Monday, July 19, 2010

Jonker Street in Melaka

Jonker Street in Melaka

Jonker Street in Melaka is one of the most visited places in the state  and there is no doubt that this is the busiest area especially over the weekends or school holidays. Throngs of visitors from all over visit this lively street famous for it's culture and heritage. The best possible way to enjoy visiting Jonker Street would be to walk around this historical area which is in the core zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, traditional trishaws (becas) can be hired to take you on a nostalgic journey through this historical site.

Traditional Chinese Lantern outside a home

Jonker Street has always held a special charm in terms of the diverse European-Asian culture and heritage at this city once known to the world as Malacca. The renown street houses some of the countries oldest heritage buildings dating back to the 17th century. Architecturally influenced by the Portuguese and Dutch, you will see an beautiful eclectic mix of cultures through this entire area.

Malacca Antique Shops
Antique shops in Melaka
While the area caters mostly to tourist, art aficionados are also seen here as some of the best antique curios and furniture are traded here. On the main street which is called Jonker Walk, quite a number of antique galleries or art houses are found well spread throughout the area. Walk-in customers would know that the prices are well inflated to the unknown buyers while bargaining or haggling is a common practice here. So do not be afraid to try your bargaining skills but do be realistic about it.

Peranakan Museum Malacca
Peranakan Museum of Melaka

While most of the action is on Jonker Street, if you walk one street behind, you will find Heeran Street which is also known as the Millionaires Row. It is here that you will find the world famous Baba Peranakan Museum of Melaka. A fee applies to visit this unique museum while the architecture is absolutely astounding. This would be the best place for you to explore if you want to find out more about the amazing Baba-Nyonya Culture and Heritage of Melaka.


If you love the classic eclectic architecture, do inspect some of the buildings along Heeran Street as well. While the roads are very narrow, please be extra careful when walking along these streets. Old buildings don mix architecture from the Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese era while they are clearly shown throughout the buildings here. Looking closely you can see the fine detailed work some of them carry. Colours standout on the engravings and carvings of these pre-war buildings. Architectural works from the Utilitarian era all the way to Art Deco are found along this majestic street. 

Beautiful architecture along Jonker Street

As most of the shop houses are intermediate, you can step into some of the five foot ways of the premises encountering some really amazing architecture workmanship. I took the picture above at one of the streets here in Melaka where neighboring units were divided with a circular hole in the walls. 


As Melaka (Malacca) was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site status since 2008, the government has been paying a lot of attention to the core zone here. Many of the centuries old buildings have been given a beautiful make over especially on the facades. While most of the original businesses have faded away, new ones are seen popping up monthly. Lots of guesthouses and boutique hotels have also taken over some of the beautiful shop lots while cafes and souvenir shops seem to be the popular choices around here.


But when you take your time and walk around Jonker, you will notice that some of the original businesses are still operating here. Most of them are well maintained as you can see from some of the pictures and the best time to witness them in action are on weekdays during office hours. They close on weekends so you would be missing it if you go during that time.


As most of the old buildings are public owned, some of them have chosen not to do anything thus you see the original structures, paintwork and signage which in turn gives the place lots of character. Sometimes I keep an eye out for these type of buildings during my walkabouts here.

Famosa Chicken Rice Ball Melaka
Famosa Chicken Rice Ball

While Jonker Street is famous for its architecture and heritage, food is also one of the popular choices here. A good variety of local food can be found along Jonker Street while most tend to source for the famous Peranakan or Nyonya food here. A number of them can be seen along the streets here. Another must-eat local delicacy is the Chicken Rice Balls. There are about four shops that sell this unique dish that can be only found in Melaka so choose wisely on which shop you patronise.

Jonker Dessert Cafe Melaka
Jonker Dessert Cafe

Another unique must-stop food place is the famous Jonker Dessert Cafe cum museum located along Jonker Walk. This experience is something every traveler should try here. Famous for the Baba-Nyonya deserts and food, you will not be disappointed here. I make it a point to stop here every time I visit Melaka for my fix of Shaved Ice (Ice Kachang).


Walking around you are bound to come across various restaurants, bars and cafes claiming originality so there is nothing bad or wrong about them, just that each has their own specialty here. Personally, I have tried most of them around Jonker and have no complaints. So let loose and enjoy your visit here. For the record, Singaporeans love to make a weekend getaway trip to Melaka while those from Kuala Lumpur love to do day trips here, especially for the food.

Geographer Cafe Melaka
Geographer Cafe

After hours, one of the most popular places along Jonker Srteet is called the Geographer Cafe which is hard to miss. They are open throughout the day serving local and international cuisine. At night, beers and cocktails are served with a lively atmosphere while there may be a live band performing. There are other bars around here which are more laid back so walking around, you are sure to come across them. 

On a personal note, I would recommend anyone heading here to spend at least one or two nights here to fully experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site of Melaka. Going on the weekend can turn out to be a nightmare as the entire street will be closed for the regular Night Market so expect throngs of visitors. 

I on the other hand, prefer to visit on a Thursday till Saturday catching the best of both worlds. The common day and the weekend crowd. If you are planning to stay over, I would also recommend trying out the Puri Hotel in Melaka is it is indeed one of the most beautiful boutique hotels with a very affordable price too. Other options would be the Heeran House or Baba Hotel there. All these hotels are strategically located around Jonker Street in Melaka.

Map to Jonker Street in Melaka


View Jonker Street Melaka in a larger map

Again, if you are here on the weekend, look out for the Popiah at Jonker Street which is a vendor that moves around on this cart selling the popular spring roll. Be prepared to wait a while if there is a crowd around the hawker.

As the main area is situated in the core zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is advised to park outside and walk in on weekends due to the heavy traffic here. Trust me, it can get really congested especially on Saturdays and Sundays. As for me, nowadays, I make it a point to visit Jonker Street in Melaka on weekdays.

Author:

Malaysia Asia is a multiple award-winning travel blog site with information on unique and interesting places around Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and the World. Malaysia Asia is also under MyAsia Services, a Digital Travel Solutions Company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest. We are also not your regular travel bloggers. 

7 comments:

fufu said...

wanna eat chicken rice ball :)

David Jr said...

Haha, thanks Fufu. Now I also want to eat that. Been months since I had it, actually since last March.

David

Anonymous said...

I love Melaka.I love jonker street. And I did stay a night in Puri Hotel, I wished more. I'm definitely gonna go back to this town for a longer stay :)

David Jr said...

Anon, thank you. I would love to go there tomorrow if possible, just to have some local food too. And yes, Puri is one of the nicer places to stay too.

David

Malaysia hospitals said...

Nice presentation and beautiful pictures about Melaka.

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Regards.

Amer said...

Thanks for inspiring me to go to Melaka soon! Great blog about Malaysia and SE Asia you've got here

David Jr said...

Thanks Amer, I too want to make another trip to Melaka for some of their great food in Jonker Street.

David