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Bus ride to Melaka

Didn't sleep much as my phone kept vibrating beside my ear when E mails came through & kept waking to check the time that I hadn't slept in!!! Only 5 min walk to the Queen St Bus Station & we left on time at 8am. Really comfy bus - big wide seats, heaps of legroom & only 3 seats across the bus instead of 4.... company was called 707 Bus Company.

Once out of the city we went through Singapore Immigration - off the bus, show passports & back on. You have to know the bus number on the number plate & recognise your bus so that you don't get on the wrong bus when you exit the building at a different place from where you entered. We drove over the causeway linking us to Malaysia and then did the same again with Malaysian immigration except this time we took our luggage for scanning. No visa or money required which was nice!

The scenery is so lush and tropical - lots of palm plantations. The 3 1/2 trip went by quickly and as I arrived I asked the girl sitting in front of me if she knew where I needed to buy my return ticket. She needed one as well so I followed her and got my return ticket with the same bus company for 22 ringitt which is $7 Australian and it had cost $22 singapore ( $18 Australian ) to get here!!!!

When I asked her the best way to get to the old town district she said her boyfriend that was picking her up could drop me off. She is Chinese Malay & works in retail in Singapore & was home for her 2 days off. So nice of them to drop me off near the Melaka river & I then went walking looking for a guesthouse. The first one , Heeran House looked really nice but was full. I wandered around in REALLY humid conditions for about 15 mins before coming across Cheng Ho Guesthouse. Nothing great, but for 50 RM ($16 AUS) would do for 2 nights. Has a shared bathroom & most importantly... air con!!!!!. It is so hot!!!.

Started my wanderings just after midday & the sun was scorching hot. The streets of the historic old town are narrow mostly with no footpaths, with families living and working from their chinese shopfronts. It was listed as a World Heritage site in 2008 & is a great place full of interesting buildings but retaining its original form with local families still living and working from their shophouses.

Never have I seen so many museums & galleries...... you could be kept busy for days with the museums - a legacy of their rich history.

Melaka is this melting pot of nationalities and has been occupied by the Portugese, Dutch and English and has been independant now for just over 50 years sine 1956. It was originally founded by a Sumatran prince in the 1400's. It grew from a fishing village to a major shipping port & trading centre in the 15th and 16th centuries . merchants from the east & west came here to trade spices, silk & other treasures. It used to have 2000 ships moored just outside the rivermouth & there would be up to 84 languages being spoken.

It is also the centre of Peranakan culture - when the Chinese first settled they took local brides & adopted many local customs which resulted in an interesting mix of cultures. The men are addressed as babas & the women as Nonyas. They have a distinctive architecture & foods. Toniight I had Nonya chicken with potato & mushrooms & it was yummy.

It is predominantly Muslim but also has a lot of chinese and a few remaining Portugese! The street I am staying in has a Hindu Temple, Chinese temple and Mosque!! A few times a day you hear the call to prayer go out across the town from the mosques.

The river is not wide and lined with chinese shop houses. It didn't take long to hear/notice the trishaws- they ar brightly adorned bicycles with the loudest techno music coming from them, adorned with hundreds of brightly coloured plastic flowers and a sidecar attached to the bike for the customer to sit in. You are your own party going down the street. Decided there and then that I had to do that!!

Wanderd along the river one side and then over the bridge to the other side to look at the old Catholic church St Francis of Xavier. Up to the Stadhuys which is the most imposing relic of the Dutch era with a massive red town hall and governers residence .Christ Church was built in 1741 & the governer's residence in 1660. Around these stand out buildings is lovely Red Square with a clock tower and fountain & all around it are the brightly coloured trishaws.

On the riverfront is an old runed fort with some canons and behind it the recently constructed Sultanate Watermill. Then onto a repica of a portugese ship...it was magnificent and you could imagine when it had it's rectangular sails how imposing on the waters it would have looked. It was so high and made of beautiful polished dark wood. Inside was a museum with an intersting maritime history display. Beside it was an even bigger maritime museum which was also interesting & about all the differnt explorers I remember learning about at Primary school - Tasman, Magellan, Cook etc.

Looked in some shops and bought Alaiya a cute little pink batik dress for $6 Aus

Going into the museums was a welcome respite fro the heat as they had aircon!!. Always amazes how when I walk into aircon it feels instantly wonderful but within minutes does not feel nearly cool enough!!

Jumped on a boat for a 45 min ride up the river - which nice and relaxing with a bit of a breeze. Passed some old traditional Malay homes, went under lovely ornamental pedestrian bridges & many painted buildings with modern artwork over them.

Now it was time to go on my 1 hour trishaw ride for 40 RM ( about $13 Aus).They don't actually want to ride you around for an hour ( can't blame them) but rather ride you to a couple museums and wait outside and then ride you back!!! I had already been to a few places so we went to the Porta De Santiago (A Famosa Fort) Gate which is all that remains of the old Portugese & Dutch forts that was built in 1511

Up lots of stairs to the ruins of St Pauls Church which had a great view over the town and out to see to the Melaka Straits. It was built in 1521 by the Portugese & is now just a shell.Had a quick look at a Dutch graveyard , and then in in replica of the old Sultanate Palace, a beautiful wooden building& even quicker look at the Independance Museum before he dropped me back 15 mins early. I pointed out that we still had time to ride around and so he reluctantly took me around Chinatown!!

Found a hairdressing shop that will wash my hair tomorrow for 10 ringitt Yay.. just like Cambodia. Massage is not common here and more expensive than Thailand or Cambodia. It has been too hot to eat lunch so I had a Nonya Cendol - nice dessert of palm sugar, coconut milk, red beads,green noodles and shaved ice. Interesting combo and actually not a bad dessert.

Wandered around the riverfront as now just dark & very liitle open in the way of restaurants - I think the weekends are much busier.

Melaka River

Melaka River


St Francis Xavier Church

St Francis Xavier Church


Colourful Bougainvillia

Colourful Bougainvillia


Glassy river

Glassy river


Covered walkway outside shops

Covered walkway outside shops


Brightly coloured Trishaws

Brightly coloured Trishaws


Fountain in front of Stadthuys

Fountain in front of Stadthuys


Church of Christ church

Church of Christ church


Clock Tower

Clock Tower


Sultanate waterwell

Sultanate waterwell


View from Melaka River Cruise boat

View from Melaka River Cruise boat


Bright Bridge over the River

Bright Bridge over the River


River Cruise

River Cruise


Portugese ship

Portugese ship


Trishaw Ride

Trishaw Ride


The Driver & I

The Driver & I


Porta De Santiago 1511

Porta De Santiago 1511


Independence Museum

Independence Museum


View over Straits of Melaka

View over Straits of Melaka


Ruins of St Pauls Church

Ruins of St Pauls Church


View from St Pauls Church

View from St Pauls Church


View to Eye of Malaysia

View to Eye of Malaysia


St Pauls

St Pauls


Melaka Sultanate Palace

Melaka Sultanate Palace


Kampong Hulu Mosque 1728

Kampong Hulu Mosque 1728


Peranakan style

Peranakan style


River at night

River at night


St Francis church at night 1849

St Francis church at night 1849


My street

My street


Tea House

Tea House

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in Malaysia

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