Melaka

Melaka

  • Restaurants:
    1. Pin Pin Hiong: Located in Chinatown on the corner of Jalan Tukang Besi near the river. This hole in the wall had really good Chinese food and was very reasonably priced. We ordered the sweet and sour pork and fried rice.

We decided to do a day trip to Melaka, an old city about 2 hours south of KL. It was super easy to find the bus terminal (it’s a stop on the LRT) and we bought roundtrip tickets for 18 ringgits/person. We took a 9:30am coach bus and got to Melaka Sentral Bus Station at 11:30ish. We walked around the bus terminal several times trying to find the local city bus that we could take to Town Square (the center of the old city) but it was very confusing and surprise, nobody was manning the information desk. So we ended up having to take a taxi for 15 ringgits for a 10 minute ride – almost the same price as our 2 hour comfortable bus from KL. But we didn’t have any other options.

Melaka is a port city that was founded by a Hindu prince from Sumatra before it was taken over by the Chinese in 1405. It was then conquered by the Portuguese in 1511, the Dutch in 1641 and finally the British in 1795. As a result there are many different competing influences throughout the old city, from Dutch architecture in the Town Square to the Chinese influence of the local cuisine. The old part of town is a UNESCO world heritage sight and we mainly walked around this area. Although the entire city of Melaka is quite large, I was surprised that the old city was so small. We pretty much walked around most of it in an hour. It’s a charming little town with good Chinese restaurants, but there’s not a whole lot to do. However, I’m still glad we saw it and had the chance to walk around.

Chinatown

After lunch Rosie went to reach for her iphone and she realized it wasn’t there. She started to panic and tried to remember the last time she used it. Luckily she was pretty sure that she left it next to one of the computers in the lobby of the hostel, which was good news because someone probably saw it and turned it into the front desk. Otherwise the chances of finding it were very unlikely. When we got back to the hostel that night they had the iphone waiting at the front desk. She was soooo relieved! I don’t think we both realized how important our iphones would be in terms of checking our email, doing research, booking things etc. I definitely didn’t expect there to be free wifi at nearly every guesthouse/hostel, so that was a great surprise. I was also shocked at how many fellow backpackers had macbooks and ipads with them. I thought we’d be a minority with our iphones, but turns out everyone brought their gadgets with them. For our purposes an iphone was perfect – we could check email, facebook etc, and it’s small and lightweight to carry around at all times.

We actually ended up back in the Melaka bus station later in the week after all the direct buses from Kota Bharu to Singapore were sold out. So we took a bus from Kota Bharu to Melaka and then from Melaka onwards to Singapore.

We were pretty exhausted when we arrived in Melaka at 8am. It was a long 12 hour bus trip and we made about 8 unscheduled stops throughout the night, sometimes for more than an hour. The bus was on the crappier side and the seats hardly reclined. The only good part is that there wasn’t any “entertainment” playing. (We took SKA Express but we should have tried to get on a KKKL, Transnacional, or Cyber Bus which all looked much nicer). I definitely didn’t think I would be back in Melaka twice in one week, but at least we were familiar with the bus station at that point. We got on a 9am bus to Singapore for 22 ringgits/person. It was a pretty easy trip considering you have to clear immigration twice. It took 3 hours to get to the border, then you get off the bus and clear Malaysian immigration and Singaporean immigration, and then the bus picks you up on the other side to take you to Lavender Station in Singapore. The bus driver took off without half the bus so I’m not really sure what happened there, but I’m just glad we got back on in time! In total the trip took about 4.5 hours.

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