We have been to Melaka once. So, we decided to go again and tried different experiences. We brought along our two kids and drove from Johor Bahru to Melaka on a Saturday morning. The drive took two and a half hours.
We booked a one-night stay at Novotel Melaka. We arrived early before check-in time. So we decided to check in first. The staff was friendly and courteous, allowed us to do the necessary check-in procedures. Because we had requested interconnecting rooms, the hotel staff had accommodated our request. Once the check-in procedures were done, we went out of the hotel to the nearest eatery we could find.
For lunch, we walked to a nearby restaurant named Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball (Halal) Melaka. This restaurant serves chicken rice balls, which is one of the must-try dishes in Melaka. Besides chicken rice balls and steam chicken, it also serves other Nyonya dishes like vegetables, omelette, soup, spicy squids etc. There were a lot of patrons at the restaurant when we were there. The steam and roasted chicken were delicious. The chicken rice balls were springy and tasty. Prices were affordable too.
Name : Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball Address : 275, Jalan Melaka Raya 3, Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka Operating hours : 10am - 9.30pm everyday
After lunch, we went back to the hotel to check out our rooms. At the lobby, there was a children’s playroom that had a PlayStation game console and some books. This was a good idea if you brought along kids, especially when you were busy with the check in and check out procedures. This could occupy the kids with some activities. Next to the playroom, there were a few iMac for hotel guests to surf the internet.
Our interconnecting rooms were on the 10th floor. One room with a king size bed and another with twin single beds. Room decoration was of modern business hotel style. The rooms were clean and quiet. The beds were comfortable too. Toilet amenities were provided. Free wifi was available and some satellite tv channels too. The shower room wall was made of glass, could overlook the bed and tv from within. There was an automated curtain for the glass wall if you needed privacy. I especially like the bench next to the wardrobe, which you could put your luggage or as a sitting bench for wearing your shoes before going out of the room.
Name : Novotel Melaka Hotel Address : 1A Taman Melaka Raya, Jalan Melaka Raya 2, 75000 Melaka
We drove our car to a new shopping mall named The Shore Shopping Gallery. That was where the Oceanarium was located. There was already a queue at the ticketing counter at the entrance of The Oceanarium.
Just after the entrance, we were ushered to the side to get a family photo but we decided not to do it. After that, we went to a place where we could touch the sea creatures in a shallow pond, it was called an interactive touch pool. There were a few stingrays, starfish and horseshoe crabs. Actually, after touching the sea creatures, then I realised they were all very slimy and soft. At first, my kids were reluctant to touch them. After some coaxing from the staff and me, they did it.
One thing I liked about this Oceanarium was that it provided questionnaires for kids to play. There were some questions on the worksheet that were related to the sea creatures at the designated station. Once you get the correct answers from the information near the designated station, the kids could use the chop to stamp on the correct answers on the worksheet. It was like a treasure hunt for the kids. Moreover, it helped them to read the scientific facts about the sea creatures we saw. Once you completed the worksheet, you can show it to the staff and redeem gifts.
Another highlight of the Oceanarium was feeding the turtles. Just before the exit of the Oceanarium, there was a big turtle pond with some sea turtles. We used the fresh fish fillets to feed the turtles. If you are interested to feed the turtles, you can purchase it at the ticketing counter for RM10.
The Oceanarium was not very big, however, it had a lot of different species of sea creatures and very informative too. If my kids could rate this place, they said they would give it a 5-star rating.
Name : The Shore Oceanarium Address : 2F-01, The Shore Shopping Gallery,193, Pinggiran @ Sungai Melaka,Jalan Persisiran Bunga Raya, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia Operating hours : 10.30 am - 9.00pm everyday
Next stop was Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall. It is the biggest shopping mall in Melaka city. It houses international and local retail brands, entertainment, craft stores, Toys R Us and discount stores. If you need to do some shopping, this is the place to go to.
We shopped at Dataran Pahlawan for about 2 hours before we headed to the nearest river cruise ticketing counter. Our friends had suggested us to try the river cruise, especially during evening time. But we couldn’t wait till evening so we decided to try out the river cruise before 5pm.
It was drizzling when we reached the river cruise ticketing counter. A long queue had formed. If possible try to avoid taking the river cruise during weekends. After we got our tickets, we went to an outdoor tent where there was an usher to check our tickets. Next was a photograph session, which you could decide whether you want it or not. It is chargeable, one photo for RM20. After that, we were seated at the waiting area. About 5 mins later, we were ushered to board the river cruise.
Our cruise was full with passengers. Not long, the cruise started its journey. Along the river, one could see the street arts on some of the buildings. The river is about 9km long and one could listen to the cruise pre-recorded audio guide about the historical stories and what you could see along the river.
The river cruise could be a bit stuffy if one was seated in the middle row of the cruise and near the boat end. My advice is if possible, look for cruise seats that are facing the front instead of the facing the side like the one I took in this trip. You get to have a better view, nicer photos and better air circulation. Overall, the experience was good.
Name : Melaka River Cruise Address : Muara Jetty, next to Quayside Heritage Centre, close to the Maritime Museum easily recognisable by the replica of the Portuguese ship Flor De la Mar Operating hours : 9.00am - 11.30pm daily
After the river cruise, we walked back to the shopping area. We ended up having dinner at a restaurant called Nyonya Suan. This was a casual dining restaurant that served Perakanan food. We ordered fried tofu, Chicken Rendang, fish soup and another chicken dish which was not spicy for the kids. The food was delicious and tasty. One of the recommended food was Chendol, a local dessert with lots of ice.
Name : Nyonya Suan Address : 1336D, Jalan Merdeka , Plaza Merdeka, 75000 Melaka Operating hours : 11.00am - 9.00pm everyday except Wednesday
After the sumptuous meal, we walked back to our hotel, which was about 15 mins away from Nyonya Suan.
The next morning we did not have breakfast in the hotel. We headed to a cafe called Toast N Toast. It was about 10 mins walk from our hotel. The cafe served a lot of different variety of toast, for example kaya butter toast, curry chicken with bread, banana toast and even ice-cream bread. The food is good and affordable.
Name : Toast N Toast Address : 245 Jalan Melaka Raya 1 (Taman Melaka Raya) 75000 Melaka Operating hours : 8.00am - 6.00pm everyday
Before check out of the hotel, we went for a swim at the hotel’s swimming pool.
Check out at the hotel was easy. There was a check-out box at the reception counter where hotel guests could drop their room key cards. Because we already fully paid for the hotel rooms, so we dropped the room key cards in the box and left the hotel.
Note: To drivers who are travelling from south to Melaka using the North-South Highway PLUS, should take the exit Jasin and Lebuh AMJ to Melaka as we found out that exit Ayeh Keroh had more traffic.