My earliest memory of Melaka, was five years ago coming with my parents and thinking how much it sounded like the Greek (swear) word ‘Malaka.’
(As you do when you visit one of the most cultural and historical towns in the country.)
|You know it used to be a Dutch settlement when you see a windmill in the town square!|
I decided to refresh my memory and add some culture into an otherwise typical ‘Partaaayyy!’ weekend with a much needed road trip with friends!
Melaka, a colonial hot potato which bounced from Malay to Portuguese to Dutch hands, is one of the top tourist destinations when visiting Malaysia.
Interestingly, at first glance the town looks distinctly Chinese rather than European. You then soon discover a much more complex past, with the oldest functioning mosque in Malaysia to the oldest traditional Catholic Church in Malaysia as well as the oldest traditional Chinese temple in Malaysia. A few blocks further? The oldest Dutch building in the entire East!!! We learnt that the street which they are all located in is even called ‘Harmony street’ – because the three different houses of worship live happily side by side!
No wonder Malaysia is often marketed as ‘Asia’s cultural melting pot!’ It's even been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We did many touristy things like:
Take cheesy photos like this:
Take a beautifully decorated trishaw ride which played Michael Jackson hits as the lovely driver / tour guide took us around the town for just RM10 (£2) each!
Visit museums and historical sites like this:
|St. Paul's Church renamed by the Dutch|
Go on a night river boat ride. Unfortunately we were too pooped out to fully enjoy the experience. One thing that did strike me as odd were the towering large hotels disproportionately located just by the river distracting it from its beauty!
Also, what’s up with the Disneyland-style Ferris wheel? Poor tourist development I suppose.
The main attraction had to be Jonker street – for both the shopping and food!
Filled with old shophouses and quaint little shops you can get real bargains here! Cute handmade T-shirts and jewellery and Birkenstock sandals for 5 pounds!!! Of course, they were sold out in my size… :'(
We hopped from food stall to stall munching on goodies like radish cake which tasted like a potato-ey kind of omelette; cendol – a sweet dessert with ice, coconut milk, palm sugar and green jelly:
Last but not least, the famous Durian puffs!
Durian, the so called ‘King of Fruits’ is a proud symbol of Malaya. Looks like an overgrown Jackfruit on the outside, has an avocado-like seed on the inside and smells? Well, like sweet blue cheese is probably the nicest way of putting it. Needless to say, it’s an acquired taste. Personally I love the stuff and couldn’t get enough of the puffs!
People even travel all the way to Melaka to get their hands on these famous treats!
At the end of the day, five sweaty, full, happy bunnies made their way back to KL for the hour and half long journey… How did we try to stay awake?
A pop song sing-a-long of course!
Hey, it is Asia.