Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ronda-Ronda: Jonker Walk

Jonker Walk, Jonker Street or Jalan Hang Jebat is a must-visit destination in Melaka Old Town.  Houses some of the Melaka oldest houses and shops dating back to the 17th century, is also informally known as the antique street or live cultural museum of Melaka. 

The antique shops here are featuring many historical artifacts from different periods of colonial rule such as Portuguese, Dutch, and British. If you have sufficient time to stroll through the street, you can easily hunt and bargain for the unique and valuable antique furniture, brassware, silverware, Chinese porcelain, glasses, cast iron beds,furnitures, clothes lamps, coins, money notes and much more.

The Melaka State Government had launched the concept of Jonker Walk, utilizing the richness of heritage values in this narrow antique street to realize a live touristy culture street on 19 June 2000.

The Jonker Street is changing its cloth to play the role of Jonker Walk, on every Friday evenings, Saturday evenings and Sunday evenings from 6.00pm to 12.00 midnight through this plan. During these specially located hours, traders are lining along the pedestrian street and setting up stalls to sell and display products associated with or reflect the cultural colours, such as antique copper coins, local and ethnic traditional food, unique arts and crafts, souvenirs, ornamental jewelry, and wooden clogs. It seems like a big flea market or 'pasar malam' but the things sold and the foods serve are unique and even couldn't be found elsewhere.

Some of the local residents who own a house in Jonker Street, are also participating in this activity by converting the house into a premise, such as food stall, which allows visitors to enjoy the delicacies while gaining a chance to have a first hand experience on the unique architectural design.

Jonker Walk is a good place for street shopping. As opposing to Chinatown in other places or countries, the traders here are generally friendly and communicative.  There is hardly a scene of traders forcing visitors to buy their products. As a rule of thumb, bargaining for items which interest you would definitely be a prudent practice.

the street will also be nicely decorated with cultural colors, and if you’re in the right time, an amazing scene of lion dance performance by tens to hundred of troops might also be caught in sight during the Chinese New Year celebration and Mooncake Festival.

Jonker Walk is still very much nominated by Chinese traders. Excluding the foreigners, most of the local visitors are Chinese. The objective of reflecting multi-racial cultural attributes is yet to be significantly actualized.

The Jonker Street is not only known for its cultural attractions and unique building architectures, but delicious foods and local delicacies as well. Being day or night, Jonker Street or Jonker Walk, the street is full of a number of shops and cafes selling a wide variety of foods and beverages.

Jonker Street is usually full of crowds during the evening activities held on Fridays and weekends. If you’re seriously looking for antiques, you might consider avoiding the crowd by visiting the street during day time.

This place is the best tourist spot to learn and know about Melaka culture but not all things sold here such as handicrafts, clothes, furnitures and others are originally from Melaka. You should shop wisely and think twice before buying something because you might find those things in other places with better price.