Sunday, September 07, 2014

Road Trip to Malacca, 5-6 September 2014

We planned for a road trip to Malacca since a few months ago and only realized later on that it would be on Teacher's day, the first day of school holiday before term's break. So we decided to left earlier at 7am.

The traffic to Tuas checkpoint was heavy, but thankfully without any traffic jam. We spent some time queueing at the immigration though, as the car's stuck on one lane only. So it went like this: those queueing on left-most lane and right-most lane could only proceed to one counter, while those on center lane had 3 counters open for them at the end of the queue. Definitely the system can be improved to make it more fair.

We reached Yong Peng, a small town in Johor state around 10am, and had some fish ball noodles from Yuan Yean. It is famous for its Fuzhou fish balls which is handmade, tasty with no preservatives.

Fish balls at Yuan Yean

Around noon we finally reached Malacca and went straight to Courtyard @ Heeren. It's my second time in this boutique hotel, and just like the previous visit, I was impressed with the hotel.

During our email exchange, the staff were always prompt, courteous and professional. They even sent a reminder a few days before our trip that we had a reservation with them. Upon arrival, welcome drink was given and the rooms were ready even before their official check-in time.

The hotel was uniquely decorated in natural colors and elements like woods, plants and water. There are koi fish ponds, mini gardens, mini waterfalls. Rooms were tastefully decorated as well. The deluxe room was more spacious than the superior room and it had a unique bathroom cubicle - it had a door that connects to a mini garden with open air, allowing fresh air to come in.

Buffet breakfast was included in the rate, served in another building opposite the hotel. They offered mix between Western and Asian fare: chicken rice balls, fried noodle, scrambled egg, sausage and turkey ham, cereals, fruits, and various snacks - pastry, egg tarts, coconut tarts, sugar-coated donuts, ondeh-ondeh, sandwiches and toasts. There was also an 'egg station' where we could order our eggs (omelette, sunny side up, boiled or poached).

Courtyard @ Heeren

The hotel was located strategically, very near to Jonker Walk and also to some famous landmarks and restaurants.

So after checking in, we went out to explore the area and also to find some lunch.

Exploring the city

Kedai Kopi Chung Wah, that is famous for its chicken rice balls boasted a perpetually long queue under the sun, so we abandon the idea to try it out and settled with Famosa chicken rice instead. We had some rice balls, roasted chicken, roasted pork and char siew.

Food, glorious food

We walked further to Red Square and took some customary photos at the red church. It was scorching hot so we took some refuge at nearby snack store and had some chendol.

Red Square

We then made another stop at Mamee Jonker House. It has a cafe, a snack and souvenir shop, and also a workshop at the upper level. At RM3.50 per cup, we could customize our own Mamee Chef cup noodle. There were 2 flavours to choose from: tom yam and curry.

First we did some coloring and doodling on the plain cups, then we passed them to the attendant. They would then be processed in the 'factory' while we're observing through the glass panels. First the dried noodle was placed inside, followed by some other ingredients. Then we could choose 4 out of 6 condiments (sweet corn, peeled carrot, chives, cabbage, chilli, and peas) to be added. After that the lid was placed, and then it's wrapped by plastic and sealed. Interesting!

Mamee Jonker House

In the evening the weather was much cooler so it's the good time to enjoy Jonker Walk. Around 6pm, most merchants had pushed their carts and displayed their goods on the street. Cars stopped passing through and people started flocking in. It's really lively.

Jonker Walk

We had some Peranakan fare at Nancy Kitchen: fried rice, fried noodle, ayam buah keras, sayur nangka, kangkung belachan, ngoh hiang and popiah. I liked their ayam buah keras.. it's perfect to be paired with warm white rice.

Dinner at Nancy's Kitchen

We covered the city landmarks on the following morning. Thankfully the weather was really nice, perfect for a walk. We climbed up to St. Paul's hill, enjoyed the sea view, and toured 2 of the museums.

City tour

Around 1pm we left Malacca to start our journey home. So long, Malacca. Till we meet again!

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