A Huge Tourist Trap Called Malacca, yet an Interesting One

Reddish buildings with a familiar Portuguese architecture caught my attention when I was scrolling my social media feed. I clicked on the location my friend checked in to then I found out about Malacca, declared as UNESCO World Heritage in 2008.

The city of Malacca itself was a small fishing village until it was founded by a Hindu prince from Sumatra namely Parameswara. He turned Malacca’s strategic location within the Strait of Malacca into a hub for trading. Being the halfway between China and India (plus, those tempting spices in the neighbor island called Indonesia), Malacca successfully attracted merchants from all over the world, including the Portuguese (led by the famous Alfonso d’Albuquerque). Read more about its history here.

How to get to Malacca from KL

Malacca takes a 2h bus trip from Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital of Malaysia. Plenty of buses coming and going to Malacca from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS).  They have buses with economic class until executive class. We bought our ticket in advanced while it is also possible if you would like to buy the ticket at TBS. We chose an executive class bus which costed RM 28.8 round trip.

Taking a taxi in Malacca should be the latest option you could take. Yet no worry, now Grab works in Malacca (dunno when till Uber also targets this market). We took the cheapest option ever: a RM1.5 public bus going from Melaka Sentral to the downtown where those reddish buildings were.

I was surprised when I hopped off the bus. All I could see was people, couples and families taking selfie, and what I thought as the most annoying sights: fully-decorated trishaws and stalls. Those trishaws  and stalls blocked the reddish Portuguese buildings I wanted to see the most. I was barely stood at one point because trishaws kept passing by and the driver yelled at me to move. Furthermore, trishaw drivers played kind-of-zumba songs loudly. Super super loud. OK, that was completely annoying. They ruined my first impression of Malacca. It took less than 10′ then we decided to move to a less crowded spot to grab the best Gâteau Mille Crêpes in the country (next on my blog).

The Glory Glorious Jonker Walk

One of the street that caught my attention was Jonker Walk. It was mentioned on every time I looked on any article about Malacca. We went to Malacca on Sunday because there was a night market along the way every weekend. FYI, the sun sets around 7PM in Malacca so the Jonker street was closed at 5PM onwards.

I had least expectation for Jonker ever since I grumbled about the trishaws. Jonker was a street full of galleries, restaurants, and souvenir shops. The street stalls opened once the street was about to be closed. I liked seeing antiques at Jonker. A huddle of colorful houses reminded me of houses along the Douro River in Porto, Portugal. Only that the Peranakan-Chinese culture dominated the street.

Most of the sellers at Jonker were Peranakan. As a huge fan of Chinese foods, my eyes couldn’t stop scanning foods (I was busy looking for dumplings) and it was that hard to resist those food temptations. But I was not lucky at all, I got rejected because most of the foods were not Halal (contained pork). Well at least I had eaten a Halal typical chicken rice balls previously.

If you like a less-crowded option, I would suggest you to turn into the parallel streets–likely, one where Baba-Nyonya Museum was located– and the Harmony street, where Kampung Kling Mosque was. I like those three streets, not Jonker when the market had started because somehow it turned to be a huge tourist trap.

Despite my ruined first impression about Malacca and I bumped into other people so many times, I enjoyed my stroll at Jonker and its surroundings. I always love small streets, alleys, and especially when I got to see how the locals communicate towards each others. I think I would like to return, only when it is not a holiday season nor weekend.



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