Malacca is such a rest after the crowds of Japan and the noisy hurry of China! Its endless afternoon remains unbroken except by the dreamy, colored, slow-moving Malay life which passes below the hill. There is never any hurry or noise.
– Isabella Bird
After the 4 days spent in Kuala Lumpur, I took a 4 hour bus ride to Melaka/Malacca which is in the Southern region of the Malay Pennisula. It is mostly known as a historic town due to it’s architectural hitstory; evident of all eras in Malaysian history, from the presence of the Sultanate of Malacca in the 1300s to the arrival of the Dutch in the 1500s. Thus leading it to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as a conservation site.
AIRBNB IN MALACCA
As I had spent nearly 4 days in a shared hostel room, I opted to stay at a $40 a night Airbnb with a scenic view of the whole of Malacca and an infinity pool. As frugal as I usually am, I couldn’t help but listen to Tom Haverford’s advice “Treat Yo’ Self”. The host, Jim was really friendly and informative. Highly recommend his Airbnb if your ever in Malacca.
JONKER STREET AT NIGHT
The Grab Driver on my way to the Airbnb informed me that there was a night market that night on Jonker Street, the centre street of China Town in Malacca and I couldn’t miss it. The street was bustling with antique vendors, food vendors and music from a large karaoke event nearby. It was lovely walking through the street taking in the sights, sounds and smells.
JONKER STREET DURING THE DAY
Coming back to the street the next day, I couldn’t believe that it was the same space. The streets were quiet and only filled with early morning tourists taking tours of the space. The street art, overtly decorated Chinese shop-houses and the pimped out pedi-cabs made the walk through Jonker Street quite scenic.
I especially loved the pedi-cabs as they were reminiscent of pimped out Matatus in Nairobi, where you take a theme and go crazy! But now, an Asian one. From Pikachu to Ben 10 to Hello Kitty, there is a pedi-cab for any animated character you can think of.
I stopped by the Baba Nyonya Musuem which is a converted shophouse and learnt a lot about ancient Chinese culture. The Baba-Nyonya were the initial Chinese immigrants to settle along the shores of Malaysia in cities such as Penang & Malacca as traders and intermarried with the locals. Artifacts such as their wedding attire, funeral attire and cutlery are all displayed. I thoroughly enjoyed learning their history.
The theme of my entire trip seemed to be architectural history as I found myself in the Muzium Seni Bina Malaysia (Architectural Museum in Malacca) learning about Malaysian architecture. From the shop-houses to the traditional stylings to the Indian, Dutch and Chinese influences that have shaped Malayisian architecture today, Malaysian architecture is a wonderful mish-mash of stylings that has created a unique identity for the country.
This finally led me to the Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum. The building is a modern reconstruction of the palace of the Melaka Sultanate filled with artifacts and displays of significant events that occurred during his reign. Everything from public meetings to sentencing to even sleeping occurred in this wooden palace that led me to believe that the sultan hardly got out of his house. He was just a homebody like most of us.
Being totally and completely alone in Malacca was a breath of fresh air where I got to explore and learn so much about Malaysian culture and heritage. I would totally recommend it.
Have a lovely week.