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An Imperial Stay at The Majestic Malacca

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An Imperial Stay at The Majestic Malacca

To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure.
— Freya Stark
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Slightly contrary to the quote above, Malacca wasn’t exactly a strange town to me. It was a destination that held mystique and history, a place we used to road-trip to from Penang when I was a small child but have no real recollection of. So I scheduled a brief stop in this diverse port city before heading to Singapore for my flight home to LA.

I wanted to make the most of my time in Malacca and its rich cultural history, including experiencing the unique style of architecture that the Peranakans fused together from Malay, Chinese, and European influences. I gravitate towards the the juxtaposition of old and new and The Majestic Malacca easily stood out among the choices i was contemplating. Its proximity to the famed Jonker Street area yet with a bit of distance from of the bustle appealed to my love of tranquil settings.

Upon arriving, i immediately felt the warmth of the staff, welcoming and friendly without being overwhelming. The lobby area of The Majestic has preserved its historical architecture and colonial style, with pops of mint green throughout and styled with Peranakan wares and timber wood furniture.

Welcome tea

Welcome tea

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I didn’t mind basking in the sun by the pool as I waited for my room. A short while later, a young staff member showed me to my room, carrying an ornate basket of welcome tea served in a traditional Peranakan pot. After explaining all of the rooms features, she poured a taste for me, and I sipped it slowly, savoring the subtle sweetness of the lychee-infused black tea and the world I had just been transported into in the bright, airy room with all of its colonial-style comforts. I breathed deeply and gazed out at the Malacca River, which winds its way down to Jonker Street, and contemplated where’d I’d explore first.

Loved this claw foot tub

Loved this claw foot tub

Making plans for my short stay

Making plans for my short stay

My favorite part of the hotel was the lobby bar, where guests can interact and mingle, or just lounge while planning their next outing. A unique highlight was their Gin O’Clock, where at 5pm on Fridays, the bar cart is stocked with garnishes, liqueurs, and recipes beautifully printed cards for traditional cocktails with a Malaccan twist, unique to the culture and area. Although i’m not normally a gin person, i tried the Gin and Tonic, with their house-made pandan-infused gin (Pandan is the ‘vanilla of the east’) and i wish i could’ve taken a bottle home! Another popular one was the Malacca Collins, which includes a splash of Gula Melaka syrup, a sweetener unique to Malacca and Malaysia. Made of sugar from local palm trees, Gula Melaka evokes hints of chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, or coffee, depending on how its processed and distilled.

Although I couldn’t quite fit a spa appointment into this quick trip, Spa Village at the hotel is known for its therapies based on the healing traditions practiced in Peranakan culture. By combining age-old traditional remedies sourced from indigenous ingredients, the treatments offered are believed to cleanse, replenish and reinvigorate, both physically and mentally.

I spent most of my two days exploring the vibrant food and cafe scene in Malacca, and the Majestic was the perfect respite to return to after a day of being out and about in the heat and bustle.

Where else do you like to stay in Malacca? I’d love to hear more about your adventures below in one my favorite cities in Malaysia.

The Majestic Malacca | 188, Jalan Bunga Raya, Melaka, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia

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Enchanted By Phu Quoc Island

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Enchanted By Phu Quoc Island

Maybe it’s because I was born on an island (Penang), that I find myself constantly drawn to them when traveling. After hearing about Phu Quoc, a idyllic Vietnamese island in the Gulf of Thailand, I knew it was not only a must-stop on my limited timeline, it was the destination I wanted to end the trip with. That arrangement turned out to be exactly what I needed and continues to be one of my fondest memories of Vietnam

Unlike the charming yet commercialized village of Hoi An (which happened to be pouring rain during my stay) or the overwhelming bustle of motorcycles in Saigon, Phu Quoc is a low key fishing island surrounded by shimmering turquoise water. Most of the north portion remains a dense tropical jungle, much of it having been designated as a national park just recently in 2001. Making my home at Mango Bay Eco Resort, which was a bit of a distance from the cluster of hotels and resorts on Long Beach, was also what made the time there so enjoyable. 

While pepper and fish sauce are the island's main exports, many of the locals make their living off the sea and the activities available in Phu Quoc reflect that. On the first night, I joined Phu Quoc Sunny on a squid fishing excursion. They sent a moped to pick me up and I was instantly transported to my time in Bali, riding through the countryside with the wind blowing through as I gazed at fields, sparse buildings, and street side vendors.

We arrived at Duong Dong harbor and climbed onto the barge just before sunset with about 15 other eager squid fishers. Once night fell, we fished alongside other vessels, for as long or as short as our patience would allow. Afterwards, the crew cooked a simple meal of veggies and (what else?) squid and we all ate together illuminated by the boat lamps, washing the savory meal down with Vietnamese beer. 

The following morning, I went snorkeling at An Thoi, a group of 15 islands just off the southern coast of Phu Quoc. It was the type of day you reminisce about months later; the kind of day spent in a sun-baked haze revolving between sunning, diving off boats, swimming in pristine water, and drying off, punctuated by sips of cold beer and sunscreen reapplication. The boat, also operated by Phu Quoc Sunny, stopped at 3 different snorkeling spots around An Thoi and famed Sao Beach, once a lot more secluded than it has been recently. 

On the way back to Mango Bay, my driver was kind enough to stop at Dinh Cao Night Market at my request, since I was leaving the following afternoon. I walked through the lively seafood stalls, ordering freshly grilled shrimp and scallops simply seasoned by the smoky grill and a sprinkle of lime and salt and enjoyed observing locals taking in the sunset. It was the perfect way to wind down a whirlwind trip. 

Stay:

Mango Bay Eco Resort 

Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Island; Kien Giang Province, Vietnam. 92000

Feast:

Dinh Cau Night Market

Play:

  • Snorkeling at An Thoi Islands
  • Night squid fishing
  • Swimming + sunning at Sao Beach

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