Thursday, March 08, 2012

Melaka Diary # 8 : Jewels Here and There

While you are in Melaka, you always have something to do, see or experience. In nutshell, Melaka, sort of, gets on you. Even a leisure walk through clean and spotless lanes or sipping coffee or beer in one of those cafes in and around Jonker Street is refreshing and occupying. But there are some attractions, which a visitor must not miss. In my previous diaries, I have discussed in detail about many aspects of this quiet town and covered almost everything a traveller must see or do while being in Melaka. And, in this last diary of mine about Melaka, I am going to talk in brief about some of the tourist attractions or places that have yet not been covered.

Heritage Trail and the New City
New area just south of Menara Taming Seri... built on reclaimed land
The part of Melaka that has been demarcated as heritage city can be experienced by following a sign-posted trail. It is the older part of Melaka which is quite compact, but it can boast of having almost all the cultural and historical attractions. Outside the boundaries of Heritage city lie the newer sections of Melaka, which are very much planned. Just across the waterfront and near the sea shore, there is an area built on reclaimed land. Suddenly you come across broad roads and symmetrically built buildings. This is quite a different sight than what you encounter while roaming in older section. It is this new city which has most of the shopping centres and malls, and is also bustling with very good restaurants and food joints, and also many entertainment centres.

Menara Tamang Seri
If you wish to have a bird’s eye view of Melaka city and the sea beyond its boundaries, then you must go to Menara Tamang Sari. It is named after a magical weapon named Tamang Seri, which is said to have been possessed by Melakan warrior Hang Tuah. By spending just RM 20 as ticket price, you can have a 360-degree panoramic view of Melaka and the strait from atop this 110-metre high tower. As the revolving observation cabin goes up the shaft, you feel excitement building inside you. It is quite a new attraction in Melaka; it was installed only four years ago… and it is the only gyro-tower in Malaysia till date. It is situated on Jalan Merdeka and at a short walk from waterfront. You can see this tower from St. Paul’s Hill when you happen to look towards the sea. It is around 7-minute ride but it is worth having the experience.

Eye on Melaka
It is 25-metre high Ferris wheel on the banks of Melaka river. When you walk up the river, it is on the left bank near Jalan Hang Tuah Bridge and opposite old Cathay Cinema. The wheel has 16 pods and each can accommodate five persons at one time. It also offers stunning views of the areas nearby from the highest point of wheel, particularly during night time. It is truly a sight to behold. There are two other attractions too- a pirate ship and a trampoline bungee. Ticket price for each of these attractions is RM 5. During night time, the whole area is lit with neon lights. One can have a lovely view of this place while going up on a boat-ride in the river.

The Duck Tour
This is land-and-sea adventure offered on an old military amphibian vehicle. You can’t miss a bright yellow vehicle- shaped as a duck- moving on the roads of Melaka. One can enjoy a ride on this vehicle by buying a ticket at RM 38. The tickets are available at Menara Tamang Seri, and this duck-bus starts from just outside the Menara. It is about 60-minute ride and is open from 9 AM to 6 PM. The ticket sale counter closes at 5 PM. The duck tour offers glimpses of historical sites and monuments while it moves on land, and of Straits of Melaka while moving in sea. It is quite an experience to have.

Islands nearby
There is a cluster of islands near Melaka, which can be accessed by boat. Pulau Besar is the largest of these islands and it offers sandy beaches and many types of fun activities to its visitors. The second largest one is Pulau Upeh, which is far quieter as compared to Pulau Besar. It is sort of a getaway for nature-lovers. Here visitors can have an opportunity to see Hawksbill Sea Turtles. And just to add in the end- in Malay language, a Pulau means an island.

Text and Photos by Ajay Garg


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