“Lovely is a lovely word that should be used more often.” – Theodore Finch in “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven
My short trip to Melaka was… lovely. Three days, two nights; uncountable meals (with snacks in between) and endless wanderings that brought us delight. Lovely, really.
Melaka (Malay language), commonly known as Malacca, is a historic port city in Malaysia that has much in common with Singapore. Located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Straits of Malacca, this charming port town has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. The last time that I visited was in 1996. Vague memories of a 12-year old school gal certainly did not do justice to what Melaka has to offer! My recent trip made me realised that.
As usual, I’ve complied a list of the 5 things that I appreciate about this destination. Do take a look and perhaps, you can place Melaka on your travel list. Melaka Beckons!
05 Things to Appreciate in Melaka (Malacca):
1. The Friendly Locals
The demographics of Melaka resemble that of Singapore, except that there are more Malays than Chinese. Nevertheless, you would notice more Chinese than Malay if you stay or explore around the historic town centre whereby most of the former are shopowners or in the food & beverages businesses. As we explored the old town on foot, there were opportunities to interact and chat with the friendly locals. I shouldn’t be surprised but there was this great sense of familiarity – not unlike home. (Singapore and Malaysia used to be a family after all!) It felt like I was stepping back into time; i.e. 70s / 80s of Singapore. People were down-to-earth and contented.
2. Awesome, Affordable Food with True Ambience
There was no lack of good food. Some of the famous restaurants boost constant queues from the time that they commence business but… the wait will be worthwhile! And if good food that comes at great prices is not good enough, the ambience of dining in age-old shophouses with exquisite handcrafted décor provide great photo opportunities as well as interesting topics for conversations (if you are into antiques / culture / old stuff).
Old trades and new businesses co-exist and flourish alongside the river banks and within the old town. There are plenty to explore, and shopaholics are in for a good time! For myself, I was delighted by the innovative cafes and guesthouses set up by young entrepreneurs. We ventured into a café that was launching its official opening and discovered much of their interiors were handcrafted! Also, this is a town that has not yet been taken over by technology! (I love technology but old school charms me further.) I tried top spinning – a childhood game of the past, after a 10-minute demo by the patient storekeeper.
The exchange rate at approximately 1: 2.64 gives currency advantage for holidaymakers who hail from Singapore. This makes dining and shopping more affordable than ever! Whoever can resist such good deals?
Be it a back alley or façade of old buildings, there are art to be found EVERYWHERE. Colourful murals lined the back of buildings by the river while beautiful signboards fronted shops and eateries. Even the potentially dangerous-looking shop that sells parang (knives) boosts an artistic image of deceptive peace with its owner casually lounging outdoor on a wicket chair. Plenty of photograph opportunities. Lovely. 🙂
The above information has been compiled based on various sources, including my own experience and should only be used as a reference. For more information on the destination, do check out: http://www.tourism.gov.my/en/sg