Day 3 – Malacca to Singapore
We woke up to a beautiful Saturday morning. The sea view from our room windows was very nice, a cloudless day. This would be a great day to venture out for more sight-seeing but we would be taking a bus back to Singapore at 1.30 pm, so this would be out of the question. We still had the entire morning to do more shopping and enjoy this nice hotel before we head back to Hatten Hotel to take our bus ride home. We had requested for late check out at 1 pm when we checked in which wasn’t a problem.
We won’t be having breakfast at the hotel which we didn’t include in our hotel reservation. However, the breakfast cost RM40 per person but could be purchased at front desk upon check in at RM60 for 2 persons. Anyway, we are Accor Plus members where we enjoy 50% dining discount which means RM40 for 2 persons should we choose to eat breakfast in the hotel. We had decided not to dine in as hotel breakfast would be pretty much quite standard and we didn’t wish to overeat as well.
So we left the hotel around 8.45 am and walked towards the main road along Jalan Merdeka to head to Dataran Pahlawan Mall again. In the lift, we met a wedding couple having their auspicious occasion held at the hotel. At the front entrance, a wedding car was already parked there all decked up for this new couple. The hotel was going to be crowded this weekend.
We reached the road junction and we went into Starbucks Coffee for a quick look. They didn’t serve breakfast sets and only a la carte items so we moved on. Our choice was left with the McDonalds at the corner of Dataran Pahlawan Mall. This morning, McDonalds had become quite crowded being a Saturday morning. Young people were out and about with their activities, some in school uniforms and another student was wearing his Scout’s uniform.
We ordered our breakfast meals and settled down to enjoy our food. We were having McDonalds breakfast three straight days in a row. We didn’t mind because we seldom eat at the McDonalds anyway and in addition, we found the McDonalds breakfast over here quite tasty and with free flow of coffee would surely make our day. We took our own sweet time as the mall wouldn’t be opened until 10.30 am and we wouldn’t be heading up to Saint Paul’s Hill again having visited the site the day before.
When we were done with with breakfast, we took a slow walk towards Mahkota Parade. We had shopped at Dataran Pahlawan Mall for three occasions during the past two days so it would be time to head to Mahkota Parade for a last look. Moreover, as this was a weekend, Parkson Store might have promotional event where we might pick up some good buys before heading for home.
After crossing over from Hatten Mall, we walked straight to the side entrance of Parkson Store but it was still closed. Opening time would be 10 am which was just about 10 minutes away. So we walked along the main entrance of Mahkota Parade and the only establishment that was opened was McDonalds. So we went into McDonalds and sat for awhile. Quite a few people were also loitering outside the main entrance of Mahkota Parade and some were like us sitting inside McDonalds waiting for the mall to open.
At 10 am sharp, security staff opened the main entrance of Mahkota Parade. We waited for McDonalds staff to open their entrance into the mall and once opened quite a number of shoppers entered the mall. The mall was of course very quiet. Some shops were in the process of opening. We walked towards the main atrium and it was no longer empty during our visit on Thursday. It was all filled up with different promotional events, in particular, Toyota was selling cars at the mall this weekend.
We walked further down towards Parkson Store and cubicles were set up outside the store with quite a lot promotional items put up for sale. We looked around and checked out prices and then we went into Parkson proper. Here we spent quite a bit of time as my wife was excited about the sales that was taking place during this weekend. It was a good time to shop for clothes and stuff again for herself and for some of the children as well.
Having done shopping at Parkson, we went to the basement to pick up some stuff at Giant Supermarket. Saturday was rather busy. It took awhile before we got through the cashier to make payment. Outside Giant Supermarket was also filled up with promotional sales on all and sundry. So this was the last place we shopped and then we finally left Parkson Store and Mahkota Parade tremendously satisfied with this shopping trip.
We went across the side road and entered H&M Store at Hatten Mall. We then exited and walked through the mall and left the mall next to the 7-11 convenience store. From here, it was an easy walk through the side lane back to the main road and soon we were back to Novotel Hotel. We were so familiar with this area and it just took us minutes to get back to our hotel. It was just 11 am when we reached Novotel Hotel.
Back in our room, it was the final packing. It was also time to settle down to relax awhile watching TV and reading the newspaper. There was a very good article on Zika virus so we took this page home with us. It was so informative with colourful pictures and illustrations and we believed it would be good to share this information with anyone we would meet back home.
Having showered and slightly after noon, we went down to The Square Restaurant for lunch. As usual, we were not very hungry but we still had to eat something before the bus ride home. We won’t be able to clear immigration early and we reckoned by the time we reached Johor, it would be close to 6 pm. So we ordered something light this time. We had satay and a chicken rice with mango-lemon sauce. Our food came shortly and we had a quick and simple but enjoyable meal.
After lunch, we returned to our room to brush up and freshen up and there wasn’t much time left to laze around. At 1 pm, we took our bags and went to lobby to make payment and check out. Within minutes, we were cleared and we bade goodbye to Novotel Melaka Hotel. It was a wonderful stay indeed with the pleasant and helpful staff. We would be back no doubt in the near future.
We took our bags and walked back towards Hatten Hotel. We went through the side lane again and headed towards the bus bays at Hatten Hotel. The 707-Inc bus was already there but the driver wasn’t around. He had probably gone for lunch. So we entered the lobby of Estadia Hotel next to the bus bay to wait for the driver to show up. We were supposed to be here at 1.15 pm and we kept our appointment. Anyway, the bus won’t move out until 1.30 pm.
Near to 1.30 pm, the driver came and he confirmed our names on his passenger list and we took our seats and waited for other passengers to board the bus. Soon, everyone who was supposed to board the bus here was on board and the bus moved off. The bus then drove to another hotel nearby to pick up more passengers. This seemed to be some private arrangements between the travel agent and the bus company. Once done, we were on our way out of this UNESCO Heritage City.
At least, this additional stop to pick up passengers went smoothly and we didn’t have to wait very long. Last year, the bus was stuck outside Equatorial Hotel for quite a long time where those passengers were nowhere in sight. They were waiting elsewhere and caused the driver to search high and low for them. Of course the passengers on the bus were unhappy especially when these passengers took their own sweet time to board the bus nonchalantly when they arrived.
Having left this old city, we were travelling towards Melaka Sentral Bus Interchange. When we arrived, we had to wait again for more passengers to board the bus. The driver had to go to the office to confirm all the passengers and again some passengers were late. This can be quite upsetting for those who wish to arrive their destination much earlier, especially on a Saturday to clear custom and immigration at the Causeway which could be congested.
Finally, we moved off again when all had boarded. This time would be a long ride on the highway heading south to Johor and then to Singapore. It was time to recline our seats to sleep and listen to our favourite songs from our handheld device for this long ride on a hot Saturday afternoon. In fact, it was quite a sleepy day.
Slightly after 4 pm, the bus pulled up at a small rest area for a toilet break. So it was time to take a break and use the wash room and at the same time stretch a little outside of the confined bus environment. It was a really hot day. There weren’t much amenities at this rest stop other than a few mobile snacks stalls for those who needed to get a bite or a drink. In under 10 minutes, all were on board and we moved off again.
It was an uneventful ride, in fact, rather monotonous and boring to say the least. We arrived Johor Immigration in good time slightly after 5 pm. Clearing immigration was trouble free and not too crowded at the counters. The bus bays at Johor Immigration was quite busy but not overly crowded. Passengers were coming back to the bus after clearing immigration.
But we couldn’t move off as the driver was looking high and low for some passengers who didn’t return to the bus. We saw so many public buses had come and gone and we were still left stuck here. The bus driver was getting upset. He frantically tried to call the passenger to find out what was happening.
Eventually, when he got through, the passenger had taken some other public bus to head back to Singapore without informing him. The driver was visibly upset because this passenger had left bags on the bus and he would not be able to clear Singapore custom with such items. This was most irresponsible of the passenger for holding everyone on the bus for more than 30 minutes. Eventually, we moved off and headed towards Singapore.
Unfortunately at the Causeway, there was some congestion. It took more than 30 minutes for the bus to get through before we were allowed to alight. This time, we took all our belongings to clear immigration and have our bags scanned for custom clearance. It didn’t take us very long to go through the whole process and we didn’t encounter any trouble.
We had already informed the driver beforehand we would be getting off at Woodlands Check Point and we won’t be returning to the bus to head down to town at Bugis area. So we took public transport home. We were looking forward to share the stuff we bought with the children back home.
So on the whole, our Malacca trip was fruitful and enjoyable. Shopping was good and a visit to those historic sites after many years brought back memories when we brought along our young children to enjoy those places many years ago. Malacca has transformed so much and it is so much prettier at the riverfront and it is certainly worth a visit. Other than having to put up with irritating and irresponsible passengers who have no qualms causing inconvenience to other fellow passengers taking the bus, it was a great trip indeed.
Malacca is unique on its own with its own history under the former colonial powers. Jonker Street night market from Friday to Sunday is quite exciting. However, Hoi An old city in Central Vietnam has a much larger area as an UNESCO Heritage Site with many old historical buildings where it was once a Chinese seaport in yonder years. Decorated with lovely lanterns along the many streets with a sizeable night market as well, not to mention the many boutique hotels and resorts with nice beaches and rivers there, Hoi An is no doubt a strong contender for tourists dollars. Do note however that Chinese no longer live in Hoi An but local Chinese still reside in Malacca old town. As such, Malacca would be a nice place to get away from time to time, especially when it is so near Singapore.