Our second day in Melaka was one of of aimless roaming around. We spent our time looking for small alleys and backstreets with interesting shops. We started out by veering off Jonker street. The street running parallel with Jonker Street was mercifully less crowded, but definitely not less interesting. The old architecture here, really shined. Some buildings were completely redone with fresh paint while others sat in a somewhat dilapidated state. Although, each building had some distinct, interesting architectural details.
Cutting back across Jonker street we headed towards the area known as Harmony Street. The street gets its colloquial name from the fact that along its length it has a traditional Chinese temple, a Mosque, and a Hindu temple. We weren’t dressed properly to enter the Mosque and the Hindu Temple was closed, but the street still has lots of fascinating local shops to visit. One of my wife’s favorites was The Clay House, where they sell locally produced clay products and run classes that allow you to make your own clay products. The owner (I’m guessing) was very kind and allowed us free reign of his shop. We came away with a very nice mug for our tea and a beautifully designed candle holder.
Also, on that same street is another shop that does wonderful calligraphy art and wood carvings. I don’t think we picked up anything here, but it was not for a lack of options. Having wandered in and out of most of the stores, we made our way to the Chinese temple that was buzzing with activity, as they usually are. The temple was in the middle of having some renovations done, so some of the paintings and doors had fresh coats of paint that really made them pop.
After our turn around the temple we walked across the street and happened upon a calm, serene oasis. The sign for the area said Kampung Ketek and it’s located almost opposite the Chinese temple. The walk takes you past some quaint, old houses and into a quiet, tree-filled courtyard, where there was not another soul. It was the perfect place to escape the heat of the day. We sat and rested while eating our putu mayam, a local dessert, that we had just bought from a hawker on his bike outside the courtyard. Feeling rejuvenated from our peaceful break, we headed back out into the heat.
Following our trip down Harmony Street, our wandering became even more aimless. I can’t describe where we went because we honestly just ducked into alleys that intrigued us, following them down the rabbit hole of more alleys. We finally popped out near the river, where we found a pedestrian bridge. Crossing over the river gave us a spectacular view of the murals painted on the buildings facing the river. Almost, every building was painted in a unique style giving the area an eclectic mix of art, filled with a kaleidoscope of colors.
With the sun setting the time had come to delve into the madness that is the night market on Jonker Street. You can hear the calls of the hawkers and low murmur of crowds of people talking as you approach the street. When you get a clear view of it, you witness the bright light bulbs protruding from every stall, bathing the people and buildings in a harsh light. We gave each other looks of second guessing, but we had both agreed that it was something we wanted to experience, so with a slight nod we dove in. We rode the waves of people through the market, catching glimpses of frozen, iced coconuts, iPhone cases, hand-carved trinkets, durian everything, and plenty of baked goods. We broke out of the cascade of people when something caught our eye. During our walk we sampled some of the local delicacies; popiah and pineapple tarts, both of which were delightful. At the end of the street is a large stage where people get up and sing karaoke to a crowd sitting on plastic chairs. We listened to a few tunes, not understanding a lick of it, but applauding the performers for having the courage and desire to get up and sing in front of all those people. After we’d had our fill, we exited the street, happy that we visited the night market, but with no strong desire to dive back in anytime soon.