It took us way more than the 7 hours we were told to get from Penang to Malacca. More like 10. But the seats were big and we had plenty of NPR podcasts. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the bus station, the last local bus had already left and we had to take a taxi to our hostel. We encountered one of the best run hostels on our trip. They thought of everything – library, large kitchen, lots of information provided, and even light breakfast (see Hotels List page for info). Such a contrast to the last few months.
Although it was late, we had been sitting all day on a bus and decided to check out the night market on Jonker St. It was completely packed with people and even had a stage set up for karaoke – a big draw apparently.
Malacca, or Melaka is a UNESCO site with loads of historic buildings and diverse cuisine. So on our first day, we went to the movies. I know, classy, but it was raining. Pouring really. And first we stopped at the free Customs Museum – which was really just a collection of illegal items collected over the years – including bottles of ordinary alcohol and “pornographic” Bali statues (prudently clothed in scarves). Avengers 2 was showing, in English and we sat in a giant auditorium for a few hours waiting for the weather to clear. Much cheaper than the States, though the concessions selection was limited to caramel popcorn.
After, we walked in the stifling post-rain humidity up to St. Paul’s Hill, a Portuguese church with a Dutch graveyard. One thing that makes Malaysia so interesting is the combination of so many influences. There is a large number of Chinese descendents, as well as Indian, and even a smaller Portuguese population. Most importantly, of course, that means great food. We haven’t eaten so well in ages (besides Penang). Fried rice has been far too long our staple of choice. Now its naan and noodles.
We spent a lot of time just wandering around the small, colonial streets. The buildings have loads of character, which makes for great photos (and lots of them). We even visited a free architecture museum, which had wonderful models of different building styles and way more text than we could bring ourselves to absorb.
We probably spent more time here than most people, but as I like to say, “all we have is time.” Though, it’s no longer true. We have a flight booked at the end of June to return to Europe, so our Asia trip is coming to an end.
We then booked another bus across the country to Mersing, the gateway of Tioman Island, to meet up with some friends and spend a few days in the sun (or shade).