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Malaysia and Cambodia


This is about my upcoming trip to Malaysia and Cambodia. The first part is pre-trip - information about flights, itineraries, accommodation and all the things that you need to do to plan an overseas holiday. This is my first trip to Asia and I hope it may help others. Comments are very welcome and anyone who has travelled to Malaysia and/or Cambodia, please feel free to comment and offer any advice or tips that you think would be helpful. As of today ( 28th February) , in exactly 11 days (minus 30 minutes) I will be in Kuala Lumpur.

I had the most amazing time and hope you enjoy reading about my trip. Each post is numbered and I'm doing them in order from start to finish - a little like a diary.



109. Heeren House

Accommodation in the Old Quarter
Heeren House which is where I stayed, is a quaint building overlooking the river in an excellent location. The room was very clean, bathroom basic but clean and wonderful atmosphere and the rooms are furnished with colonial and Peranakan furniture. I think it was a bit overpriced and the cooked breakfast was not very generous - 1 egg, 2 slices of cooked tomato, 1 small sausage (hot dog) and half a hash brown. Serving half a hash brown (you could see it had been cut in half) was incredibly stingy and considering the price per night, the meal could have been a lot larger. Downstairs room 5 was MYR119 per night but MYR139 for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They shouldn't charge a higher rate, it's high enough already.
There are some fine old Dutch houses of 17th century along Heeren Street and Heeren House is about 300 years old and was once an old warehouse, since then it has been a typical Chinese coffee shop, a family home and now a guesthouse.

Above: Heeren House
Heeren House is at the beginnin of well-known Heeren Street, once called "Millionaire's Row" or Gentlemen’s Street. This is where the rich families and notables of Malacca lived, and today stands along a street of traditional shop houses whose architectural features are unique to Malacca. Today, like Jonker Street, Heeren Street has also had its named changed - it's now called Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock - although most people still call it Heeren Street.

Above: Heeren House gift shop
When you walk in the front door, there's a lovely gift shop area with many beautiful items and hand crafts from Malaysia and other countries in the region - Thailand, Laos, Indonesia and India. Most of the stuff is made from natural materials like wood, coconut shell, bamboo and rattan and there are hand woven textile products such as shawls, scarves, table dressings and ethnic wall hangings. They also have some jewellery, silver rings, bracelets from Bali and pearls from Sabah.

I longed to buy some of the things on sale but they were outside my price range. That's the problem with travelling on a shoestring - you have to make wise decisions. Ah well, better to forgo stuff you don't really need which will probably just end up sitting in your drawer or wardrobe at home anyway and have the ability to be able to go away on more trips.

Above: Dining room
This is where breakfast is served. The chiffonier holds cups and saucers and is where the tea and coffee was each morning. Although you were only given one glass of juice, tea and coffee were refillable. It's a nice, airy place to sit while having the first meal of the day. One of the most noticeable things was the absence of fun and laughter. I usually stay in hostels (dorm room) or small guesthouse/hotel where the other guests are the sort who'll sit and have a chat. You know what I mean - a different kind of tourist/traveller. Here there were either families or older people with a staid, conservative mien. They weren't any fun. (Sigh) Now had I stayed at the Discovery Cafe across the river further up, there'd have been plenty of fun and life!

Above: Sideboard menu
This was the menu with "house specials" - they had "Hi tea and dessert" although really it's just tea and cake (high tea consists of tea or coffee and a selection of sandwiches, scones, petite fours, and small cakes) - This is High Tea.
Everything was 7 ringgit - one scone with jam and cream, chocolate brownie and cream, apple crumble and custard, carrot cake, assorted fresh fruits. The fancy coffees were between 5 and 6.50 ringgit.

Above: Stairwell and Office area
This is the section behind the chiffonier. See the desk in the bottom right hand corner at the front? That's the desk where Bernard or Liz sat. Bernard Tan is a Malaysian chap who married an Englishwoman, Liz and they have run this place for many years. Liz confided to me she prefers to come in early, do any shopping before the sun is too high then stay indoors in the heat of the day. It must have changed hands because I recently read somewhere that in October or November 2011, the owners were Marcia and Henry.

Anyway, back to my story, the staircase leads to the bedrooms upstairs and see that hallway on the right hand side going back? Well that's where the kitchen is, followed by another bedroom - the one I had, and then a store room of some kind.

My Room
Above: Room No 5 - Hang Lekir
This was my room, there are six rooms (bedrooms) in total. As it was downstairs, it was a little cheaper than the ones upstairs and had what is described as a "partial river view." If I stood up, opened the shutters and looked over to the left, I could see a bit of the river. It didn't really bother me, the only downside was there are NO insect screens so if I opened the window, a swarm of mossies and insects came in! Bernard said I could smoke in the room provided I opened the window, which was nice of him. Personally, I don't smoke inside and would much have preferred to be able to go outside and smoke, but there wasn't anywhere at night time to do this.

Above: Bedroom furniture
As you can see, there is a small wardrobe and a chest of drawers. My Grandma had a chest of drawers like this and the timber as taken on that lovely old timbre that only very old wooden furniture can. I used the hanging rail to dry my clothes and towels. To the right of the drawers I can see some of my stuff - the bag at the back I bought in Siem Reap and the hat is a sunhat from home which I bought especially for this trip. I took that hat to Thailand and Laos last year but it has now disappeared. Wish I could find the thing, it's good for when you are travelling and sits on the head at the position. I hope I didn't throw it out when I was doing "spring cleaning" (YOU know - when you start to tidy up the big mess you've create because you've been lazy and you start to "declutter" and throw stuff out!)☺

To the left is a small coffee table with electric jug etc on it. All the rooms have an individual air conditioner, local telly and tea/coffee making facilities. Oh, plus a bathroom of course. It was a pretty room and exuded a sense of calm - you felt like you had stepped back in time to the 19th century. With the sprigged print bedspread, co-ordinating cushions and lamps, it really is a most delightful room.

Above: Side doors
In the evening after Anne and Bernard had gone home, there was a night watchman who came on duty and stayed until Bernard came back the next morning. These are the doors which you used to enter and exit after the front door had been locked. While I can't recall the night watchman's name, I remember him as being a nice old chap with a smile.
The double doors open onto the side street Jonker Lane which is adjacent to Heeren Street and faces the river.

Above: Front verandah
I would sit on this stool on the front verandah to have a smoke and perhaps a cuppa tea and watch the world go by. It was very relaxing under the verandah and I had a bit of privacy with there being a couple of largish pot plants in front. That's the ash tray I was using too. Well how about that eh? Strange how it all keeps coming back. I had a good time here.


108. Jonker Street

New Found Friends

When I was at St. Paul's I met an English lady called Joanne and she said she was travelling with two people whom she'd met. We arranged to meet in half an hour and she brought her friends, Isa who was 22 from Hong Kong and Andanna who was Spanish and 30. We all went to the night market in Jonker Street and that first night in Malacca was a night of magic, fun and friendship.

I remember we went to this bar in a street off Jonker Street (can't remember the name and my camera doesn't take good photos at night. Unless I can rest it on something like a table or carry a tripod - one of those ones that are 4 foot tall and weigh a ton - most of my night photos come out terribly blurry and very dark. Editing doesn't help - all it does is lighten it and have coloured dots/spots everywhere.)

The residential heart of Old Malacca

Is Jonker Street - once famous for its antique shops, now is filled with clothing shops, craft shops, eating places, antiques and quirky little spots. But its real charm is at night - the Jonker Street nightmarket is famous and anyone who visits Malacca, simply must come here. For at night, the street comes alive with the sound of music and a hubbub of contained excitement.

Stalls line the street - the street vendors selling their homemade goodies, Portuguese tarts - a little like the English egg custard tarts, only better. Joanne bought 6 of them and they were oh so scrumdiddlyumptious. I fell in love with them and just writing about them brings back the aroma and taste - I can almost taste them on my tongue. Mmm mmm.

Above: Jonker Walk
Jonker Street, or Jonker Walk - photo taken during daylight hours. Today, Jonker Street has been renamed Jalan Hang Jebat, but people still refer to it as Jonker Street. I should imagine there'd be an outcry if the government took down this (and other) famous signs.

Above: Local street between Jonker & Heeren Streets
You can see an old Chinese building at the end of the street (Jonker is after all in Chinatown), there's Nancy's Kitchen (I wonder who Nancy was?), Sorvana Spa (just the place for a relaxing massage), the Karabau Rock Bar, stall holders setting up their wares and there's even a satellite dish perched precariously to the red brick wall!

Above: D'Arts Cafe
Ah - D'Arts Cafe while I didn't go in here, I thought their sign was excellent - Save water! Drink Beer.
Eminently suitable advice if there's a drought!

Above: Jonker Street night market

Here is where the fun begins - Joanne, Isa, Andanna and I worked our way through the crowds, stopping here to look at this, and there to look at that. And ay look - over there, those cute little thingies; so many things to see, so much to experience. We finished off the Portuguese tarts and decided to go for a drink. Remember that bar I spoke of? Yes, well we turned up a street on the left hand side and found this rather cute place. I remember I had sour plum and lime juice (3.50MYR) and coffee (disgusting) 4.00MYR. There was ice in the drink Andanna ordered the same sans ice (we swapped). Asked for an ashtray - it came with ice in it. We all laughed our heads off. We just couldn't get over an ashtray "with ice"!!!

OH we did have fun - we sat and talked about our adventures, where we'd been, where we were going next. Alas my friends were leaving the next day. Andanna told me here was flying to Australia (Perth the capital city of WA) and he had no money, no WHV (working holiday visa) because he couldn't get one, but intended to work "cash in hand."

The moon is made of green cheese

Above: Smile!
See that little round green ball in the sky? Well - that's the moon. The saying "The moon is made of green cheese" comes to mind. (The Proverbs of John Heywood 1546)

Jonker Street and the Red Lanterns

Above: Red Lanterns
During the day, Jonker Street is open to cars and vehicles. But come Friday night as the sun goes down and weekends - the place is transformed. The street is closed to traffic, red lanters light up the road and people throng the place looking at the many stalls and objects for sale. Saturday night especially is most busy - sometimes you can hardly move for the number of people milling around looking, stopping at one of the trinket stalls or the place selling whizz bang toys. The place is crowded with people - locals and tourists alike. Young lovers hold hands walking slowly as they gaze into each other's eyes, old uncles amble along on a night out, quietly puffing away, parents try to keep their energetic children in tow to cries of, "Please mum, can I have this?" and everywhere is a happy place.

And the food! The glorious food stalls! The famous rice balls are truly delicious, so many foods, so many tantalising aromas as they waft through the air filling your nostrils with the delicious smells of home cooking. Your mouth is salivating, your tongue moves, you lick your lips and only a plate of those noodles or bag of tarts will do the trick. You stop, you buy, and then you eat. It is a most heady feeling and rewarding experience - a veritable feast, a gastronomic delight. I was in Melaka for three nights and every night I went to Jonker Street.

 On the Saturday I found this place - a rather small, ordinary looking shop of undistinguished appearance and went in and asked for Hainanese Chicken Rice. Behind the cooking was this little old Grandmother with iron grey hair, her skinny arms stirring a large pot with a big ladle, the daughter or granddaughter doing something with green vegetables and furious activity going on. I went and sat down. The tables were round with Chinese stools. I lit a cigarette and looked around and noticed everyone there was looking at me. Is there something wrong? Do I have dirt on my nose? Why are they all staring at me? Then it dawned on me - I was the only "European" there, the place was filled with locals. I felt a bit self-conscious and it was sort of like ehm. Remember, this was my first time in Asia - I was a complete novice! Since then I've been back to SEA more than once and were I back there in that shop, there would be no feeling of self-consciousness, I'd look at them and smile and say hello and have a chat.

Above: Puppy photo
Anyway, back to the Friday night with my mates - we spotted these puppies. Aren't they cute? They look like little balls of fluff. None of us had our photo taken with them, instead we took photos of them. Not because we were too stingy to spend 2 ringgit but because what the heck can you do with a fluff ball so small?

Above: Help! Clowning around

I came back just after midnight. The others walked me "home". Got there at 12.15AM. Had a great time and a wonderful night. Joanne flies to Oz on Sunday, Andanna goes to Perth for work, but has no WHV. Isa told me of her travels and parent problems.

Here are my friends. Andy is falling into the river being "saved" by the two girls.

Above: Friends
The last photo of me with my friends (Joanne took the photo)


Above: Melaka River at night
After my friends left and went back to their hostel, I strolled along here just looking at the river flowing quietly, thinking on all that had happened that day. I arrived in Malacca, met three wonderful people who took me under their wing and extended the hand of friendship, ate and drank with them and had the most fantastic night. The memory of that night will stay with me even when I'm old and grey.

And the river? Well, the river will go on forever long after we have gone.


107. Sunset over Malacca

I love watching the sunset and each one is more beautiful than the last. It brings with it a calmness and serenity that cannot be equaled.

The best place to see the sunset is at the top of St. Paul's Hill. You get a magnificent view and the colours are just superb.


Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven. ~ John Lubbock


106. Malacca Walking Map and Town Map


Above: Malacca Walking Map


Above: Malacca Town Map

1. Stadthuys, 2. Christ Church, 3. St. Francis Xavier's Church, 4. St. Paul's Church
5. A'Famosa, 6. Malacca Sultanate Palace, 7. Dutch Graveyard, 8. Independece Memorial
9. Jonker Street, 10. Nyona & Baba Heritage, 11. Hang Kasturi Mausoleum
12. Kampung Hulu Mosque, 13. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, 14. Kampung Kling Mosque
15. Sri Poyatha Temple, 16. Hang Jebat Mausoleum, 17. Hang Li Poh's well
18. Sam Poh Kong Temple, 19. Bukit China Hill, 20. St. Peter's Church

A. State Development Corp., B. Toursit Information Centre, C. Immigration Department
D. Central Police Station, E. Express Bus Terminal, F. Bus Terminal
G. Malacca Government office, H. Public Library, I. Telecoms Department
J. Customs Department, K. Tourist Police Station, L. Mahkota Parade

105. Melaka Walking Tour

How Long and What To See
I stayed here for three nights. The "best" time to stay in Malacca is Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the Jonker Street night markets are held then and are still going on until midnight or so. The market closes earlier on a Sunday night.

I tend to disagree with going to Malacca for a day trip. When I was planning my itinerary, I'd originally planned on doing a day trip (public buses) or a day tour. Several people had advised me if you see Penang you don't really need to go to Malacca as they're pretty much the same. They were wrong.

I found that Malacca was nothing like Penang - it was completely different. A friend stayed there recently and said two nights would be best. (I had three nights, it was the end of my trip and caught the bus straight to LCCT on the Monday morning). I arrived there around 4.30pm, Friday, went to Christ Church, Stadthuys, and the area around there. If you go to St. Paul's Church you get a magnificant view of the sunset (I found this out by accident - it's the best place to watch the sunset)

Next day saw me seeing the other "sights" on that side - the Malacca Sultanate Palace (cultural museum) is a replica of Sultan Mansur Shah's palace, the famous Sultan who ruled Malacca from 1456 -1477 and is awesome - you need at least an hour there. Cost is MYR2 and they give you a plastic bag for your shoes. Most of the next day was spent in Chinatown and seeing the "attractions" there.

My Walking Tour
Armed with a map, lots of scribbled notes which I couldn't read (I'm a shocking writer - I'd never win a prize for Penmanship!) and a bottle of water, I set out on my tour to discover the delights of old Malacca. From my accommodation (Heeren House in Heeren Street), I started out with Jonker Walk.

Above: Jonker Walk
If you enlarge the photo, you can see Heeren House at the end - it has a red and white striped roof. Luckily for me, the street was pretty empty at this time so I was able to get a clear, unimpeded view. Located in the heart of Old Malacca just west of the Malacca River, Jonker Street comes alive at night.

Above: Malacca River Cruise
It is necessary to cross over the river and as I crossed, this river boat cruise went past.

Dutch Square
I was so excited to actually be here - I've seen many photos of this area and was like a big kid in a toy shop! It was so thrilling to see these beautiful old buildings with their red brickwork and there were people everywhere milling about. Sometimes it was difficult to take a photo without everybody and his maiden aunt in the picture. But perseverance is the name of the game and the results are below.

Above: Dutch Square
Whoever is Lord in Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice. (Duarte Barbosa, 16th century writer and trader).
Malacca's famous Dutch Square is in the centre of the city. Having a wonderful display of many unique Dutch mansonry and architectural skills, Dutch Square is famous for its red-painted buildings and is also known as the "Red Square."

Above: Dutch Square
Major structures in / surrounding the Dutch Sqaure include Christ Church Melaka, Studhuys, and the Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower. This is a close up of an animal sculpture - rather pretty don't you think?

Above: Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower
The Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower outside the Stadthuys was given to the people of Malacca in 1886 by Mr Tan Jiak Kim to fulfil the wishes of his father, Tan Beng Swee, who was a third generation of a Chinese philantrophic millionaire family. Tan Beng Swee, was the son of Tan Kim Seng who donated both the bridge adjacent to the clocktower and land for the Chinese cemetery. The original clock was imported from England. When the clock was replaced by one from Seiko in 1982, it caused an uproar among the senior citizens of Malacca who still recall the harsh treatment they suffered during Japan occupation. This Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower looks Dutch, but it is not. (Source Melaka Tourism)

Above: Christ Church
The church was built in 1753 and was originally the Dutch Reformed Church of Malacca, but today Christ Church is now an Anglican Church.

The pink bricks were shipped from Zeeland in the Netherlands and plastered with local red laterite and is the oldest surviving Dutch church building found outside the Netherlands. It's the oldest protestant church in Malaysia. There are Dutch tombstones on the floor and the sacramental silverware on the altar still bears the Dutch coat of arms.

Out of all the buildings here, I think Christ Church must be the most famous - certainly the most photographed. Every webpage of information about Malacca shows this church. It's my favourite building, not sure why but it just is. There is something timeless about a church - especially old churches. They seem to represent something solid and lasting.

Above: Queen Victoria's Fountain
The Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Fountain was erected in 1904 by the people of Malacca to commemorate Her Majesty's 60th anniversary on the British throne

Above: Melaka Art Gallery
Next to Christ Church is the Melaka Art Gallery. It was built in 1784 and was the Dutch Administrative Complex. In 1826, it was turned into a school (Malacca Free School). In  the 1920s, the building was renovated to a  double-storey building and  was later used as a post office before being converted  into the museum we see today.
The art gallery is also known as the PERZIM Art Gallery and has various artworks of local and foreign artists on display including Wan Hui-Jyu, Jehan Chan, Gerard Van Den Oetelaar, Rahmat Ramli, Rafie Abd Rahman and Rafie Abd Ghani.

Above: Trishaws
Ah trishaws - one of the most colourful and delicious confections, they are a sight for sore eyes. Beautifully decorated with flowers and whizz bang things they look gorgeous all lined up sitting in a row.

Above: Trishaws in the Square
More trishaws. No visit to Malacca is complete without a ride in one of these delightful little conveyances - everybody does it. It's something you just have to do.

Above: Malaysia Youth Museum
The museum is part of the Melaka Art Gallery and is dedicated to the contribution made by the youth in the economic and social well-being of the country.

Above: Melaka Tourist Police
If tourists have any problems, if you've had your bag stolen or your camera nicked this is the place to go. The tourist coppers are the ones to see - they're used to handling complaints and stuff from tourists. Fortunately I've never had the need of their services.

Above: Policewoman
This local copper kindly agreed to let me take her photo. (Copper is Aussie slang for a policeman/policewoman).

Above: Melaka River
Doesn't the riverside promenade look charming with its brick texture along the shop house row? And there's that river cruise boat again!

Above: Church of St. Francis Xavier - 1849
Father Farve, a Frenchman, built this Church in 1849. The Gothic towered church is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier who is well-remembered for his missionary work spreading Catholicism to South East Asia in the 16th Century.

I came across this building on my walk and thought it deserved a quick snap of the camera.

Above: Malacca River - Jambatan Chan Koon Cheng
Another of the foot bridges crossing the Melaka River.

Above: Discovery Cafe
This is where I ended up - the Discovery Cafe where you can book bus tickets. I booked my onward bus ticket Malacca to LCCT for the following Monday morning. The place also has accommodation upstairs, and the downstairs was fair booming with life. Had I not been staying at Heeren House, this would have been a good place to stay if you like plenty of noise and life. The only downfall in my eyes is its location in nowhere near as convenient.

Above: Visitor Information Centre
Walking back, I am now back to Dutch Square. The building is quite handsome with a tiled roof complete with cupola and white balustrading at the front. We call them milk bottles" 'cos that's exactly what they look like! There's even a little balcony with seating and potted plants.

Above: Stadhuys
The largest building of all is the Stadhuys which literally means town hall in Dutch and is pronounced "stat-highs" It was built in 1650 as the office and residence of the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor. Today, the Stadthuys is now the History and Enthnography Museum

Above: Stadhuys - side view
I took this photo looking down and was able to get the whole of the building in, It really is magnificent, there's a lot of workmanship and craftmanship went into the building of it. What a pity they don't build like this anymore. Which is why I do love the old buildings with their architecture and such attention to detail.

St. Paul's
Finally I came to the last "sight" on my agenda - St. Paul's Church. Given the already long length of this post, I was considering finishing here and writing about St. Paul's in a separate post but thought that would be silly as this post is titled "Melaka Walking Tour" and the church was the end of that tour, so here it is.

Above: St. Paul's Church
This church was built by a Portuguese Captain Duarte Coelho in 1521. It was a smallish chapel called Nosa Senhora - Our Lady of the Hill. The chapel was handed over to the Jesuits in 1548 and enlarged in 1556 with the addition of a second storey renamed "Annunciation".

When the Dutch took over Melaka from the Portuguese, they changed the name to St. Paul's Church - the Portuguese were Roman Catholic as are the Jesuits so the Church was therefore a Catholic Church and the Dutch being Protestants couldn't have that. Hence the name change - and used it for 112 years until their own church (Christ Church was built). The old church was then subsequently deconsecrated and the nave was used as a burial ground.

Above: A closer look
St. Paul's Church lost its tower when the British took over but had one new feature added to it - the lighthouse at the front. Not a very religious lot, the British - they didn't use the church to worship and pray - they used it to store gunpowder. They also erected a tall flagpole and renamed the hill on which the church stands to Flagstaff Hill (Bukit Bendera), but the name however didn't last. The flagpole was taken down and the church abandoned.

Above: Statue of St. Francis Xavier
St. Francis Xavier was born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta (7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552) in Navarre (now Spain) and was a pioneering Roman Catholic missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He led an extensive mission into Asia, and brought Christianity and Catholicism to the area. He is known as the Apostle of the East.

He died in China in 1553 and his body was sent back to Malacca, where it was interred there for nine months. When the body was transferred to Goa, the exhumation was quite surprising - even though he had been buried for nine months, his body showed little sign of decay. The right forearm, which Xavier used to bless and baptise his converts, was detached by Pr. Gen. Claudio Acquaviva in 1614 and sent to Rome at the Pope's request. Blood was said to have gushed out of the arm even though he had been dead for 62 years. Francis Xavier was cannonised a Saint in 1622 and what remained of his right arm in Rome was merely skeleton, but the body in Goa remained incorrupt minus the right arm.

In 1952 the Bishop of Macau decided to put a statue of St. Francis Xavier in front of St Paul's Church. A carars marble statue was ordered from Italy and was sculptured by the famous Italian sculpture, G.Toni and was ready for the forth centenary celebrations on the 22 March 1953. One night a huge tree fell, burying the statue. On clearing the branches, the statue was found to be intact except for the right arm which had broken off.

Above: Closeup of the arch
Old tombstones line the sides of the ruins.

Above: Dutch tombstone

The tombstone reads,

29 IUNY 1671

Above: St. Francis Xavier's former burial place
The famous Spanish-born Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier was a regular visitor to the church from 1545 to 1552 and when he died his body was interred here for nine months before being exhumed and taken to his final resting place in Goa, India. A statue of St. Francis was built in 1952 to commemorate his passing and internment here.

The St. Paul's church ruins were gazetted as an old monument and historical site under the Antiquities Act No. 168/1976 on May 12, 1977.

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