Malaysia Magic In Melaka
Trip Start Jan 18, 2012
217Trip End Jan 18, 2013
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Where I stayed
Day 121: Saturday 19th May
Today was to be a travel day. Unfortunately it would prove a little longer and a little more stressful than I had intended
Arriving in Melaka at the inappropriately named Central station I had hoped to catching a bus into town but due to the hour they had all stopped running leaving me with no choice but to get a taxi in
Dropping my stuff off, I wasted no time in heading out to the Jonker Street Market. This absolutely packed market must have easily been my busiest one yet by far.Despite being only about 400M long it takes the best part of forever to get to the other end (Think leaving a gig kind of crowds)
Day 122: Sunday 20th May
On Alan's recommendation I went for breakfast just down the road to a Chinese Dim Sum place. The primary thing that I came to eat here was called Pow, for which apparently it is famous nationwide. Essentially a large steamed dumpling filled with meat, egg and other tasty goodies this really was one of the best things I have eaten in Malaysia, and its got some pretty big competition. As a bonus you get some very tasty Chinese tea there (20p for a bottomless pot!), I found it was best to drink it quickly though as amazing as the first cup is it doesn't taste as good strong.
After breakfast I went to Dutch square. Just over the bridge from Chinatown it is the hub of the old colonial part of Melaka. The Stadthuys building is easily the most focal point of this pretty square. It used to be the main administrative building during the Dutch years but today it houses the History Museum. I got the free guided tour of Melaka's pretty turbulent history. Its been invaded and colonised successively by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. It's popularity with the Europeans was due to its reputation as a major trade city. As part of my ticket I also got to take a walk around the Democratic Government Museum. Unless you have a specific interest in this area I can't really recommend it as similarly to some of the other museums here its pretty specific
I went for lunch in a Hawker centre before exploring the more modern part of town. Inside the massive shopping centres here it really is hard to tell if your in Europe or Asia. Other than a few very Asian shops everything here is exactly as it would be back home, or at least a very close alternative. As I had plenty of time here and was taking Melaka at a leisurely place I even treated myself to a movie. I had the choice of 2 western films the Avengers or Dark Shadows, I chose the Avengers.
After chilling out back at the hostel for a while I went out for dinner with Rachel & Tania (From Birmingham) and a French guy whose name sadly I forget. We went on a bit of a wild goose chase for this elusive Indian Tandoori place, after a while we gave up and decided to walk into Little India to see if we could find somewhere there along the waterfront. Im glad we did as we came across this awesome little place that served Dosa's (Called Thosai in Malaysia for some reason) as well as Roti Chennai and all kinds of other tasty Indian cuisine. Best yet it cost peanuts, for me to have a Masala Thosai (Dosa), a Roti Chennai Telur and a nice cold Milo was less than £1. Somehow I knew I would be back a few times over the next few days.
Day 123: Monday 21st May
Pow and Chinese tea were on the menu for breakfast again today as I planned what would be the second of my nice relaxed days in Melaka. I started out by wandering through Chinatown, visiting one of the local temples as I made my way to the museums on the far side of Dutch Square. Finding most of the ones of interest there closed I headed instead for Porta De Santiago (Also known as A'famosa). This small ruin is the only part of the Dutch fort that still survives today, The British who had temporary control over Melaka decided (In a very forward thinking kind of way) to tear it down in order to make future attacks that much easier. Sir Stamford Raffles heard about this and had it stopped, unfortunately most of it was already gone and A'famosa was the only bit left standing. Walking through the arch of A'famosa I was confronted with the base of the sole natural elevation in the entire city. Heading up the hill I found at the top St.Pauls church. Another Relic from the Dutch period this one again had been modified by the British, this time in order to turn it into a lighthouse. The church itself was largely an unimpressive ruins however the height of the hill made for a nice breeze and a good view so the climb wasn't wasted by any means. Also onto of the hill is the Governors House. A former administrative residence it now performs the function of an even more mundane museum
After bumping into Rachel & Tania who in the absence of things to do had hired bikes for the day I wandered around Little India fruitlessly searching for the restaurant I had been in the night before. Eventually I gave up and got a far less interesting lunch from a local shop. Leaving myself enough of the city to explore the following day I decided to sink back into relax mode reading a book in a cafe and (I am ashamed to say) I went back to the cinema to watch the only other western film they were showing (Dark Shadows).
I spent the evening back at the hostel, watching a film and going out to the Indian for dinner (Bringing Alan back some take-away again). Later that evening whilst chatting with Rachel & Tania in the common area I heard someone outside calling out my name. I went out to investigate and was amazed to find Alex & Hannah (Who I'd been travelling with in Taman Negara) stood at the doorway
Day 124: Tuesday 22nd May
I had hoped to introduce Alex & Hannah to the Pow I had been enjoying so far for breakfast however annoyingly Tuesdays were apparently the day they decided to have off. Instead we had an "Full" English Breakfast at their hostels cafe. It wasn't as good as pow but was tasty enough and filled a hole. Being the energetic people that we are we decided to all hire some bicycles for the day as virtually all the hostels here provided them at little to no cost. It wasn't very long before we (Particularly Hannah, who was plagued by basket issues) discovered why they came at little to no cost. I led them through Dutch square along the river towards the sea, which if im honest wasn't really the great view that I think we had been hoping for. We had a walk along the pier though before heading back into the main part of the city.
The National Maritime Museum was the last real thing that I was fussed about doing in Melaka, mostly if im honest because part of the museum was on a full size replica of a Dutch ship
Seeking out a nice Chinese place for lunch turned out trickier than expected we ended up going up and town Chinatown a few times before finally settling on a place right back where we had started. Afterwards we had a quick look in nearby 8 Herren Street. A house museum, made to look like a traditional shop house during the Dutch era. Disappointingly it was basically empty and seemed to be a bit of a bizarre museum themed on materials more than anything else, still with free entry you can't really complain. Staying in Chinatown we went around the largest Chinese Temple in Malaysia. It was actually so big that the complex seemed to spill over onto the other side of the road.
Other than the (if im honest) boring other sections of the maritime museum I spent the rest of the afternoon taking Alex & Hannah on a tour of the rest of the towns main sights that I had already explored including Dutch Square and St
Day 125: Wednesday 23rd May
Another travel day and another day of goodbyes unfortunately. Alex & Hannah were headed to Port Dickson to unwind for a few days before heading to Kuala Lumpur and I was bound for Borneo via Kuala Lumpur. The pow place was open again today so we got to go there for breakfast. Afterwards we took a stroll long Jonker street popping in all the craft shops and making sure to pick up some Pineapple tarts (A local delicacy) along the way. After the girls left I spent a few hours surfing the web back at the hostel, getting one last dosa for lunch to see me through the day and then caught the bus to Melaka Central. I was lucky enough to find a bus that would take me directly to the airport, in Kuala Lumpur. It meant waiting around for over an hour but I was only going to be waiting around the airport anyway. Once there I had the unenviable task of setting up camp whilst I waited 11 hours until my plane was due.