THE historic, UNESCO-protected inner heart of Malacca is an obvious attraction for anyone driving to Malaysia. The good news is there are now several new sites to explore for all who are young at heart.
From the Air Keroh highway exit, head pass the zoo and turn right into the MITC Complex for the new Melaka International Bowling Centre (T: +606 232- 1507) and the Melaka Planetarium and Adventure Science Centre (T: +606 232- 2122). They’re opposite each other with the bowling centre that has 52 lanes and games costing just RM6.50 ($2.60).
Melaka Planetarium is a fantastic facility full of exhibitions about outer space and all things celestial. Have fun with the hands-on educational displays including a model Russian spacecraft offering simulated journeys through space.
The highlight is the space theatre with its 15m diameter domed ceiling in which images of space are projected. This is an amazing 3D experience in which you feel like you are really on a journey through space.
Just near the historic city centre a new revolving gyro tower called Menara Tamingsari (www.menaratamingsari.com) launches visitors 80m above the landscape and then turns for a 360 degree view of Malacca.
|A church in Melaka|
For something different, attend a cooking class with celebrity Chef Kenny Chan at the historic Majestic Malacca Hotel (T: +606 289-8000, www.majesticmalacca.com).
Chef Chan is a familiar face to anyone who watches the show Baba & Nonya. Now he stars in his own cooking classes, which can be specially arranged by the Majestic.
His grandfather’s favourite Peranakan dishes include sambal bendeh (okra salad), ayam pong teh (Peranakan chicken) and telur cincalok (omelette).
The afternoon class costs RM250++ per person and includes an apron and certificate as well as the chance to eat the fruits of your labour and chat with the affable chef.
Staying in the hotel provides an opportunity to travel back in time. While the accommodation wing is new, all rooms are luxuriously decorated with period design and furniture.
|The rooms at the Majestic Hotel are decorated with period design and furniture.|
If you’re travelling with your family, you may want to check in to Shah’s Beach Resort (T: +606 315-3121, www.shahsresorts.com) at Tanjung Kling some ten-minute’s drive north of the city centre.
It has waterfront views, comfortable family accommodation and a pool.
Dine nearby at either Bert’s Garden Seafood :
(T: +606 315-2213) or Cliff’s Sunset Retreat Restaurant (T: +606 315-5596, www.sunset.my) for rustic seaside ambience and affordable comfort fooding there: It takes 2.5 hours to drive from Singapore to Malacca and four hours to the Malaysian capital. Alternatively, coaches provide access to both places. Various airlines service the Singapore-KL route with some cheap deals now being offered by most airlines, in particular AirAsia (www.airasia.com), Jetstar (www.jetstar.com) and Firefly (www.fireflyz.com.my ).
● Tips: All Malacca hotels have a comprehensive selection of tourism brochures in the lobby. Check out what’s and, for Malacca, www.melaka.gov.my/tourism, Tel: +606 288-2955