We used to drive to Malacca for a short break when the children were younger and were able to go away with us. The last time we visited Malacca was 2012. When Novotel launched its newly opened hotel last month, we took the opportunity to book a room for just under S$50 without breakfast for a quick weekend getaway.
For transport, we booked a return coach to Hatten Hotel in Malacca just few minutes walk away from Novotel Meleka Hotel from 707 – INC departing Singapore from Rochor area at Queens Street. Since this was just a 2 Days 1 Night trip, packing was nothing to worry about.
Day 1 – Singapore to Malacca
We took a train early morning and exited Bugis Station at exit A at 6.45 am. After crossing the traffic junction we saw the coach 707 was already there. It was still very early as departure time was 7.30 am, hence we walked to the coffee shop at Block 1 of Rocher Complex for a quick bite and a dose of coffee before heading to the office of the bus company just two minutes walk ahead.
After this quick breakfast, we went over to the office with our paper work and collected our insurance receipt for S$2 per person and were given our seat numbers.
The driver was already on the bus cleaning up the bus. At 7.15 am, he opened the door and allowed us to board the bus. When all passengers had finally boarded, the bus departed at 7.30 am.
We were heading towards Tuas Check Point via the AYE and since it was a Sunday morning, road traffic was very light. By 8.10 am, we arrived at Tuas Check Point. Having cleared immigration, we visited the toilet for one last time as the coach would be travelling directly to Malacca without a break.
When everyone had boarded the bus, we left and crossed over the bridge at the Second Link towards Malaysia CIQ. In under ten minutes, we arrived and we had to bring down all our bags for immigration clearance and scanning of our belongings.
Passengers boarded the coach again and by 8.45 am we were heading towards Malacca. This was pretty fast as it was a Sunday morning. On other days, it could be a different story. The reason why we chose to travel on Sunday was because of light road traffic and cheaper hotel accommodation. Hotel costs more on Saturday not to mention surcharge on bus tickets as well.
So it was time to recline our seats and enjoyed our ride. We listened to music in between sleeps. The coach arrived at Malacca Sentral Bus Interchange at 11.15 am. Many passengers alighted to catch their onward bus connection to their final destination. We moved off again in ten minutes and travelled into Malacca town.
By 11.35 am, we were already in the history town of Malacca passing the red colour Christ Church at the Dutch Square. In about five minutes, we arrived at the bus bay of Hatten Hotel. So we grabbed our bags and alighted the bus and walked towards Novotel Melaka Hotel crossing some small streets which was less than five minutes walk away.
Front desk staff was very polite as she processed our check in procedure. We were given information around the hotel and also a mini map in case we got lost in town.
We took the lift and was very pleased when we were given a sea view room. Unfortunately due to haze from the Indonesian forest fires, visibility was very poor and we could not see very far. The room was new, nice and clean and typically Novotel standard.
We called housekeeping as room slippers were not provided and it was sent over not long after. This hotel was opened just a month ago, so it would take some time for them to iron out some small issues. Writing pen was not provided in our room even though this room was on the Executive Floor. TV programs list was not available either.
Other than some minor issues, we were very happy about our hotel room. The bed was gorgeous and was very comfortable. Toilet came with separate rain shower stall and toilet with full range of toiletries provided. Wifi worked very well.
A moment later, we received a call from the hotel informing us they were presenting us with a small welcome gift as VIP members staying at the executive floor. Soon after, a staff came over and gave us some local snacks in a conical glass which was very presentable. It was such a nice gesture from the hotel.
Next we went to The Square Restaurant for lunch to enjoy our Accor Plus Member 50% discount for our meals.
However, the lifts were behaving strangely. The lifts skipped our floors several times. We had to hold the call button and eventually managed to get down to the ground floor. There we saw a notice about the lift situation seeking our understanding. Well, this was a new hotel so there might be some outstanding M&E issues to trash out during their defects liability period.
The wait staff was very friendly and the restaurant was empty when we were there. We ordered Hor Fun and Nasi Goreng Istimewa. We also ordered the Nyonya Pohpiah but unfortunately, it was not available. Bread with butter was served first and then our food arrived. The food was presentable but most importantly very delicious. We were very full after this nice lunch.
We went up to 5th floor to have a look at the swimming pool and took some pictures. The pool was very nice and the depth of the pool seemed to be 1.2 m. No one was swimming which might be due to the haze situation. The gym seemed to be very well equipped.
After this, we went back to our room for a short while to get our stuff and then head out for our shopping mission. We exited Novotel Melaka, turned right, walked through a few side streets and entered Hatten Square. Walking through the lobby of Hatten Hotel, our first stop was H&M Store.
My wife bought a blouse for our girls and then we went up to Sports Direct to look at sports shoes. There were plenty of shoes and other stuffs on offer. I took pictures of a few sports shoes and then went upstairs to a café to use the wifi with password provided by one of the sales staff to check with my younger son to see whether he might be interested. His reply was negative.
My wife seemed to be interested in a pair of UK brand hiking shoes on offer. Since we just started our shopping, we wished to compare prices at other outlets at Mahkota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan before committing to this purchase. Anyway, we had to come back to Hatten Square before reaching Novotel Melaka Hotel.
So we walked across the overhead bridge and entered Parkson into Mahkota Parade. We had a quick round at Parkson and then exited to explore other shops. There were a few more sports shops where we went in and took a look and didn’t find anything my son might be interested. My dear wife managed to purchase some winter wears at a fantastic price at the event hall.
We explored further at different shops. On the third level, al-ikhsan store was having promotion for Adidas running shoes. I took pictures of a few models and then went over to the food court next door to use the free wifi to contact my son. Unfortunately, he didn’t reply. So we moved on and went back to Hatten Square and crossed the road to head into Dataran Pahlawan.
So it was another round of looking around and shopping. The sports shops there didn’t have much to offer. There were many other small shops there as well as cafes and restaurants.
It was already 4.30 pm and wife was already tired and hungry. We went to Black Canyon Restaurant for another bite to use the wifi hoping to reach our younger son. This time he replied and he was keen on the Adidas running shoes. But we were already at the end of Dataran Pahlawan close to Jonker Street so we would only go back to the sports shop at Mahkota Parade later in the evening. There was no point walking back and forth and carry along the sports shoes to visit the night market at Jonker Street.
After a quick bite and sufficient rest, we exited the mall and walked along the touristy area heading towards Dutch Square. Once we reached the circle, we took pictures of the surrounding area and buildings and then walked on towards Jonker Street.
After walking across the bridge, Hardrock Café was there just before the entrance into Jonker Walk. After a few more pictures of the café we went into Jonker Street. It was only 5.45 pm when we arrived and it was still early. Stall holders were only beginning to set up stalls.
So we took our time to walk the entire street. We usually didn’t come so early in the past. But we still had to head back to Mahkota Parade for the sports shoes for our son so we won’t be hanging around Jonker Street for too long.
Walking along Jonker Street brought back nostalgic feelings. Singapore used to have many such night markets where locals would enjoy an evening outing. There was a main performance stage near the end of Jonker Walk where some elderly would perform and sing on stage. At times, some elderly could be seen dancing on the streets as well.
It was still early so the stage was empty. A lone elderly man on a wheel chair was singing some mandarin oldies. This would be a place to hang around if you like Chinese songs in the seventies or even older.
Passing the performing stage, we tried to look for the char kuay teow stall we ate previously but it was only starting to set up and would take a while. The satay stall we used to order from was also just getting ready. So we went to another eating area surrounded by a few coffee shops with plenty of tables and food stalls and sat ourselves down. We had char kuay teow and fried carrot cakes. We also ordered our drinks from a stall nearby.
Jonker Walk is part of the UNESCO Heritage Site. Having visited another UNESCO Heritage Site at Hoi An in Central Vietnam, there are similarities as well as differences between the two sites. In Malacca, the owners of shops and houses here are real Chinese but in Hoi An, Chinese are no longer living there. The night market in Jonker Street opens inside the walking street in the evening from Friday to Sunday while the night market in Hoi An operates outside the Heritage Streets everyday.
The streets of the Heritage Site in Malacca are fewer while there are more streets in Hoi An that are much longer and with the lanterns decorations along the streets create a much more romantic ambience with Chinese and English music play over a PA system.
While the streets in Malacca are more authentic with real Chinese living there, the site in Hoi An offers a more romantic getaway with many cafes and restaurants serving visitors with a mixed of Western and Vietnamese cuisines. Both has its own charms where one is authentic, the other while the buildings and streets are real, the life there is a mock up of the past.
After our meals, we continued our shopping and wife bought some pineapple tarts from a shop after sampling some of them. Now most of the stalls were already opened and more people were now crowding Jonker Street. The street became more lively.
We made our way through the street and walked back towards Dataran Pahlawan and then finally crossed the road towards Mahkota Parade.
After locating al-ikhsan store, I tried on a few pairs of the Adidas running shoes and found them quite good. So I bought a pair of all black Adidas running shoes which cost only RM119. Next we made our way back to Hatten Square after purchasing a big bottle of mineral water from Guardian.
At Hatten Square, we went back to Sports Direct and bought a rugby ball that was on offer for only RM9 and another water bottle that was also on offer for only RM11. Then we made our way through the small streets back to Novotel Melaka Hotel. The haze was actually quite bad in the evening.
Once we were back in our room, we took pictures of the shoes and showed our children back home. Our elder daughter jumped in to comment that the all black Adidas running shoes was very cool. So we asked if she wanted a pair as well. She replied if it was not too much trouble, she won’t mind to have a pair.
It was already 8 pm as I made my way quickly through Hatten Square and then back to al-ikhsan store in the middle of Mahkota Parade. It took less then 10 minutes of quick walk through the haze but unfortunately, the shop didn’t have my daughter’s size for the black Adidas running shoe. There was a grey colour pair that was equally nice that have her size. So I took pictures and went back to the food court next door to use the free wifi to check with my elder daughter. After a few rounds of walking back and forth between the sports shop and the food court, I finally paid for the pair of shoes costing RM149, a slightly different model with better fabric.
I made it back to Novotel Melaka Hotel before 8.35 pm. Our elder daughter was extremely happy after showing her the picture of her pair of shoes. As we still had our welcome drinks to consume, we went back down to the lobby lounge.
This time the lifts seemed to be functioning properly without giving us any problem. The lobby area was pretty classy at night. Our welcome drinks were cranberry juice. We didn’t stay at the lounge very long as some mosquitoes were buzzing around. After this nice soothing drinks, we took the lift up to the 18th floor at the Premier floor level. We went into the Premier Lounge for a quick look and then returned to our room.
It was already 9 pm when we finally were free to rest and enjoy our room. So we boiled water and made tea as we still had the snacks from the hotel this afternoon. It was a nice refreshment in the comfort of our own room watching TV. The snacks were good, very tasty in fact.
After a nice shower, it was a good time to tuck into bed to watch TV. The bed was so comfortable and we were dosing in between sleeps as we watched the weekend program on Channel U which was available here in Malacca. When the show was over, we likewise exhausted ourselves for the day. In no time, we were fast asleep after a tiring day.
Continue to Day 2 …