Tuesday May 21, 2024 EDT 
a nomad in search of...
HOME PAGE About TheLoneRider Contact TheLoneRider Web      
Cambodia Canada France Hong Kong India Indonesia Italy Laos Malaysia Monaco Myanmar Nepal Philippines Singapore Switzerland Thailand Vietnam USA
Astral Projection Caving Fitness Freediving Kayaking Meditation Mountain Biking Mountaineering Rafting Rock Climbing Scuba Diving Snowboarding Surfing Traveling Yoga
Book Review Gear Review Hotel Review Movie Review Show Review Restaurant Review
Art Chilling Out Cool Sites Community Counter Culture Food Odyssey best food recipes Lucid Thoughts Peoplescape Politics Print Media Quantum Mechanics Random Lives Showbiz Snapshot Slice of Life Thought Bubble Teaching Verbatim Wealth Building
SEO Services Web Design Services Advertising Here


A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016

A First-Timer in Malacca

GPS waypoint: 2°11'51.2"N 102°14'44.4"E
Location: Malacca, Malaysia

Here's Lookin' at You, Malacca
Malacca wasn't really in the picture. From Ubud (Bali, Indonesia), I went to Kuala Lumpur to secure my Chinese visa for a trip to Beijing to join Cheng, a Singaporean friend I met in Siargao 3 years ago. But the embassy told me to get it in Manila. That was a deal breaker. From KL, I decided to head south to Malacca instead of Beijing. I wanted to go to Malacca when I first came to Malaysia in Jan 2015 but somehow, that didn't happen. Now, I get a second chance.

Easy Passage
Getting to Malacca by bus from Kuala Lumpur was painless. I took the local train to TBS. From there, I boarded the bus to Malacca Sentral, the main bus terminal. Next, I boarded the #17 bus for the MYR 2 10-min ride to Jonker Street, the main tourism hub of Malacca.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a newly opened flashpacker hostel - NOMAPS. It had a modern industrial art-deco theme, friendly and efficient staff and unlimited 24/7 breakfast snack area. Their kitchen had a long table which made it suitable for me to do my online stuff. The manager, Carol Koh, was hands-on and on top of everything. I felt so at home at NoMaps, even acting as 'welcoming committee' to tourists who were curious. I counted 5 hotel guest credits for talking to them, even chasing after them when they already walked away. A couple I took-in even brought 2 of their friends! Not bad for a guy who was just doing work in the kitchen and noticing curious onlookers. NOMAPS was home for my first 4 nights in Malacca - a buffer I badly needed.

If that wasn't good enough, I also got a bicycle for use during my entire stay in Malacca, through Rent-a-Cycle. Their bicycle had a night light, was finely tuned, with a front basket for my laptop. With a hotel and a bike, I was all set to explore Malacca! Optimism was high.

After the initial abundance, I felt a struggle. The deals weren't happening. After my NoMaps episode, I defaulted back to cheap backpacker bunk beds in dorm rooms. At an average of MYR 15/night, it was budget friendly, but I was still hemorrhaging cash. I knocked on hotel doors but couldn't get to talk to the decision makers. I was beginning to wonder if I should continue staying in Malacca. The presence of 'struggle' means there's another place waiting for me. By going to different guesthouses in differents neighborhoods (Victor's Guesthouse and Sayang Sayang Hostel), I got to explore a different facet of Malacca on every move - a very good thing that broadened by landscape.

Rushed and Consumed
I also felt I wasn't being too fair to Malacca. Seven days into it and I haven't really done my exploration - not as much as I normally do. I was too consumed by blog backlogs from way back Ubud, consumed about making deals and proposals for a roof over my head and food in my tummy, and trouble-shooting friends' issues, that Malacca itself was being ignored. I had to snap out of it and smell the flowers again. A leisurely walk along the charming riverbank of the city allowed me to regain perspective.

A First-Timer in Malacca
discovering an almost hidden food alley

Because Malacca tourists are mostly Orientals (local Malaysians and Mainland Chinese), I didn't get as much social interaction as I might normally get as talking to complete strangers is not in their culture. But I've become friends with a few unlikely people who have shaped my peoplescape.

Carol KohCarol
She was my first friend in Malacca. We met when I stumbled upon NoMaps Hostel, a newly opened flashpacker hostel she was managing. Very hands-on with clearly set goals, she finds ways to sustain the hostel's competitive advantage. We had a few non-business chats which were refreshing as she talked about her family, kids and the immediate future.

Master GMaster G
His friends fondly call him Master G because he is DA MAN. He fixes things. With his wit, instinct, life experience, general know-how and bubbly personality, people rely on him to troubleshoot anything. I met him as he was trouble-shooting the cafe/resto, Malang 8. It had potential but wasn't making money. So he brought his own crew, revised the menu, renovated the place, strategized on marketing targets, etc. An insightful man, it was fun having a tete-a-tete with him.

Boon Kok GohBoon
I can't say we bonded, but it was an interesting short talk. I stumbled upon a Luwak cafe he owned and wanted to expand - Bangga Coffee. We talked. He was business savvy, offering me distributorship of Luwak Coffee which I thankfully declined. I don't think I can ever work for anyone again given my freedom. He has local and global interests which take him mostly around Malaysia. He's a rich guy who didn't seem concerned about being rich - he just wants to win the game. He feels light to be with and was quite engaging.

Cassandra LimCassandra
Meet Cassandra. She's a local who likes food, like me. When I saw a line forming on a food cart, I knew it had to be something good. Not knowing what it was, I lined-up too. Cassandra was in front of me. We got into a conversation about food, had dinner together which happened to be Char Koay Teoy, Penang's culinary staple. This was followed by teh halia across the street. It was a fun spontaneous over-extended talk.

Missing Phone
I feel guilty about this. I kept complaining about my cheap phone not having the features I needed. So one day, I just forgot to take it with me and left it on a river bank after working out. Needless to say, someone took it. From a conversation with a cabbie, I was told that the best value now is a Huawei phone. I canvassed and the new one cost around MYR 800. Ouch! That's a major dent on the budget. My benevolent universe works in mysterious but somehow predictable ways. Predictable because I've seen this repeating pattern manifest itself so many times in the past. Lo and behold, I made a little money in Malacca. How much? You guessed it right - exactly MYR 800. My universe provides exactly what I need, when I need it - nothing more, nothing less, no sooner and no later than when needed. I'm not even surprised. But of course, I am always grateful. It's not everyone who acknowledges and benefits from an unseen hand looking after his well-being.

Penang and Malacca
I know this is an unfair statement, but Malacca suffers in comparison to Penang - it cannot be helped by those who have gone to both places. At first, they looked the same. Malacca felt like Penang with the food scene, the city architecture that earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, the Chinese majority, the street art, etc. But staying 11 days revealed Malacca's own charm and attracton. Penang was more busy, enjoying a strong presence of Oriental and European tourists while Malacca seem to be favored more by Chinese and local tourists. Penang feels genuinely and refreshingly raw. Malacca feels a little more polished...a little more manufactured for tourism. Malacca is charming and even more romantic than Penang. If you stay the usual 2 to 3 days, Malacca is perfect. However, if you stay beyond that time frame and have exhausted the tourist offerings, there won't be much left to do. In Penang however, it doesn't matter if you stay there for months. It's a engaging place to permeate yourself into. It doesn't rely on tourism to make it interesting and engaging.

Going South
After covering my bases and securing some loose ends, it felt time to go. Logical destination was Singapore to catch my plane for Davao. My disappointment over Penang's exhorbitantly expensive Musang King durian is prompting me to go back to the Philippines to have my one kilo a day durian fix. Yes, I am stupid for spending for a flight instead of just paying for that Musang King. I can be stubborn...and I am.

Ending Thoughts
Malacca was like a mini-life - the places that gave me shelter, the struggle and bliss for survival, the wonderful people I met, the gastronomic indulgence, the validation I got from my benevolent universe, etc. For all the blessings of Malacca, I am grateful. Malacca will remain special.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Singapore

the TBS bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur looks more like an airport than a bus terminal on board Malacca bus #17 for Jonker Square all  passengers got off at Jonker including me. They all seemed to be heading for their hotels. I'm like, 'ok, where do I go now?' leaving my bulky backpack somewhere and pounding the pavement for a place to stay
at first glance, Malacca seems like another Chinatown ..and then you come across a stately home of the powerful elites NoMaps Hostel has been the most comfortable hotel I've stayed at in Malacca...highly recommended I got lucky getting a bicycle for the rest of my stay in Malacca, courtesy of Rent-a-Cycle
Carol treated me to an Indian  dinner...great talk about life, family and career. Thank you Carol !!! Melaka as a World Heritage City is all over town Dutch Square..this is perhaps the most iconic place in Malacca and  the most photographed the trishaws are an integral part of Malacca's colorful tourism
ground zero for Malacca's tourism keeping fit with my skipping rope these guys serve dessert using liquid nitrogen....serious! the night market on Jonker Walk
good food is inescapable in Malacca meeting Master G at Mayang 8 Cafe and Resto outside the tourism hub, Malacca is just like any other normal city meeting some French travelers
taking a rest stop while promenading at night Malacca's history is steeped in the maritime trade and it is showcased in the museums and tourist attractions at night, the trishaws glow in the dark with a headlamp and a bike, I'm all over town - day and night
ruins of a fort the cry of Malaysia's independence was heralded here meeting Mr. Boon, a successful businessman focusing on Luwak coffee for  his trade it is easy to understand why Malacca earned the Unesco World Heritage designation
art and ruins go side by side street art is catching up fast in Malacca after 3 weeks in Bali, I was delighted to see this Bali-inspired hotel - 1825 Gallery Hotel a coin-operated laundry machine is always a good find in any destination
a trishaw driver can be tough on a full load going uphill the central hub in the tourist area at night on an outdoor setting by a mall, roller blades and hover boards can be rented - MYR10 for blades a kid whizes by with glow-in-the-dark roller blade wheels
Malacca's cafe art scene is burgeoning - A&D Tea House food is always just a few steps away at night market the gilded guy only comes out at night Dutch Square at night
make no mistake about it...the Dutch left their mark romantic river cruise at night Malacca is picturesque at night at Mayang 8 Cafe and Resto, enjoying their house special. It's a long name...just say Mayang 8 Special and they'll know
there is a rich community spirit in Malacca by the locals...even right in the heart of the tourism belt do you see anything wrong with this? try riding your bicycle on skinny tires over one of these! day-to-day life at the guesthouse what? it's been 11 days already? goodbye Malacca...and thank you!

Malacca FYI / Tips

  • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is concentrated along the Jonker Walk area. Best to book your hotel within this area

How to Get to Malacca Sentral (bus terminal) from Kuala Lumpur by bus

  1. from Kuala Lumpur, take any local train or bus that would take you to the TBS ().
  2. inside TBS, go to the Ticket Counter and tell them you'll go to Malacca. You can choose a particular bus line otherwise, they will give you the next bus leaving for Malacca. With your ticket comes the Gate No. where you board your bus - it's like an airport when you take your flight.
  3. go to the Gate No. and look at the Departure board to see if your bus is there and if boarding is already allowed.
  4. Board the bus and it will drop you at the Malacca Sentral bus terminal in Malacca. Trip takes 2 hours. You are still far from the city center.
  5. take the local bus within the same terminal to take you to Jonker Walk, the main tourism hub of Malacca (below)

How to Get to Jonker Walk (city center) from Malacca Sentral (bus terminal)

  1. upon arriving at the Malacca Sentral, look for and follow the signs for the Domestic Bus area
  2. at the Domestic Bus area, look for Quay #17. That's where the bus is for Jonker Walk, MYR 2 | 10 mins

Malacca Cost Index

(US$1 = Malaysian Ringit MYR 4.031 = Philippines Php 46.97 as of August 6, 2016)
  • MYR 10.90 Daging Salai Masak Lemak Cili Padi (house specialty) at Mayang 8 Cafe And Restaurant Mayang 8 Cafe And Restaurant, local and Western cuisine
  • MYR 15.00 all-day American breakfast + coffee/boh tea at A & D Tea House A & D Tea House, aromatic tea and dessert
  • MYR 2 local bus fare from Malacca Sentral bus terminal to Jonker Walk in the city center, 15 mins
  • MYR 12/night cheapest bunk bed in a dorm room in a backpacker hostel, shared toilet
  • MYR 55/night bunk bed in NOMAPS NOMAPS Hostel, a flashpacker hostel with first rate amenities
  • MYR 8/day bicycle rental at Rent-a-Cycle Rent a bike
  • MYR 8 coffee in trendy cafes
  • MYR 1.5 coffee in kedai coffee shops (local eateries)
  • MYR 5 haircut on local barber shops (not touristy salons)
  • MYR 6/14kg washer load coin-operated laundromat
  • MYR 5.50/dryer load coin-operated laundromat
  • MYR 10 bus ride from TBS (Kuala Lumpur) to Melaka Sentral (Malacca)
  • MYR 2 bus ride from Melaka Sentral (Malacca) to Jonker area (tourist hub of Malacca) using #17 bus
  • MYR 175 1 liter petrol
Currency Converter
Malaysia Blogs

    Cameron Highlands

  1. Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016
  2. Kluang

  3. Overnight in Kluang, Malaysia Aug 13-14, 2016
  4. Kuala Lumpur

  5. Funky Flow Yoga with Lora Lorenzo at YogaOneThatIWant Studios July 27, 2016
  6. Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine July 21-26, 2016
  7. Layover in Kuala Lumpur June 22, 2016
  8. The Kuala Lumpur Experience Jan 21 - Feb 20, 2015
  9. Police Harassment in Kuala Lumpur Feb 17, 2015
  10. Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
  11. Walking Tour of China Town Feb 5, 2015
  12. Breaking New Ground in Kuala Lumpur Jan 21, 2015
  13. Kuantan

  14. Goodbye and Thank You Kuantan Apr 13, 2018
  15. Visiting the Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah Mosque Apr 10, 2018
  16. Visiting the Pahang Art Museum Apr 3, 2018
  17. Beach Fun at Teluk Cempedak April 1, 2018
  18. Visiting the Kuantan Mini Zoo April 1, 2018
  19. High Intensity Interval Training Apr 1, 2018
  20. Fitness in Kuantan Mar 29, 2018
  21. Exploring Kuantan, Malaysia Mar 25-, 2018
  22. Hanging-Out in Kuantan with the Guangzhou 5 Mar 25-26, 2018
  23. Satipatthana Sutta Vipassana Mar 16-25, 2018
  24. The 24-Hr Trip from Loboc (Philippines) to Gambang (Malaysia) Mar 15-16, 2018
  25. Malacca

  26. A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016
  27. Art Scene of Malacca August 6, 2016
  28. The River Charm of Malacca August 5, 2016
  29. About Malacca July 28, 2016
  30. Penang

  31. Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016
  32. Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
  33. Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016
  34. Overnight Camping at Turtle Beach Jun 10, 2016
  35. Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation in Penang Jun 10, 2016
  36. Daytrip to Batu Ferringhi Jun 9, 2016
  37. Savouring the Food of Penang May 27 - Jun 6, 2016
  38. Surreal Glow-in-the-Dark 3D World at Dark Mansion June 3, 2016
  39. The Animated Street Art of Penang Jun 3, 2016
  40. Exploring the Lush Greenery of Botanic Gardens May 29, 2016
  41. Up up and Away to Penang Hill May 28, 2016
  42. About Penang May 27, 2016

Facebook Users

Reader Comments:

Carol KohCarol Koh
(28 Aug 2016) Till we meet again. Take care.

Greg HutchinsonOutback Greg Australia
Tribal Adventures
(28 Aug 2016) You've got some great yarns from your travels. Malacca is an old favourite. Look forward to catching up in person.

July 28-Aug 8, 2016

»» next Traveling story: 2-Hour Detention at Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority
»» back to Traveling
»» back to Homepage


1970 | 1973 | 1975 | 1976 | 1979 | 1981 | 1996 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 2024 | ALL BLOGS

Malacca Hotels

Hotels & Resorts

Bicycle Rental

Cafe & Restaurant

NOMAPS Hostel, Malacca, Malaysia
flashpacking hostel
11 Jl Tun Tan Cheng Lock 75200
Malacca, Malaysia
Rent-a-Cycle, Malacca, Malaysia
bicycle rental
53 Jl Hang Kasturi
Malacca, Malaysia
Mayang 8 Cafe And Restaurant, Malacca, Malaysia
Mayang 8
Cafe & Restaurant

local and Western cuisine
#189-GRD 05, Jalan Persisiran
Bunga Raya
Malacca, Malaysia
A & D Tea House, Malacca, Malaysia
A & D Tea House
tea | art | dessert
95 Lorong Hang Jebat
Malacca, Malaysia
The Coffee JAR, Malacca, Malaysia
The Coffee JAR
Beatles | coffee
#38´╝îLorong Hang Jebat
Malacca, Malaysia

Malacca, Malaysia

Hotels & Resorts
NOMAPS Hostel, Malacca, Malaysia
flashpacking hostel
11 Jl Tun Tan Cheng Lock
Malacca, Malaysia

Cafe & Restaurant
Mayang 8 Cafe And Restaurant, Malacca, Malaysia
Mayang 8
Cafe & Restaurant

House Specialty:
Daging Salai Masak Lemak Cili Padi
#189-GRD 05, Jalan Persisiran Bunga Raya
Malacca, Malaysia

A & D Tea House, Malacca, Malaysia
A & D Tea House
all-day breakfast
aromatic tea
art | dessert

#95, Lorong Hang Jebat
Malacca, Malaysia

Bicycle Rental
Rent-a-Cycle, Malacca, Malaysia
bicycle rental
53 Jl Hang Kasturi
Malacca, Malaysia