Melaka Weekend — Melaka Town

Following our visit to Wooden Box cafe at Batu Pahat, we continued our drive up north. We passed by Muar but didn’t stop as we had already spent a lot of time at Segenting earlier in the day and were behind schedule by about 2 hours.

Not that our schedule was particularly important; it was just a guide.

We had originally planned to visit Cafe 1988 (see previous post) on our way up, but instead, we saved it for our drive back to Singapore.

From Muar to Melaka, there were two federal highways. We could take Route 5, which is the coastal route, or Route 19. Baby Tilapia wanted to go see a place he found on Google Maps, so we went by Route 5 first.


It’s called Laman Belia Sungai Rambai. It is said that once upon a time, Sungai Rambai was very dirty, but it has been cleaned up, and at this part of the river where there is a suspension bridge, you can even see the river bed.

It is a recreational spot for families, and indeed there were families there when we visited. Nothing spectacular, just a nice place for some photos and a check-in.

From here, we could go back to Route 5, but we chose to turn directly into Route 19 (Lebuh AMJ) instead, along a very narrow road. There is no entrance from this highway into the place we came from.

Along the way, our driver Teck Hwa said he wanted to go see the sunset, so our navigator Baby Tilapia quickly plotted a route to the coast. Given that the time was 6.32pm, there would not be enough time to reach Melaka Town before the sun set at 6.58pm.

The best place from here to Melaka to catch the sunset was at Pantai Crystal Bay Alai Perdana, Alai Melaka, off Route 5.

We cut across using the state road M103, and reached the road to turn to the destination. In the very short 800-metre road, there are 6 humps. We reached the end, and was surprised to find many families with their kids playing here.

We parked at a random spot and got out to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, the clouds near the horizon blocked the sun, so we gave up and drove out, crossing another 6 humps.

We reached Melaka as night fell, and drove to the section of town next to Makhota Parade. There are a lot of small hotels here, where we intended to find a place to stay.

However, the last time that we came to Melaka, this place was full of life. It was now dead and dark. We visited a few hotels before we found one with a family room vacancy.


It was an OYO Rooms hotel. OYO has an interesting business model. They started out as a hotel aggregator. With a steady pool of customers, they then started to buy over unbranded hotels that had difficulty sustaining themselves.

All OYO hotels have a certain basic quality and provide a standardised experience. So when you book an OYO hotel, you know you’re going to get a basic quality, which is a 2-star hotel standard.

That’s basically one level above hostels. You can get a private room with attached bathroom. Nothing fancy. The prices at OYO hotels also tend to be quite standard, at around RM100 per night for 2 persons.

There are some lovely OYO hotels out there that we’ve stayed in. Typically these were formerly resorts or the like, but due to whatever reason, they had fallen into disrepair and had difficulty sustaining their business. Which is when OYO swooped in to take over.

There’s one nice one over at Kundasang, Sabah, that we stayed in before. We felt it was a steal, because the ground floor room was big, had a balcony, and view of Mount Kinabalu from the grounds was lovely. And it only cost us RM100 for a night.

Anyway, back to Melaka. We got our room, and then straightaway headed to Jonker Street Night Market to soak up the atmosphere. It was as crowded as we remembered it 3 years ago. However the vendors have changed. There weren’t any really original vendors here, only the usual ones you’d expect from a typical pasar malam.


That left us somewhat disappointed. We also didn’t find anything special to eat. Baby Crab wanted to eat satay celup, so we took a 1km walk to Restaurant Lee Ban Seng.

‘Celup’ means dip. Satay celup is a type of steamboat where you cook sticks of raw vegetables or meat in a boiling pot of satay sauce.

At this restaurant, which probably made satay celup famous, you have 3 options, which they give to you to decide before they seat you at a table:

Option 1: They recycle the satay sauce used by other customers. If this is okay with you, you don’t have to pay the satay sauce, just for the food.

It might seem disgusting or unhygienic, particular in the light of Covid, but it’s actually quite okay because the satay sauce is boiling before you consume it. If you feel uneasy, just let it boil for a longer time to kill all the germs.

Option 2: You don’t have to cook your own food. They will cook it for you. Whether they use recycled sauce or not, you don’t know.

But the fun of eating celup is cooking your own food, much like when eating steamboat.

Option 3: You can spend RM30 for a small pot of new satay sauce (or RM60 for a big pot). After which your leftover satay sauce will be recycled for other customers choosing Option 1.

A small pot was enough for the four of us. Actually Baby Tilapia wouldn’t have minded choosing Option 1, but because we were in the company of ‘normal people’, we went with the safe option 3.

When they bring the pot over, you can see the dry ingredients before they mix it, so that’s how you know it’s a new pot.

We saw other restaurants in Melaka also selling satay celup, but none as crowded and popular as Restaurant Lee Ban Seng.


There is another kind of street food that is very similar to satay celup, but it is called lok-lok. They have similar foods, and you also cook it in a hot pot or steamboat. But the difference is, there’s no satay sauce.

Likewise, you can cook it yourself or have it cooked for you. And it can be boiled in water or soup, or it can be deep fried. It’s called Da Cheng Lok Lok.

It’s located in a fairly new area that is known as the ‘bubble tea street’. You won’t find it on Google Maps. There’s no marker for ‘bubble tea street’ there. But if you search for ‘The Alley Kota Laksamana’, you should be able to find it.

If in doubt, the address is:

55, Jalan KLJ 10, Taman Kota Laksamana Jaya, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

There are several big bubble tea cafes here, some Korean BBQ restaurants, among others. Definitely a place for young people to bring their friends and have a nice meal together.

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