Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekend in Melaka 1/2

On the last weekend of July, I tagged along with two friends to spend the weekend in Melaka, Malaysia. It was one of the most budget-friendly inter-country trips I've ever gone on, considering I only spent a total of SGD92 dollars (approximately PHP3000) inclusive of lodging, transport costs, food and souvenir(s)! So it's a treat to get yourself to Melaka even on a day trip when you find yourself staying quite a bit long in Singapore! It's only a four-hour bus ride away, and I now appreciate the pros of living in a peninsula country as compared to living in an archipelago (but I do love our 7,107 islands so! Which reminds me -- given what has just happened, do help out if you can and check out how and where you can help here).

There are quite the number of buses going in and out of Singapore to get to Malaysia. We got on the 707 Bus (SGD27 due to peak time, but it does go as low as SGD21) at around 8:00AM and reached Melaka at around 1:00PM. The bus does stop for immigration checkpoints and a thirty-minute brunch break at some rest point, so worry not about getting hungry along the way! 

This is what greets you when you reach the heritage town of Melaka and you're dropped off in the plaza nearby the watch tower - tricycles adorned with so many colorful flowers and blasting party music all over as it rushes past you. Depending on where you're staying, the bus does drop you off right at your hotel or at the landmark nearest where your accommodations are. My friend booked us a room in Sayang Sayang Youth Hostel, a neat little place right by the riverside. Very quiet, very clean and accessible to the tourist areas, and cheap! A night cost SGD30 or so split among the three of us, so that was about SGD10 each.

That weekend made me scorn Duccio's lens' limitations - my only working lens at the moment is a portrait lens and therefore has no capacity to zoom out or zoom in - because there was so much to capture in this lovely Malaysian town. Good thing I brought my film camera, and I've just picked up the film rolls! It was all about the street culture and, as my friend puts it, the very fact that Melaka is a living heritage. It's no wonder that it makes UNESCO's list of heritage sites; it's a rather well-preserved town, and we only wished that we could do the same to so many cities and towns back in the Philippines.

One of the key things to do in Melaka is to go to Jonker Street, especially in the evening. The street takes on a totally new form at night, because vendors begin setting their tables up by 6PM and by 8PM, the night market is alive. 

The street is just packed with people, so do remember to take a breather once in a while when you feel suffocated. There are stalls selling tea and fruit shakes, frozen grapes and ice cream, dodol (durian, we realized) here and there and a lot of other things. You can buy imitation bags and shirts, antiques and more food! The locals are rather nice, and they can spot a Filipino immediately by our accent. One vendor knew we were from the Philippines right away, and it was nice of him to explain the health benefits of the fruit shake I ordered - complete with a complementary sour plum. 

By the end of the night, we were tired from walking in such a full street, and retired to the hostel. We walked a bit around the river, enjoyed the peace and quiet, admired the simplicity in the ways that Melaka transformed its riverside at night, drank to chill music and finally found sleep. 

to be continued!


  1. such a great photos <3


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