Thursday, October 29, 2009

Malacca Historical City Bike Ride

From Monday until Wednesday this week, I was at Emperor Hotel in Melaka, attending a Hospital Information System Workshop, organised by Dr Taufik's department. The participants were supposed to depart from UKMMC at 10 am on Monday morning so that the workshop can start at 3 pm in Melaka. But before I drove to Melaka, I stopped by Pak Wan's place to pick up my MTB frame (Easton Tank Race Elite). By the time was bike was ready, it was already 1 pm so I had to drive straight to Melaka with the newly assembled bike in my car boot. I managed to reach the place in time just before the opening speech :-)

Turned out that Dr Taufik also brought his MTB with him, complete with helmet. So during the free time that evening, the two of us rode into the old part of Melaka town. Of course I was dressed like a Bangla with no helmet, wearing slacks, round-neck t-shirt, socks pulled over the end of my pants (to protect my slacks from the bicycle chain) and imitation Crocs slippers.

First stop was at the Stadhuys, which was about 2km from the hotel.

After some picture taking, we rode a short distance away towards the A'Famosa. That road has been converted into a pedestrian road, only bicycles and beca allowed!

So the two of us happily cycled to the A'Famosa, with no worries about being hit by other vehicles. We even lifted our bikes onto the historical A'Famosa area for some picture taking.

From there we rode on towards St John's Hill (Bukit Senjuang) to have a look at the observation fort which has been beautifully restored. The ride was a bit hair-raising due to the busy traffic and narrow streets and it was quite a distance away. The nice part was the 800m long slightly uphill climb which allowed me to check out my bike gear system. The gears could do with a bit of adjustment since the chain kept slipping off the rear freewheel.

From there we circled around the historical Bukit Cina before returning back to the hotel. We did only 7.8 km but we had plenty of pics to show (and upload to our FB!).

I often have trouble sleeping in a strange bed. Monday night was no different. Despite turning in after midnight, I was wide awake by 4 am. I spent the next hour or so, tossing and turning in my bed. After fajr prayers, instead of wasting my time trying to fall asleep, I decided to hit the streets of Melaka on my bike before sunrise. From the hotel, I rode at Jalan Bendahara, heading towards Banda Kaba and Banda Hilir. I turned right after the police headquarters and headed towards Melaka Raya. At the Pulau Melaka junction, I made a U-turn and headed north along the coastal road, looking for the new coastal bridge and the Eye on Melaka. I found the bridge at the mouth of Sungai Melaka. The bridge was a challenging 50 meters climb. At the top, I stopped to take in the view of the surrounding scenery. The Eye on Melaka is right beside the bridge.

I rode on ahead and turned right at the next junction. Again I turned right into Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok and ended up at Jonker's Walk. It was still too early and I was virtually alone.

I rode on ahead and turned left at Lorong Hang Jebat. At the end of the road, I turned right to cross the bridge that leads back to Banda Kaba. Again I stopped at the bridge to take in the view.

That was when I realised that all the wooden shops owned by Malay entrepreneurs along the riverside had been demolished. For years I had my hair cut here. I also bought second hand books from one of the shops here. I guess they wanted to ensure that those taking the river cruise will have an uninhibited view of the historical buildings. Another part of my past gone forever.

I turned left into the narrow Jalan Bunga Raya and finally turned right into Jalan Bendahara. Turning left at Jalan Munshi Abdullah, I ended up at the hotel again. I ran into Prof Mokhtar, just back from his early morning brisk walk. We both went hunting for newspapers to read at the nearby convenience store. I rode 10 km that morning, a mild workout that gave me a ravenous appetite and I had a hearty breakfast. Yet I was not too tired and was able to participate
actively in the workshop.

Taufik wanted to see how far we could ride that evening, so we agreed to ride as far as possible along the coastal road towards Klebang. But first we wanted to stop by Pulau Melaka. So we took the same route as the day before and headed towards Melaka Raya. We arrived at Pulau Melaka by crossing a short bridge.

The island looks desolate and forlorn due to the many abandoned buildings on the island. We rode on to the only attraction on the island, Masjid Selat Melaka. The mosque lies above the Straits of Malacca. But with nobody staying on the island except for a few construction workers, I wondered who will become the jemaah at the mosque during prayer times? Mosques are meant to be prayer halls for Muslims, not built just for display for foreign tourists.

After visiting the mosque, we tried to get to the northernmost tip of the island. We wanted to have a good view of the Eye on Malacca from the tip of the island. Since there was no proper road to get there, we had to ride off-road on a dirt trail. Luckily we were on our MTB, not on our RB. We had a fantastic view of the city from the tip of the island.

We also had a good view of the Malacca Parameswara Jetty, a "white elephant project" that was completed in 1995 at a cost of RM10.3 million. The jetty is 360 metres long and extend far into the sea. The walkway is 9 metres wide. It was meant to be used by cruise ships and the State Customs & Excise Department boats. However the development of Pulau Melaka has caused siltation, making the seabed shallower. Therefore none of the big boats could dock at the jetty, leading to its under-utilisation. After being neglected for more than 10 years since its completion, it is now being turned into a hotspot for youth activities in Malacca. I couldn't recall of any legal action ever taken against Larut Consolidated, the developer of Pulau Melaka, for rendering the RM10.3 million jetty useless.

We left the island and headed towards the new coastal bridge connecting Bandar Hilir and Tengkera. After some picture taking at the new bridge, we proceeded north, past Tengkera, Limbongan until we reached Klebang.

We rode on the new road, built on the reclaimed land. I can no longer see the sea from the road due to the reclaimation work. Limbongan used to be the place where the fishermen net the small shrimps (geragau) for cencalok and belacan. During thunderstorms, the sea would hit against the sea wall and spray sea water on the traffic of the old coastal road. But now the sea is just a memory from the past since the sea shore is now a few kilometers away.

Upon reaching Klebang, we turned back and followed the old coastal road. We stopped by Masjid Tengkera and chat with one of the mosque committee member. After that we continued our ride into Tengkera. This was where I got confused. I can no longer enter Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok from Tengkera, instead I was shunted into Jalan Gajah Berang. We ended up at Jalan Tun Perak and then we entered Jalan Tun Mutahir. By cycling on the pavement, we ended up at the Sungai Melaka bridge near Dewan Hang Tuah and the old Odeon cinema. It was already sunset and the view was breathtaking at the riverside.

We continued to cycle against the traffic flow at Jalan Munshi Abdullah until we turned left into Jalan Bunga Raya, heading towards Jalan Bendahara. I lost Taufik here since his keen eye caught a beautiful view at the corner where Sungai Melaka flows along Kampung Morten. That was a beautiful picture of Sungai Melaka at dusk.

I turned back to look for him and found him at Jalan Bendahara. After turning into Jalan Bendahara, we turned left again at Jalan Munshi Abdullah to end back at the hotel. After putting away my bike, I had dinner. After a quick bath, I attended the workshop but that night I was too tired to participate much since I just did another 23km of cycling. At the end of the session, I was very glad to return to my room to sleep.

We went back to Kuala Lumpur the next day after the end of the workshop. I am glad that Taufik and I managed to include a bike tour of the historical city into our itinerary :-)


Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

Dr Azmi

Pretty cool stuff.

Just just got back from Seoul last night. A lot of cylists over there. Many good picturesque places to ride especially along the banks of the great Han River.

Taufik said...

Bila nak keluar part 3?

A Bookaholic said...

hi may i know how can i get in touch with any one of the members/riders here? I'm Jee Wan, from Cycling Asia. pls email me at Thank you so much! :)

drtamil said...

Part 3 tgh type. Tgh tulis yg Bukit Fraser gak.

Jeewan, I will write to you.