Saturday, May 3, 2014

Malacca : Peranakan Bikers Day 2

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                                      AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                  
Malacca : Peranakan Bikers Day 2
Day 2 - Malacca 20th April 2014 
Small Group Ride : Day 2 - Around Malacca City
Distance : 19.887 km.
Time : 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Duration : 8 hrs. (including stops - breakfast, lunch, Malacca Riverside tour, temple visits, & photo shoots)

Route Recommendations:
1. The Malacca Riverside is a nice place to ride at especially during the day time when it is less crowded.
2. While at the riverside, visit Kampong Morten which showcases a living Malay Kampung.
3. The Malacca Historic Centre is definitely a must do for those interested in old buildings and culture.
4. Foodwise, don't miss the freshly made Onde-onde & the Malacca Satay.
3. We missed the renown Chicken Rice Ball; do go early (before 9am) to avoid the long queue.


PRELUDE

The previous day, six of us had cycled from Malacca City to Tanjong Bidara. It was a good 80+ km. ride that took us from an urban cityscape through a rural rustic-scape to a nice beach. The Wongs & Irene left Malacca after that, and the three of us (Liliana, Chin & me) stayed on overnight at Chirs's place. So today, it will be just the four of us; and Chris has promised us an interesting cycle-tour of the city. Of course, knowing Chris he will throw in a few good eats along the way.


THE RIDE
We will be having an easy fun ride today, starting from Batu Berendam riding down to town to tour the city's historic centre and it's riverside. At the historic centre, we will visit a couple of temples, and a mosque. After that we will ride along it's famed riverside and visit a living Malay village - Kampong Morten.


We started off at 8:00 am and headed for the city hoping to reach the city centre before 9:00 am in order to savour Malacca's famed Chicken Rice Balls. Reaching later than that and there will be a long, long queue.
Disaster! Along the way Chin's bike had a puncture and we had to stop for repairs. Chin was using the XDS FA-16 bicycle; it's a 16" wheeler compact bike, small and suitable for bike-packing.

But it's smallness was also a disadvantage when it comes to punctures - the small tire diameter makes it difficult to remove the tire, more leverage is required than normal sized tires. So much more leverage was required that one of the plastic levers broke.
Also the small diameter also made it difficult to lever back the tires after changing tubes; and that was what precisely happened. While levering back the tire, the lever caught between the tube and the wheel rim and punctured the new tire. So it was another round of changing tubes again for Chin. Frustrating!

The double puncture delay did cost us our Chicken Rice Ball breakfast. True to Chris's word there was already a super long queue of tourists at the Chun Wah Coffee Shop, one of the best place to have these. Okay then, we better look for alternatives as we did not want to waste time in that long line.

Instead we went to Zhen Xiang Yuan for some dim sum. The dim sum here were fresh and delicious, still it would have been great to have the Chicken Rice Balls.

Stomachs happily filled, we are ready to roll. But then Chin noticed that the rear tire of his bike was flat... AGAIN! What rotten luck, three punctures within an hour! This time a small screw penetrated his tire. Running out of spare tubes, he just patched up the hole. Pretty good job he did as it held out through out the rest of the day.


MALACCA'S HISTORIC CENTRE
Taking a break at one of the houses in the Malacca historic centre.
Our first tour destination (other than the eats joints) was the Historic Centre of Malacca, This is an area roughly bounded by the Malacca River, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Jalan Kubu. Here can be found a melting pot of culture that has evolved down from Malacca's historic past, one of it's establishment by Parameswara, visits by Admiral Cheng Ho's Chinese fleet, Golden Flower tributes to the Siamese, colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch and English. This colourful past has evolved into a pot-pourri of old mosques, temples, houses, food, etc.; making this an exciting place to visit.

At one of the entrance to this area is a replica of a Chinese junk. It's good that Malacca embraces its past (even that of being colonized)  well instead of shunning it; afterall all of these made Malacca what it is today - a kaleidoscope of cultures, buildings etc.

It's a mini shopper's paradise too. One can shop for old antiques or newer things like these colourful batik dresses.

Impressive entrance gateway to the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple.
Cycling here is good as we avoided the traffic jams, but wanting to go in and see the buildings, we decided to park our bicycles and walk around a bit. We tried to park our bikes at the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, but the guard there was adamant in not allowing us to do so. So we parked our bikes on the opposite side of the road at one of those authentic Malay houses that have been converted into a homestay; Chris will stand guard over our bikes - that was nice of him.
If the main entrance arch gateway impressed me with its architecture and fine workmanship...

Then the main temple building overwhelmed me! This temple came as close to being awe-inspiring as the Khoo Kongsi in Penang Island. The temple was built by Kapitan Lee Wei King in 1645 making it close to four hundred years old. A full restoration to the temple was carried out in 2003.

Here too, our buddies, Liliana & Chin offered some thankful prayers for our riding adventure being safe so far (i.e. barring the punctures); and they prayed for a continued safe ride (probably they prayed for no more further punctures too!)

A few doors away, we popped into the Kampung Kling Mosque and weren't we thankful that they allowed us to park our bicycles inside.
Like most mosques in Malacca, this one does not have a dome; instead it has a green-tiled two tiered roof that have influences of Chinese and Achinese architecture.

The minaret also have some Chinese architectural influences, having some similarities to a Chinese pagoda in its tiered look. This mosque was built in 1748 by Indian traders.

Inside is a fountain that looks like an European one.
If there is a cultural fusion in Malacca's food, then there is also some amalgamation of different architectural styles. That's the wonder of places like Malacca, situated along the crossroads of trade lines it became a melting pot of different cultures that blended well into a culture of its own.

And just another few steps away is the Sri Poyyatha Vinayaga Moorthy Temple. Though small it is the oldest Indian temple in Malaysia; being built by the Chitty people in 1781.
It's interesting how people back then can be tolerant to have places of worship for three religions built on the same street, and within a few doors from each other. In fact the street which they stand on, Jalan Tukang Emas is also aptly known as "Harmony Street".

All this cycling and walking has made us hungry again! And Chris just know the place to take us to for some small bites - Kedai Aku & Dia. It's an place run by a warm Nyonya lady, looking simple on the outside but full of authenticness on the inside. And the food is even more genuinely Nyona-ish, being prepared there and then by that smiling, chatty lady.

The freshly made Onde-onde were a real welcomed treat; with a bitey skin and infilled with sweet and aromatic Gula Melaka syrup that popped out as one bites in. We had this and also their home-made Cendol.


MALACCA RIVERSIDE

Towards the end of Jalan Hang Jebat, we carried our bikes down some stairs... and Hey! We are at the Malacca Riverside! Pity, they could have made some ramps here. In fact there are several bridges (mostly pedestrian ones) spanning across the river AND none of them has any bicycle friendly ramps. So, do expect some carrying to cross over from one side to the other.

The toting of our bicycles down here was worth it, as the riverside is a pleasure to cycle on. The river is clean and at some stretches there are walkways to cycle on.....

... and at other stretches there were board-walks for us to ride on.

Every now and then boats carrying tourists will come sailing by.

I have cycled here before and had always like the colourful murals painted onto the rear walls of houses facing the riverside.

Since then, new and larger ones seems to have been added.

Higher upstream, to one side of the river is Kampong Morten, this is a living showcase of a Malay Village. Villagers still stay here although the place has been spruced up. The houses here reflects kampong houses of Malaccan design; it would have more authentic if these houses had attap or clay tile roofs instead of the red roofing sheets as seen above.

Most of the houses looks like regular kampong houses, but some owners have taken effort to make their houses as close in design with the ancestor's - i.e. with nice tiling, laced curtains, timber window balusters, etc.

Some even have fruit trees planted in their gardens as Liliana discovered to her delight.

Chris still has a couple of tricks up his sleeves; he took us on a short-cut out through a small hole of a hoarding fence through a construction yard.

This led us to another part of the riverside where the combined MRT and ferry terminal is.

All this riding and touring has made us hungry again - IT'S LUNCH TIME!
And.... lunch was Malacca Jonker Satay at Xiang Ji Satay Shop (it's just next to the shop where we had dim sum breakfast in the morning).

Now, what I like about Malacca satay is that they come in smaller meat bits so one can easily have twenty sticks in one go and it just fills the stomach nicely.
And their peanut sauce is also distinct with pineapple added in to give it a sweeter taste and that slight stingy pineapple bite afterwards.

We cycled around Malacca town a bit and then it's EATS time again!
What eat again?
Yes, eat again. With Chris, cycling is full of fun AND definitely full of eats. This time it's Rojak and Cendol at Ming Chong Cafe at Jalan Bunga Raya.

With that we rode back - our itchy cycling legs soothed; our tingly stomachs sated.



Related Blogs :

Submarine Museum @ Malacca
Klebang Beach, Malacca : April 2014
Visiting this educational submarine museum rekindled my old salt of the sea spirit.

Malacca : Peranakaan Bike-Packers Day 1
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Sites : Nyonya (Peranakaan) Mansion, George Town, Penang , Malaysia

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