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  • Writer's pictureRick

West Malaysia Day 7: Muar Old Town to Malacca Old Town

I checked-out at 9:15am, after some delays in waiting for the hotel staff to come and return my deposit in cash — foreigners were unable to e-transfers via local banks.

This time, I hailed a Grab car to town as I had a backpack and I would not want to be sweaty first thing in the morning. I dropped off at Kopi 434 Cafe for breakfast. The cafe was opposite Terminal Bentayan Muar, the express bus terminal, and a convenient spot to wait for bus while sipping coffee.

Kopi 434 was not very busy, so I had no pressure to finish fast and leave. I ordered nasi lemak ayam goreng (coconut-flavoured rice with fried chicken) and a cup of hot "elephant-o", short for "elephant beans kopi-o". “Elephant” coffee beans were the large-seed Liberica beans, a local produce of Johor.

Kopi 434 Cafe / Sai Kee Kopi

I had been saying I ordered “kopi-o kosong” in Johor Bahru, Kulai, Kluang, Batu Pahat and Muar. These black coffees were addressed the same way but they tasted differently from one another. Liberica coffee had a slight woody taste and more balanced between bitterness and acidity, whereas Robusta was more bitter and Arabica more acidic but had more flavours. Kopi-o of different towns tasted differently. And kosong (without milk and sugar) was the best way to sample the differences.

I sat in the cafe for about a hour. Seeing that more people were coming in closer to 11am, I left, crossed the road to the bus terminal and continued to wait there.

11:20am, the waiting 40-seater Mayang Sari bus designated for Kluang opened its door for boarding. The air-conditioning in the bus was most welcoming. At 11:30am sharp, the bus departed from Muar. It was not even half full.

Mayang Sari Bus to Malacca

再见, Muar! Adios, Johor!

I was leaving Johor after visiting three of its towns in one go. My total expenses so far was approximately S$310 (for 6.5 days) with accommodations and food taking up a big bulk of the expenses.

The bus journey to Malacca took slightly more than an hour mainly due to slow traffic outside Melaka Sentral. It was a Sunday after all. After alighting from the bus, I walked to the Domestic Bus Terminal for Panorama Melaka Bus 17 bounded for Ujong Pasir. The fare was RM2 to Dutch Square.

For some reasons, all roads within the “red houses” vicinity were closed to all vehicles and all passengers to Dutch Square were dropped off at Public Bank Melaka. Not sure if the closure would be permanent or for a short period. Personally, I hoped that it would be permanent. Too many people were driving cars to the historical sites resulting in traffic congestions.

I took some photos while walking to the guest house. A long dragon was hovering at the mouth of Melaka Old Town to signify the Year of the Dragon. And H&M had closed its outlet. The out-of-place white building was taken over by a new local products store called LuLaLa (噜啦啦).

Dutch Square & Melaka Old Town

I checked-in to Casa Blanca Guest House in Taman Kota Laksamana, in the outskirts of Melaka Old Town, and gotten a really big room even though I booked a double room as single occupant. The room was on the second floor with a very big bathroom that came with a bathtub. It had a window too and another door to the balcony, but the guest house was pretty far from the roads. Then, some dogs barked and it was darn loud…

Case Blanca Guest House

I went to The Stolen Cup Cafe for late lunch. I had always like the vibes of The Stolen Cup and their rustic decorations. After going through their menu, I ordered an icy coco latte and smoked duck croissant with salad. Not something too heavy so I could still go for dinner later.

The Stolen Cup

A short stroll around Melaka Old Town, noted a few new shops and bought a bottled water from Forever Cafe. I loved the rustic look of the little cafe and had always took a photo of it whenever I was in the old town.

Then, my usual afternoon rest back in the guest house. One thing about big room was the length of time needed for the air-conditioner to cool it — almost two hours.

I did not planned to visit the Portuguese Settlement this evening. It was a “spur of the moment” when I read about it while searching for toddy — yes, the same coconut palm wine that I tried in Kluang.

Well, why not? On my first trip to Malacca, I went to the Portuguese Settlement during a daytime and it was very quiet, everything was closed. I learnt later that the place would be livelier after dusk but had not revisited it since it was a seafood spot.

The settlement should be getting lively at 6pm. I walked to the same bus stop beside Dutch Square where I was dropped off earlier. Panorama Melaka Bus 17 came at 7pm and I boarded it for RM1.50 to a bus stop nearest to the Portuguese Settlement. It was a short walk to the settlement after alighting from the bus.

Some residential houses in the Portuguese Settlement were doubling up as restaurants or shops. As most of the residents were fishermen, their livelihood depended on the seas. The seafood restaurants were all near to the jetty. One of the restaurant operators informed me that a certain fishermen-related festival would be held on 29 June (2024) evening, a Saturday. And there would be dance and performance in the open stage area.

Portuguese Settlement

I found Nachi’s stall, my true objective, and asked about keeping bottled toddy without a fridge. Again, it was not possible to last two days. I would not want to consume half a bottle of toddy (about 600ml) a day too. I went for a cup of toddy for RM6. It had that familiar taste of fizzy palm wine alright but much “fresher” — without the mild-sour taste note of fermentation that I experienced in Kluang. The alcohol content stated for Nachi's toddy was 1~2% but I felt it was lighter than the toddy in Kluang.

Nachi Toddy

While sipping on the toddy, I came to Derrick’s Burger stall not far from Nachi’s stall. I bought a special beef burger, with cheese and egg, sat down behind the stall and ate the burger. It was delicious, reminded me of Fendy’s Burger but tasted a little different.

Derrick's Burger Stall

After the burger, I went back to Nachi’s stall and bought another cup of toddy, reusing the cup that I had. Then, I strolled back to the bus stop while sipping the toddy. I should have purchased a bottle.

I missed the bus to return to the old town and had to wait for 30 minutes for the next bus. I was not in a hurry so I waited. At 9:05pm, Bus 17 came and I paid RM1.50 for the fare to the other end of Jonker Walk.

Jonker Walk Night Market

Jonker Street Night Market was taking place along Jonker Walk — a weekly affair from Friday to Sunday — but crowds on Sundays were usually lesser than Saturdays. Most tourists would leave the old town on Sunday and that was why I chose to arrive on a Sunday.

I walked through the night market without much enthusiasm since I had eaten and not buying anything that would add weight to my backpack. I headed straight for the guest house.


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