Jul 29, 2018

Encore Melaka - Is it worth it?

If you're in Melaka and driving pass the Kota Laksamana area, you probably get a good peep on the new Encore building located far away on the reclaimed land. You can't miss it, especially at night because of the bright LED screen on the top of the building which resembles water flowing from the top of the building.

Photo from @jonathanfun

The building was spectacular, a design which is so novel in Melaka and standing right in the middle of an empty land, is a breath-taking attraction for anyone who visits. Now, the question that keeps popping up everywhere in Melaka recently - what is Encore Melaka? To my surprise, even the local didn't know what it was. It feels like it popped up overnight and became the hottest sensation in town. I admit I didn't even know it exists until I was given the tickets to the opening show. To answer that question, Encore Melaka is a theatre space and it is also the very first in Melaka.

The chief architect of Encore Melaka theatre, Mr Wang Ge hails from the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD). Specially designed for the Encore Melaka performance, the theatre building is more than meets the eye.

Encore Melaka introduces Southeast Asia's largest performing arts theatre with a 360-degree rotating audience platform facing a 240 metre-long stage with multiple built-in hydraulic stages. With this state-of-art technology, Encore Melaka was designed to deliver an awe-inspiring experience.

The geometric ceiling has concaved arcs made out of thousands of fish scale-like LED panels, which reflect light from the ever-changing and vibrant sky of Melaka. The Encore Melaka theatre embodies the cloud and sea, movement and serenity, and where East meets West. This unconventional design concept represents a journey through time and space, complementing the Encore Melaka performance.



About the show:

Encore Melaka is a series of short sketches that feature the culture, art, lifestyle and history of Melaka through song, dance and sceneries, immersing you in the performance with all your senses. Travelling through time, space and centuries of Melaka stories, Encore Melaka encompass the spirit of the land.

Scene 1: Parameswara

In 1400, Prince of Sumatra, Parameswara came to Melaka on a hunting mission. Parameswara was resting under a tree near a river during a hunt when one of his dogs cornered a mouse deer. The mouse deer bravely kicked the hunting dog into a river and ran away. Astounded by the courage and relentlessness of the mouse deer, Parameswara then decided to build his kingdom there and named it after the tree he rested under, Melaka.

Scene 2: Cheng Ho

In 1405, Cheng Ho's fleet arrived in Melaka for the first time. Their arrival was marked by the drummers. They arrived in Melaka in peace. Tales say that they fell in love with the locals, had children of their own, and began the heritage of the distinctive Baba Nyonya culture.


Scene 3: Nyonya & Wedding

This is the scene of a wedding in 1880. Descendants of Baba Ah Jie and Nyonya Ah Lan, from Cheng Ho's time, still live in Melaka. You can meet them when you visit Jonker Street.


Scene 4: Six Mothers 

In 1948, there was a shipwreck. A baby floated on a plank and drifted to the Melaka port. Six women from the Melaka City passed by the port, heard the baby's cries and adopted him. They gave him everything - food, clothes education and love. With hardship and love, they cared for this boy who eventually nurtured a harmonious nation with a bright future. 70 years have passed, and now, his mothers have all been laid to rest, but his longing towards them never stopped. The six mothers embody Melaka, the boy represents the people of Melaka.


Scene 5: Pregnant Mothers

The city's longevity exists due to generations of people. This scene represents generations that have been born in Melaka, paying homage to those who have rooted and moulded the Melakan culture, and will continue to do so.



Scene 6: Wau 

Melaka is historical, a UNESCO heritage. Apart from its old buildings, the people and crafts of the city are also living histories. Vistors admire and respect Melaka's heritage that continues to thrive, thanks to the generations of skilled craftsmen. Portrayed through the character Awang, a kite maker, and his dedication to a life of passion for arts and craft, Chief Director Wang Chaoge pays tribute to all the inheritors.

Scene 7: Finale

With a modern approach to storytelling, the sounds and scenes of Encore Melaka will linger on in the minds of the audience. When one leaves the theatre and faces the serenity of the Straits of Melaka, a sentiment of "I'm grateful to be here in Melaka," will be the gift from Encore Melaka, ending the performance perfectly in the highest realm of peacefulness.



Is it worth it?

You may ask if the show is worth it? The answer can be subjective. As a theatre-goer and someone who appreciates art, I think the show was a brilliant adaption of Melaka's value, culture, art & history. The technology used to deliver the performance is one-of-a-kind which I never seen anywhere in my life. The scene where water poured down on to the stage was amazing, I'm sure you'll be amazed as well.

The show takes up to 3 hours, which makes it hard to catch if you're on a short day-trip. Otherwise, the building outside makes an Instagram-worthy post.

Notes:


  • Showtimes - Monday to Saturday 5:30pm & 8:30pm; Sunday 2:30pm & 5:30pm
  • Encore Melaka is not accessible by public transport at the moment. Do hail a taxi of Grab.
  • If you drive, access through Oriental Straits Medical Centre or McDonald's Limbongan road.
  • Price: Standard Seat - RM128 (Malaysian) & RM148 (Non-Malaysian); Premium Seat - RM228 (Malaysian) & RM248 (Non-Malaysian).
  • How to purchase the tickets: Whatsapp +6016-432 1445 or purchase directly from the ticketing counter at Encore Melaka. 




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Jul 24, 2018

Hotel Review: Cameron Highlands Resort


When it comes to choosing accommodation in Cameron Highlands, you have tones of choices. Mainly because the entire mountain caters for tourists, so everyone is taking the opportunity to build boutique hotels or running their own homestay. I don't really want to risk getting a run down or dirty place to stay, so the only option really is the Cameron Highlands Resort.


This resort is managed by the reputable YTL Hotels and it embraces the 3T's - Traditions, Trail & Tales.

Traditions


The building of the resort was built and designed with a Tudor influence, representing the British ruling period. Cameron Highlands was discovered by the British. The cool air of the highlands reminded the British of their homeland and they started to explore this mountain. It quickly became a holiday destination for those who wanted to take a breath of fresh air from the hot humid weather in Malaysia. And that purpose remains the same until today.

To retain the same sentimental elements on the inside, the new fresh furniture is carefully chosen to complement the exterior of the building. The four post bed with decorative mosquito net is what the British used to own in their house here to keep the annoying mosquitoes away at night.




The room is extremely spacious with a corner of living area and private balcony for each unit. The only thing I didn't get why there was no bathtub in the room ensuite. All the other YTL Hotels that I've been to has a bathtub in the room, however, not this one. Cameron Highlands has a low-key nightlife, it can be pretty boring. I wished they had a bathtub so I could spend my night reading and relax as I soak in the tub.



And I was pretty sad we didn't get a room that is overlooking the golf field. Perhaps, next time. I'm sure this won't be our last time here.


Tales



The Cameron Highlands Resort accredited Jim Thompson's in its premise. The lounge is named Jim Thompson Tea Room and there's also a silk boutique inside the resort featuring various products from the Jim Thompson brand.

Jim Thompson was a residence in Cameron Highlands and he is famous for his silk business in Thailand. Cameron Highlands was his second home. He mysteriously disappeared one day when he was exploring the woods in the vicinity of his house in Cameron Highlands. There were many theories on his story. Some says he was eaten by a tiger. And some believes he was kidnapped into a parallel universe.

We had the chance to follow his mystery trail with the guidance of the Cameron Highlands Resort botanic. The resort prepared us the transportation and we arrived at a jungle track which is located a few kms away from the resort, which is also in the area of the Jim Thompson's villa, Moonlight Bungalow.

The jungle track was the highlight of our trip. We love jungles and plants. With a botanic guiding us the way, it was more of an educational trip, instead of a Jim Thompson Mystery Trail. We were taught how to spot a safe track in the jungle - basically stay away from the wild goats or wild boars track. The tigers would be most likely appear on that track looking for food. We also learn how to spot resting place of animals. It's the best place to take a rest there because the animals probably know where are the safest place to rest. A lot of the things we learn are common sense. But in the jungle, it is pretty hard to differentiate the





Overall, the hotel is entirely a trip to the golden years. The service was extremely good and the hotel room was really clean. The only thing I could use is a bathtub in the room (which apparently only available in the suite).

If you book directly with the hotel, you're entitled to the free gifts below:


  • steamboat buffet for 2
  • spa treatment for 1 (45 minutes)
  • jungle trekking with the resident botanist (this was the highlight of the trip for me)

The total package was approximately RM1500 for 2 nights. 
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