Melaka City was the second place I visited during my free weekends in my month long stay in Malaysia. Friends had said I would only need a day there but as it turned out I ended up extending my stay and staying for three instead!! Roughly two hours South by bus from Kuala Lumpur, Melaka is known as Malaysia’s historical state. Melaka is the perfect place to simply wander and discover. Through my own wandering I found and would recommend the following.
Firstly, Melaka is inundated with stylish hole in the wall cafes, restaurants and bars that I became a complete sucker for. Don’t do as I did and end up spending all your money by paying an average 11RM (roughly $3.6Aus) on coffees. 11RM could instead be spent purchasing two or three meals from Jonker Street food stalls but, if you do fall victim as I did, don’t miss the following…
MOD’s Café– Located on Jalan Tokong. Once inside you will discover a time-warp transporting you back to London’s swinging 60’s. All coffee is made from the depths of an orange VW Van that used to offer coffee via the road but now permanently resides within the four walls of the café. MOD’s café has my vote for best coffee (and especially best iced latte in Melaka).
MOD’s Café- 14 Jalan Tokong, Melaka 7520
Limau Limau- Putting the word of mouth recommendations into practise Limau Limau was recommended to me by the lovely staff at MOD’s café. If you’re a westerner Limau Limau is a guilty indulgence as their menu for the majority only offers a varying array of sandwiches, ciabattas, wraps and focaccias, which I know is not taking advantage of Malaysia’s diverse range of traditional Asian dishes. But sometimes all you want is a bit of hometown familiarity and Limau Limau is the place to find it. The café’s décor is European and rustic with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. It also, like the rest of Melaka, visually shares it affections for felines with framed photos of different cats crammed into any spare wall space. There is also an upstairs area, which is open during busy periods but was unfortunately closed when I had lunch.
Limau Limau Cafe– No.9 Jalan Hang Lekiu, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia.
The Baboon House– The Baboon House boasts the best burgers in Melaka. Anyone one visiting Melaka city I’m sure will be pointed in its direction immediately with it being a favourite amongst locals and visitors to the city. The Baboon House is located in a beautiful slightly derelict colonial building in which trees and plants have been allowed to grow free within, giving the feel of having lunch within the Jumanji filmset. Owned and run by artist Roger Soong, you also will be able to experience Roger’s, and other artist’s work, throughout the space. When I visited I had the menu special Slow-Roasted Pork Belly in White Wine which tasted as good as it sounds. Although extremely touristy, Baboon House is well worth the visit to eat or otherwise simply lap up the stunning surroundings. Do be warned however photographs are strictly forbidden which perhaps makes a nice change, since you simply have to enjoy your time filter and hashtag free.
The Baboon House- 89, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200, Melaka
Finally and perhaps most importantly the best place to have a drink would most definitely be Shantaram. This little bar which is run by another local artist and his wife, is more a room with some plastic chairs and a bar fridge stocked with Asia’s finest, ‘Tiger’ beer, than a bar. Shantaram plays host to passing travellers, locals and any domesticated fauna in the area. Its walls also host a variety of insightful quotes such as ‘Give Piss A Chance’ to mosaicked human figures cut from magazines with cat heads. Opening only in late evening it is a perfect stop off after visiting the hectic Jonker Street food stalls for dinner.
In regards to places to stay I had a dorm room at the Voyager Guest House. It’s basic but extremely hospitable and with unbelievably generous staff all who appeared to be originally from Nepal. During my time here I was taken for a sunset bike ride to the floating mosque and during the week you can go camping on a duty free island. It also has large common areas to easily meet people. If you’re looking for something a bit more refined book just down the road at Layang Layang Guest House.
I was extremely sad to leave Melaka so soon, as it seems a place that the longer you stay, the better it gets.