Sunday, September 23, 2007

Touring Melaka Historical Sites by Melaka Red Double Decker Bus

23rd. September 2007

Melaka :

Our historical tour of Melaka on the Red Bus started at about 11.00am. We have heard about Melaka’s newest tourism product – See Melaka historical sites on a Red Double Decker Bus but we have yet to try it until today.

With a baseball cap, a bottle of drinking water and casually dressed for the occasion, we waited for this bus at No. 13 designated stop for the Melaka Red bus. No. 13 stop named “Renaissance Stop” is located opposite Melaka Renaissance Hotel. In fact, it is in front of Hotel Okid at Jalan Bendahara and near Hotel Accordian too. We had to wait for about half an hour before the Red Double Decker was sighted coming down towards us at about 11.00 am. We had earlier spotted the “Panorama Red Bus” but it did not come our way. We found out later that the “Panorama Red Bus” route covered the historical sites and outskirts of Melaka City at only RM 2.00 per adult for the whole day. Very affordable by any standards!!

The “Melaka Red Double Decker Bus” route only covered the historical sites around Melaka City. The fare is priced at RM 5.00 per adult per day. Travellers can hop on this bus and hop off to see the sites at your own leisure. Then, hop on the next bus for the next site. This is certainly a good and cheap way to see Melaka historical sites for the whole day.

After boarding the double decker bus, we climbed up to the Upper Saloon of the bus for birds’ eye view of Melaka. The bus was brought in from London as we can still see some signages in English and fares in Sterling! Driven by one driver whom you have to pay your fares to, this bus is also air-conditioned. A Plus point against the hot and humid weather of the tropics.

The bus first passed Meng Seng Charitable Hall which is linked to the founding of Malaya and turned right towards Jalan Munshi Abdullah.

It crossed over Hang Tuah Bridge and we reached Jalan Hang Tuah where we will see Hang Tuah Mall . Also located on Jalan Hang Tuah is the new Melaka City Campus of Technical University of Malaysia.

It passed Soon Seng Plaza and Legacy Hotel at the end of Jalan Hang Tuah before moving passed Tesco Hypermarket and towards Melaka Sentral (Melaka Bus and Taxi Terminals).

After a brief stop for passengers, it travelled back to Jalan Hang Tuah and veered left into Jalan Gajah Berang. For visitors interested see the “Chitty Museum”, you can hop off at the designated stop. We moved towards Jalan Tranquerah via Jalan Ong Kim Wee and to the end of Jalan Hang Jebat (Jonker’s Street).

It continued into Jalan Kubu and turned into Jalan Kampung Hulu where Kampung Hulu Mosque is located. The bus then moved slowly into Jalan Kampung Pantai and visitors can see the old Pre-war Chinese shop houses.

It then crossed over the Melaka River by using the Chan Koon Cheng bridge before turning right to Jalan Laksamana (or Riverside Road). This road will lead us into the historical old sector of “Stadthuys” or the “Red Dutch Square” area.

Besides the “Stadthuys”, the Clock Tower, “Christ Church” and “Youth Museum” are located here. You can stop (Stop No.5 or Stadthuys Stop) here for your photo shoot or enjoy Malacca's famous "Chendol" across the road.

Moreover, the newly discovered “Middlesburg Wall” of A Famosa is also located here.

The historical journey continued by passing by the newly discovered “Middleburg wall" towards the replica ship of “Flor de la Mar”. This Portuguese ship was the flagship of Alburqueque who conquered Malacca in 1511. After capturing Malacca, the Portuguese took Malacca’s treasures and loaded them up into their galleons. However, on their journey back to Portugal, the fleet was caught in a heavy storm and the “Flor de la Mar” with Malacca’s invaluable treasure, sank off the coast of North Sumatra.

After passing this replica ship, we entered the reclaimed land of “Banda Hilir”. Before the area was built up, the site was Malacca’s Esplanade where Malaccans used to enjoy their morning and evening walks besides the Malacca Straits. In the evenings, we enjoyed the sight of sunsets and cool evening breezes. In late 1980’s, the sea in front of the Esplanade was reclaimed and now, the air-conditioned Mahkota Parade shopping mall was built on it.

Recently, in 2006, Malacca’s newest shopping mall, Dataran Pahlawan was opened. This 2 storey shopping mall was built on the padang” of Banda Hilir.

Since then, the padang has been reduced to a third of her original size. The construction of the mall has been turned the area into another concrete jungle and traffic jams are seen especially during weekends.

By late 2008, Melaka Tower will rise 140 metres in the same area and another hypermarket such as Carrefour will operate just in front of Hotel Equatorial.

The Red Double Decker bus passed by Hotel Equatorial and moved towards Jalan Bandar Hilir. On this road, there are a few hawker complexes which are opened during the evenings. You can get Malacca’s famous ho chien, popiah and delicious local cuisines along this road. At the end of the road is the Henry Gurney Prison for teenagers and the St. John’s hill.

Soon, we reached the Semabok junction and turned left into Jalan Panjang before moving towards Bukit China. We then passed the “Martyrs Memorial” which was built in honour of the fallen heroes against the Japanese Occupation of Malaya during the 2nd. World War.

Just around this memorial lies the “Poh San Teng” temple and the “King’s Well”. This well never goes dry and a wall has been built around it to protect this well during the Portuguese/Dutch eras. As the legend goes, any person who drinks the water from this well, will always come back to Malacca in his/her lifetime.

Both of these historical sites are located just below the foothills of “Bukit China”. Bukit China or Chinese Hill is now the largest Chinese cemetery outside China. Before, legend said the hill was the area where the Chinese princess, “Hang Li Po” and her entourage stayed thus the name “Bukit China”. Now, Bukit China is the largest green lung within Malacca and many joggers climbed up the hill for their morning/evening runs.

Our historical city tour continued down Jalan Munshi Abdullah. Passing Meng Seng Charitable Hall again, we then turned right into Jalan Bunga Raya. The last stop for us in front of the former “Majestic Hotel” just before Kampung Morten.

Overall, the journey took about an hour and fifteen minutes. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and was able to see Malacca from this double decker bus. We hope to take the "Panorama Bus" in the future to see the outskirts of Malacca from our last stop.

Meantime, we hope you have enjoyed our blog. We hope you will also come and see Malacca on this Red Double Decker Bus. Enjoy.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Light up important historical sites in Melaka City

It is good that the Melaka Historical City Council has lit up the main roads from Ayer Keroh into Melaka City Centre. Colourful lights were strung along the lamp posts along the routes. To some extent, the lights have made the roads into the City colourful and give an air of festivities around the city.

The Melaka Historical City Council should go a further mile by lighting up strategic historical sites around the city. Flood lights mounted at these sites can create and enhance the value of these sites. Sites like the Stadthuys, A Famosa, Istana, St.Peter's Church, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Kampung Hulu mosque, Poh San Teng etc. can be made to "glow" at night from 7.00pm until mid-night from Fridays to Sundays. By doing so,these sites can attract visitors to visit them at night.

At the same time, webcams should be installed around these areas for people around the world to view them via the Internet. With cheaper broadband internet connections, it is now inexpensive to install such webcams. They can help promote Melaka to the world.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Should the walls of A Famosa be re-constructed?

20th. June 2007

In 2003, the foundations of “Bastion”, part of the walls of the Fortress Melaka was discovered during the development of the Dataran Pahlawan in Melaka. Located just a stone throw from Melaka only remaining gateway, “A Famosa”, it was an important discovery.

In November 2006, while the Melaka Government was building the 120 meters high “Melaka Tower” project just inside the heritage zone besides the Melaka river, the piles of the tower hit something hard below the ground. Only upon excavation, the workers discovered the walls and foundations of the tower “Middleburgh”. This tower was built by the Dutch to monitor the movement of trading boats into and out of the Melaka river.

This new discovery was so important that the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage has alloted more than RM 12 million to excavate and do research of this new founding. Plans were revealed to re-construct at least half of the 1.3 km long perimeter walls of the Melaka fortress walls.

If this plan succeeds, the re-constructed walls of A Famosa, will benefit Malaccans and visitors to Melaka. The former HSBC Bank Building will be used to house a museum that will hold relics and highlight the walls. The re-constructed walls will allow visitors to walk above ground and feel how the walls were in yesteryears. It may not be the Great Wall of China but we have the Walls of A Famosa and it will add to the importance of Melaka in her quest to be listed as one of the heritage cities in UNESCO List.

The walls were important in the defence of Melaka from 16th. to the early 19th. Century. It was first built by the Portuguese a year after capturing Melaka in 1511. Ironically, these walls prevented the Sultan of Melaka to re-capture Melaka and it was then reinforced and expanded by the Dutch after 1642.

Only in early 1800’s, during the brief stay of the English in Melaka, orders were given out to destroy the walls. The English wanted to destroy the walls so that Melaka defences will be weakened as they were promoting Penang as their centre then. It was Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore, who was recuperating in Melaka then, saw the folly of destroying these walls. He wrote a letter to Lord Minto in India against the destruction of the walls. However, by the time when Raffles idea was agreed by Lord Minto, only the Gateway of A Famosa remained. Since then, this gateway has been the most photographed and recognised symbol of Melaka

I am for one in favour of rebuilding the walls eventhough it will be a part of the great fortress surrounding Bukit Melaka. Wouldn’t it be wonderful that we can walk on these walls if they are completed by 2012, 500 years after her creation?

Melaka used to be called the “Sleepy Hollow” when nothing happens in Melaka but her past now is benefiting Melaka and Malaccans in particular. Her history and relics are now invaluable heritage for the future generations.Surely, Melaka has arisen from her deep slumber.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Let Malaccans Enjoy their Esplanade Again

Malaccans used to enjoy the morning and evening seabreezes along the Esplanade at Bandar Hilir in 1960s and 1970s. We can view the lovely sun sets as the sun goes down the horizon of the Straits of Malacca. Early birds in the morning enjoy their morning walks and do their exercise along this Esplanade. After their routine, they can enjoy their breakfasts along the stalls at "Gluttons Corner".

In the evenings, Malaccans enjoy their evening walks when the cool evening breeze head to sea and watch the sun goes down the horizon. Then, they can enjoy their dinners at Esplanade.

Sadly, the Esplanade was lost forever when the sea front was reclaimed in late 1980s. On this reclaimed land, Melaka Raya and Mahkota Parade was built.

Malaccans will love to get back their lost Esplanade. The new Esplanade will be good to Melaka as it will be another added tourism attraction to visitors and locals alike.

The location of this new Esplanade can be resurrected at Pulau Melaka beside the Mosque. What is need is for the Melaka Historical City Council to construct a walk path, plant shady trees and have some concrete benches along the seafront. Once these infrastructure is done, it is a matter of time that Malaccans will know that the new Esplanade is back for all to enjoy. Very soon, economic activities such as restaurants, food stalls and others will populate Pulau Melaka.

Malaccans and visitors can also visit,Tourism Melaka website at for latest news and happenings in Melaka.

Welcome to Tourism Melaka Blogspot

15th. June 2007


Welcome to very own Tourism Melaka Blogspot. This blog was created to compliment our Tourism Melaka website at By having this blog, we can suggest own ideas and receive feedback from visitors on how we can put on our thinking caps together and promote Melaka to the World.

Melaka over her 600 years of history, has seen her golden years and her turbulent years. Melaka was the cradle of Malay civilisation and through Melaka, Islam spread in South-east Asia. Due to her strategic location and a trading hub in 16th. Century for spices and other sought-after commodities, she encountered the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English and Japanese before securing her future in Malaya in 1957 and in Malaysia in 1963.

Her long history has created a melting pot of people, cultures, cuisines and languages and different races have lived together since Independence in 1957 as Malaysians.

We, at Tourism Melaka, are keen to share our thoughts and views on how Melaka can progress onwards. We should build on what we have and conserve them for the future of our generations to come. These can be buildings, trades, languages, traditions, cuisines and cultures each race hold dearly to. At the same time, we should also share our unique possessions and hospitality for all visitors to Melaka in particular and in Malaysia in general.

Similarly, readers of our blogs are invited to pen their views and comments on these blogs so that others can read and share their thoughts. Together, we can make the difference.

We hope you enjoy our Tourism Melaka Blogspot.

TW Kang