If Bandung is known as the Paris of Asia (for reference, it was nothing like it!), then I’m going to award Melaka with the title of ‘the Amsterdam of Asia’, but in this case there are some similarities.
Melaka was where colonial forces first made contact with Malaysia and the British, Dutch and Portuguese influences are evident in the historic forts, churches and towers. The key similarity to Amsterdam is the winding river that splits the city centre. Numerous boats carrying tourists chug slowly up and down the water, day and night, meandering past the waterfront bars and cafes.
It has a relaxed vibe about it and the sort of place you can wander around at ease, even with a buggy. The laid-back vibe continues into the evening when the night markets set up for business and the many food stalls come to life.
We were lucky to find a superb hostel right in the centre of the old town. It had huge communal areas, perfect for ‘the boy’ to run around, a room full of toys and a T.V. that was scheduled to show the France v. Wales rugby game. Not top of my list, of course, but ticked a few boxes for someone I know! At £10 a night including breakfast it was a great find.
The thing I loved most about this quaint place was its unique mode of transport. Tricycle rickshaws are common in Asia, but not like these ones. These bikes had been pimped. They’re covered from top to bottom in brightly coloured fabric flowers, tinsel, coloured ribbons, bright lights and if you’re lucky, a huge speaker that blasts out tunes from the 80s! They’re brilliant and ‘the boy’ enjoyed his ride almost as much as me.
One more overpriced mode of transport to add to ‘the boy’s’ growing list!
Top tip of the day:
A small dark coloured travel umbrella is perfect for giving shade on boat trips and when using the sling. We didn’t bring one with us but we were able to buy one out here.