Another day, another early start. It was time for me to leave the city and head to the coastal town of Malacca. The drive down to my destination took just over an hour on some really scary roads. Driving in Malaysia is crazy, I have never experienced anything like it. I’ll just say I am now eternally grateful for seat belts. Once I was out of KL the greenery of Malaysia was beautiful; exactly how I had pictured the country to be. Seeing the rainforest going over the horizons was simply beautiful. Something that shocked me was the palm oil plantations dotted along the road side. I have heard about these in the news but naively I didn’t think much of them. They are huge and are taking away beautiful natural forests and homes for numerous animals. Since this visit to Malaysia, my photographer and I have decided to stop using anything with palm oil in it.
Arriving in Malacca I was impressed with all of the older buildings, it was the Malaysia I imagined; colonial, colourful and old. I am totally converted to day trips, especially when there is only limited time on short trips. But, once again I found myself annoyed once again as we stopped at a small catholic church (which was clearly looking for money). It’s lovely to see how the Europeans left some sort of influence on the Malaysian population. Though whilst in Asia, I like to subject myself to things I wouldn’t see at home. I had been hoping to visit the Melaka Straits mosque which is perched on stilts on the waters edge.
Everyone was ready to leave the church earlier than the guide said to be back at the multicoloured minivan, so we all headed off into the centre of Malacca. We were dropped off near a giant boat, where we began a walking tour of the city. The boatis a smaller replica of one the Portuguese arrived on in 1511 to colonize the area. It was very interesting to see. The Malacca river was beautiful and I had great views out to sea and into the city. Most excitingly, I saw a jellyfish! Floating around happily in the water, so close to where I was standing, sadly he was all alone. I even got to experience the world’s most disgusting toilets which are priced at RM3. This price provides you with no toilet roll, no air con and toilets which have never been introduced to toilet duck (rant over). Feeling sweaty, stressed and dirty I carried on looking around Malacca by following the river toward the city centre.
The next stop was at the main square which is all red and has a big Dutch influence. So much so I met some friendly cows who were guarding a windmill. The opposite side of the road was home to a pedestrianised square which has a huge clock tower in the centre, a fountain gifted from Queen Victoria and a huge I Love Melaka sign (which I just had to pose next to).
Dotted around the outside of the square were weird tuk tuk vans that were covered in plushies (stuffed animals). Once again I was hassled by the drivers to get in and ride, even though they could clearly see I was on a guided walking tour. I know this is a recurring theme in my Malaysia blogs but I was starting to get annoyed with it. So much so, I chose to cross the road to see the colourful cows and their windmill which had a beautiful view of the river.
I was so sick of the drivers I left the square to go to the fort, A Famosa. I found huge dinosaur on the way, he was warming up in the sunshine outside of muzium kecantikan. A Famosa is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Southeast Asia. The Porta de Santiago, a small gate house, is the only part of the fortress which still remains today.
It was built in 1511 by the first Portuguese settlers and lasted centuries until the British got their hands on it. They decided it would be too much hard work to keep the fort nice and demolished it in 1807. One kind human, who was in charge of the demolition, chose to save the gate, Porta Di Santiago, which still stands today. Behind the small fortress gate is a hill which you can walk up, if you are feeling energetic. I was so I decided to see what was up there. My photographer tagged along for the mini adventure but nearly melted on the walk up the hill because it was pushing 40 degrees!
At tthe top of the hill I found some ruins of the oldest church in South East Asia. St Paul’s Church was built in 1521 and is another area of Malacca with a history of the British, Dutch and Portuguese fighting between each other. Its sad this place was left to go to ruin but it has provided a beautiful perspective on the area. St Paul’s Church also has one of the most beautiful views of the Strait. I made a friend in the shade who told me how to keep cool in the Malaysian sunshine.
After a busy morning of exploring, I had worked up quite an appetite. So I went to try some traditional cuisine. Baba nyonya is one of the many ethnicities found in Malaysia, this one related to the Chinese who married Malaysians. This has created a beautiful culture and some very, very tasty food. Restoran Baba Sayang is hidden on an unassuming side street. I had the opportunity to try lots of different dishes; the spicy tofu and buttered greens were my favourite. The dessert was a totally different experience than anything I have ever had. Cendol is a sweet, layered, iced dessert containing green worm-shaped jellies (made with either rice flour or green bean flour), coconut milk and a sugar syrup known as gulu melaka, or palm sugar. To this day I can’t decide if I liked it, all I know is that it was very sweet.
Lunch set me up for my next adventure. Stay tuned to see what I got up to next!
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