Melaka is a small coastal town south of KL that is choc full of history, with the Portuguese, Dutch, and the British all having ran the show there at some point in the last 400 years. Melaka is also famous for food with many dishes that fuse Malay, Chinese, and Indian flavours which should definitely be tried, but be aware that although Melaka is sleepy and quiet in the week it becomes very busy at the weekend as thousands of Singaporean tourists decend on the town.
Getting to Melaka from KL is very easy, there is no train station in Melaka but there are many buses that go there from the main bus station, Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, that is next to Bandar Tasik Selatan metro station. To get here you take the KTM komuter train from KL Sentral to Bandar Tasik Selatan and then just walk over the footbridge into the bus station. Buying a ticket here for any destination couldn’t be easier, the ticket counters are centralised and so there is no need to go hunting around for the counters for each bus company to find the next or cheapest bus, you just go to the counter and say where you want to go and they will give you the options of the next available buses. My bus cost just 10 Rm for the 2-3 hour trip to Melaka Sentral.
Melaka Sentral bus station is several miles away from the historic area of Melaka and so you need to take a local bus into town, first you need to walk to the part of the bus station which deals with the local buses and then find a number 17 bus that is heading to Ujong Pasir, you need to get off at the Dutch square and this fare will cost your 1.50 Rm.
Over the river from the Dutch square is Jonker street, this is where the night market is at the weekend and is the centre of the Chinatown area. The streets closer to the river however are quieter and less touristic, with many of the old shop houses still housing Chinese businesses and shops.
One of the foods that you have to experience in Melaka is satay celup, and the most well known place for this is Capitol satay, situated in little India just over the river from the Chinatown area.
Satay celup is basically different meats and vegetables on wooden sticks similar to what you get in some steamboat restauants. The first step is to choose your sticks from a variety of vegetables, tofu, seafood, and meats and take them to your table. Each stick costs 1.20 Rm and at the end of your meal these are counted up for your bill.
Next you dip the sticks into the bubbling pot of satay sauce that is heated in the middle of your table, when they are hot eat and enjoy.
Capitol satay is insanely busy at the weekend, with sometimes 200 people queuing up outside, so if you do want to try this then my advice is to definitely go on a weekday.
After overdosing on satay sauce it was nice to sit back and relax with a couple of beers in a small bar down one of the side lanes in Chinatown, enjoying the calm before the storm of the weekend night market tomorrow…..