Malaysia, RTW: 2007-2008, Southeast Asia — By on October 9, 2008 6:05 PM

After the jungle, we headed Melaka, which turned out to be a charming town full of Malaysian history. We arrived in Melaka on October 1st, the first day after the end of Ramada which is a big celebration for the Muslim communities as well as the beginning of a week long holiday. Melaka was crowded and we had to wander the streets in search of an available room. We were sent to the “Yellow Mansion” which was far from a mansion and seemed to be in dodgy area. We checked out the room but decided to find something better. To our surprise, the hotel manager started screaming at us in anger for not taking the room and we literally ran out of the mansion as he continued to scream. I found him to be quite scary as he had no teeth and reminded me of a goblin.

We ended up taking a room at a Chinese-run hotel, Chong Hoe, which was basic, clean, right in the middle of Chinatown, and only cost a whopping total of $8 USD.

Historically Melaka has been one of the most sought after havens in the region. In the 14th century, a Hindu prince from Sumatra Indonesia, chose Melaka as a favoured port for resupplying trading ships. From this time, Melaka became protected by the Chinese in 1405, then dominated by the Portuguese in 1511, then the Dutch in 1641, and then finally ceded to the British in 1795.

Town Square, also known as Dutch Square is the center of a well preserved museum district.

We visited the ruins of St. Paul’s Church, built in 1521 by a Portuguese sea captain, and overlooking the famous Straights of Melaka.

Chinatown is Melaka’s most interesting and scenic area. We spent much time wandering through the narrow streets, ducking into cafes, art galleries, and random shops. We were quite amused by the many cyclos in town. They were decked out with “flare” and blasted hip hop music.

We checked out a shop where the owner boasted that he was the only person in Malaysia that still made the original bound shoes. I imagine there is not much of a demand by women for these little shoes although if we had lived in the era when these shoes were popular, our degree of sexiness would be decided on the size of your feet! Women would wear these tiny, and painful shoes to stunt the growth of their feet. It is amazing to me that women have been suffering for centuries in the name of beauty and fashion. I felt blessed for my freakishly small feet! Women would have been so jealous of me back in the day!

Apparently Malaysia is obsessed with world records and publishes its own Malaysia Book of World Records once a year. We had the pleasure of seeing the worlds largest cookie!

Nicole and I found ourselves a bit bored in Melaka. After we saw all the main sights, we stumbled into a huge mall and decided to take ourselves to a movie. Neither one of us have watched much TV and have seen no movies in the past four months. I was excited to see that “The Other Boleyn Girl” was playing as I had enjoyed reading the book a few years back.

After three days in Melaka we boarded a bus and rode 4 hours to cross the border to Singapore.

To see photos of Melaka CLICK HERE.

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