Road Trip Diaries (I): KL-Melaka on a Weekday – Hey Look, No People!

By M.Zulkifli

Ah, Melaka. So near, yet so over-crowded with too many traffic lights. Those two factors weigh heavily on my mind that when it comes to making a daytrip out of KL for some makan and a change of scenery, we would rather drive straight down to Muar, Johor instead. (Yes, even though Melaka IS my wife’s kampung)

But one fine weekday some months ago, our “hati” were strangely “terbuka”, and we decided to pay Melaka a visit. It was a holiday in the state (the Governor’s Birthday), and so we thought it’d be the best day to scour for some asam pedas while soaking in some history.

Traffic on the North-South highway was smooth all the way right up to the exit at Simpang Ampat. Then came the traffic light test, and guess what, they were mostly perfectly timed! Green after green after green. A mini miracle, indeed!

Our first destination was a recommendation by a relative. Instead of going to a “viral” breakfast spot, we drove to Limbongan for Faizal Mohd Yusof, Roti Canai Special. There was already a good crowd enjoying their first meal of the day, but getting a table wasn’t a problem.

We had the roti canai with kari kambing and kari ikan siakap (with additional sotong), and they were all good. Alhamdulillah!

Hearty-breakfast checked, we decided to drive into the city centre. And traffic was breeze, as well! Naturally, we gravitated towards Jonker Walk and decided to park somewhere near the Casa Del Rio Hotel.

We then took a lovely morning walk in that area, although most of the stores and shops were still closed. Then we thought, hey, let’s take the River Cruise! And that’s exactly what we did.

We bought the tickets (RM25 per adult) at one of the kiosks along the Melaka River and walked to the jetty for our boat. And in case you’re wondering, this was indeed our first time on the cruise!

It turned out to be a very pleasant and informative ride. The commentary played over the speakers gave us context to the sceneries we passed by and the foul smell from the river which was a major turn off before was no longer in existence.

Melaka River Cruise. Checked.

Lunch was next, but a couple of places we looked up for Halal Nyonya cuisine were closed due to the state holiday. Then we remembered seeing a rather nice makan place while we were on the cruise. I fired up Waze, and we headed to Kafe Arang, Makan Avenue, Kampung Hulu.

It turned out to be the right choice. I ordered something called Nasi ketum ayam, while wifey ordered the asam pedas ramen telur mayong. Both hit the mark!

Nasi ketum ayam was really nasi kandar, which I can say was simply surrr. And the asam pedas ramen received a big thumbs up from my wife, who’s an asam pedas afficiando, no less.

The place was also strategically located near the 300-year-old Masjid Kampung Hulu, the 3rd oldest mosque in peninsular Malaysia, which was where we got to perform our Zohor prayer.

We drove around Bandar Hilir for a bit after that but decided we couldn’t do without stopping by one “viral” place. And as it was getting hotter by the minute, some coconut shake seemed inevitable. And where else to go but the legendary Klebang Original Coconut Shake!

After that cool(ling) stopover, it was time to head home. And that’s when Melaka finally showed its true colours, haha. The traffic lights were unaligned timing-wise almost the entire time from Cheng to Paya Rumput to Alor Gajah. So, it was a matter of moving for 500m, then stopping at a red light for a couple of minutes, for a few kilometres!

But we did manage to squeeze in one last stop, i.e.: the Freeport A’Famosa Outlet. The stores were so-so and predictable but it’s pretty okay for an ice cream and coffee break.

Then it was back to the traffic lights until we reached the main highway. Thank you, Melaka for a good three-quarter of a day! Not sure when we’ll be back, though. 


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