I set off for this last minute solo trip at 6 am and made my way to Larkin Bus Terminal in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. For Singaporeans who don’t want to waste money, I strongly recommend you to take a bus from Johor Bahru to other parts of Malaysia instead of departing from Singapore as buses there are half the price as compared to Singapore. I live in Woodlands which is a border town of Singapore facing Johor Bahru in Malaysia so that makes it even more convenient for me.
Making my way down to Larkin was such a breeze. All I did was to take the feeder bus from my estate to Woodlands Checkpoint. After passport formalities through the Singapore Immigration, take the SBS bus number 170 to Larkin. Before reaching Larkin, all buses will have to stop at the Malaysian Immigration for another passport formality and off you are to Larkin bus terminal. Remember to take bus 170 again. From Malaysian Immigration in Johor Bahru to Larkin bus terminal is about 15 minutes away.
Larkin bus terminal was pretty much in the same condition as before. The last time I was there it was more than 10 years ago. Well, I don’t really need to explain much. As soon as bus number 170 dropped me off at the bus terminal, I was searching for the best bus company in terms of comfort and other factors. Although it Malacca is only 3 hours away from Johor Bahru, I still need a bit of comfort. Not that I am picky because this isn’t Myanmar. I approached a bus counter which bears the name “Maju” and asked the agent about the price. The prices are all fixed and non-negotiable. Bus tickets from Johor Bahru to Malacca is only RM19.10 in contrast to SGD30.00 if you depart from Singapore.
Got my tickets and off I am to search for breakfast. I chanced into this little Indian joint and had the cheapest Thosai I have ever paid for. It was only RM1.50 .
After the Thosai breakfast I walked around Larkin bus terminal and then I happen to see Maju Waiting Lounge. I did not even know they had a waiting lounge so I asked the nice counter lady if I could enter with my bus ticket and there I was seating in the lounge like VIP. For your information, you can also buy your bus ticket at this lounge.
While waiting for the bus, I chatted with a lady seated at this lounge too. It was only the both of us in the lounge. The local lady was headed to Mersing which is the starting point for Pulau Tioman.
So yeah. I set off at 9.30am and reached Malacca Sentral at 12.20pm and headed for the intercity bus terminal which is also in the same building. If you really really want to save money on transport, take Town Bus no.17 which will stop directly in front of Stadthuys or locally known as the Red Square. Bus fare is RM1.00 to town. Otherwise, taxis to town will cost RM15.00 depending on your bargaining skills.
The week before, I booked a hostel called Ringo’s Foyer Guest House. I had a hard time finding this place that it took me nearly an hour and a half to walk from Jonker Street. So this is the part where I got really really confused. I crossed over from Stadthuys to the famous Jonket Street and asked locals where is Jalan Portugis and some said,”Oh the Portuguese Settlement is about a 1/2 an hour drive from here.” I was like,”You have to be kidding me right?!” Just to let you guys know, Jalan Portugis and The Portuguese Settlement are two different places. Fret not. I found the place after walking 3 rounds in the historic district and here we are, Ringo’s Foyer Guest House!
I know what you guys are thinking. Things like ‘Are you kidding me?’ and ‘Freaking NO WAY!’ are a few sentences that is probably in stuck your head. The exterior may not be impressive but the on the inside is full charm and character and the people in there are really awesome. Here is why. When I first came in, Jordan, a 19 year-old British guy greeted me. He stayed at Ringo’s for quite a number of days. He said that the owner, Howard was out sending off a guest. So me and Jordan chatted all the way through till a group of Malaysian girls came in. They are Huilyn and her sister Huixian and Shengli. They are on a weekend break from the capital. Like Jordan, they too stayed at Ringo’s for quite a number of days. Another friend I made was Sarah from Ireland. We all got along really well and at last, Howard the owner came in. So Howard asked Sarah to show me around and brought me to my room which I shared with her and other mates from Canada and Scotland.
After settling down, I went straight to Jonker Street again to explore the historic district. What I love about Malacca is that it is so full of history and the old buildings and shop houses which dated back to nearly 200 years ago are still there. The smell of pineapple tarts and the aroma of chicken rice ball is oh so good. Ahh yes chicken rice ball. I did not really have a good experience when I first tried the famous chicken rice ball. It was at this restaurant called Famosa Chicken Rice Ball where their rice ball really suck. It tasted more like “ketupat basi” which directly translates to “stale rice cakes”. The chilli was good enough to compensate the horribly-tasted rice balls.
After lunch at Famosa Restaurant, I headed down to the tourism office for some brochures. While walking towards the office, I crossed the bridge over the river and saw some nice looking boats. So I asked the lady at the tourism office where can I ride the boat and she said it was just 50m away from the office. The boat ticket cost only RM10 for a 45 minute ride around the Melaka River. The boat passed by many old shop houses and historic sites.
For Part 2 I will show bits and pieces of the Malaccan History. Continue reading.