Malacca Madness

Trip Start Mar 25, 2011
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Citin Hotel

Flag of Malaysia  , Kuala Lumpur,
Saturday, October 8, 2011

The alarm wakes me at 6.30am, not that I need it really as the local mosque sounds its alarm call throughout the day and night... and this successfully wakes me every morning...   its annoying!  Oh well a quick shower, dress and I grab breakfast before my 7.15am pick up! 

Today I am touring Malacca.  Before the arrival of the first Sultan, Malacca was a fishing village inhabited by local Malays. Malacca was founded by Parameswara, also called Iskandar Shah or Sri Majara, the last Raja of Singapura (present day Singapore) following a Majapahit attack in 1377. He found his way to Malacca around 1400 where he found a good port—it was accessible in all seasons and on the strategically located narrowest point of the Malacca Straits.
According to a popular legend, Parameswara was resting under a tree near a river while hunting, when one of his dogs cornered a mouse deer. In self-defence, the mouse deer pushed the dog into the river. Impressed by the courage of the deer, and taking it as a propitious omen of the weak overcoming the powerful, Parameswara decided on the spot to found an empire on that very spot. He named it 'Melaka' after the tree under which he had taken shelter. Another version of the story says that Parameswara chose the name 'Malacca' from the Tamil word 'mallakka' which means upside down or on ones back. Old illustrations of the scene where the mousedeer kicks the dog shows the dog falling on its back into the river, hence the inspiration.Malacca is about 2 hours away and with my guide and another couple Seson and her husband (they just wed and are on honeymoon.... ahhhh bless!!!)  The first stop is at the Malacca Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary.

It all begins when the first butterfly was seen flying in the Sanctuary. Ever since then, the flying never ends.  Sprawled over an 11 arce jungle site, the Malacca Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary was first opened to the public on the 1st February 1991. Launched by the Chief Minister of Malacca, the Sanctuary known only then as the Butterfly Park Malacca originally ventured off as a haven for butterflies. Blessed with overwhelming success together with the management's commitment towards its company's motto of "Continuous Discovery", the little butterfly has slowly transformed it self from the very humble beginning to a state of much expanded wings with the spread to include reptiles.  Hence the name Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary the first of its kind in Malaysia with a rather weird but interesting combination of the legless serpents and the thousands of colorful butterflies all under one roof in the sanctuary. Yet, the discovery has just begun.

To date, after 17 years of establishment, you'll be amazed by the surprisingly friendly and lovely little pilots in the Sanctuary. The 'flying' of the butterfly has since reached the very heart of thousands of tourists in all parts of the world including much of south-East Asia and Middle East through to Europe. Within Malaysia, the sanctuary has now established itself as a major tourist attraction in the fast growing historical city of Malacca which has itself been recognized as the world's heritage city since June 2008. Not only does the flying of the butterfly brings in thousands of tourist to the Sanctuary, amazingly, the magical friendship between the butterflies and reptiles in the sanctuary has also attracted the Lizards, the Amphibians, the crocodilians, the Mammals, the Birds and last but not least, the Koi in the Koi Garden. A definite must see! Although I feel weird walking with butterflies!

This sanctuary was quite a surprise and it was nice to walk around and see the animals and the butterfly's whom all look healthy and content.

After here is was into the main city of Malacca and a visit to the museum.  We were lucky enough to have a tour guide that walked us through and told us all about the history and stories of her own life which were just fascinating.  

We were able to visit the local churches including St Paul's which is a historic church building in that was originally built in 1521. It is located at the summit of St. Paul's Hill and is today part of the Malacca Museum Complex comprising the A Famosa ruins, the Stadthuys and other historical buildings.

There was also another museum to visit before stopping for some lunch and a well needed drink or two!!!

Onwards again and this time to visit another museum but this one is majorly different... its on a ship!!!

The Maritime Museum itself is a replica of the 'Flora de La Mar', a Portuguese ship that sank off the coast of Melaka while on its way to Portugal, carrying loot plundered from Melaka. Work on the replica started in early 1990 and it was opened to the public in 1994. The Maritime Museum was officially opened by the Prime Minister Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on June 13, 1994.
The museum highlights Melaka's importance as a regional and international business centre from the period of the Melaka Sultanate, right through the Portuguese, Dutch and British era.

The museum houses exhibits, artifacts and documents from the Melaka's golden era as the Emporium of the East and reveals how political control of Melaka was essential to the establishment of maritime dominance in the region.The museum also traces Melaka's trading links from the earliest times through the colonial era, the Japanese conquest and brief period of Japanese rule, the return of Britain as the colonial master, the emergence of the independent nation of the Federation of Malaya and the formation of Malaysia.

A really interesting museum and one where everyone has to walk around bare foot!!! 

I can't believe how much we are doing in just a few hours and all for the cost of about 20... bargain!!!  Our last visit was a boat trip on the Melaka river (several ways of spelling Malacca, Melaka).

The cruise takes visitors up the Malacca River. Cruising the river you first see the Tan Boon Seng Bridge.

It was mentioned in history that before the Portuguese managed to capture Melaka in 1511, they used a boat to capture a strategic bridge that crossed the Malacca River. Since the river flows across Melaka, by capturing and controlling this bridge, they were able to divide Melaka into two and cut off their lines of communication. Their success in capturing the bridge gave the Portuguese a vital bridgehead and from there, they finally managed to defeat the Malacca forces in 1511.
As you cruise further up the river, you will be able to see old shop houses that are built on her left and right banks. Some of these old shop houses used to have warehouses (godowns) built at the back of their premises. Trade & goods used to be loaded onto boats since Malacca was once a famous seaport. In fact, until the end of 2001, you can see boats loaded with timber from Indonesia being unloaded at the mouth of the Malacca River. From 2002 onwards, this barter trade activities have been shifted to other Malacca ports and the Malacca River will
be exclusively used for tourism and the arrival/departures of visitors to Dumai, Indonesia and for sea-cruises.
The second bridge you will pass under is the Chan Boon Cheng Bridge built in 1908. It was a steel fabricated bridge which linked the old sector of Melaka Chinatown (Kampung Pantai) located on the western bank of the Malacca River to Jalan Bunga Raya, the road leading into the new sector of Melaka New Chinatown (east bank). Due to its age, the steel bridge was reconstructed in 1963 with a concrete bridge you see today. During the Japanese Occupation of Malacca from 1942 to 1945, it was reported that beheaded heads were placed at the foot of this bridge by the Japanese forces as a warning to the Malacca community against their occupation.
Just after this bridge, you can see the striking yellow painted Discovery Cafe a popular place for visitors to dine and drink into the night.

Another famous foot bridge that crosses the Malacca River just after the Chan Boon Cheng bridge is the Ghostbridge of Malacca. This pedestrian bridge links Kampung Pantai with Kampung Jawa. How this bridge got her name remains a mystery.
Further up, another pedestrian footbridge called the Old Market Bridge can be seen. This
bridge links Kampung Hulu with the former Central Market and Jalan Kee Ann. Fishing boats are berthed here. From 1930’s until 1991, the Malacca Central Market was located on the right bank of the river. Fishing boats with their catches are unloaded here because of its proximity to the Central Market. Unfortunately, in early 1990’s, the unique Victorian designed Central Market was demolished and the Central Market was shifted further upstream of the river.

Incidentally, visitors can still see the restaurant where a scene of the Hollywood movie Entrapment was filmed in 1998. This riverbank restaurant is located on the right bank just before the pedestrian footbridge and local Chinese cuisines are cooked on order.
 Just a distance from the former Central Market is the Jalan Hang Tuah Bridge that links Jalan Munshi Abdullah with Jalan Hang Tuah. Cathay Cinema used to be located right bank of
the river but due to changing public viewing habits, it was closed down. On the left bank, you will see the Express Bus.Terminal where express buses stop here. Visitors can take express
buses from here to various places in Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Just before your final sight, you can see the ruins and columns of the Church of Rosario, on the right hand side of the river bank. The ruins are very near to the St.Peter’s Church which was built in the 1710.

The final sight before heading back on your cruise is the famous “Kampung Morten located on the left bank. This is a typical Malay kampung or village where the Malay residents still reside in
this kampung. The village folks are friendly and if you have the time, visitors can casually walk and enjoy the sights of a Malay kampung.
Soon after this village, the river boat will make a U-turn and head back to the jetty. The last bridge over Malacca River you will see is the Sungei Melaka Bridge which crosses the Malacca River mouth near the river boat Jetty.  Built over a period of 2 years, the Sungei Melaka was officially opened in June 2001.

And that concludes my day in Malacca... a very full on day and one which was nice to experience especially as its only a short distance away from Kuala Lumpur.

The guide then drives us back dropping Seson and her husband into town and me back at the hotel.

Again there is no internet at the hotel (still down) and so another visit for McDonald's coffee and wifi....

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