… Just passing through
Melaka is cited in many guide books, tourist info, etc as a must see on the Malaysia tour… It used to be a major port back in the day and has been owned by the Brits, the Dutch and the Portugese down the line so has lots of interesting colonial heritage blah blah blah. And it just happens to be halfway between KL and Singapore so is perfect as a stopover post.
I ended up travelling and staying with a guy from the hostel in KL which was cool, we wandered round the sights, had a few beers of an evening, picked the 9pm movie back at the hostel… (Casino Royale the first night, Babel the second, both fab!)
So it was all very pleasant apart from two major factors:
1 – It was stinking hot, a kind of fierce dry heat that induced continual sweating;
2 – It’s practically a ghost town during the week which is when we were there so most shops, restaurants etc were shut.
Basically it’s a popular weekend place for KL and Singapore folk who descend Friday to Sunday. But it would seem the backpacker Rupiah is not enough to keep this tourist town alive and kicking Monday to Thursday so in the evenings the streets were mainly desterted. Shame, as the Chinatown was lovely, really well restored and pretty – and believe me I’ve seen a lot of Chinatowns this trip so I should know… But no red laterns lit up when we were there, or anything open at all for that matter.
But there were still nice sights and buildings to see by day and we found an awesome satay restuarat which all the locals seemed to love and so did we. You pick the kebab things you want from a massive selection in the fridges then take them to your table and cook them in a boiling pot of satay kind of wedged in the middle. It makes your legs rather warm being sat around a stove, but it was still very good fun.
On the food theme...cakes are also big in Malaysia (which I may have already mentioned) so it is very hard to pass a good bakery type place without stopping for a snack stop. Extra special treat here however came in the form of Portugese tarts - awesome! Not as good as the ones from the Portugese bakery on the Albert Embankment but still an unexpected taste of home.
There were also two super, shiny and new (and far more orderly than the ones in KL) shopping malls, slap bang in the centre of town. So, for the purposes of enjoying the air conditioning only, I had a good peruse there too… Only two tops bought.... well it was important I kept on good shopping form for the retail mecca of Singapore, just four hours drive down the coast and the venue for the next exciting installment…