Wednesday, 10 October 2012
A Month in Malaysia: Two Nights in Malacca
My 300th post on this blog (!) will guide you around the charming and, dare I say 'bohemian', small town of Malacca. A two-hour coach ride outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malacca is a sleepy and antiquated counterpart to the urban jungle. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Malacca boasts delightful higgledy-piggledy streets, a thriving antiques trade, dramatic temples of several faiths, Chinese hanging lanterns, art nouveau tiling, wooden shutters and the original Dutch colonial settlement which looks a little like a toy town.
Jian Wei tucking into poh piah, a wrap made with pickled turnip served from the back of a rickshaw for approximately 50p.
One of my favourite things about Malaysia is just how prolific the craze for potted plants is. As if the natural rainforest wasn't verdant enough, people decorate the streets - and even train stations - with terracotta pots and hanging baskets overspilling with succulents, bamboo, bougainvillea and water lilies.
On our second day we hired bicycles for next-to-nothing and had a wonderful time whizzing up and down the narrow streets and even up to the hilltop church! It was lovely to feel some breeze in what was otherwise an almost unbearable heat and arguably the best way to take in all the details of the vibrant street life. The locals obviously find nothing more amusing than Westerners on bicycles and I had lots of people waving and saying 'hello' to me all of a sudden. One chap even shouted 'Lady Gaga!' at me, rather surprisingly!