Day 2 – Malacca to Singapore
We woke up to another hazy day. When we pulled away the curtains, it was the same as yesterday, nothing much to see through the haze. As our hotel room booking didn’t come with breakfast, we decided to head out to look for food even though we could enjoy 50% discount on meals for Accor Plus members at the restaurant in the hotel.
When we were about to exit the hotel, a staff at the door went to the check in counter and took two face masks for us. It was such a nice gesture. Indeed, it was dreary outdoor. Once outside the hotel, we could look at the sun without hurting our eyes due to the haze.
We exited the Novotel Hotel and turned left and walked towards the end just a short distance away. We took another left turn and not far down the road junction on the left, a famous dim sum restaurant was right there.
We walked over, entered the restaurant and was heartily greeted by the lady restaurant owner. We took our seats next to a table where a few patrons were ordering food items. The restaurant was rather quiet but the lady owner made up the rather empty restaurant with her cheerful presence as she recommended some dim sum items to us.
We ordered a pot of Chinese Jasmine tea and then poured over the menu with pictures of different dim sum items. A waiter brought a tray of dim sum to us to help us select the items we would like to order. We took a plate of fried yam ball and then continued to look at pictures from the menu. Eventually, we ordered another four more items.
The food was quite delicious but the pricing was on par with Chinese Restaurants in shopping malls. We enjoyed our breakfast and sipped our Chinese tea where the tea cups and spoons came with a small tub of hot water where we had to rinse them before using like those traditional Chinese restaurants. Our bill for five items plus Chinese tea came up to MYR36. The lady owner lamented that the hazy weather caused her business to suffer tremendously. On normal days, her restaurant would be quite packed.
After this, we walked back to Novotel Hotel and returned to our room. We took a shower and got ready to head out for a last round of shopping before checking out to catch our coach to return to Singapore at 1.30 pm. Before leaving, we called reception to request for late check out at 1 pm which was granted.
So we left the hotel again wearing our face masks and turned right and walked to Hatten Square and then crossed the road to enter Dataran Pahlawan.
We were heading there to buys some bread, cakes and puffs to bring home. It was only 10.15 am when we entered the mall. While walking to Baker’s Cottage, my dear wife saw a nice pair of shoe which was very pretty and comfortable that was on offer so she bought the shoe after trying out the shoe.
Then we proceeded to Baker’s Cottage where freshly baked bread and puffs were brought out for display. We took a while and bought quite a number of bread, puffs and a swiss roll and then went back across to Hatten Square.
We went back up to Sports Direct where the staff recognized us and greeted us. They were putting up badminton rackets on promotion that day. For MYR99, we could purchase a Carlton racket and a tube of shuttlecocks. However, they would need some time to string the guard.
My wife remembered the pair of hiking shoe she tried on the previous day. She tried on the same pair again and decided to buy it at MYR119. So we also bought the badminton package where we would have to come back to collect the racket after they had strung it. Upon payment, the barcode for the pair of UK brand hiking shoe turned out to be only MYR59. The staff was shocked and so were we. Of course we were also very happy to purchase this pair of shoe at such a good price even though this was the last pair which probably explained why the price was so good.
So we returned to Novotel Hotel to pack all our shopping for the two days. There wasn’t much time for us this morning as we needed to get ready to check out to catch our bus ride home. So after packing, we went back down to the Square Restaurant for lunch. Initially, we wanted to try out the Nyonya food nearby but we simply didn’t have much time. So the restaurant at the hotel was our best option as we also enjoyed 50% discount on meals as Accor Plus members.
We took our seats by the windows this time though there was nothing much to see outside but it was however much brighter and more cheerful by the windows. We ordered Nyonya Laksa and their signature pasta. We asked again for the Nyonya spring rolls where the waitress after checking with the chef came back with a negative reply.
The bread and butter came first as usual and then the waitress came and told us the Nyonya spring rolls were available so we placed our order for this item as well. Soon our food came and the spring rolls looked very good. Hence we asked the waitress whether we could order another set to take away to bring home for the children to sample Nyonya food. She checked with the chef again and then came back to inform us that they didn’t have the small containers for the sauce but we told her we didn’t need the sauce so she happily took our order for the spring roll.
The lunch was really good and very enjoyable. We were so full so my wife and I shared a spring roll and left the other to be packed and take away later. One of the waitresses Wendy came over to have a short chat with us. She was really friendly and she recommended that we should try the hotpot restaurant across the hotel next time. After that she took our left over spring roll to pack with the other set for us to take away. She came back with our take away spring roll with a DIY aluminum foil carrier as the boxes the hotel ordered had not arrived. After all, Novotel Melaka Hotel had just opened a month ago so we didn’t mind at all.
With that we returned to our room for a final brushed up, grabbed our bags and returned to the hotel front desk to process our check out. It was efficiently done and the bill for our two lunches for the two days was under MYR50 with the 50% discount as Accor Plus members. The staff at Novotel Melaka were sincerely helpful and friendly. No doubt when the hotel is more established, it would get very busy where its location was rather convenient for shopping and not too far away from the historic town of Malacca.
We then left Novotel Melaka Hotel, turned right again and walked across some side streets and back to Hatten Hotel. From there, we went over to Hatten Square. We needed to collect our badminton racket we left there for stringing.
Next we went back to the bus bay where we alighted the day before. The coach from 707 was already there and the same Chinese driver who drove us here the previous day recognized us and allowed us to board the coach and take our seats. It was already 1.15 pm and we waited for a few more passengers and then we made our way out of Hatten Hotel area.
The coach made some turns and then parked outside Equatorial Melaka to pick up more passengers. The driver honked a few times and waited. No one came. He picked up the phone to make some calls and then a few passengers came and boarded.
We waited and waited and then a guy crossed the road and came up to talk to the driver and then left. The driver told me he was always very afraid to pick up passengers outside this hotel having to parked the coach along a main road. Unfortunately we usually have inconsiderate people who would not be punctual. So the poor driver could have to face the risk of being fined by the traffic police. If the traffic is heavy, he could face the brunt of angry commuters honking at him for holding up the traffic.
After about another 15 minutes, a big group of passengers both young and old crossed the road and boarded the coach. Then only could we move on again. However, none showed any sign of being apologetic for holding up those on the bus for so long waiting for them. As to why these people won’t wait at the pick up point and inconvenienced others, we could only conjecture all kinds of possibilities. The driver was rather patient and commendable. He could have moved off and let these people who didn’t keep to their place and schedule find their own way back which was perfectly justifiable.
So we continued down the road and arrived at Malacca Sentral Bus Interchange. More passengers boarded and soon we were on way way again. Not long after, we hit the North-South Highway and were travelling smoothly down south heading towards Johor and eventually Singapore. It was quite a hot day and the haze wasn’t as bad on the highway further away from the coast of the Straits of Malacca.
This time we could really rest and listened to music to wait for the arrival at Johor Custom and Immigration Complex. As we travelled on, the coach pulled up at a rest stop for a toilet break. It was already 4.15 pm. All the passengers took the opportunity to visit the toilet and stretch a little outdoor. Some bought snacks from a stall at the rest stop. After 10 minutes, we moved on again.
Shortly after 5 pm, we reached Johor Immigration Complex. We needed not bring down our bags. Clearing immigration was rather quick. When everyone had boarded the coach, we travelled towards Woodlands Custom and Immigration Complex. Unfortunately, the causeway was jammed packed. It took nearly an hour before we could finally alight the coach with all our bags for immigration clearance. We thanked the driver as we left the coach because we would be making our way home on our own and won’t board the coach again.
After immigration clearance, we didn’t return to the coach as we made our way back home on our own. On the way back, we bought dinner for our children. We looked forward to sharing our shopping spoils with everyone back home.
Though this was a very short 2 Days 1 Night weekend break, it was very enjoyable returning to visit Malacca after three years. We skipped all those touristy sites as we had visited them in the past climbing up the hill to see Saint Paul Church and looking down at the city from the hill top. So this time was purely a shopping and food sampling trip.
Hatten Hotel has always been the centre of attraction with its strategic location sandwiched between Mahkota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan Mall. This hotel is always busy and many tour buses bring tourists to this hotel as they have a huge bus bay behind the hotel to cater to the transportation needs of tourists.
Novotel Melaka Hotel on the other hand is just few minutes walk away from some side streets which is surrounded by shops , massage outlets and eateries. This new hotel no doubt would pick up business and its room rate would surely rise in tandem.
Beside Novotel Melaka Hotel is the brand new The Straits Hotel and Suites. The hotel looks quite cool as well with pretty impressive hotel staff wearing tradition costume uniforms waiting outside the hotel entrance to greet and welcome guests.
We had also stayed at Hotel Equatorial Melaka nearly twenty years ago. It is also not very far away from all the actions and excitement of what Malacca has to offer. Before Hatten Hotel and Holiday Inn Melaka Hotel were built, Equatorial Melaka Hotel had been the hotel to stay in the past. There are more options these days.
For those who wish to stay near Jonker Walk, there are boutique hotels over there. However, parking might be a problem for those driving to hotels over there. Night market only opens from Friday to Sunday.
Not long ago, with the addition of a new five stars Swiss-Garden Melaka Hotel located further down the river from Jonker Walk offers more options for tourists to Malacca. This hotel looks impressive as well where some tour and coach companies have tie-ups to bring guests to this hotel.
We used to drive to Malacca in the past when the children were much younger. However, if you choose to drive into Malacca during a holiday, especially during a long weekend holiday, expect horrible traffic jams into this touristy part of Malacca. We spent Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur several times in the past. Whenever we drove back to Singapore, the queues of cars trying to exit Ayer Keroh to enter Malacca was very long. It would be quite insane to join the queue unless you are very patient.
So after this short weekend break, my lovely wife told me she didn’t mind to visit Malacca again by coach in the near future. But the next time we might stay two nights instead so we could sample more food, especially Nyonya food as well as the famous chendol in Malacca. We could also spend more time at the night market at Jonker Walk next time. Perhaps, we might have more new discovery about Malacca we missed out in the past. Well, we will look out for more special deals from Novotel Melaka and return for another visit should time permit.