This towns is so friendly that it welcomes all and sundry with a well branded wall at its entrance. Malacca also referred to as Melaka is a beautiful city located to the South of Malaysia. I really enjoyed my stay here as this small town revealed that size doesn’t matter, it has lots on offer.
Things to do in Melaka/Melacca
1.Visit the historical buildings
a) I got to visit Christ Church Melaka, which is the oldest functioning Protestant Church in Malaysia.Its construction begun begun in 1741 and was completed in 1743. I has been refurbished and is quite a beautiful building to look at.
This was a former Portuguese settlement that was built in 1511. It was there after partly renovated by the Dutch and as you walk around it, you can see old inscriptions on its walls. It having been left in somewhat ruins is what appealed to me and as you walk through it, you feel like you have traveled back in time.
All around you are other old buildings that are great to look at-go on explore.
2) Jonker Street:
It is the center of China Town with lots of shops, restaurants and people. I enjoyed it during the day but loved riding our bicycle down its streets at night. It has a lot of Chinese influence from the population, to the food, to the culture.
3) Melaka River
This river flows through the middle of the city-how cool is that. You can take a boat ride on it or opt to sit in the restaurants around it and enjoy the view. I especially enjoyed riding my bike along its banks at night as the view was breathtaking.
4) Visit the Strait of Melaka
It is a narrow stretch of water between Malay Peninsular and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. A man made Island called Pulau Melaka or Island of Melaka has been build that one can walk around,live and enjoy the place.
There is a mosque built on pillars at the same level as the sea and thus during high tide, it looks like it is floating. At night, it is even more beautiful as the lights shines bright and reflect on the sea.
I got to view some of the best sunsets in my life and thus would advise you to visit in the evening.
5) Make Friends
We met Ying here and I will forever be grateful for her hospitality. She went out of her way to ensure we explored Melacca intensely, she opened her home to us, she taught me to enjoy travel via cycling and she inspires me on all things travel-especially female travel.
6) Find Prince charming:
I met my tall, dark, handsome, strong man here-albeit a statue. They have great arts of sculptures around so take time to enjoy them
7) Feel like Cinderella
I believe my transportation beats Cinderellas hands down. Imagine a whole compartment decorated with flowers and pieces of art and being accompanied by cute cartoons like Minnie mouse and co. to ensure you have an amazing ride. You also need to have a strong driver as it is indeed a taxing job.
8) Hire a bicycle:
I never used to ride bicycles beyond my home compound. Here, everyone rides a bicycle , even on the highway. I highly recommend you join in as it allows you to travel more and even access places one cannot by vehicle. Do not worry, after day two and having overcome anxiety attacks while on the road-you will be fine. You can get a map from the tourism office and then go out and explore.
10) Visit the Jonker Bird House.
This is a former abandoned house that is now inhabited by swiflet birds which are then protected. As you walk in, you will first walk through a dark walk way and wonder what is happening. Soon, I noticed the people ahead of me looking through the glass walls towards the roof and slowly I started seeing swifts. Apparently, the nests made by the birds fetch a hefty sum of money with their main market being China. In one of the rooms, you will see a team locked in a glass room carefully removing feathers and cleaning the nests and packaging for sale. The challenge is that there are no fliers, guides or even adequate labeling to explain what is happening but it was an Ok place to visit. Maybe I should start breeding swiflets to make money?
My disapointment with Melaka/Melacca
Jonker Bird House:
This had been rated as an interesting place for tourists to visit noting that it is an abandoned building that is now home to swivel birds. After enjoying my own personal tour, I went to ask the receptionist a few questions-basically what I did not understand. First,I noticed she seemed scared if not wary to speak to me. After a few minutes, she relaxed and answered my questions.There after, she asked me about Africa, life in Africa etc. It is at this point after relaxing around me that all things went weary. She informed me that when she saw me , she was afraid as she believes all Africans are criminals. She went even further to advise me to not interact with other Africans at all as they all do drugs, are criminals and the ladies are prostitutes-Word for word. You should have seen my mouth hit the ground. She then went on to tell me how at first she was wary to talk to me just because I am black and only spoke to me because she was at work and didn’t have an option. When I inquired why she was then continuing to talk to me, she said it was because I was a tourist thus she believed she was safe. As I left, she again reminded me to keep away from the Africans or I would get into trouble. My whole system remained and remains in a state of shock, amazement and sadness when I remember this instance- I am African and proudly African.
Kindly government of Malaysia, it seems a lot needs to be done in regards to cultural integration and negative stereotyping, criminals et.al come in all shapes, forms, races, religion and status.