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Visited Malacca on my travels around Asia and found it to be a great place to stop by take in the sights as well as taking in information on the affects varios cultures and countries have had on this small state.
To be honest i was a bit dissapointed with the historical area but this was mainly due to my guide book, from the way it described the location it would have been much bigger!not that i didnt enjoy my stay it was very interesting looking in the churches, the museums, the reconstructed portugeuse trading ship is a must although me and my travel buddies were a little more interested in pretending to be pirates :P.
I thoroughly recomend having something to eat in the local cafes that in the old quater near the churches, mainly only to look at the interesting achictecture and also it does in way send you back in time, there are lots of temples that are a dream for any budding photographers out there.
Hostels for back packers are easy to come by we found a really reasonably priced one that wasnt too far away from the main tourist areas, just use the Rough Guide and you cant go wrong, i really did like this town and would certainly recomend it be placed on anyones travel plans.
PART ONE Schoolgirl bottoms wiggled on the open-air stage at one end of Jonkers Street in down town Melaka. It was non-stop karaoke performed by cute Chinese kids, to entertain the Saturday evening crowd, mainly local Chinese and Chinese from Taiwan and Singapore. Jonkers Street is fun at traffic free weekends: red lanterns, oriental music, food stalls, crowds of people.... but, there isn't enough of this kind of thing in Melaka. Too much of Melaka is fast dangerous traffic, ugly modern buildings, no pavements and the occasional mugger. And, it's 90 degrees and ultra-humid. I took a £2 taxi ride heading North along the coast. Curiosity took me into a block of grey flats: pealing paint, graffiti on some walls, litter. I got talking to a moustachioed man called Abdullah who invited me into his home. "I earn about £150 a month as a general worker," said Abdullah, seated beneath a Moslem picture. He and his wife and five children live in this tiny two bedroom flat in this low rent government-built block of flats on the edge of Melaka. The house has tap water. They are near a beautiful section of beach and a towering condominium called Ocean Palms, just before Tanjung Kling (the sea water is filthy). "You are much better off than people in Indonesia," I told Abdullah. "The government here has done much better than the government in Indonesia. Most Indonesian workers live in home-made shacks with no tap water. "But most people here are not rich. Only 20% of Malaysians are rich," said Abdullah. "But, in Indonesia so many people die of Typhoid and TB," I pointed out. "So many children don't go to school. In Melaka, on the other hand, there's been no typhoid for years and kids go to school." Abdullah's neighbour Siti said: "It's a struggle here. My husband ran off to K
uala Lumpur and he doesn't give me a single Ringgit." Siti's friend Milah said: "I'm divorced. It's very hard to pay the bills." Abdullah's son, cute Yussuf, and Milah's son, tall Aziz, took me on a tour of Melaka. Their sisters chose not to accompany us. First stop: a mildly interesting full-size replica of a Portuguese ship. (The Portuguse were here in the 16th Century; the Dutch in the 17th Century; the British in the 19th Century). Second stop: some tiny ruins on a hill: St Paul's Church built in 1521. On the way down: some rude schholchildren of Indian origin. Third stop: Melaka's main shopping mall at Mahkota Parade. Not as good as malls in Jakarta or Bangkok. Prices are much lower in Melaka's China Town or at Ocean Mall near the bus station. "Where would you like to eat?" I asked Yussuf and Aziz. "Kentucky Fried Chicken," said Yussuf. Aziz agreed. After our tasteless meal I asked, "What next?" They decided to play some arcade games on the top floor of the mall, while I looked at the bookshop. I picked up a copy of Ian Buruma's excellent "Gold Dust" and read - "Happy to relax. It was the usual image of Malays in Malaysia, as common as the other image, of the corrupt Malay politician, living in his grotesquely palatial home, driving expensive European cars, keeping Chinese mistresses, and taking in kickbacks from every deal in town.... "The Malays regard the Chinese and Indians as immigrants... "Islam is the official religion... "It is government policy to favour Malays... It is the Malays who receive government grants, scholarships, special loans, and plum government jobs... "Yet it is the Malays who look dispossessed in Kuala Lumpur, many of them huddled together in shabby estates on the city outskirts, their childre
n skulking in shopping arcades with nothing to do, taking to drugs or religion, dressed like punks or in the pseudo-Arab gear of Muslim fundamentalists..." According to Buruma, the British were happy to let the Chinese run the plantations and build the cities... the Malays were quite content to stay in the rural kampongs. PART TWO A big cheerful taxi driver called Hamid took me to his kampong house on the outskirts of Melaka. It was a simple wooden shack, in need of some repairs. The hamlet was surrounded by coconut palms, rice fields, fruit trees and meadows containing cattle and buffalo. "Want to see a bull having its neck cut?" asked Hamid, leading me towards a struggling creature. "My neighbour is about to kill an animal." "No thank you," I said, changing direction. "Do you own any land?" "No I sold it to a Chinese." Happy to relax. Hamid seemed content with his shack, falling-to-bits taxi, and easy kampong life. PART THREE My hotel: The FIVE STAR Ramada Renaissance, managed by Marriot. A huge oversupply of hotel rooms and the Asian financial crisis have pushed down the price of hotel rooms in Malaysia. I was paying £199 per week for half board. The hotel was full of noisy school groups from Singapore and down-market Chinese package tourists from various countries. In some rooms the wallpaper was stained, carpets were torn, baths were chipped, and dust gathered under cupboards. In corridors there were sometimes cigarette ends that remained on carpets for weeks. Parts of the hotel were in need of refurbishment. The food in the three restaurants was stomach-wrenchingly poor: canned fruit, oven chips, stale pastries, reheated stew, cheap over-cooked meat, cold soup... A bluebottle sometimes hovered over the none-too-clean cutlery and cups.
.. The coffeeshop played rap music containing a certain four letter word. "Here you get what you pay for," said the charming, urbane Chinese hospital doctor I was visiting due to an attack of diarrhoea. "The Renaissance is not really Five Star! In London I paid over £100 for one night in a small cupboard-sized room. London can do that because it has a huge number of world-class attractions. Not like Melaka." "You can see most of Melaka's temples, mosques and other historical sites in one day," I commented. "We have a Chief Minister, Ali Rustam, who has worked hard to promote Melaka. Over two million visitors this year. Yet, Melaka needs to offer more attractions," said the doctor. "Why do so many Singaporeans come to Melaka?" I asked. "Hospital treatment," said the doctor. "There are several top class hospitals here and you can see a specialist immediately. Treatment is very cheap." "Is Malaysia a healthy place?" I inquired. "Any cholera?" "Pretty healthy. There's cholera in the Klang Valley, next to Kuala Lumpur. Then there was that virus in the Port Dickson area that killed about a hundred people in 1999. You get that only by having very close contact with pigs." PART FOUR "How safe is Malaysia?" I asked my pretty friend Sasha, who is a native of Sabah, and who works in computing. "A friend of mine was in her car on the way from Melaka to KL," said Sasha, "and she was forced to stop. Robbers took all her valuables." "Any street muggings?" I asked. "Last week a couple of British tourists got robbed on the street next to the Renaissance Hotel and the Emperor Hotel. And in Kuala Lumpur, five British tourists with Saga holidays got mugged within 12 months. that's why you have to be careful.&qu
ot; "Are the police any good?" I asked. "In Melaka, yes. They've got better," said Sasha. "In Kuala lumpur the Star newspaper reported recently that nine police officers, including 2 chief inspectors, had been involved in carrying out robberies and kidnappings." "Sounds like Indonesia," I commented. "Last year in malaysia a church and a Hindu temple were bombed. A politician was shot dead. There is a small group that want a holy war or jihad," said Sasha. PART FIVE I set off to explore some kampongs (wooden houses). Kampong Morten, near the Renaissance Hotel, is now a fairly prosperous Malay village where residents often drive Mercedes or BMWs. Villa Sentosa, 138 Kampong Morten, which is both a museum and a lived-in house, takes you back to a 1920's middle-class Malay world. Fancy woodwork, pot plants, elaborate furniture, a courtyard, a simple kitchen... Charming. Outside, some of the teenage children behave like British kids: a bit of mockery and the occasional one-finger salute. A little further out from the centre of Melaka I visited a much poorer kampong: rows of simple wooden houses on stilts; red lanterns hanging outside ; fierce barking dogs; all Chinese families. Immediately next to this Chinese hamlet was a Malay Kampong: more plain dark wood; lots of dark trees; a bunch of kids; a bit of mockery of the sweating tourist. Malaysia is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. there are 12.7 million Malays, 5.5 million Chinese and 1.6 million Indians. The Chinese control most of the wealth. There is not enough inter-marriage. Moslems insist that anyone marrying a Moslem must be a Moslem. The Chinese stick to their areas. The Chinese stick to their culture which is belief in spirits, Buddhism, Confucianism or Christianity; mini-skirts, dim sum, red and gold decoration, money
.... The Indians stick to their culture which is Gujarati, Tamil or whatever... And the Malays stick to their culture which is Kentucky Fried Chicken or American break-dancing or rural kampong life or Medieval Saudi Arabian fundamentalism.... PART SIX In 1969 there was deadly rioting between Malays and Chinese. Hundreds (mainly Chinese)were killed as the police seemed to "stand and watch". After this time of trouble, the coalition government of Malays (UMNO), Chinese (MCA) and Indians (MIC) tried very hard, and usually successfully, to prevent racial conflict. Malaysia made dramatic progress - KL has the world's tallest building; KL has one of the world's top airports; Malaysia produces the highly-rated Proton car; Malaysia's airline (MAS) seems streets ahead of British Airways and Singapore Airlines in terms of quality in economy class; Malaysia is one of the world's biggest producers of computer disc drives.... HOWEVER, there are too many half-built or nearly empty condominiums and office blocks; Malaysian Airlines needs restructuring to bring it into profitability; recession is hurting manufacturing; palm oil and rubber sell at low prices; computer literacy and general levels of education still seem to be low for many Malays; there is still a huge gap between the rich Chinese businessmen and the mainly poor Malays and Indians. There is no common culture. In March 2001, in Kuala Lumpur's Kampong Medan, six people were killed in bloody clashes between Malays and Indians. According to the Economist : "The 75 year-old prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, is becoming increasingly isolated as he continues to resist pressure for his retirement...." PART SEVEN MELAKA ESSENTIALS - Bus Station- Grotty place, but staff are helpful. lots of mentally backward tramps sleep around here. Where to stay- <
br><br>Heeren House (very central). Has air conditioned rooms. Riviera bay Resort (luxurious and palatial) 10km out of town, beside the sea, at Tanjung kling. A better chance to meet friendly local Malays. Taxi costs about £2. Night life- Two transvestites outside the shopping malls beside the bus station; dangdut night clubs around Taman Melaka Raya near the Equatorial Hotel; Jonkers Street Friday-Sunday; a few strange Chinese places up dark stairways... not much really. What to do- Take a taxi along the coast to Tanjung Bidara and stop off at any interesting bits of beach or any interesting kampong. Talk to the locals in the kampongs. The Malay language is the easiest in the world. Visit the Rainbow Children's Home (tel 06-3369224 before you go) at 218K Jalan Kenaga 2/10, taman Kenanga, Sek 2, Kg Lapan. There are nine kids. Speak to Ganesh, seated on one of the bridges that cross the busy streets. Where to eat- Coffee Bean at Mahkota Parade mall. The girl will ask your name so she can call it out when your order is ready. Tell her your name is David Beckham or James Bond. It creates quite a stir when you go to collect your sandwich.
There are so many historic places in Melaka to visit. This is because Melaka has been the centre of trade since the 17th century and we have seen this place being conquered by the Portugese, then by the Dutch before it was being taken by the British. That is why it has so many historical places in this small city. As a result, we can see different cultural and races in this city which adds to the uniqueness of this multi-cultural city. Food is a variety in this city and cheap as well. For food lovers, this is definitely the best place to sample all sorts of food from different races in this country. Try visit Melaka!
If one day, you plan to visit Malaysia, one of the destination that you must not miss is Melaka. It is a small state situated about 200 km down south of the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Small it may be now, but 600 years ago, it was one of the superpowers in the South East Asia region. The history of Malaysia in fact begins from Melaka. The empire later collapsed when it lost to the west superpowers, Portugese, the Dutch and the English, during the industrial revolution in the europe. Due to its enriched history, Melaka is known as the historical city of Malaysia. 15th of April is declared as a Melaka historical city day and it is a public holiday. Therefore, historical buildings, landscape and properties are among the attractions in Melaka. Coincidentally, these places are concentrated in an area, thus easing tourists to move from one attraction to another. Not to be missed is Portuguese fort, Porta de Santiago or better known as the Malacca fort. Behind the fort is a small hill where the St Paul church was constructed. Other attractions include The Independence Memorial, the Cultural Musuem and The Stadhuys. The Cultural Museum architecture is a replica of the Melaka sultanate palace in the 15th century. Not far from this site, lies the another museum with its architecture a replica of the Portuguese ship, Flora de Lama, which sank in the Malacca Straits. Another attraction in Melaka is the Baba-Nyonya (Peranakan) group whose cultures are a mixture of the Chinese and the Malay. While this group practise most of the Chinese Culture, they mostly speaks Malay language. Alternative to the historical attractions are attractions in Ayer Keroh. Most popularly visited ones are Mini Malaysia, Butterfly farm, Crocodile Farm and Malacca Zoo. Melaka has never failed to impress tourists, therefore, it is a must visit if you decide to tour Malaysia.
I have been staying in Melaka, Malaysia for about a year. The impression that I have is the various food that you can find in such a small town. I like chicken rice very much, till then, I have not try one like the Melaka version. The steam chicke is served with balls of rice! Interesting presentation! Another local hawker food that I like is the 'oh chian' - fried oyster with eggs. The stall is at a very small lane where at the other end of the lane you can find a great variety of local sweet desert. Quite a good combination. That area (Bunga Raya) is the hawker paradise, flooded with hungry people all year round especially after dark. The price is fairly cheap. Don't forget to try 'Satay Celup' -- sticks of seafood dipped and cooked in peanut sause in the middle of the round table. You can never find it in England. Sweat while you eat!
Learning some history of Melaka before visiting the city may boost your interest and satisfaction once you have paid the visit to the historical places / buildings. Today, Melaka, a pleasant town located on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia, is left with much colonial architecture, most of which is clustered near or around the Melaka River. Many of the town's attractions are within walking distance, and among the standouts is the 1713 Dutch Christ Church, painted bright red, with original, hand-carved pews still intact. On your tour of Melaka, don't miss out on the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Green Clouds Temple). Founded 300 years ago by Kapitan China Lee Wei King, a fugitive from China during the downfall of the Ming Dynasty. Another excellent cultural site is the Muzium Budaya, a replica of a 15th century sultan's palace, built entirely out of wood. In keeping with traditional building practices, no nails were used. One of the characteristic of people in Melaka is the Straits Chinese blended Chinese, Malay and British cultures. The Peranakan Culture is a hybrid of both Chinese and Malay influences. The Peranakans (which in Malay means "born here") or Straits-born Chinese are, in particular, an intriguing people. The Babas and Nyonyas wear Malay attire and have a passion for hot and spicy food. They speak Baba Malay and the Babas wear the "sarong" at home while the womenfolk mainly wear the "Baju Nyonya" which closely resembles the Malay "Baju Kebaya". The "Baju Nyonya" is, however, embroidered with stylish Chinese motifs. It is a well known fact that, Melaka is an antique lover's paradise. Along Jonker Street, you will find centuries old Dutch and Chinese porcelain, Indian brassware, Chinese rosewood furniture, even Victorian brass beds and lots of interesting relics from Melaka's colourful past.For those who are inclined towards shopping pursuits
of the modern kind, there are a number of megamalls in the city to satisfy your every need. Enriched by the influences of both East and West, Melakan cuisine is a gourmet's delight. Among the not to be missed specialities are like the "curry kapitan" (chicken cooked in an array of aromatic spices), "ikan masam" (fish in sour sauce) and "udang lemak nenas" (prawns cooked with pineapple).The Nyonyas are also renowned for their "kueh" or traditional cakes which have Malay origins but have been altered to suit the Chinese taste. The Portuguese food here too is rather spicy and uses dried chilli, peanuts, coconut milk and a lot of spices in their curries. There is also a wide variety of superb Indian, Malay and Chinese food to please your palate, whenever you are in Melaka. No other city in Malaysia is steeped in as old and as interesting a history as the city of Melaka.
There is one website about every single detail about Melaka. www.melaka.net. This website is very comprehensive in the sense that it encompasses all the information that a tourist needs to get to know Melaka well. Besides that, the website also depicts all the most recent promotional offers by the local hotels. Furthermore, there is another service, which is unprecedented. The website does offer information about the most recent movies in the local cinema-Mahkota Parade Cineplex (the paradise for moviegoers). The website also provides some useful links to local newspapers of various languages. All in all, the website is a must for everybody who wants to know first hand information about Melaka!
Melaka is a state in Malaysia wich has been declared as a historical state. One can say that Melaka was where it all began for Malaysia. It was once conquered by the Portugese and then the Dutch and finally the English. Hence, the influence on the architecture of many buildings there. For example, the A Famosa fort which is still standing was built by the Portuguese as a defence against its enemies. It overlooks the Straits of Melaka and is still one of the most popular tourist atraction. As a result of this past, Melaka has also got what is known as a Portuguese Settlement. Besides that, this state has many museums including a marine museum in a life size replica of an old sailing ship complete with anchor! Food and accomodation are cheap and easily accessible. To find out more do visit www.melaka.gov.my
"Malacca (Jawi: ملاك; Malay: Melaka), dubbed as Negeri Bersejarah (Malay: historical state) or Negeri Hang Tuah (Hang Tuah state) is the third smallest state of Malaysia, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the east. The state's capital is Malacca Town. Although Malacca was once one of the oldest Malay sultanates, the state has no Sultan today. Instead, the head of state is the Yang di-Pertua Negeri or Governor."