About

Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.

Location

Melaka (Malacca), Malaysia

Four days in Historic Melaka (Malacca), Malaysia

Written by Joshua Fuglsang on .

Tags

AsiaMalaysiaMelakaTravel
Lanterns in a Melaka Chinese Temple
Lanterns in a Melaka Chinese Temple - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Historic Melaka

I ar­rived in Mela­ka in the ear­ly evening, af­ter a long trip on the train. The first thing I no­ticed was the ob­nox­ious rick­shaws ped­dling around the city and blast­ing their mu­sic. They were elab­o­rate­ly ap­point­ed with bright­ly coloured ban­ners and im­ages of car­toon char­ac­ters. I guess no UN­ESCO World Her­itage site is com­plete with­out a few con­ces­sions for tourists and hol­i­day mak­ers. I most­ly tried to ig­nore them, and they most­ly tried to ig­nore me, be­ing much more in­clined to hunt teenagers and groups of Chi­nese rather than a stub­bly west­ern­er hunt­ing for the cheap­est meals in town.

Bonsais in a Melaka Temple
Bon­sais in a Mela­ka Tem­ple - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

In Mela­ka I sam­pled many of the rich Malay cuisines. The his­toric streets were lined with small Malay and Chi­nese restau­rants, or Lit­tle In­dia was just a short stroll away, for Malay in­spired In­di­an Thali’s. For sev­er­al of my evenings in the town I vis­it­ed the night mar­kets: a busy food mar­ket through the his­toric Jonker Street. Here I savoured the lo­cal de­lights: co­conut drinks, pas­try puffs stuffed with sweet Asian fill­ings, chen­dol, and tea eggs. Most of the food stuffs could be had in small quan­ti­ties for cheap. They were fun and de­li­cious evenings. On one of the nights it was rain­ing heav­i­ly and so I had the mar­kets most­ly to my­self. It was love­ly to won­der through the dim­ly lit streets in the pour­ing rain peo­ple watch­ing with a co­conut in hand, it gave a very trop­i­cal and South East Asian feel.

Rooftops of Melaka
Rooftops of Mela­ka - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

On my fi­nal morn­ing in Mela­ka I met with a lo­cal man and he took me to a small restau­rant around the cor­ner to what he guar­an­teed wass the best place to have chen­dol. The walls of the tiny restau­rant were lined with news­pa­per clip­pings of when the prime min­is­ter and oth­er dig­ni­taries vis­it­ed. He was very proud of the restau­rant, less so of the dig­ni­taries who were known to be cor­rupt. Chen­dol is a shaved ice dessert, mixed with hand made jel­ly and palm sug­ar. It is a dessert which you can find all through Malaysia, but for which Mela­ka is par­tic­u­lar­ly fa­mous. So I was hap­py to be able to try such a good ex­am­ple of the dish. In this tiny shop my Malay friend al­so en­cour­aged me to try Ro­jak. I had tried Ro­jak pre­vi­ous­ly in Sin­ga­pore and didn’t like it. In fact it was pos­si­bly the on­ly Sin­ga­pore­an dish which I didn’t like. The old­er man ex­claimed in a heavy Malaysian ac­cent that the Sin­ga­pore­ans don’t make it prop­er­ly; you have to eat it the Malay way! He en­sured me that I would like it. So, we or­dered two serv­ings and ate it with our desserts. And voila, it was good! Well, much bet­ter than the Sin­ga­pore­an coun­ter­part. Ro­jak is a dish of raw veg­eta­bles cov­ered in a thick peanut sauce.

Flower seller in front of a Chinese Buddhist Temple
Flow­er sell­er in front of a Chi­nese Bud­dhist Tem­ple - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Mela­ka is well known for its Por­tuguese, Dutch, and Eng­lish her­itage. It was con­trolled by each of these colo­nial pow­ers for the fan­tas­tic trade op­por­tu­ni­ties Mela­ka pre­sent­ed. Many peo­ple trav­el to Mela­ka to see this her­itage, and cer­tain­ly it is a beau­ti­ful place to vis­it. There are many streets in Sin­ga­pore of a sim­i­lar vin­tage, how­ev­er the Sin­ga­pore­an shop fronts have a lack of char­ac­ter and au­then­tic­i­ty. The build­ings here are im­per­fect as they haven’t un­der­gone decades of restora­tion work. The build­ings are as they al­ways were: im­per­fect. They are crum­bling, yet love­ly. Won­der­ing through the old canals you can re­al­ly trans­port your­self to an ear­li­er time.

Conclusion

Thanks for read­ing! As al­ways, please fol­low me on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram us­ing the links in my nav­i­ga­tion bar. And if you have any com­ments then feel free to make them be­low. Al­so, if you wish to fol­low my jour­ney then feel free to sub­scribe to my site as well.

Melaka to Tioman Island

Lukas swimming in Monkey Bay
Lukas swim­ming in Mon­key Bay - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

In the next ar­ti­cle I cross the Malaysian penin­su­lar to vis­it the serene Tioman Is­land. Read about it here.

Photographs

Ferry on the Melaka Canals
Fer­ry on the Mela­ka Canals - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang
Coffee in the old town
Cof­fee in the old town - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang
St Francis Xavier Church Melaka
St Fran­cis Xavier Church Mela­ka - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang
A jogger runs past a graffiti wall on the Melaka Canals
A jog­ger runs past a graf­fi­ti wall on the Mela­ka Canals - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang
A restaurant on the Melaka Canals
A restau­rant on the Mela­ka Canals - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Tags

AsiaMalaysiaMelakaTravel

About

Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.