Sunday, September 19, 2010

Roadtrip: Kluang-Melaka

Ahh…another roadtrip, with the girls this time around – comprising myself, Mas @ Diva Shanana (I’ll tell you why later :-p) and Liza. Our roadtrip is just a short one, from KL to Kluang to Melaka and back to KL for 2 nights. Anyway, one of the highlight of the trip would be driving the Diva’s spanking new SX-4 woohoo!

Day 1 KL-Kluang, Thurs 16/09/10

Today is Malaysia Day, so this is just a short escapade, while taking the opportunity of a newly declared public holiday. Well you may be wondering, of all places why Kluang? Since it’s still the first week of Syawal, a member of our trip- Liza is still at her hometown in Kluang, so we are sort of kidapping her from her family during Raya ;-p

We take off quite late at 12.30 noon. I offer myself to drive since I am eager to test drive the new machine (ahem). It’s really smooth (compared to my trusty old Waja, of course) and the brakes are taut, just needed a gentle push to the (brake) pedal to halt. It is fully assembled in Japan, so it has a heater (the ac temperature can be adjusted to a heated level – certainly not needed in sunny ol’ Malaysia!) It is a 1.6L Sporty 5 door hatchback with front wheel drive automatic transmission. OK I’m not a car expert so that’s all I can review here :-p

We stop by at Pagoh R&R as I am already feeling very hungry. We have delicious Mee Bandung Muar (remember to buy at Gerai Selera Anda) for only RM3.50 Certainly a value for money meal. Before we continue back our journey, we bump into Aula (a colleague from office – of all people!) and her family who are heading towards Singapore.

We take the Ayer Hitam exit to go to Kluang. Thanks to the ‘kakak’ Garmin GPS :) Well ‘kakak’ because she can’t stop nagging on the speed limit if I go exceeding it. Yes, yes we know it is only for our safety. We just need to follow the road to Kota Tinggi it seems.

We finally arrive at Kg Sri Lambak, but it turns out there is a difference between Kg Sri Lambak and Taman Sri Lambak. Liza's house, which is in Taman Sri Lambak is further down and is not updated in the GPS map. So we have to depend on a ‘manual’ GPS, i.e. Liza physically fetching us. Wow, this is the first time I see her driving, and she drives fast! I have to play catch up with her. Not bad for someone who claims she is afraid of driving hmmm… and she drives a manual too!

We check in to Liza’s ‘hotel’ around 5pm Her house is a nice cosy bungalow with 4 rooms. Very homely. And there’s a fish pond in the garden too. Her mum fries us some karipap for tea and later cooks ikan asam pedas and sotong masak kunyit for dinner. It is heavenly! If I live here, I will surely be putting on more weight!

Liza's garden

Liza's house :)
Tonight we search for a massage at Kluang town. It is just a small town, but we manage to find a decent one, at Relax Reflexology, just above the Kluang Railway Kopitiam (which we’ll be visiting the next day). The foot massage costs us RM35 (with 5% tax) i.e. RM 36.75 per person for 1 hour. There is a mix up on our special requests – Liza is having a headache so she wants a short head massage, but the masseuse massages the Diva instead. This is because the masseuse are from China, so they don’t know Malay or English. I end up with a pakcik masseuse although I specify I want a female.

Relax reflexology
Massas massas
Day 2 Kluang-KL, Fri 17/09/10
Today we head to Melaka, also quite late. We only leave at 2pm as we have to wait for Liza’s parents to run some errands. Can’t leave before saying our goodbyes to the parents can we? ;-) It is drizzling when we leave.

We drop by at Kluang Railway Kopitiam before heading to Melaka. This is not the original kopitiam which is situated at the railway station itself, but a newer branch near to Kluang Mall (yes, there is a mall here) The coffee is nice here, according to Liza (I don’t like coffee). We order some bread toasts and a mee rebus. The “teh C” is also nice.

Kluang Rail Kopitiam
We only reach our hotel – Hotel ‘Puti’ – Liza accidentally mis-spelled it – supposed to be Hotel Puri at around 6.15pm Some confusing directions from ‘kakak’ GPS. We later learn to look at the road name, instead of relying on kakak’s direction of turning left or right. Sometimes there are many junctions, and kakak’s direction comes a bit too late for me to just swerve in. But it’s OK, we manage to find the hotel anyway.

It is a nice boutique hotel near Jonker walk, on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng lock. It is originally the ancestral home of a plantation owner, Tan Kim Siang (1805 – 1864) , a third generation Peranakan (Straits Chinese) born in Melaka. The house is so huge it used to house a mini zoo said to have included a tiger and several deers. The building is conserved to retain the unique architecture, original structures such as its carved doorways, mosaic floor and wall tiles and marbles. See here for more history.

Hotel Puri interior decor (minus the ladies ya ;-)
After having our shower and solat, we take a taxi to the Quayside. We want to take the river cruise from there, but first we need to eat! It is actually within walking distance, but since we are very hungry, we need to get there ASAP. We plan to go to the Restoran Peranakan, but it is already closed. The taxi ride costs us RM15. If we take a trishaw ride, it will cost us RM45 per trishaw, and it can only fit 2 passengers per trishaw. So we decide not to take the trishaw as we can’t leave 1 person alone on the ride.
Our dinner of asam pedas tetel, sotong goreng tepung, butter prawn and kangkung belacan only cost us RM48 or RM16/person. The sotong goreng is excellent. The butter prawn, unfortunately is just so-so. The asam pedas is too oily, plus it contains ‘tetel’ or fat from the beef.

We then head to the jetty for the river cruise. The ride cost us only RM10/pax for a 45-minute cruise. Because we get a special discount voucher from the hotel, we are given 20% off, i.e. RM8/pax for the cruise. The banks of Sungai Melaka is beautifully illuminated at night and there are many bridges built across the river to connect people since from the ancient times on both sides of the river. Sungai Melaka used to be a very important port for trade.
My highlight of the night cruise would be the view of Kampung Morten. The name is taken after a British Land Commissioner Frederick Joseph Morten. It houses about 85 traditional Malay homes, and the villagers are still living here. The state government sponsors the electricity bills of these homes as they are illuminated every night.

Kg Morten

That's not The Eye on Melaka
Monorel coming up in Melaka!
After the night cruise, we decide to walk back to our hotel. It isn’t really far actually. Plus, we are also passing through Jonker Walk, so walking will be a breeze! (Read: shopping!) The Diva Shanana and Liza embark on their quest to find some nice blouses, funky handbags and cute hair accessories. Myself – just contented with what I have lol! That’s not really true actually, I haven’t enough cash on me (forgot to withdraw earlier) and I am supposed to find a tiffin carrier (mangkuk tingkat) for dear mom. I later find out that the place here only sells antiques, so they can fetch up to RM400!

Jonker Walk
By midnight the stall peddlers are already packing up, so we head back to our hotel armed with the map that we got from the hotel. After consulting a slightly confused Rela abang, we finally reach back our hotel to get some rest…

..not before wishing and singing to Liza a Happy Birthday!! It is her XX (write appropriate number here hehe) birthday today.
Day 3 Melaka – KL Sat, 18/09/10
We have a late breakfast today at the hotel. Just so-so. But the beautiful garden in the hotel compound (used to be an airwell of the peranakan house) more than made up for it. We then pack our things and check out of the hotel before continuing with our shopping.

Garden cafe

We have an early lunch at Restoran Peranakan, just a few units next to Hotel Puri. I ask this from my friend Nurul as she had eaten here before. We order ayam keluak, ayam pong teh, ikan goreng cili, tauhu peranakan and kangkung goreng belacan. It costs us RM62 (for 3 persons). But it turns out to be bland and not spicy enough. If you really must try, just try the ayam keluak and tauhu peranakan. But then again, the restaurant interior décor of Peranakan heritage more than made up for the lack of gastronomic pleasure

Just so-so

Another nice staircase

The restaurant interior
Aha, and I shall now tell about the story of ‘Shanana’. As usual, after eating, we have our camwhoring session. We ask for help from an ah pek to take pictures of us. He turns out to be a funny guy, arranging us to pose in certain ways (macam pro pulak hehe) He asks the Diva– “Yang cermin mata besar (Fendi shades OK!) Shanana tu berdiri belakang sini” (or something like that :-p) And so the term “Shanana” is coined!

We then head to Dataran Pahlawan for more shopping and some spa works for the Diva before going back. No luck finding the tiffin carrier again here though..

Post script: The next day, myself and mom continue our pursuit of searching for the perfect tiffin carrier at Amcorp Mall’s Sunday Flea Market – but to no avail. There used to be a lady selling the one mom has in mind, but we can’t find her today.

The search for the tiffin carrier continues…



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