastic and animated vocally at the novelty of seeing so many unfamiliar scenes outside their country.

Their loud conversations in Cantonese only add to the merriment of the occasion. At one stage of the cruise, the boatman spots a 150cm long monitor lizard lazing on a mangrove branch near the water edge.

One woman loudly exclaims in Cantonese: “This is so big, not even a family of 10 can finish it on the dining table!”

Those of us who understand her can only smile nervously. There are two young Caucasian women on board the boat as well. It would have been interesting to watch their reaction if they had understood the comment.

As far as I am concerned, it is the monitor lizard’s lucky day. It could have been born in another country, lived on another river and might have suffered the unfortunate fate of being the main course on a distant family’s evening menu.

A therapy of sort
The last boat ride ends around 11.30pm. A night cruise along the river is an exhilarating experience altogether because passengers can soak in the sights and sounds of a nocturnal Malacca.

Many of the trees lining the river cruise route are decorated with lights and the old buildings and ancient structures exude an aura that tell of bygone days that once made the city one of the busiest trading ports for hundreds of years.

The human body is susceptible to the lull of lapping waves and the concrete attractions by the river side at every turn and corner give your entire being a sense of high.

The Malacca River cruise is scheduled at a 30-minute interval beginning from 9.30am. Adult fare is RM10 and for children below 12 years, it is RM5. If you are organising a group tour, the Malacca River Cruise office can make arrangements for RM100 per boat.

Call 06-281 7322.

Fast Facts
Before the 15th Century, Malacca was just an ordinary fishing village. It began to flourish under the reign of Iskandar Shah (Parameswara). Before long, Arab traders began to call on the port city.

In the mid-15th Century, Chinese Muslim Admiral Cheng Ho paid a courtesy call on Malacca. According to historical records, Malacca soon became a vassal State of Ming China.

In 1511, the Portuguese seized Malacca and brought it under their control. One hundred thirty years would pass before the Dutch mounted an attack on Malacca and ousted the Portuguese. The year 1641 marked the beginning of the Dutch rule.

For the next 150 years, the Dutch presence in Malacca was supreme. In 1795, Holland (Netherlands) was conquered by the French and consequently the Dutch lost control of Malacca.

The Dutch absence was soon replaced by the British who took over after the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.

Malacca was first governed by the British East India Company. It was only later that it became a British Crown Colony. Together with Singapore and Penang, Malacca became part of the British Straits Settlements.

Read more: Go: Cruising down Venice of the East

Cuisine in Melaka


Opening Homes for Heritage’s Sake.
By Corinne Wan ~ Web in Travel
Sunday, 2nd October 2011
When I was approached to be a judge for this year’s Melaka Tourism Awards and to choose the ‘Best Tourist Attraction – Traditional House’, my first question was ‘What’s a traditional house? Aren’t all the houses in Malay kampungs (villages) traditional?’.

(Pictured: Kampung Padang Sebang,Photos courtesy of the writer)

The answer: “Come and see for yourself as the traditional houses in Melaka are a class of their own”.

With that ringing in my head I arrived in Melaka to be immediately whisked off by my three charming minders in a four wheel to start my tour of the five houses I had to judge.

And, in the process, I discovered Melaka “hidden gems”, not much publicised and oft skipped by visitors as they are not on the itinerary of the usual “must visit” attractions, such as Jonker Walk,The Stadthuys or the Malacca River Cruise.

A pity really as they are buildings of unique architecture and beauty as I found during my journey of discovery.

A typical traditional Melaka house stands on 12 to 16 main pillars (about two metres high).

Its most striking feature is the decorative flower-motif tiled steps, which also serve as the house’s main entrance. (pictured above the steps of Kampung Duyong)

The houses are very colourful. Villa Sentosa (pictured below) has a pink driveway and red tiled steps, Kampung Bukit Palah is in brilliant yellow, while the others are in various hues.

There is no entrance fee. Visitors can just wander into the house and a member of the family, who stays in the house, happily shows them around. If they wish, the visitors can make a donation, with the contributions going to the upkeep of the house.

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