Malacca Menara Taming Sari Observation Tower [Video]


The Malacca Menara Taming Sari is a revolving observation tower located in Malacca (Melaka) city, Malaysia. Sitting in the observation deck, you are taken up into the sky above the city and slowly rotated to give a panoramic view. See photos from the tower here.

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Hatten Hotel Melaka: Review


We were fortunate to be able to stay at Hatten Hotel Melaka on our second visit to Malacca (we had stayed at a much cheaper backpacker hostel on our first trip, which was also charming in its own way). The Hatten Hotel Melaka, a luxury business hotel, consists of Junior and Deluxe Suites. Hatten Hotel Melaka

The hotel is located above Hatten Square shops, directly opposite Dataran Pahlawan, Malacca’s largest mall, which is connected by a walkway on the 3rd floor. It is easy to walk to all of the major tourist attractions in Melaka, such as Jonker Walk, Menara Taming Sari, Chinatown, Little India and all the museums. Although the hotel reception and lobby is on the ground floor, the restaurant is located up on the 11th floor, the pool and gym are on the 12th floor, and all the rooms are above that.

 

Our Suite

We had a Deluxe Suite on the 20th floor with a view down to the swimming pool and out across the city of Malacca. I was relieved we didn’t get one of the rooms down next to the pool because that would be really noisy. I was also relieved we didn’t get a room with a view of this atrium.

AtriumOur spacious suite was nicely decorated, very clean, and felt comfortable to stay in. Upon entering the suite there was a small sitting room area with a chaise longue, flatscreen TV,  tea/coffee facilities and a minibar (stocked only with soft drinks – this is Malaysia!). This smaller room was separated from the main bedroom by a large window.

Deluxe SuiteThe bedroom had a kingsize double bed, which was really comfortable, with bedside table and lamps on both sides, another larger flatscreen TV (yes, every suite has two televisions!), a desk and chair, another chair and coffee table, as well as a wardrobe with hanging space and drawers. I was impressed by the extra facilities in the room, which not all hotels provide, such as bathrobes, slippers, a hairdryer and weighing scales. Kingsize bed

The bathroom, which could be entered from both of the other rooms, had a spacious shower, with a handheld sprayer and a “rain” shower. As seems to be the trend for new hotels now, there was no bathtub. Bathroom

My favourite aspect of the suite, however, was the view across Malacca city. A massive window, almost floor-to-ceiling, meant I could spend hours just gazing across the city, even from in bed. As well as the swimming pool, directly in view were many of Malacca’s most famous tourist sites, such as the Porto de Santiago fort, the Independence Monument and Museum, the Sultan’s Palace Museum and St Paul’s Church. It was a perfect view of this historic city! Melaka city view

Hotel Facilities

The hotel swimming pool, on the 12th floor, is actually larger than it looks in the hotel photos, which meant that although it was very busy at times, it didn’t feel too crowded. Unfortunately it was very windy in the pool for most of the time I was there, and the water was so cold! There was nowhere nice to sit and relax by the pool without getting wet; the only sun loungers are in the shallow part of the pool, not somewhere you’d want to read a book, let alone use a phone or a tablet.

PoolDue to wind and the cold temperature of the water, the pool was better suited to swimming lengths, rather than hanging out, and it seemed to be mostly children who wanted to spend a long time there. So I didn’t spend as much time in the pool area as I had expected. At least I could enjoy the same view from my room; the pool also looks out across the city.

Swimming Pool from above

Also on the 12th floor is the Hatten Hotel gym, which is very well equipped, and has the sea view. It was easily the best view I’ve ever seen from a treadmill and could definitely motivate one to work out!

Gym with a view

Breakfast was served in the restaurant on the 11th floor. It was the first time I’ve had to queue to get in at a hotel breakfast, because the hotel was full for the beginning of our stay. Although it is a buffet breakfast, after queuing up, we were actually shown to a table by staff, not in the usual grab-a-table style. There was a wide range of food, with Chinese options such as yam cake to cater for the majority Chinese hotel guests.

The hotel lobby, down on the ground floor, was very spacious and I really liked the décor, with sitting room areas and an amazing chandelier that filled a large part of the ceiling. Service was excellent, with an efficient check-in and check-out. The concierge staff were also helpful in booking our taxi. Lobby sitting areaLobby with chandelierOverall, I loved staying at Hatten Hotel Melaka, largely because of the amazing view across the city and the luxurious room where I was happy to spend time. Clearly, some of the other rooms are inferior, being next to the pool or without a view. I suggest, therefore, that if you book a room at this hotel, you should specify that you want a room with a view.

Photos of Melaka / Malacca, Malaysia: Views of the City

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I recently had the pleasure of visiting Malacca / Melaka for a second time, but this time instead of staying at the quaint Rooftop Guesthouse, we upgraded and stayed at the luxurious Hatten Hotel. From our room on the 20th … Continue reading

The Travel Hub Kuala Lumpur Guesthouse


I wanted somewhere cheap, clean, and central in Kuala Lumpur. There are many hostels and guesthouses to choose from in Malaysia’s capital city, and I chose The Travel Hub because I could get a very cheap single room, rather than a dormitory bed. Travel Hub front door

I arrived in the evening and the location was somewhat confusing, being at the end of the street in the address, such that the front door was around the corner. The guesthouse is not on the ground floor, so I lugged my suitcase up lots of stairs. When I found out my room was on the third floor I was worried, but fortunately there is a lift serving floors one to three (two to four if you’re counting US style with the ground floor as level one).

 

My single room with a window and air-conditioning was certainly small, but it was clean. The blind on the window would not shut fully so it was never totally dark, and at times it was noisy outside. The single bed was super-creaky. I thought I was going to break it each time I rolled over in bed! There was wifi in my room but with a very poor connection that only worked sometimes, in some parts of the room. Single Bedroom with Window and a/c

The shared bathrooms were fine, not the cleanest but perfectly useable. I never had to wait for a shower. The communal living room area was nicely decorated, with comfy sofas to lounge around, and a shoes-off policy.

 

The guesthouse staff were friendly and helpful. When one of them had forgotten to book me a taxi, the staff member on duty went out and found me one in the street.

 

Breakfast was advertised as 7-10am, included in the price, but in practice it was self-service toast and jam with tea or coffee. I wondered why they only offered it during those hours instead of having bread available throughout the day like in some other hostels (like this one in Malacca for example). Communal space at Travel Hub

Overall, I have yet to find an ideal affordable place to stay in KL (suggestions welcome!). The Travel Hub is perfectly okay, but I would be equally keen to try a different hostel next time.

Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park, Malaysia


Spending a day wandering Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur (KL for short), I had visited plenty of museums and Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park offered something a bit different. I had already visited zoos and bird parks, but had never been to a butterfly park. I paid the RM 20 entry fee and entered the lush green park, where possibly thousands of butterflies were flying around, settling on leaves and flowers, or hiding up in the corners of the green netting that acted as the high ceiling of the park, preventing them from escaping.

The KL Butterfly Park is not as big as I expected, but I guess it is hard to cover a large area in green netting. Detail is the name of the game here, spotting the different butterflies as they flit around, catching photos if they land, and creeping up to snap unsuspecting butterflies as they feed. The best way to show you the park is through images:

 

SE Hotel 2, Butterworth, Malaysia


SE Hotel 2 is a budget hotel located an easy bus ride from Butterworth train station, from where you can take long-distance trains north to Thailand and south to Kuala Lumpur. I wanted a cheap place to stay for one night as I stopped over in this small Malaysian town.

Hotel SE 2 Butterworth Malaysia

My single room was very small, but well-designed so it didn’t actually feel cramped. There was no window but there was air-conditioning, a TV and a private, reasonably sized bathroom. The room was clean and the bed was fine for one night. Noise travelled easily along the hotel corridors and it was easy to hear people talking outside my room, but I had a pleasant night’s sleep.

 

The staff were helpful when I needed information about buses and places to eat near the hotel. Across the road from the hotel was a bus stop from which it was easy to get the bus to the train station.

 

Overall, SE Hotel 2 is nothing special, but it is straightforward, simple, budget accommodation in Butterworth, in walking distance of public transport and places to eat.

Butterworth, Malaysia


“Why don’t you just go straight to Kuala Lumpur?” asked my taxi driver when I arrived by train in Butterworth. “Because I want to see Butterworth,” I replied. “This is Butterworth,” said the driver, “this is it.” Butterworth is the coastal town from which you can travel to Penang island, where trains from Thailand and northern Malaysia stop, and trains to Kuala Lumpur start. Most people travel straight through this little backwater, but I had already visited Penang and I wanted to be somewhere “normal and boring” before I continued my journey to Kuala Lumpur.

Butterworth street scene

There really isn’t much of interest for tourists in Butterworth, but I wanted to experience everyday life in Malaysia, sipping teh tarik in street corner coffee shops, and eating at hawker centres. And Butterworth is great for that. There are few tourists there, and eating and drinking are so cheap compared to Penang, KL, Malacca and the other more touristy places I have visited in Malaysia. So if you are travelling through, consider a stopover in Butterworth, and experience real life, Malaysian style.

View to Penang