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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Malaysia | Historical Melaka

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

We left Singapore on Sunday morning bound for 'the cheaper land' where we could afford more things and not be limited as much with our spending. Or at least afford more than PB sandwiches.... We arrived in the west coast town of Melaka just after lunch and headed to our hostel, which was Apa Kaba Homestay. The hostel was ran by a family which lived on the other side of the house. They had a couple of bathrooms and a little kitchen area for the guests along with the guest rooms. Any rooms that were not air conditioned had wide open windows to let through the breeze. When we got there we found out we had accidentally booked a non-air conditioned room, but it did have fans so we thought we'd try it out for the one night.

Rich History of Melaka

We set out to explore the town. Melaka has a rich history and was a major port for the western Malaysian coastline for hundreds of years. In fact, it was named as an UNESCO Heritage site in 2008. Melaka had been occupied by various groups of people including the British and Portuguese; and then many Indians, Chinese and Indonesians migrated here as well, so it is a really diverse community, much like most of Malaysia. As we explored you could see each of the influences left by the different ethnic groups. Around parts of the river it had a very Portuguese or Southern European feel to it.

River Cruise

We first wandered to Chinatown and then along the riverfront. They had river cruises, so we decided to take one of those because it was only 10 RM ("Ringet") per person [About 3.3 RM = 1 USD]. The boat ride was nice, but on the way down the river the sun was shining directly on us so it got a little hot. The heat here is pretty harsh, especially with the humidity. But when you are not in the sun and there is a nice breeze, it feels nice. So in the mid part of the day we try to go inside or stay in the shade. One day we looked at the forecast and in the middle of the day it had a high temperature of 86-90 degrees, but it had a feel-like temperature of 107-110.

Melaka Food Center

For dinner that evening we tried out a Food Center that had various vendors with the traditional types of food. It's basically like a food court back home, but just in an open-air auditorium. It was also nice because the food was cheap! When we got back to the hostel that night, our room was a boiler room. Alex just sat there and sweated like a glass of coke sitting out in the sun. Eventually we couldn't imagine sleeping in this heat for the entire night and checked with the owner to see if he had any AC rooms available. Luckily he did so we changed rooms for an additional $7 and were able to sleep a little more soundly. Many of the Malaysian people commented that it was hotter than normal for this time of year and they haven't had a Jan./Feb. as warm as this for three years.

Melaka Cultural Museum

The next morning we set out to visit more of the Chinatown area, an abandoned Portuguese church and then to the Melaka Cultural Museum, which was a re-created Sultan castle. The sultan was the "king" of the Malacca area for many years and the museum showcased some of the old Sultan's things and showed what the sultan and his family and court members would traditional wear.

Departing to Kuala Lumpur

After lunch, we went back to the hostel to pick up our bags to head to the bus station. As we were getting ready to depart, the owner said that he had to leave to the area of town where the bus station was so he would take us. So he drove us in his air-conditioned car to the bus stop, which was great because we were able to avoid walking in the heat to the bus stop and taking the non-AC bus in the middle of the day; and it was free transport! It was the best form of transportation yet that we've had on the trip!

We got our tickets to Kuala Lumpur and took the 2 hour bus drive to KL. We spent a little time looking for a hostel but found one and settled in. Later that night we headed out to grab something to eat and decided to go to this food stall area again. Alex had some Singapore Noodles and I had some Lemon Chicken Rice. However, at these street stall restaurants they have the tables sitting outside and it started to rain as we were sitting down. So the restaurant workers rushed to bring out these big beach umbrellas to set up to protect us from the rain.

I was a bit doubtful that we would keep dry under this seemly unsteady umbrellas, but they withheld the rain and wind nicely. Luckily by the time we were done eating the rain had stopped and we avoided getting wet!

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