Two Days in Melaka: Hidden Art Treasurers, History and Fun!
Getting to Melaka
To get to our two days in Melaka, first we had to get a bus. We took an Uber to the main (south) bus station (TBS), from where we bought a ticket for the princely sum of MYR 15 each. Clearly a bargain. The bus took around 2 1/2 hours and it was ok comfort wise. Not the same standards as the South American buses, but that said a tiny fraction of the cost too. It did the job!!
On arrival we took another Uber for MYR 6 to Hotel Puri, our accommodation for our two days in Melaka.
A Bit of History
Most people who know me, or read this blog (thanks Mom!) know that I’m a bit of a history nerd (thanks to Mr Smith, my history teacher). So, Melaka is in the so called “History State” so it was bound to be on our itinerary. The city centre itself is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It began life as a successful Sultanate, with good relationships with China. This relationship’s influence can be seen everywhere. The Portuguese then colonised the area, followed by the Dutch and then the British. It was then under Japanese control during WWII before finally begin part of the independent country of Malaysia.
We arrived to see a massive Tesco sign, not quite the historic capital that we expected!
Eating and Drinking Melakan Style
Of course, our first priority when visiting anywhere is where we are going to eat. So for our two days in Melaka we were keen to search some good food out. There is a good variety here with a strong Chinese influence. We ate in Bistro 1673 and the Geographer. Both places were really good with plenty of vegetarian choices too. We did also eat in our hotel but I wouldn’t recommend.
There seems to be a lot of durian fruit products here that you can have any way you like. A local speciality is chicken curry in a large bread bun. As I don’t eat chicken and Greg doesn’t eat bread we didn’t try but it looked cool!
We had read that one or two days in Melaka were enough and we would say that’s true. As usual, we were unlucky with the weather and it rained HARD every day and evening from 3pm onwards. Despite this, we managed to get ourselves around, so here are our experiences.
The Stadthuys and Christ Church
I guess if we were Dutch, these buildings would have held more interest to us. As it was, they were incredible to look at with their red facade, but that’s about it. Our two days in Melaka didn’t really include many Dutch highlights.
Other people clearly love this place though as there are many tourist facilities nearby. I managed to buy a hat (humidity hair strikes again) for less than £5 from one of the many stalls around. A highlight (for Greg) was me burning my bum on the I “heart” Melaka sign! Man, it was hot!!!! We also spent time chatting to a local dancing man that charges you for dancing with him, as you do. Also watching the many tricycles plying their trade.
Melaka Sultanate Palace
I went to the palace on my own, Greg isn’t such a history buff! It was quite interesting. The building resembled a few that I’d seen in Japan. It told the story of the Sultans of Melaka, in what was a tough environment. There were mannequins to act out scenes, which hilarious all looked like Colonel Gaddafi. It was like a bulk lot became available and they were then made to ‘look” Chinese, Thai, Japanese, European whatever. I probably looked like a complete idiot giggling my way around.
Proclamation of Independence Memorial & Kota A’Famosa
These are just outside of the Sultanate Palace. The A’Famosa was originally built by the Portuguese as a fortress. It is very well photographed and it is impossible to get a photo without it being photobombed by many.
St Paul’s Church & Dutch Graveyard
In the same area is St Paul’s Church, built by the Portuguese. It is in remarkably good condition considering it’s age.
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
This is the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia, built in 1646. There are ornate carvings on the roof showing mythological figures. You are free to walk around. But obviously be respectful to those around you.
There are so many museums here that you could spend a week looking around I am sure, but they are quite Malaysian specific so I’m not sure that we would have gotten much out of it.
The old town is really easy to walk around, or you can take one of the colourful tricycles around. These are hilarious, blasting out ultra loud teen pop music everywhere they go.
Greg had found details of street art in Melaka. We are both big fans of art in general, but particularly street art so we set off to find it. I think that this was perhaps the highlight of our two days in Melaka. We were off the beaten path seeing many different sights and meeting the locals.
Next, we head back to KL then onto the Cameron Highlands. It’s time for tea!