We arrived sunday evening into Melaka and headed straight for the hostel where it turned out I’d got my dates mixed up and booked us in the following night! Oops! The woman was absolutely wonderful though and stuck us in a 2 bed room. 🙂
We dropped our bag and headed straight out to Jonkers Night Market, as this was the only night we could see it, and found ourselves in a flood of people heading up and down these two streets meeting at a stage. The street food looked amazing and we soon got a fair sized list of things we wanted to try!
As we passed a small cake stall we took a look to see exactly what the cakes were and then moved on to the next stall, once again they had some pretty funky looking cakes. As we moved on the owner asked us where we were from – often if you chat too much then it’s quite difficult to not buy something – but I mentioned I lived in scotland and straight away this merchant shouted ‘oh Scotland, I give you free cake!’
So I shouted Rachel who had made her way through the crowd and this man took us to his friends stall and bought us a full bag of these cool fluffy cake things! He said ‘If you come to Melaka you must try these!’ And before we could offer him one or anything he’d run off to sing Kareoke on this very grand stage overlooking the market!
Then after a thorough walk around and a fair amount of satay chicken, weird potato crisp things on a stick, amazing tea collections, we headed back to the hostel and met a guy staying there – Harry. He was from manchester and we got chatting and ended up joining him and his friend for a night boat tour down the river.
All in all we just found Melaka the most friendly place!
The hostel was the best so far. Ringo’s Foyer was owned by a guy called Howard, who was brilliant. In the evenings he gathered anyone who was interested an took us out to a local place to eat, helping us order in Malay and educating us in the food. He was so helpful, as were the people staying there. We met a couple from Dundee who had been travelling and living in Australia for 9 years, a man, Craig, who has been back to Ringo’s every summer for 7 years and stayed months at a time. Craig was actually great at helping the other people find places and know where to go. He took me what he thought was the best Tandoori Chicken place in Melaka and It really was SO good!
Along with all this, Howard also collected old and interesting Bikes!! So he took me round showing me choppers, old town Raleigh’s. And then these amazing unicycle style bikes with stabilisers, needless to say I spent a fair amount of time looking around and, thanks to Howard’s generosity, I had a quick ride of them.
On top of this he then invited me and others in the hostel to join him for a night cycle round the City, I presumed this would be a small group of tourists style thing but no. It was myself, Craig, two other English and Irish girls and then 80 locals from the Melaka cycling club! We did a lovely 25km tour round all of the city and its outskirts with Craig being overly helpful in telling me where we were, what was coming up. My favourite stretch was cycling down next to the river. It was just beautiful!
As well as this the city was great. Easy to relax in and easy to do nothing or everything. You can just wonder round an every other building is an interesting museum or shop so you can just dip in and out at your own leisure. (Even accidentally enter the palace museum from a side gate an avoid the entrance fee – oops)
The final place we went was a small local traditional house that the owner had left like a museum, not updating or changing the style inside for almost 100 years. Villa sentosa. Once we found the house we were a tad confused, doors were closed and there was no sign that this was a museum, until after 10 minutes of waiting around an elderly woman shouted out to us. She then let us in and this 83 year old lady took us around her home showing us different traditional rooms and ordering us to take photos! She was just a wonderful character and impressively active for someone her age, she must do 5 to 10 tours a day, all free and run on donations.
Basically, Melaka is wonderful. Rach and I have been trying to work out what element of the city made it so good. There were no beaches, no parks, lots of history and museums but they’re kind of discreet, and there is the most ridiculous alternative to Tuk Tuks – Trishaws – all pimped out with hello kitty and music blasting out as they cycle by! Very weird, but it was just brilliant.
Next stop: Penang!
Things I’ve learnt.
Once again. People are lovely.
Malay food is just brilliant, the roti’s and tandoori especially.
If you want fruit juice ask for it without syrup. They love their sugar out here!
Finding a good hostel can make all the difference.
Did I mention people are wonderful?