Malacca is a funny old place.
Arriving on the bus from Kuala Lumpur, on motorways that could easily have been in Surrey, I felt as if we’d left Asia. It was all a bit too Western.
We got off the bus at Malacca Sentral, not to be greeted by touts, but by helpful people pointing us in the direction of the official taxi rank. The taxi drivers didn’t try to rip us off, they got together to discus where we were going, agreed a reasonable price and who should take us. When the driver couldn’t find our guest house he drove round searching and didn’t charge us any extra. Refreshing and lovely, but really weird, I’m not used to this after months in South East Asia.
I’m struggling to write a post about Malacca, it’s so diverse. The city itself is incredibly modern, but the old town that centers around Jonker St. is a different world. Old, really, really old, and stunningly beautiful. But I’ve got this weird feeling that I’m in a kind of historical theme park.
It’s beautiful and gorgeous, but it’s SO full of tourists, so full you can barely move on the weekends, let alone find a room. The roads are littered with these crazy, decorated, musical pedal rickshaws pumping Gangnam Style through pimped up sound systems. There is a Hard Rock Cafe.
Jonker St. itself is a historical and architectural delight, turned gift shop.
I have mixed feelings. I love it, but it’s not the sleepy old town I expected.
The diversity is what gives Malaysia and Malacca it’s uniqueness. The Indian, Malay and Chinese communities live side by side with colonial history showing through. There is blending, of course, but each community retains some identity.
Back at our guest house we’re woken by the call to prayer from the mosque at 5 something am, shortly followed by the gongs of the Chinese Temple directly opposite, our first day of exploration has begun.
Withing 2 minutes we can be in a Hindu temple dedicated to Ganesh, step inside and you really wouldn’t know you were anywhere other than India.
I really love the authenticity, diversity and acceptance. Malacca is, without a doubt, my favourite part of Malaysia so far. If I had to recommend one part of Malaysia to visit, this would be it.
It’s not what I expected, but that’s OK. I suppose it’s like going to Devon or Cornwall and expecting genuine fishermen to live in the fishermen’s cottages and finding tea shops instead. I think I just expected too much. Expectations are your worst enemy sometimes. We have almost a week to explore and enjoy Malacca before we head down to Johor Baru for Legoland, I’m looking forward to some great food while we’re here. I’ll let you know how it goes.
You can see where we stayed and what we paid in Malacca here Cheap Family Accommodation in Malacca
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