Friday, December 31, 2010

Melaka Jalan-Jalan (Melaka, Malaysia) ~ December 12, 2010

Faces of Melaka
Modern-day Melaka (previously Malacca)  is a vibrant old city that believes its wealth of history. Visiting Malacca is a unique experience; its rich historical background earned it a World Heritage Site designation in July 2008.

Just recently, I went to Malaysia mainly for two purposes : To attend the Grand Opening of our Cell Fab 3, AUO SunPower Sdn. Bhd. located in Melaka and at the same time to see Malaysia and Singapore.  Singapore is just a car ride from Malaysia. It is about four (4) hours from Melaka.  I was in Malaysia for a week from December 11 - 19, 2010 and had so much time to go around and also to visit Singapore. Check my blogs on the places I have visited in Malaysia and Singapore which I posted ahead of this one.  There are still more that I have to post so watch out for it !

Last December 12, 2010, my friend Nurul Nadia Mohd Roslan was so kind to take me around Melaka  with her friend, Alvin Chin.  Below were the places we visited :


Menara Taming Sari

Our tickets to the ride ! (with my friend, Nurul Nadia Mohd Roslan)

Menara Taming Sari (Melaka Tower) is the first and only gyro tower in Malaysia so far. It measures 110 meters in height, and revolves 360° to provide a panoramic view of Melaka town and beyond. It was commercially opened on the 18th of April of 2008.

The tower is built with advanced Swiss technology, and is said to have the ability of absorbing earthquakes measuring 10 richter scales. The inspiration behind the 110 meter viewing tower was the legendary Taming Sari Keris.

Inside the capsule
The Menara Taming Tower provides the opportunity for tourists to view the city of Melaka and beyond at a glance; you will see the whole city, the historical sites and other major buildings instantly! You can witness sea activities from the imposing height of 80 meters. You’ll board an air-conditioned viewing cabin, taken up with around 60 people, to stay up there for about seven minutes.

Me, Nadia and Alvin
Once it reaches the top, a breathtaking, sprawling view of Melaka as far as the eye can see, up to the Straits of Melaka, is clearly visible, especially in good weather, with the Melaka River running through the grand panorama below.


Christ Church Melaka
Christ Church is an 18th century Protestant church in the city of Melaka, Malaysia. It is the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia and is within the jurisdiction of the Lower Central Archdeaconry of the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia. Construction began in 1741 on the centennial of the Dutch occupation, and it was completed in 1753. Before this date the Dutch used the old Portuguese church atop St. Paul's hill for their religious services.

Christ Church Melaka

In front of the church, there will always be striking colorful decorated trishaws lining up, offering the service to tour you around the town. The existence of trishaw makes the church’s surrounding area more lively and outstanding. Besides the Christ Church, you can also find a number of souvenir shops.

Trishaw in Melaka

See the colorful trishaw behind us

Me and  my friend, Nurul Nadia Mohd Roslan strolling around

Christ Church bears all the hallmarks of 18th-century Dutch architecture: a rectangular plan, massive walls, red granite plinths, and Dutch roof tiles. The ceiling is 12.2 meters above the floor and the roof beams are each cut from a single tree. The building's footprint is a perfect 2:1 proportion: 27 meters on the long end and 13 meters on the short. The pews are original, and so are the windows, but were reduced in size by the British in the 19th century.

Located at Jalan Gereja (or known as Church Street), the church is painted in coral red with huge white cross at the middle. It is the most distinguished one among adjacent buildings that are also painted in similar red colour. Surrounded by beautiful landscape with greeneries and flowers, you will probably feel like visiting a vintage church somewhere in Europe.

The Queen Victoria Fountain that was built by the British still stands strong today.  It was completely built in 1901 by British to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty's reign.

A closer look at the post in the middle of the fountain

Stadthuys Town Hall (1641-1660)
Stadthuys is the oldest and largest building surviving in Southeast Asia from the early Dutch colonial era. Covering 49,200 square feet (including annexes), the building practically forms its own streetscape. Groundbreaking for the central portion of the building began in 1641, the same year that the Dutch wrested control of Melaka from the Portugese, who had ruled since 1511. Work on the building continued for nearly twenty years with laborers probably drawn mostly from the Portugese population. The building served as the civic center of the town, housing the Dutch governor and his numerous aides. Preserved in its original structure and form, it now houses the History and Ethnography Museum.

Behind us is the Clock Tower

Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower in Melaka
Red Clock Tower is another significant icon sits on Dutch Square. It was erected in 1886 in honor of a generous Chinese tycoon named Tan Beng Swee. Some called it 'Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower'.

The Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower is a clock tower in Melaka. built by the third generation of a Chinese philantrophic millionaire family. Although named after Tan Beng Swee, it was in fact built by his son Tan Jiak Kim, to fulfill his father's wish. 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.

This is the four sail windmill built to mark the Dutch occupation in Melaka. It is located opposite the Clock Tower and the Stadthuys Building

Melaka Old Fire Engine Truck 
This fire engine truck started its service in 1939, under control of Chief Police Officer of Melaka. In 1942, the British brought along this fire engine to Singapore but was transferred back to Melaka by the Japanese. After 2nd world war, this vehicle was placed under the control of Melaka municipal council. It ended its service in 1974.  You can see this at the Stadthuys Museum premises.

Fire Engine Truck Specification:
Maker : Dennis Turbeni, England
Year of acquisition : 1939
Year of manufacture : 1937
Engine number : 80115
Registration number : M756
Engine capacity : 2480 c.c
Weight : 6 ton

A Famosa or  Porta de Santiago
A Famosa is one of the most valuable ruins built by the Portuguese centuries ago. This place is another sought after attraction in Melaka.  Known also as Porta de Santiago, this structure is one of the four main gates of the famous Portuguese fortress. The fortress was built by Alfonso de Albuquerque in 1512, one year after the Portuguese invaded Melaka. It was intended to fence off the attack from Sultan Mahmud of the Melaka Sultanate Era and the continuous attack from Acheh and Johor empires.

The A’ Famosa fortress with 3-meter thick walls and a 40-meter watchtower had played a major role in protecting the Portuguese from their enemies. It was also the most well-known and symbolic fortress that the Portuguese had ever built. It was the biggest one ever built and was aptly named A Famosa, which means famous in Portuguese language.

The stairs at St. Paul's Hill
We are checking what's up there !

St. Paul's Church
The ruins of St. Paul's church stand at the summit of St. Paul's hill near the remains of A Famosa fortress. The site was originally occupied by the "Chapel of the Annunciation", which was built in 1521 by Duarte Coelho in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving his life in the South China sea. In 1548 the Archbishop of Goa in India handed over the church to the Jesuits, who began renovating it in 1566. The present building was completed in 1590, with the tower on the right side of the sacristy added in 1593.

The church is renowned as the place where the body of Francis Xavier, the pioneering Catholic missionary of Southeast Asia, was laid to rest for a period of eight months after his death at sea (from arch 22nd, 1553 to December 11th, 1553). The open grave in the church, now covered by a wire mesh, marks the place of Francis' temporary burial.

Statue of St Francis Xavier next to the ruins of St. Paul's Church
In 1952, a statue of St. Francis Xavier was built to commemorate the passing of the saint. Originally, the statue was completely constructed with the right arm in place. However, on the morning after the consecration ceremony, a large casuarina tree fell on it and broke off the right arm, resulted in a statue with missing arm until today.

Why the broken arm was never been fixed again? It was mainly due to the legendary miracle that happened in the year 1614. In 1614, St. Francis Xavier’s right forearm which he used to bless and baptize his converts was detached by Priest Gen.Claudio Acquaviva. The right forearm was needed by the Pope for his canonization in Rome. Legendary miracle happened as blood was said to be dripping out from the wound!

Gravestones line the sides of the church. These were once located outside the building on the surrounding hill.

THE JONKER WALK (Jalan Hang Jebat)

Jonker Walk
In the heart of Melaka is a long narrow five hundred meter street flanked by old houses dating back to 17th century. It was merely a row of shacks when it started on the Western bank of Melaka River. The servants and subordinates of Dutch masters used to live at nearby Heeren Street. However, as soon as Dutch left, it became noblemen's street! Rich Babas and Bibiks started to live and trade here giving the street a deep-rooted ethnic and cultural flavor. Now officially named as Jalan Hang Jebat, it is popularly known as the Jonker Walk. Due to availability of collectible items dating back to medieval times at many shops, it is also referred as the Antique Street. Due to Chinese influences, its also referred as the China Town of Melaka. During Dutch Period, it was known as rich men's street as rich Baba Nyonya had by that time established their businesses here!

Jonker Street is widely known for its one of a kind and valuable finds but during weekends at around 6 pm, the street is changed into an amusing carnival like event where many expectant tourists are looking forward to. The Jonker Walk night market is the usual activity that happens weekly for locals where they install shops and display their items to sell.

You can take home from the night market some one-of-a-kind wares that reflect their cultural heritage like ethnic and local Melakan fare, ornamental jewelry and wooden clogs, souvenirs, and handicrafts. Prices ranges and might go higher for visitors however some stalls might accept bargaining. This fascinating bazaar kind of shopping extravaganza at Jonker Walk night market is a must-not-miss while visiting Melaka.

Jonker 88 Restaurant serves the famous nyonya cendol  at Jonker Walk

Another thing that has made Jonker Street in Melaka famous is its food choices. This street is considered the most popular food and entertainment district in Melaka, Malaysia. Here you can find extensive food options from different cultures. One must try Baba Nyonya delicacies to complete his or her journey through Melaka! Jonker Street is full of shops and cafés that you’ll enjoy during the daytime, while food hawkers will beckon you at night. You can just imagine how busy Jonker Street is, anytime of the day, what with the wide variety of food and beverages that are offered. Ice cold desserts are among the most famous ones, and they come highly recommended for hungry travelers.

At Jonker 88 eating cendol and Asam Laksa

Asam Laksa (Spicy and bit sour)

Gula Cendol Melaka
Cendol is similar to the Philippines' Halo-Halo except that the ingredients are red beans, green rice noodle strips, coconut milk and the very thick and fragrant gula melaka, a dark brown syrup made from palm sugar.

After eating at Jonker 88, we continued our food trip.  My friends Nadia and Alvin bought some food for me to try and some of these were the following :

Glutinous balls over the coconut; Best served warm - pops in your mouth with a sweet sensation of oozing gula Melaka (Melakan sugar) syrup!

Candied Fruits on stick

Dodol Melaka a Malaysian traditional home made delicacies. Traditionally made from coconut and brown sugar

Freshly baked  yummilicious Pineapple Tarts

Dried squid on the grill



We're going to Dataran Pahlawan Mega Mall behind us
I stayed at Equatorial Hotel Melaka and I was lucky that the Dataran Pahlawan Mega Mall is just a walking distance from my hotel

Dataran Pahlawan Mega Mall is the largest mall in Southern Malaysia. Located in the heart of the historic centre and opposite Mahkota Parade.

F4-40, Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall, Jalan Merdeka, Melaka,
75000, Melaka
Tel : 06- 283 2828
Opening Hours : 10am - 10pm

It is good to know that the malls in Malaysia are also putting up Christmas Decors

Christmas Spirit is so alive !

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