Melaka was very much a culture shock, not in a bad way, but a culture shock none the less. As soon as the ferry stopped, I looked out the window and was surprised to see a grey sky drizzling rain. It looked just like England! There were a couple oldish buildings that could have been from anywhere in Europe and even the people that walked by, were more reserved and polite. It’s struck me as strange that so close to the dirty and smelly town Dumai in Sumatra, where people were happy, cheerful and occasionally rude, there was a country where the streets were clean and with a variety of cars other than Toyotas!
When we stepped outside I suddenly realised why we couldn’t be in England, it was so hot! Hotter than any place in Sumatra, Java or Bali! Very quickly I found myself sweating as we walked the short distance to the hostel. Apart from the monitor lizards in the river and the sound of the call to prayer, it was clear that we had left Indonesia behind. Our hostel was in the Chinese district where all the travel guidebook owners ended up. We were back on the Lonely Planet trail!
We didn’t stay in Melaka for a tourist visit, but more to recover from the long bus journey, to book train tickets and to wash clothes. Of the two days we stayed there, I didn’t find Melaka that exceptional, but it was a nice human scale town with a lot of restaurants and cafés. I liked the fact that it was more pedestrian based and that anywhere you wanted to go to was easy walking distance. We rented some bikes, cycled through the narrow streets and along the river side and ate some great Indian food.
Here are few photos that my dad took that may give you a sense of the place.