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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.

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