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  • Writer's pictureRick

West Malaysia Day 6: Revisiting Old Town of Pekan Muar

I had better quality sleep this time, waking up occasionally due to motorcycles speeding past on the road and rain splattering on the windows. The room I had in J. Boutique Hotel was not too bad, though not perfect. I hoped the hotel management could resolve their manpower issues and start functioning as a normal hotel.

9am, I set off for the old street in Pekan Muar (or Muar town). The weather was good. It had rained in the night and grey thin clouds still lingered in the sky but it would not be long before they disappeared — what I wanted to say was: I walked to the old town again.

Apart from looking for breakfast, I needed to get a couple of things done in the town. One, I was fast running out of cash and needed more ringgits; two, to book a bus to Malacca. Supposed to have a third objective to a laundry shop, but I forgot to pack my worn clothings.

15 minute’s walk and I was greeted by “The Loving Sisters” again. First stop was the Glutton Street (贪食街) for breakfast.

Muar Glutton Street

I walked into 新锦发茶餐室, one of the coffee shops along Glutton Street where food could be purchased from the street stalls and consumed in there. I tried yong tau fu with kway teow soup (酿豆腐粿条汤) from one of the in-house stalls and (Muar-style) kopi-o kosong.

After breakfast, I explored the town. Seemed like quite a number of shops and cafes had closed down since my last trip here two years ago. But there were new restaurants too. Muar’s old town had larger concentration of food outlets as compared to other services.

I was on the lookout for a money changer when going up and down the streets. But it was easier to find street arts than a money changer. I came to a long lane of street arts that was called “Muar Street Arts” with various themes.

Muar Street Arts

A section of "Muar Street Arts" was later enhanced as an activity corner for kids with autism. Named as "Muar Autism-Friendly City", the murals here were mostly from famous cartoons and animations, and some were accompanied by activity boards for kids to interact.

Muar Autism-Friendly City

Many Singaporeans came to Pekan Muar for food and pilgrimage, I came for food, coffee and street arts. Checking out artworks was a good way to explore all corners of the old town and to burn calories for more food later. Shopping was never an objective to be in the old town — in fact, there were extremely few places for shopping. Oddly, there were no cafes in the old town too. A couple of cafes that I visited before were also gone.

Back at Glutton Street, I saw the “Muar You Tiao” (麻坡油条) truck at one end of the food street. Attracted by the freshly made and fried you tiao (fried dough) and other stuffs, I decided to get two — a fried dough and a fried sweet potato — to snack on. I had to wait a while before sinking my teeth into the hot snack. This was my second time at the truck-stall, after 2 years.

Muar You Tiao (麻坡油条)

I gave up searching and asked a local for directions to a money changer. I came to Rich Feature Sdn. Bhd. (新顺发钱币兑换商), which had a new shop opposite its old address. I exchanged all my Singapore dollars for ringgits (S$200 for RM696 at a buying rate of 3.48), hoping they would be enough for this trip — else I would need to withdraw cash from an ATM using Cirrus which would incur costly transaction fees.

Rich Feature Money Changer

Outside the money changer, I could see Muar Clock Tower and also a mural in an alleyway, which was the start / end of a series of street arts labelled as “Muar Cultural Arts” on Google Maps. I would know where to find the money changer should I need their services again.

Since I was at an art lane, might as well re-explore it. Most of the artworks in the “Muar Cultural Arts” lane were cultural-related. Some of them included real objects as part of the art instead of just paintings.

Muar Cultural Arts

While checking out the cultural artworks, I advanced towards Terminal Bentayan Muar, which I arrived at the day before and would be leaving from here to Malacca. Mayang Sari had 4 services a day (at 9:30am, 11:30am, 2pm and 7:30pm) from Muar to Klang (not Kluang), stopping at Malacca (Melaka Sentral) and Shah Alam in between. I pondered for a while and purchased a ticket (RM5) for the 11:30am bus — since J. Boutique Hotel was a little further away, I would check-out first before going for brunch then catch the bus.

Mayang Sari Muar bus schedule

All objectives accomplished, I walked back to the Glutton Street for lunch. The weather was so hot that I lost appetite for fried and grilled stuffs. I settled for roasted duck noodle at a coffee shop. The duck meat was not bad but the dark sauce for the noodle was a little too bland. It would had been better if I had ordered rice instead of noodle.

Roasted duck noodle

I left the old town and headed towards the hotel. But at 1:30pm, it was too early to give up the day, so I made a detour. I knew of a cafe somewhere along Jalan Dato Haji Hassan and the road would somehow connect to some other roads to the hotel — it would work out some way since legs had more flexbility than cars.

I was venturing into what seemed like a residential area but some of the houses were actually for business. There were cafes, salons, offices, etc. Few people would want to venture here without cars — but, I owned two kars (legs).

I came to Cafe 1988 at a right-angled junction to the hotel (it’s hard to visualise without a map). The cafe looked small from outside but was quite spacious inside. I already had lunch so I ordered their blended hand brew coffee and signature Italian tiramisu that had a tinge of alcohol. They were really great. I would definitely come back again.

Cafe 1988

I cooled off at the cafe for nearly an hour before embarking on the final lap to the hotel. 10 minutes’ walk was all it took — the connecting roads were pretty straight.

Showered and rest in the air-conditioned room, I waited for dinner time. The WiFi was still down since none of the hotel staff came in. I used my own roaming data since I had acquired another 5 days of 1GB data and all previous unused data was roll-overed — Giga's roaming service was not bad.

Dinner was at GP Red Wine Mee Sua (红酒面线) again. This time I went earlier, hoping to beat the crowd. I ordered the red wine mee sua again, instead of going for other noodles, red bean soup and a fried chicken wing. Interesting that the shop came up with using watered-down red bean soup as a beverage, instead of as a dessert.

GP Red Wine Mee Sua (红酒面线)

Where else could I go after dinner? I took a short stroll around the nearby area, more for digestion than exploration, and back to the hotel in about 10 minutes.


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