13th - 21st February
|The Old Town|
Slight change of plan, we have backtracked to Malaysia. This is the first time we have revisited a country on our travels and to be honest its lucky that we don't require a visa to revisit. Our original plan was to try and catch a ferry from Singapore to Bantam Island and then find another ferry to Jakarta. The problem with this route is that the ferry to Jakarta is incredible infrequent and as we only have a maximum of two months in Indonesia (with a 30 day extension) it just wasn't worth the risk of having to stay put for a few weeks waiting for a boat.
After a little bit of searching we found a regular ferry service exists from Malacca, Malaysia to Dumai, Sumatra. The boat would be cheaper and more punctual with daily ferries leaving Malacca at 10:00am. So it ticked all the boxes and would allow us to visit a new town.
|View of Malacca from St Paul's Church|
We stayed at Jalan Jalan and Layan Layan across a seven day period to allow us to enjoy the Chinese New Year celebrations. As the names suggest the guesthouses are under the same ownership and are both located on the same old town street right in the heart of the historic and cultural centre. Both places are a real find with budget backpacker prices, great rooms, friendly atmosphere and helpful staff.
The bargains continue when looking for a bite to eat and the guys at the hostel were always keen to meet up for an evening meal at one of the great banana leaf restaurants or somewhere a little bit different. We tried stingray for the first time in a small street side shack just outside the old town. A little chewy but not nearly as bony as you would think.
|AS with most of Malaysia street art can be found on most buildings|
|I wonder if this is seaworthy|
|The local rickshaws really blend in|
The best place for food in town had to be at the Gurdwara (Sikh temple) and for a small donation the friendly chaps at the temple put on a full spread of great grub. We grabbed some bicycles and visited with an old Japanese guy who was staying in our room. The guy is 86 years old and still intent to continue backpacking ever year. A true role model and legend but a crazy bugger on the roads. It turns out that when your in your 80's you revert to the same mindset as an eight year old. A mantra of RIDE OR DIE!!!
Malacca is a pretty sleepy place and a few days is really enough to see all, but for us it was nice just to enjoy civilisation before venturing to the sparsely trodden tracks of Sumatra. The Chinese New Year celebrations were a little low key and although there were the usual hawker food stalls on Jonker Street the festivities were limited to a sporadic scatter of fireworks and the odd dragon dance.
|fireworks in the bar|
your feet, even after a gut full of booze.
It was a nice week in Malacca but its time to say goodbye to Malaysia for good as we head to our penultimate country, Indonesia.
Jalan Jalan Guesthouse