Thursday, 24 September 2015

Malacca II Day 1: Our First Road Trip to Malaysia

We had a car even before we got married (that's about 8 or 9 years ago?) and we had never gone on a road trip to Malaysia before. The horror stories of Singaporeans getting robbed, having their cars stolen or needing to give the policeman 'kopi money' was enough to deter the low risk-taking hubby and I. Besides, there are too many of us to squeeze into our Sedan (I insist that my kids travel in car seats).

Recently, however, the hubby had to travel to Malaysia a lot for business so over time he got the hang of driving in Malaysia. The current car he's driving is also his company's car so we thought, "why not go for our first road trip?" (We also got tired of squeezing with the people on the bus).

So off we went! =D

Driving with hazy skies

We set out really early so we managed to clear the customs really easily. The hubby drove for about 1.5 hours (while the kids slept) and stopped at Pagoh R & R to take a break and have our breakfast.

Pagoh R & R
Escalator to the second floor where the food stores are located

The girl was elated to see a small playground in the vicinity!

My girl happily playing in the playground
The playground was decent enough, with walls to climb, slides to slide and rocking horses to rockride

I thought it was nice that there was a playground here to entertain the kids while we ate nearby (within sight).

After breakfast, we continued our journey to Malacca and finally arrived at around 10am. As it was still early, we shopped at Dataran Pahlawan Megamall before heading to our hotel, Hallmark Crown Hotel.

Hallmark Crown Hotel
Hotel lobby
Siblings entertaining each other while they waited for the daddy to check in

Although it's a far cry from the more atas Hatten Hotel that we had stayed at previously, we chose this hotel because:

  1. The hotel was one of the few hotels in the area with family rooms that can sleep up to four adults/kids
  2. Each family room cost only $60 per night inclusive of breakfast for four (that's only $15 per person)! The money that we saved can pay for our shopping *grin*

Of course that meant certain sacrifices such as the lack of complimentary water bottles in the room and long distance from the shopping malls.

There are no shops nearby so you may need to depend on this vending machine at the lobby for snacks and drinks. They sell cooling gel strips too just in case (touch wood) your child has a fever at night.
Left: Entering our room on the 3rd floor;
Right: Baby Boy loves running down the hallway
Our room with 1 queen bed and 2 single beds
(Mum-in-law was thrilled that she didn't have to share the bed with my girl, which was the plan initially if they gave us two queen beds) 
A very small and not very sharp TV mounted on the wall

For the price we paid, we can't really complain much really. It's a pretty decent room with quite an impressive bathroom.

Clockwise from left: Large size bathroom with a shower;
Toiletries were packaged simply but had most of the things you need such as toothbrush and shower cap;
The bathroom even had a full size bathtub, in which my girl and I took long warm baths in everyday.

The hotel also had a swimming pool in the roof, although we didn't swim in it because of the haze.

Small adult pool and wading pool
Relaxing by the pool on one of the few lounge chairs

We set off in search for a good lunch after we had settled into our hotel. We had passed by Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball previously when we were here but didn't get to try it. Since there were so many people inside and a queue was forming, we thought, "Must try! Must be good!" (Typical Singaporeans). We only waited for about 15 minutes in the queue before we were seated.

Interior of the restaurant, with newspaper articles on them blown up and plastered on the wall
Selfie while waiting for the food to be served
Kids waiting very impatiently for the food..
"Where's our food?!?"

Finally, the food is here!

Roasted chicken and their famous chicken rice ball
Close up of the chicken
(very soft and succulent)
Close up of the chicken rice ball
(Soft, juicy and tasty. Not too salty yet full of flavour)
Fishball soup, with the fishballs quite hard and not bouncy like what we're used to in Singapore
Steamed fish (tasted ordinary)

We all agreed that the winner was the chicken and the chicken rice ball. The taste is very unique and different than what we have in Singapore. A must try if you're in Malacca =)

After a nice lunch, we continued shopping at Dataran Pahlawan Megamall. We spent quite a bit of time at my favourite store, Mr DIY, where the kids also got to meet their mascot.

Mr DIY mascot

You can find all sorts of kitchen, car and home furnishings here. They also sold some craft materials, which were so cheap that I couldn't resist =D

To the chagrin of the hubby and my kids, the mum-in-law and I shopped until it was time for dinner and everyone was too hungry (and not to mention cranky) to continue.

We decided to drive to a satay restaurant for dinner and stopped by a really cool coffee stall on wheels (vintage too if I might add) along the way. It came highly recommended by our friends.

Coffee stall on wheels by the sea
Clockwise from left: Making coffee at the back of the car with freshly grounded coffee beans;
Interesting signage;
Close up of the side of the car.
Hubby enjoying his cup of iced coffee (I think it was latte, can't remember)

Hubby said that the coffee had a very unique taste that he quite enjoyed. You should try it too if you're in the area.

We proceeded to the satay restaurant next (which is nearby) and were disappointed to find out that all the Satay were sold out! We had no choice but to find an alternative place for dinner (we did eventually go back for satay again on Day 3).

We decided to go back to Zhong Tai, the restaurant that we like to have seafood at when we visited last year (click on the post for more photos because we ordered much less food this time since the brother-in-law didn't join us).

Clockwise from top left: Drunken prawns;
Spicy and fresh chilli crab;
Green dragon vegetables;
Tasty grilled fish.

We were so full after dinner that we had to go walk around at the nearby shopping mall to allow the food to digest. By the time we returned to the hotel, the kids already had a loot of goodies from their grandma! She really spoils them (-_-), although to be fair, it's kinda hard to resist when the exchange rate is 1:3! *grin*

Repunzel's tower for the girl and a hammer table for the boy
(we bought much more than this of course! This is just scratching the surface *laughs*)

Since it was also the Mum-in-law's birthday the day before, we thought it will be fun to celebrate with a Secret Recipe cake in our hotel room.

Happy birthday, from her beloved babies!

Mum-in-law's birthday wish was to be able to shop and with everything 1/3 the price, she got her birthday wish! Best end to a great day methinks =D


Continue to >> Malacca II Day 2: Kid-Friendly Mahkota Parade


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OR
Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Malacca, Malaysia 
as well as other travel itineraries!



You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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