Having had an incredible 5 days in Singapore, we reluctantly moved on today. Despite having longer in this incredible city than the average stopover, I still feel as though there is plenty more to explore. It’s a good feeling to leave wanting more.
Gary has picked up a very dodgy tummy, most likely from some chicken at a hawker stall he had two days ago. Apparently it tasted great at the time but he has been paying for it since. With a 4 hour bus ride and border crossing ahead of us we were both a little nervy and concerned that Gary’s unruly tummy wouldn’t settle!
Thankfully the journey was uneventful and we successfully crossed into Malaysia and dropped into the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Melaka.
We checked in to a lovely boutique hotel called the Rucksack Caratel which has an awesome offbeat style, lovely garden views and beautiful cats to fawn over!
Thanks to it’s location, halfway between China and India, Melaka was one of Southeast Asia’s greatest trading ports in its prime.
Much of the heritage architecture has been preserved and many buildings restored to their former glory, making Melaka an interesting place to wander around for a day or so.
Unfortunately it is in Melaka that Gary entered his third day of not eating and being bed bound and at this point we deemed it necessary to get him some medicine. I went to a local pharmacy and after much gesturing, miming and broken English I managed to source some antibiotics, charcoal tablets and dioralyte to try to sort him out.
Leaving him to recuperate and catch up on some sleep, I slipped out to mooch around the atmospheric streets and waterfront of Melaka. Ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British at times, Melaka has a kaleidoscope of architectural styles.
There is a charm to Melaka that perhaps wasn’t overtly obvious immediately to us both. Feeling a little run down and shabby at first we weren’t convinced by its ‘must-visit’ status but upon closer inspection I can see pockets of loveliness.
Pretty street art, quirky installations, romantic riverside walks and atmospheric Chinese temples clouded by heady incense all contribute to a nostalgic and laidback feel.
Melaka makes an interesting contrast to the futuristic, super-clean Singapore that we’ve come from. Old cracked tiles adorn beaten up houses with a rustic charm and Chinese medicine shops sell a dizzying array of herbal remedies with questionable ethical sourcing including shark fins.
The most incongruent addition to the already confused mix of cultures and traditions here is the jazzy trishaws that adorn the roads and tout for business.