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A Volkswagen family weekend

As journalists, our work requires us to travel a fair bit and we sometimes wish we could bring our family and friends along for the ride. Reason being the scenic road drives we sometimes take, enjoying the cuisines of the various countries we visit and, every once in awhile, going to places not many people even know exist are only worthwhile when our family is with us.

Volkswagen Singapore must've read our minds because a short while back, we took a drive up north in an armada of its finest family haulers, and this time around, our loved ones were included!

Even though the drive wasn't to an exotic place like California's beautiful Pacific Coast Highway, or the mesmerising race track-like Transfagarasan in Romania, we had what's important - great cars and wonderful company.


Onward Malaysia

Being a Saturday morning, a light jam at the Tuas Checkpoint was expected. The convoy, which got split up as we made our way past the border, regrouped at the famous Gelang Patah R&R before heading towards our breakfast stop.

En route, we explored Johor's meandering B-roads, which to our amusement, wasn't slowing down even a paunchy Sharan. Clearly, we underestimated the corner-carving potential of this bunch of German family haulers.

The breakfast of champions

Having spent over an hour on the roads, we ended up in Jalan Bunga Raya, Layang-layang, for our long-awaited morning kopi and sumptous wanton meals. Given a choice, we'd love to laze our Saturday morning away downing more cups of aromatic Malaysian coffee but the open roads beckoned and we began our drive to our next location - Restoran Star's in 31, Jalan Sakeh, Taman Utama Satu, Muar.

From Jalan Bunga Raya to Muar, we drove an equal amount on B-Roads and the North-South Highway, experiencing the cars' composure on the Highway's long and fast straights, and taut dynamics on twistier roads. And to our surprise, the 1.4-litre cars on the trip managed to trail the 2.0-litre ones quite easily.

About 135 kilometres and two hours later, the convoy showed up outside Restoran Star's in Muar for some signature Malaysian-Chinese delicacies including sambal long beans and otah, of which, are an absolute must-try if you're a fan of spicy dishes.

Casa Del Rio Melaka

From there, we continued our drive on the North-South Highway towards Casa Del Rio Melaka, where we would rest our weary heads for the night. Casa Del Rio is a five-star luxury boutique, Mediterranean-inspired hotel built on the bank of the Melaka River.

There is a tropical and exotic vibe to the place, reminiscent of the homes Pablo Escobar lived in, and it pays tribute to the states pre-Portugal rule. The storied Jonker Night Market is a 10-minute walk away.

Upon checking in, we embarked on trishaw rides to various places of interest. The trishaws, which are heavily decorated with colourful lights, faux flowers and music, are a colourful tourist experience, lining up in the iconic Red Dutch Square daily.

The taste of Nyonya

Come sunset, we boarded a bus on the promise of a true taste of Malacca - Restoran Nyonya Makko. Again, if you're a fan of spicy fare, the authentic Nyonya dishes here are sure to tickle your tastebuds. From rendang to asam fish and sambal sotong, our tolerance for spice was put to the test but sweat forming on our foreheads, we persevered.

King of fruits, Joker of aromas

The next morning, the convoy headed towards the 'highlight' of the trip; a fruit plantation at Jalan Industri, Taman Perindustrian Tiara. There, we were treated to a tropical fruits feast including the star of the season, durians.

By the time we got back on the road towards Restaurant Rong Cheng in Yong Peng, Johor for lunch, the fruit coma had kicked in and the drive was done at a slower pace, at the same time, giving us the chance to enjoy the comfort and refinement of the cars we were in. And because we ate ourselves stupid during the durian stop, lunch - as delicious as it was - required some push to stomach.

So long, Malaysia

Post-lunch, we continued the last leg of our drive towards Singapore, whilst making a stop of two for photos and to rehydrate. The beauty of trips like these is, however short they are, we got to spend time by the sides of the people we love and judging from the smiles and laughter from mother to son and father to daughter throughout the drive, we wouldn't ask for anything more.

Text Credits: Nigel Yong

Photo credits: Low Fai Ming

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