If you are planning your next trip to Melaka, one uniquely enchanting place you should pay a visit is The Baboon House @ 89, Heeren Street or now known as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Malacca.
Don’t be frightened off by the name Baboon House. It is actually an art gallery-cum-cafe. You don’t need to have an appreciation for art to visit this once abandoned century-old double storey shop house. But if you love aesthetic value, you would love this “decrepit” place even more.
I use the word “decrepit” to describe this place because even though this traditional shop house has been restored, but it still has its original look and feel. Many parts of the house are still left in the dilapidated state. You can find weather-beaten walls, crevices, rickety-looking stairways, broken windows, abandoned well and the place is luxuriantly overgrown with wild creepers, big ferns and other many other types of plants.
Anyway, do not be alarmed by the decaying look of The Baboon House. It is a safe and rare place to chill out.
The front portion of the shop house is an art gallery-cum-store where it sells handicrafts, souvenirs, artwork and printed T-shirts. In fact you will find many of creative paintings displayed all over the house. Most, if not all are drawn by the owner of The Baboon House Roger Song.
The second section of the premises is where The Baboon Cafe is housed. Once you step into the cafe area, you will be greeted by a huge painting on the faded wall of the open-air courtyard, illuminated by the bright sunshine from the air well above. And not forgetting the uncluttered creepers, a giant ivy plant and other greenery
This is the spot to hang out with your love one or friends over an icy-cold drink, after your tiring walk around the Jonker Street area, especially under the scorching humid heat of Melaka. Even if you come alone, you will love the cool, relaxing and peaceful open courtyard, amid soft music wafting in the background.
The cafe is known for its juicy home-made burgers. The other day I was there, I ordered a honey mustard chicken burger. Not only it tasted delectable, but the portion is huge too.
Walk through the wooden stained glass swinging doors, you come to another plant-filled courtyard and air well. The original washroom structure and an indoor well are still there.
Keep walking and you will come to the kitchen area. And beyond the kitchen, is a long stretch of open brick-laid walkway flanked by more green on both sides. It leads all the way to the back wall, where the washrooms are located.
On the right side of this long stretch of green plants, there is a shallow pond and a gazebo-like structure surrounded with creepers and ferns. For smokers, this is a perfect spot to chill out. Inside this shady structure, there are rattan chairs, a simple table made out of tree trunks and a recycled plank. the wall is adorned with Roger Song’s artwork, old photo and a wooden brush. There is also a fish aquarium.
Remember to drop by the fascinating Baboon House at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. It opens every day, except on Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is definitely one of the many tourist attractions in Melaka you should visit at least once.