38-42 Melaka (Malacca) 1


See trip index here and additional Malaysian photos here

After a post new year lie in, for our last full day in Kuala Lumpur we ventured out by train to Batu Caves just north of the city – visible from KL tower.  Getting there on the train was trivial and full of locals as the Batu Caves is a selection of religious temples which some interesting statues – including an absolutely massive Buddah.  The walk to the top was only <200 steps – nothing compared to the Tiger Cave steps in Thailand, and the top opens to a cave and more temples.

We didn’t venture into the cave tour or the temples – we’re limestone-caved out after Thailand and we know there will be more when we get to Vietnam.  We had tea at the restaurant associated with the guesthouse, and the food was actually pretty good.  Excellent naan with tandori chicken (or fish for Mel) – showing that Malaysian traditional food is definitely a cross between Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and American fast food.

Leaving KL we went via train, long distance bus and local bus to our guest house in Melaka (also known as Malacca).  We were expecting better things in Melaka and to be fair our guesthouse is a vast improvement – not bad for 55RM (£11) a night for a large en-suite room, breakfast and wifi.  On our first scout Melaka looks a lot cleaner than KL and is a bit more interesting and less chaotic to walk around.  Still not spotless though and we found a family of rats opposite the guesthouse.

We had a good lunch – one of our tips for Malaysia is to go to some of the local shopping centres and their food courts.  Forget the UK style, these provide numerous tiny individual stalls with all the possible local foods at almost street price, but in a cleaner environment.  They are always full to the brim of local people and the food good and varied.  To be fair, they look a lot more appetising than the street cafes which in Malaysia we’re struggling to get excited by, though we did try some out.  More annoying is a single bottle of beer (330ml) is as much as two main courses (or 4 ice creams!)

With our flights and visa letter sorted for Vietnam, we also managed to find a way to get from Melaka direct to KLIA airport preventing us from having to return to KL.  This does give us more time to explore Melaka which isn’t that big.

The river is an interesting walk, lots of arty and painted buildings, and huge lizards (comodo dragons?) walking about freely.  The Bukit Cina hill has some poignant memories of WW2 but the Portuguese settlement and St Johns fort were not that exciting, and the maritime museum was just about worth the RM3 (60p) entry.  Sadly that sort of summarises our view of both KL and Melaka:  interesting to walk around, but nothing that is of “wow” standard. The lack of photos backs this up!

On our final day in Melaka, all that is left is the night market in China town (street) – but that is in doubt as Mel is a little ill – another bug/flu of some sort.  Its okay, its not as if we’ve got a day of busses and planes and taxis tomorrow as we go to Hanoi is it?  Oh…….

Review of Malaysia here and next installment when we get to Vietnam is here


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