From Thailand we flew into Kuala Lumpur then hopped on a bus for the 2 1/2 hour trip south to Melaka.
The city was settled by the Portuguese in the 1500’s (we had a trishaw driver who was 16th generation Portuguese) and the Dutch in the 1600’s so many of the buildings around the Old Town have European influences, such as those in Dutch Square.
Why anyone would want to drive the poky mostly one lane streets is beyond us, it’s hard enough to walk some of them. The main tourist street is Jonker St. It’s a mix of restaurants and souvenir stores.
On the weekends there is a night market that fills the street with vendors selling things like mini rice cookers, microfiber cloths, jewellery , food, electronic accessories etc. It was great to look around even though it was pretty packed with people.
We were some of the very few western tourists around, most of the tourists come from within Asia, especially Singaporeans, other Malaysians and Koreans.
Malaysia in our opinion has the best shopping we’ve seen in Asia in terms of a mix of price and quality. We grabbed 2 pairs of shoes, real bargains at least 1/2 of what you’d pay in NZ. We’re not talking knock offs in a street market either, these are branded shoes in a new flash mall, we can’t understand why the exact same pairs would be double the price at home. No wonder online shopping is becoming more popular every day.
To get out of the midday heat we could have visited the many museums (stamp, meteor, maritime), but instead we chose the airconditioned mall to look around. We like going to foreign malls because it (seriously) feels like we’re getting to see more locals than if we stuck to the tourist itinerary. Also mall food courts in asian countries often have much better food than the ‘famous”‘ recommended and well reviewed spots.
We also went on a river cruise one night. It was great to get away from the traffic for a bit and see the lit up buildings from the winding river, you wouldn’t want to go for a swim though, it doesn’t smell the best. The pedestrian bridges crossing the river are all different designs that give it lots of character.
Malacca was good to visit, probably better for a just couple of days (we had 5) unless you have your own transport to get further afield than the Old Town. We found it a bit odd how few bars and restaurants stayed open late, the majority closed by about 9pm.
Well, we’re heading closer to home but before we get there we’ve got a quick stop in Melbourne to catch up with friends and no doubt sample the best coffee we’ve had in 12 months.