(Note: This is the second installment in a two-fold series. Visit https://thebruneian.news/2023/06/12/exploring-the-vibrant-charms-of-melaka/ to read the first story)
Melaka is a city of many dimensions and experiences. Whether you are looking for leisurely strolls in its historic town centre or adventure-filled theme parks, the charming city captivates visitors from all over the world with its long list of attractions.
In the second installment in a two-fold series, The Bruneian, along with several local media representatives and travel agents had an opportunity to explore the heart of the city in all its glory.
Melaka’s endless history peeks its head often throughout the city in layers, through its old-world charm, architectural treasures and a splendid miscellany of arts, culture and gastronomy.
A tour around the historic city of Melaka
After a fun and relaxing adventure through the lush and laidback countryside town of Alor Gajah, we arrived at the charming City of Melaka.
The rich cultural heritage, architectural wonders, and treasure trove of historical settings make the city a perfect destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.
The Bruneian and other members of the media and travel agents had a chance to tour some of the many historical gems in the UNESCO World Heritage city.
We spent hours strolling the meandering streets, admiring the kaleidoscope of old-world architecture and cultural traditions. The city itself is a living museum.
From the 16th-century Portuguese St. Paul’s church to the oldest surviving European architectural, A Famosa fortress, the unique personality of each of the heritage sites is a reflection of the interweaving of Malay, Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese and British influences.
Our journey to the historical city continued by walking along the popular Dutch Square. Surrounded by terracotta-red buildings, we were further immersed in the charm of the picturesque site from the Queen Victoria Fountain to the Christ Church Melaka.
Moreover, we also had a chance to admire the beautiful skyline of Melaka from the rotating Menara Taming Sari.
Located right in the city centre, the Menara Taming Sari stands 80-metres tall, giving us an elevated and 360-degree view of the historical cityscape.
A memorable evening along the Melaka River
After spending a day around the new and old neighbourhoods of Melaka, in the evening we had a chance to witness the official launching of the urban water taxi service and the new headquarters of PPSPM at Dataran Pengkalan Rama.
Officiating the launching ceremony was Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh with state Tourism, Heritage, Arts and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Razak Abdul Rahman also present.
The new water taxi service is seen as an alternative compared to surface transit options since they are better able to infiltrate the hustle and bustle of traffic.
Not only that, but the river route will also allow passengers to enjoy the scenery and visit some of Melaka’s top attractions along the Melaka River.
Further into the evening, we had the chance to explore the city in a different light from a boat. Melaka is exceptionally stunning in the evening, particularly when admired from the Melaka River.
Departing from the newly launched PPSPM headquarter, our team had the chance to experience the breathtaking views of iconic sights, including the Kampung Morten, Church of St. Francis Xavier, post-colonial buildings, colourful murals, and more.
A river full of rich stories, we had the opportunity to journey through 600 years of history. Dubbed “Venice of the East”, the Melaka River was once a point of entry for traders from Europe and Asia during the late 16th century.
We also got to see a few historically significant bridges, such as Kg Jawa Bridge (1714), Tan Kim Seng Bridge (1862), Old Bus Station Bridge, and Chan Koon Cheng Bridge (1908), among others.
The 45-minute round cruise covering 9km and the city’s architectural highlights is the perfect feast for the senses; from the stunning views of the heart of the city that lit up at night to the gentle breeze of the river.
Fun-filled adventure at Malaysia Heritage Studios
There are many reasons why Melaka is such a great travel destination for families, The Malaysia Heritage Studios is one of them.
Opened to the public in 2022, the Malaysia Heritage Studios includes a plethora of fantastical and magical attractions that make the theme park a unique experience.
From the moment we arrived, we were greeted by legendary characters such as Puteri Gunung Ledang, Mat Kilau, Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat at the entrance to the area. It was clear that this would be something magical.
The magical world also features 13 houses representing each state of Malaysia, highlighting their unique elements, culture, and heritage.
Each house we visited had its own unique theme and culture. Our first house attraction to experience was the ‘Rumah Perlis’ which showcased the beauty of diverse Malaysian fashion throughout the decades.
During the ‘Rumah Kedah’ visit, we made our way through the Instagrammable room of illuminated paddy mazes and dreamlike colourful lights.
Meanwhile, at the Sabah house themed ‘one thousand and one Borneo nights’, we got a chance to see a variety of beautifully carved face masks that tells fascinating stories of the state through its intricate and expressive woodcarvings.
Entering a maze of fantastical and mystical creatures from Malay folklore, we also got see Sang Kelembai (The cursed giant), the Lake Chini Dragon, Gajah Mina (a combination of elephant and fish), Semberani (a winged horse), and Mawas (a Bigfoot-like creature).
The Malaysia Heritage Studios transports you to the fantastical world of Malay folklore and there is so much more to see that you’re likely to spend a whole day there.
Encountering animals and dinosaurs at the Melaka Zoo
Our last stop before we leave Melaka is the Melaka Zoo & Safari located at Ayer Keroh.
The wildlife park is home to over 500 Animals from 150 Different Species, ranging from mammals to reptiles.
We had a memorable time exploring the park looking out for Elsa the white tiger, Banteng, crocodile, elephants, spider monkeys and more.
However, the best viewing opportunity is during feeding sessions, we had the opportunity to meet the elephants up close and feed them their favourite foods.
We also got to enjoy the animal show at the zoo, including birds of prey flight demonstrations where we also got to see eagles and hawk brushing against the heads of the audience.
Further into our adventure is the much-anticipated Dinosaur Encounter, showcased over a five-acre forest park within the Zoo. The attraction is the largest interactive dinosaur park in Southeast Asia.
The park features around 100 species of dinosaurs including carnivorous and herbivorous species. Each animatronic dinosaur is very realistic, full-sized, and based on the actual size.
From towering brachiosaurus to the cunning Velociraptor, we were wowed by the lifelike dinosaur exhibits at the Dinosaur Encounter, making it a perfect fun outdoor weekend destination.
Not only that, we also had the opportunity to watch and meet Mr. T (T-Rex) and Mr. V (Velociraptor) in action at the Dinosaur Encounter.
All in all, with the combination of a Dino-theme park and wildlife park, Melaka Zoo is an ideal family destination.
The Diverse Taste of Melaka
Melaka is an adventure for the senses, and there is nothing we love more than a trip that tantalises the taste buds.
With a rich blend of cultural and colonial cuisine, Melaka has much to offer any hungry tourist searching for something unique.
The Bruneian went on a culinary voyage exploring a medley of diverse flavours of Melaka.
Melaka is known for its Asam Pedas dishes. It is the unique blend of spices that gives authentic Melaka Asam Pedas a distinct aroma and taste.
During our journey, we had the taste of some of the state’s authentic local dishes at Asam Pedas Lauk Kampung located at Bandar Hilir, one of the known top-spot for asam pedas dishes. With a variety of Asam Pedas dishes from pari to kembung (Mackeral), we were spoilt for choices.
Moreover, the trip would not be complete without trying out the much-loved coconut shakes in Melaka. We tried out the original Melaka coconut shake. The combination of creamy coconut shake with a scoop of ice cream will definitely quench your thirst.
Other dishes we tried out include the delicious and popular kuih keria from Kuih Keria Antarabangsa Limbongan Hajah Rahmah and also a taste of the freshest seafood from Cerana Restaurant.
Reflecting back, Melaka is indeed a captivating destination rich in history and culture.’
There are countless reasons to visit and many things to do in Melaka. The city’s charming old town and its vibrant culture are just a start.
Whether you are looking for a deeper and more meaningful travel experience or an action-packed family adventure, Melaka and its never-ending merriment and entertainment will not disappoint.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN