Hello Melaka 2D1N: The Culture Trip

Warning: This is going to be a loooong post. Read only if it interests you ūüôā

For we Malaysians, Melaka is usually a food-led trip. Just like my last trip, there were 9 food stops packed into 2D1N here. NOT this trip, which makes it refreshing.

Throwback to my short getaway¬†in Malaysia:¬†I tagged along my 2nd sis’ family to a weekend getaway to Melaka.¬†Different group, different interest, different (travel) agenda.

“I am going to show you around Melaka,” my 9-year old niece told me. Spoken like a true young adventurer.

Day 1:¬†– Massage at Baba Chong- Serani ‘Teng Teng’ at The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum- Peranakan lunch at Nancy’s Kitchen- Nyonya kuih at Baba Charlie (Closed)- Bookaholic session at Seck Kim Seng Memorial Library- Clay workshop at The Clay House- Coffee and dessert at The Baboon House- Check in Cafe 1511- Putu Piring Tengkera dinner

Day 2: РDim sum breakfast at Low Yong Moh Restaurant- Sunday Antique flea market at Jonker Walk- Hindu temple procession- BEST Cendol at Aunty Koh- Checking out Bustel at Klebang- Lunch at The Baboon House- Getting to know the Chettis at The Chetti Village and The Chetti Museum

 

DAY 1

Our journey from KL began around 7.30am to beat traffic, but it was smooth all the way. We assumed it was because of less people traveling after Chinese New Year.

Massage at Baba Chong

First stop:¬†Baba Chong. I’ve been there once previously, and this marks my second visit.

Many cars parked, with customers waiting for their turn
Many cars parked, with customers waiting for their turn

They were closed for Chinese New Year, for 2 weeks, from 5 Feb to 19 Feb 2016. They just reopened on that day. Expecting full house, it went better than we thought.

I was told that there are 4 massauers altogether, 3 men (including Baba Chong) and 1 woman. Baba Chong, of course, is the most experience among the 4 of them, and expect a long queue if you want him specifically.¬†If you are a female, go straight to the woman massauer. Each massage costs you RM 20, supposedly it’ll last for¬†10 mins. It¬†usually lasts shorter than that, especially if Baba Chong is the massauer.

As BIL will be able to have 2 massages for this trip, he went to his son for treatment. He explained that if he can only afford the time for 1 treatment, then he’ll still wait for Baba Chong. That speaks for itself.

For his next day massage, BIL¬†asked whether he can write down his name for tomorrow’s queue, but was told there is no need.¬†He is a regular, so they already recognize, and tell him to just turn up. Since there isn’t a system proper, new customers sometimes will complain about people ‘jumping queue‘, so hopefully this explains a bit about the (lack of) system.

If you arrive late, someone will probably approach you and sell you their queue number. These numbers are sold at RM 10, and will save you queuing time. This issue was brought up to Baba Chong, but he seemed to tolerate and accept that .. “bagi orang kasi chance cari makan,“he said. In English, it means give people a chance to make money.

 

Air Daun Angin @ RM 10 per bottle

They also sell some botanic herbal drinks. BIL bought Air Daun Angin @ RM 10 per bottle.

 

Baba Chong Massage Therapist on Waze
Baba Chong Massage Therapist on Waze

If you need directions to Baba Chong, you can rely on Waze.¬†Search for “Baba Chong massage therapist“, and¬†the location is accurate.

 

Baba Chong

No 100,
Jalan Padang
Taman Tanjung Minyak Utama Melaka
Tel: +6-016-656 2092
Operating hours: 6am-5pm (closed on Friday)

 

Serani “Teng Teng” Performance At Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum

Intro to Serani Teng Teng
Intro to Serani Teng Teng

After Baba Chong, we drove to Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum for their inaugural “Celebrating the Chinese New Year with the Serani “Teng Teng” performance, and it was free admission! Note that entrance fee to the museum itself is RM 16 for adults, and RM 11 for children.

Opening speech

First in Melaka, we were repeatedly told. ¬†Kudos to Malaysian Heritage and History Club and Martin Theseira from the Portugese Community, for bringing back the beautiful tradition and heritage to Malaysians and also foreigners. It highlights the harmony¬†that¬†different communities in Melaka used to have. The kids from the Portugese Community used to just come around and knock on the Baba & Nyonya’s door to perform during Chinese New Year.¬†Harmony and unity, isn’t that what Ola Bola was preaching about as well?

Martin first introduced to the audience who are the Seranis in Melaka. Portugese or Serani (in Malay language): they are Portugese Eurasians, a mixed marriage of Portuguese and local native women. They are descendants of marriages between local women and Portuguese colonists centuries ago. Portugal conquered Melaka in 1511.  For 130 years, from 1511-1641, Melaka was a Portuguese colony.

Besides the usual lion dance, Melaka celebrated a unique ritual during Chinese New Year, known as “Serani Teng Teng.” Serani Teng Teng was Serani way of celebrating Chinese New Year.

 

They are here!
They are here!

 

The performance itself
The performance itself

 

3 songs altogether
They performed 3 (or 4) songs altogether

 

This group consisted of 3 Portugese boys aged between 10 to 17 years old who played the triangle chime, a harmonica, a tambourine and a tambour. Although this group that performed was a mix of 2 Portugese boys and 1 Portugese man *chuckle*. “Teng Teng” was in reference to the sound of the triangle chime. The boys who hailed from Tranquerah and the Portugese settlement made their appearance during Chinese New Year, going from door to door to perform.

Angpow time
Giving angpow

In return, they would be given a token of angpow. We were told that these were their ways of making some extra pocket money during Chinese New Year … entrepreneurship starts early, isn’t it?

This interesting tradition needs to be kept alive. Please support them. For bookings, please call Martin Theseira +6-017-212 6783 (stated that SMS is preferred).

 

Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum

No. 48 & 50 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock ‚Ä®
75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +606-283 1273
Daily Tour Times:
10am-1pm (last morning tour 12noon)
2pm-5pm (last evening tour 4pm)
Extended Hour on Weekends: Fri, Sat, Sun (last evening tour 5pm)

Their website is here

Peranakan Lunch at Nancy’s Kitchen

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Nancy’s Kitchen

We had early lunch at Nancy’s Kitchen, one of bf and my favorite peranakan cuisine restaurant in Melaka. They are no longer at Jonker Street, but have moved to Taman Kota Laksamana. It is possible to walk from Jonker Street, 1km or around 12 mins walk. Plenty of parking space if you drive too.

Ikan cencaru sumbat
Ikan cencaru sumbat sambal

 

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Glorious sambal

 

One of the veges
One of the veges

 

Since the kids are vegetarian, we only ordered one non-vegetarian dish: ikan cencaru sumbat sambal, at RM 7 each, plus a variety of vegetables. I still think that my eldest BIL makes the best ikan sumbat sambal ever.

 

Nancy’s Kitchen Nyonya Food

13, 13-1, 13-2, Jalan KL 3/8,
Taman Kota Laksamana, Seksyen 3, 75200 Melaka
Tel: +606-283 6099/ +6013-618 3608
Opening Hours:
Sun, Mon, Wed & Thurs: 11am-5pm
Fri, Sat & Public Holidays: 11am-9pm
(Closed on Tuesday)

Their website is here and Facebook page is here.

Nyonya Kuih at Baba Charlie

No luck - Baba Charlie is still closed
No luck – Baba Charlie is still closed

Kids would like some nyonya kuihs at Baba Charlie, so we drove over after lunch. But Baba Charlie is still closed for Chinese New Year, and will only reopen on 23 Feb, 2016.

Blue pigments from blue pea flowers for nyonya kuihs
Blue pigments from blue pea flowers for nyonya kuihs

We always pass by this house with lots of blue pea flowers (bunga telang in Malay) plant, and every time, someone will point out that the blue pigments from these flowers are used for the nyonya kuihs.

 

Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake

72 Jalan Tengkera Pantai 2,
75200 Melaka
Tel: +6-06-284 7209, +6019-666 9207
Business hours: 10.30am-3pm (Closed on Thursday)

 

Read A Book At Seck Kim Seng Memorial Library

The library
The library

A (free) library in the middle of Jonker Street provides a much-needed sanctuary from the heat and crowd!

Window to knowledge
Window to knowledge

 

So serene, a perfect afternoon
So serene, a perfect afternoon

It is housed in a beautiful old building, and I really admire how beautiful the library is.

Books. Loads of it
Books. Loads of it

I heard that it is ‘opened’ by Cheng Hoon Teng temple; there are lots of dharma-related books.¬†But, there are also plenty of fiction and non-fiction books. I read here that¬†it had been Reverend Seck Kim Seng’s wish for a library to be built. The library was opened, next door to the main temple.¬†It is named after the Reverend: The Seck Kim Seng Memorial Library.

 

 

Seck Kim Seng Memorial Library

No 104 Jalan Hang Jebat
75200 Melaka
Tel: +6-06-286 4149
Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Thurs & Sun: 10am-5pm
Fri & Sat: 10am-7pm
(Closed on Monday)

Cheng Hoon Teng’s temple website is here.

 

Clay workshop at The Clay House

This has gotta be one of the highlights of this short trip.

A perfect working table
A perfect working table

 

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A functional working table

 

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Some of the tools

 

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Pottery Wheel Machine

I was brought to a pottery studio at The Clay House, where time stands still. It’s like the clock is ticking away, but in this studio, nothing else matters but the pottery.

 

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Rolling pin to flatten the dough

 

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Younger niece with her heart shape masterpiece

 

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Older niece and her round bowl

 

Such a serene afternoon watching BIL and kids molding clay into shapes, with supervision and guidance from Mr. Leong Chee Hsiung, a potter with 19 years of experience! He is super patient, radiating zen -ness, and I think this is a prerequisite for a potter. He makes a good teacher for kids, and adults!

I urge each and everyone of you to give it a go, for a unique experience in Melaka. But do avoid school holidays period, as there will be loads of school kids.

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Elder niece’s earlier works

 

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Earlier works by younger niece – cutesy miniature furnitures

Depending on no of pax, fee ranging from RM 40 – RM 60 for a 2-hour workshop. You can also bring back your handiwork.

 

Front of the shop
Front of the shop

 

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Courtyard at pottery studio

His shop is usually unmanned in the front, as Mr. Leong and his wife usually work at the pottery studio at the back. There were reported thefts of their handiwork. Shame on you, whoever you are. It takes lots of efforts, and if you can’t afford it, don’t steal their works. And if you steal it for fun, wait for karma.

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CNY goodies anyone?

 

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Love this area

 

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Like this piece

 

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And this one too ūüôā

 

The Clay House
(same row as Low Yong Moh restaurant)

18, Jalan Tukang Emas,
75200 Melaka
Tel: +6-06-292 6916

 

Coffee and Dessert at The Baboon House

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The Baboon House, many had difficulties locating the place

Sis took me to The Baboon House, lauded as a must visit. We even wanted to book a table for dinner, but they close at 5pm.

Pardon my ignorance, it is ranked no 1 out of 461 restaurants in Melaka on Trip Advisor! I beg to differ, perhaps because they are elusive, and uniquely different (in a good way). But food-wise, I think many others deserve this coveted spot more.

Many blogs talked about The Baboon House’s food, perhaps this is the easiest subject, no? What’s wrong with these people? Food shouldn’t be the highlight, but the whole preservation work. Read the article here, about the artist’s vision of The Baboon House.

Ambience-wise, I agreed that it is insane! I will even give them a perfect ten for the place itself, the artworks, the enchanted garden, the whole look and feel. This has gotta be one of the best arty cafe that I’ve ever been to … and I am talking about Malaysia and beyond. Sis says that she wanted to bring my bf, and also Sher, our nephew here. I am sure that Sher¬†will be over the moon.

Photography is strictly not allowed. And for many, NO¬†carries no meaning for them. If you search¬†for The Baboon House, you’ll see many. The couple seated behind me did exactly the same. They stole a selfie, and the girl also took a photo of one of the paintings. I was rolling my eyes, as you can imagine (for those that know me well).

I’ll touch about The Baboon House’s infamous burger, later on, since we also made it for lunch on the next day.

 

The Baboon House

89, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock,
Tel: +6-016 283 1635
Opening Hours: Mon, Wed-Fri: 10am-5pm (Closed on Tuesday)

 

 

Check-in home-sweet-home at Cafe 1511

Cafe 1511
Cafe 1511

I love Cafe 1511. It was a love at first stay, and I remained true to them.

I heard that the place has lost its mojo, and the owner is no longer be seen around.

I remembered my first stay at Cafe 1511. Arriving late via coach, Colin, the owner, had to check us in late at night. On my second stay, Colin and / or PG was there to welcome us too. Now, their superb Myanmar staff handle the necessary. As the place has been around for a while, it is not as brand new as it used to be.

Staircase up to the guesthouse
Staircase up to the guesthouse
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Still one of my fav views in the guesthouse

But the overall look and feel is still the same. Nothing beats staying at an old heritage house, at an affordable price too.

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Reading area

 

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One day, I must ask Colin & PG why

Hello Thai King and Queen! Highly respected, even in Malaysia!

 

Sharrd bathroom
Shared bathroom facilities

 

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No flushing down sanitary products down the toilet PLEASE!

Please, no flushing down sanitary products down the toilet. The sign is in Chinese, and I am sure you can guess why. Cafe 1511’s toilet was¬†clogged many time, because guests from a certain nationality¬†have been flushing¬†sanitary items down their toilet. Sigh.

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Popiah room with 2 single beds

 

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Pai Tee room with a single bed

I stayed in Pai Tee room, a single bed @ RM 70 (CNY peak period) / RM 50 (non-peak period), whilst sis’ family stayed in Popiah room. I think she paid slightly more than RM 100 for her room. They allow 4 pax in the room, with a single mattress on the floor. This makes this place an affordable stay for family with young children, if you don’t mind roughing it out a little bit.

This stay reaffirms my love for this place, and yes, will stay here again ūüôā

 

Cafe 1511

52, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock,
Tel: +6-06 286 0150
cafe1511@gmail.com

 

Putu Piring Tengkera for dinner

BIL and sis walked to Putu Piring Tengkera, 1.1km, approx 15 mins walk to get Putu Piring for dinner.

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Putu Piring – still warm!

 

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Heavenly!

 

Still as good as I remember, and it makes a great light dinner.

 

Putu Piring Tengkera

252 Jalan Tengkera
75250 Melaka
Tel: +6-06-282 1505
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 6pm-10pm (Close on Sunday)

 

DAY 2

A super early morning start on Day 2. I was up around 7am, for early morning brekkie and antique market expedition with sis and family.

Dim Sum brekkie at Old School Low Yong Moh Restaurant

Low Yong Moh restaurant

Freshly made, that’s why sis’ family wants to eat here. The kids saw them making their own dim sums when they dined there previously. Sis says some dim sum restaurants in KL serve frozen dim sum. So, fresh dim sum is prized by sis’ family.

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So old school

As for me, I adore their old school look, more than the food itself.

 

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A pot of Chinese team goes well with dim sums

 

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Siu mai, ha gow, what caught your fancy?

No menu, wait for trays and trays of steaming hot dim sums to go round and pick what you like. You’ll however, need to order porridge, buns, lo mai gai (steamed glutinous rice) and lotus leaf wrapped rice from staff.

 

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Lotus leaf rice, my all-time fav!

 

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Tada!

 

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Check out the lava yumz!

I appreciate their lotus leaf rice and salted egg custard bun the most. The rest of the dim sums are just okay.

By 8am, there were people lining up for table. Be there before 8am!

 

Low Yong Moh Restaurant

32, Jalan Tukang Emas,
72500 Melaka
Opening Hours: 5.30am-1pm (Close on Tuesday)

 

Sunday Antique flea market at Jonker Walk

Oldies are¬†goodies.¬†It’s too late to realize that now. Bargaining is essential.

I shall let the pictures do the talking.

 

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A small stretch of stalls

 

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Friendly traders too

 

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Kickapoo bottle? Should I start collecting some?

 

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I remember that blue color can, used to drink it when I was a kid

 

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The kids got two box of the water color!

 

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Mom used to have a pair of those scissors!

 

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Bought younger niece a Muslim bridal hairpin at RM 10

 

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Walkman! I should have kept mine

 

Location: Jalan Hang Lekir (start from Geographer Cafe)

When: Every Sunday, 8am-12pm.

Hindu temple Procession

We chanced upon this procession, near to our accommodation. We were told that it is an annual ritual, something about sending the god to another temple, and then back.

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Best-est Nyonya Cendol at Aunty Koh

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Perfect blue sky for a perfect bowl of nyonya cendol

 

The one and only cendol that I miss. If there is only one food stop that you can afford, you MUST come here. It is really the best-est nyonya cendol in the whole wide world (at least it is, in my book)!

Getting the ice
Shaving the ice

 

Scooping in the coconut milk
Scooping in the coconut milk

There is something familiar about Aunty Koh, that I can’t put my finger on it .. Eating cendol at Aunty Koh, is like visiting a favorite aunt, whereby¬†one¬†tend to be in her or his best behavior.

Big bowl RM 5, small bowl RM 4
Big bowl RM 5, small bowl RM 4

I was toying with 2 bowls of cendol, but that would cost me RM 10. So, I had one. Big or small? Get the big bowl, of course. And don’t even think about sharing.

Step 1: Queue
Step 1: Queue

 

Step 2: Put the money in the drawer
Step 2: Put the money in the drawer

 

Step 3: Bring your own bowl to your table
Step 3: Bring your own bowl to your table

 

Step 4 - Wash after you are done, and place the bowl on drying rack to dry. Spoon to go back inside the plate at cendol counter
Step 4 – Wash after you are done, and place the bowl on drying rack to dry. Spoon to go back inside the plate at cendol counter

For newbies, a lot of things are DIY, except for queuing up. Everything else is DIY. Put the correct amount in drawer (big bowl RM 5, small bowl RM 4), carry your bowls to your table, and wash the bowls and spoons afterwards.

Long live Aunty Koh, for the best cendol to live on.

 

Aunty Koh Best Cendol

No. 5113, Jalan Batang Tiga,
Kampung Bukit Rambai,
75250, Melaka.

Opening hours: Sat – Sun 12pm – 1pm (until sold out)

 

Bus-hotel at Bustel Klebang

Cluster of bus-hotels
Cluster of bus-hotels

We passed by Bustel en route to Aunty Koh, so we stopped by to check out the bus-hotel. Why would someone want to sleep inside a refurbished bus? As a local growing up in KL, bus was our last transportation resort. And it brings back horrible memories of “masuk dalam, masuk dalam” (step inside to make more space for passengers), long wait for buses, and hot and sweaty ride (no aircond bus long time ago).

Bustel up close
Bustel up close

It was fully booked when we were there. So perhaps, there is a market for this type of accommodation.

Uh-hu, no thanks!
Uh-hu, no thanks!

The photos also do not look appealing enough. Not for me. I will stick to Cafe 1511, thank you.

 

Bustel Klebang Melaka

Tel: +6-019-741 4413
Kampung Bukit Rambai,
75250, Melaka.

Reception office: 9am-12mn (Closed from 12.30pm-2pm)

Sunday-Thursday’s rates¬†RM 90, Fri-Sat & Public Holidays¬†RM 130.

 

Lunch at Baboon House

I am back, for lunch this time. Their menu is limited, and since burger is what was highly recommended .. I ordered exactly one to try, their pork belly burger (RM 18.80).

It’s easy to see why people rave about their burgers. ¬†I guess there ain’t much good artisanal burger joint in Melaka. But we do have pretty awesome burger joints in KL. Also,¬†I find the sesame sauce doesn’t go well with the burger.

Since there are many fans out there, perhaps I am the odd ball. Try it yourself, and make your own judgement.

It is definitely going to be peranakan food for me in Melaka.

 

Checking out the Chettis

Chetti is Hindu Peranakan community in Melaka. Chetti Museum was in sis’ checklist, our last stop before heading back to KL. We arrived at the museum¬†around 1ish, and the museum was closed for lunch break.

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The arch to the Chetti Village
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Intro to the Chettis

This led us to The Chetti Village, and checking out the village on foot. Such a quaint little village.

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Stretch of kolams lining the street
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Kolam right in front of a house!

There are 24/7 kolam on the street, and also in front of houses. How beautiful.


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The Museum opened around 10 minutes after 2pm. No pictures allowed, so didn’t take photos inside the museum.

 

Muzium Chetti (Chitty Museum)

Kampung Chetti, Jalan Gajah Berang, Melaka
Visiting Hours: Tuesday to Sunday (Closed on Monday), 9am to 5pm (Break from 1pm-2pm)
Admission: RM 2 ‚Äď Adults and RM 1.00 for Children/Students

 

 

Bye bye Melaka, till next time ….

Writer

Travel opens up a whole new world, which is cliche but true. I am a strong advocate for independent and solo travel. I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but now live in Bangkok, Thailand, resulted from a chance encounter in 2009 with my why-are-you-Thai bf. I am now split between two countries. One country for my bf, another for the family, for the occasional weekend together.