Melaka, which is a two hour drive south of Kuala Lumpur, was a really pleasant surprise for us. Sure, we have heard a lot of really nice things about this UNESCO heritage town, but we didn’t expect to find such a delightful little gem. Once occupied by the Portuguese, later by the Dutch, and lastly by the British, the relatively small town centre is filled with history and dotted with all kinds of old, foreign built buildings that almost seem out of place in the middle of Malaysia. But the really unexpected treasure was the city’s beautiful river canal that runs straight through it’s historical centre, where the cutest little buildings are artfully decorated with colorful graffiti and the banks are neatly arranged walking paths full of blooming flower pots. While strolling there you can’t help but take a picture every couple of steps, when the river takes a turn and the path opens up to another gorgeous sight.
When planning our trip to Melaka, it turned out we had more luck than brains, since we got there just at the start of the weekend. And that is when you really want to be there, because the most popular street (called Jonker) turns into a delightfully lively night market every evening. Slowly making our way through the crowd, observing all the curious souvenirs, and picking up various tasty street snacks that caught our eye along the way was probably my favourite part of the entire visit. Of course, with an obligatory stop below the big, ornamented stage in the middle of the bustling area, where delightfully serious elderly locals put on an endearing karaoke show for the plastic chair-occupying crowd and offers the perfect spot to munch on the delicious snacks from the stalls. To add to the charming uniqueness of it all, the surrounding area of narrow, criss-cross streets is constantly occupied by the craziest and most bizarrely funny Tuk Tuks I have ever seen. They roam the streets with their kitchy, character-themed ornaments that include all the must-haves from Hello Kitty to Pokemon and add their fair share to the night market craziness with their abnormally loud, weird, and often times quite annoying music selection. But they sure bring lots of fun to their surprisingly numerous users and undeniably also to the unsuspecting observer, who is suddenly struck by their uniquely peculiar appearance.
So far, our nearly two months of travelling has been filled with all kinds of plans that can all be perfectly summed up with a single characteristic: change. That means we have already made tons of different versions of our trip, many of which were abandoned at one point and quickly replaced with another, more suitable or attractive option. And that is exactly how we were able to experience the unbelievably cute and adorable Melaka with its charming streets and buildings, its welcoming and genuinely friendly residents, and its invitingly exciting happenings. So, here’s to more changed plans!