Sunday, August 15, 2010
Roaming Along Jalan Merdeka - Melaka Part 4
I love to walk when I am on the road, wherever it is that my travels take me - and discover places along the way. For some reason, I almost never get to do that in Manila. And Melaka’s heritage trail provides this opportunity for leisure walks around some of its most important sights.
Jalan Laksamana, with the Melaka River and Jonker’s Street to its right, and St. Francis Xavier Church, Christ Church and Stadthuys to its left is the perfect start to a satisfying, scenic walk at the heart of Melaka.
There is a Tourist Information Center right across the Stadthuys, and from there, Jalan Laksamana curves leftwards to become Jalan Merdeka which is the current site of heavy industrialization – with new modern gleaming buildings rising alongside historical sights.
I walked from the small Melaka Fortress, which is a great riverside place to relax under huge canopies of Indian gooseberries, while watching boats sail by. Just beside it is the Dataran Quayside (Quayside Square) which has a 2-in1 restaurant (aptly named Restoran Quayside Café and Seafood Restaurant) where a meal (rice and a viand) could be had for just 5-6 ringgit per serving – perfect for those with a tight budget, and still prefer to eat in the comfort of an AC hall.
Just further down Jalan Merdeka, you will find the magnificently reconstructed galleon – the Flora del Mar – which is now a Maritime Museum or Muzium Samudera. This eye-catching ship was once a Portuguese Galleon, now it exhibits the maritime history of Melaka, divided into 7 eras: the Malay Sultanate Era (15th century to 1511), the Portuguese Era (from 1511 to 1641), the Dutch Era (from 1611 to 1745), the British Era (from 1745 to 1941), the Japanese Era (from 1941 to 1945), the 2nd British Era (from 1945 to 1957), and finally, the Malaysian Independence Era (from 1957 to present).
When the Portuguese captured Malacca, they looted the treasures that abound in bustling Malacca, then hauled them off to their ship – the Flora de la Mar (“Flower of the Sea”). But, as the inscription says, “by the will of God” – the ship sank on January 26, 1512 in the Straits of Malacca on its way back to Europe. The inscription concludes with a rather insipid closing: “The museum serves as a reminder that once political power is lost, everything else is lost.” Huh? ;)
Maritime Museum is open daily – even on Tuesdays – from 9 AM to 5:30 PM (Mon-Fri) and 9AM to 9PM (Sat-Sun). Like one ridiculous idea, to enter the ship, you have to take your shoes off and deposit it on a rack or put them in a plastic bag and carry them with you. What did they envision this to be – a sacred temple? Some ideas could be so melodramatic! Reconstruction of the ship started in 1990 and took 3 years to finish. Entry fee is 3 ringgit for adults and 0.50 cents (ringgit) for children. Call +6 06 283 0926 for more information.
This is the Eye in the Sky!
Up next: Melaka Revolving Tower (Melaka Taming Sari)
Right across Dataran Quayside is the Royal Malaysian Navy Museum which has outdoor displays of a gigantic boat – well, it’s the Sri Terengganu Battleship, canons, and ammunitions. It archives all the contributions and activities of the Malaysian Royal Navy. Exhibits include pictures of Royal Navy awards, weaponry, uniforms, communication equipment and security gadgets. It officially opened in October 28, 2005. The museum is open daily – except Tuesdays (though their site says otherwise) – Did I already mention never to visit Melaka on a Tuesday? – from 9AM to 5:30 PM. Entrance fee is 3 ringgit per adult, 1 ringgit for children. Call +60 6 283 0926 for more information.
The Ex-Kd Sri Terengganu warship was jointly contributed by the Ministry of Defense and the Royal Navy Force. This ship had been in operation since December 16, 1963 for approximately 31 years; sailed as far as 68,926 miles nautical under the leadership of 24th Ruling Officer. This ship was involved in the peacekeeping exercise during the Indonesian Confrontation era and was duly employed in patrolling the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
This warship was the Royal Malaysian Navy patrol ship from the first group of ships specially reserved by the Malay Federation government from Vosper Limited company, Portsmouth, England in the year 1961.
Mahkota Parade: shopping, shopping, shopping - and your bus rides back to Melaka Sentral. Those yellow ones, called Bas Sekolah, are school buses.
Part 1 - Overview: A Little History of Melaka - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2010/08/melaka-giddy-with-delight-in-new-old.html
Our first ever Melakan visit here - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2007/12/fascinating-malacca-malaysia.html
Part 2 - Christ Church and Stadthuys - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2010/08/christ-church-and-stadthuys-red-square.html
Part 3 - Jonker's Street and Melaka River - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2010/08/jonkers-street-melaka-river-walk-in.html