Super exciting day!! I am off to Melaka or like locals spell it “Malacca”. It is around 150 Kms from Kuala Lumpur and a UNESCO world heritage site. I am going by a bus which takes 2 hours from KL’s TBS bus station, the main bus depot. I reach the bus stop and the first thing I want is a loo, which was horrible!! Just the stench, and I ran out. Didn’t have the courage to look into the stall. I had bought a ticket online for 13.5 Ringgits and had the e-ticket with me. Was surprised and annoyed when I had to still stand at one of their ticketing counters and take a boarding pass. What a waste of paper!
But then, I was impressed with how each bus came into it’s own bay and it was all very much like an airport. The boarding gates and jazz. The printed ticket, still wasted because no-one even looked at it once. Despite some very disturbing weight loss ads on billboards on the way, the journey was quite uneventful. I was dying to pee and ran looking for a loo at the Malacca Station. It looked like the loos were the same from colonial times. India style, very basic, with not even a peg to hang your bag. I wished I was a gymnast and could contort my body while balancing my bag and phone and pee at the same time. Well, I did manage pretty well with no mishaps.
Now, it was time to get to the main town area. I could see boards everywhere asking tourists to take the taxi only from the registered taxi stand, which by the way was just a few men sitting around a window. They asked for 30 Ringgits which was an outrage! I tried to look for other alternatives when one of the taxi driver came up and offered to take me for 20 Ringgits. I took it and we were off. On the way he was telling me about the town, it’s history and the sights to see. He offered to show me around for 40 Ringgits an hour! I politely declined. He asked me what I did for a living and said I could make a great model for their traditional dress, the Kebaya which would look perfect on my petite body. Hahahaha. I wanted to laugh so hard but had to just smile and change the topic.
I wanted to eat at a restaurant which was on my list, but the taxi driver didn’t know where it was. I was going to map it when he offered to take me to a good Nyonya restaurant. Unfortunately, when we reached there I realized it was shut. I decided to walk around and explore. The lanes were so beautiful!
I came by a restaurant and I was starving, no patience to look around and decide. I walked in. Looking at the menu, I came to know that it was one of the popular joints. Siew Tin’s Nyonya kitchen, also the official partner/something for Miss. World Tourism (Malaysia) The ordering process was quite interesting. I was given a printed piece of paper with the menu listed along with the various options like sides, extras mentioned. A very smart way of taking an order at a place which is full of tourists and English isn’t the local language. I ordered a traditional Nyonya Chicken curry with Butterfly pea flower rice. While I waited for my food, I walked around the place, taking pictures. It was such a beautiful restaurant!!
The food kept up to the hype the menu had created. Subtly spiced chicken curry with the fragrant rice was literally melting in my mouth. The biggest drawback of travelling alone? There’s always food left! I had to pack the leftover chicken curry, as there was no way I could finish a full portion by myself.
Finally satiated, it was time to explore the town. There are signboards through the town telling you the way to the famous attraction. But, the boards were really funny. The arrows were pointed towards non existent roads and I had to fish out my google maps. First stop, the Kampung Kling mosque. The taxi driver had told me in the morning, how Malacca was the only place where mosques had a traditional “artichoke leaf” roof design unlike the domes in the rest of the world. And I had an example right in front of me.
I had to put on a head scarf and robe before I entered the mosque. Well, “entered” doesn’t sound right when all you get to do is take two steps and stop. I had nothing to do but to take couple of pictures and get on my way.
As I was wandering around, I came across a Chinese temple. I couldn’t find a plaque or board telling what that place was.
Continuing my exploration, I walked through bright and colourful lanes bringing me to the main circle. The first thing I noticed was the humongous store ” San Shu Gong” which was on my list to pick up local delicacies. I went in, and went mad. Shopped like there was no tomorrow. Picked up loads of gifts for family and friends. They were ready to hold my shopping with them so that I didn’t have to carry it around through the day.
After making my wallet a lot lighter than it already was, I walked towards the biggest attraction of Malacca “The Stadthuys”, starting at the Dutch Square. Crossing the windmill bridge, I stopped to look at the view. Everyone was taking pictures and someone requested me to take a picture of them and their friends. The barter system kicked in and they took my picture. Requested him to take in a way that bringing the whole background, which as expected he didn’t do.
Time to get that camera out and go click click click.
I followed the directions to the St.Paul’s hill. It was crazy hot and I was so confused with this town’s direction boards. I was looking for St.Paul’s hill and I reached A’Famosa fortress. Not much to see as just a wall of the fortress is still standing. Opposite A’Famosa stairs went up through the hill and I came to know that was St.Paul’s hill and the stairs led to the St.Paul’s church. The view was gorgeous from up the hill and I got into a conversation with a NRI couple who were amazed at hearing that I was travelling alone.
Walk through the Dutch graveyard and out back into town, I reached St.Xavier’s church. It was shut for renovation and I walked back towards the Dutch Square.
I walked into Christ’s church and sat for a while getting respite from the heat. There were these crazy rides decorated in the wildest ways. It was hilarious to watch people take a ride in them. What was not cool was the loud music from each of those, ruining the whole vibe of the beautiful heritage town. I also saw the Kebaya! Do you think I could model for them?
I had seen this huge ship while entering the town in the morning, I searched for it and followed the directions. It was the Malacca Maritime museum. I had no interest of going in and wasting my time. Took a few pictures and moved on to Menara Taming Sari or the Taming Sari Tower. It is a rotating gyro tower 110 mts high giving a panoramic view of the whole town. For a fee of 21 Ringgits you could spend 20 odd minutes soaking in the sights of the town. As I was walking in, a photographer asked me to stand in front of a green wall and took a picture.
The ride was fun, even more so with the cutest co passenger I had. Guess what I see when I come out? These guys had used my picture, imposed it on a fancy background and then put it up on sale and as an example of what could be done! I wasn’t going to buy it, but did I look hot or what?! 😀 I guess I should have taken a picture of that postcard.
Once done, I went in search for the famous Nyonya pineapple tarts, Melaka coconut palm jaggery. Once I was done with my crazy shopping, had a cold beer at Geographer’s cafe before heading back to KL. Such a lovely day! I am glad Ani suggested I do this.
The only other major thing left was Batu Caves. I left early morning, changing trains, taking the KTM line at KL Sentral. I wasn’t too excited about this. An Indian, who doesn’t ever go to temples, going to one on a holiday? Just had to strike off my list. The temple was super colourful. So much more vibrant and beautiful than the temples at home. It was lovely to see people of every religion walking in and out of the temple. If only, all of us were this tolerant always. World would be so much more beautiful.
I spent a few hours there and took the next available train out. Make sure to check the train timings when you are visiting Batu as the trains aren’t as frequent as the other locations.
I had been wanting to go eat at Lot 10 Hutong. A place where the best street food hawkers have been brought together under one roof, giving us a wide variety of options. I walked up and down three times, looking at every stall before deciding what to eat. The fragrance outside Secret Penang cafe lured me in. I ordered a Prawn mee and Oh My God! Was it good or was it good?! Delicious broth loaded with all kinds of meat and veggies. My day was done with this!
Started the day with a solid workout and a relaxing swim. Relaxed rest of the day and put the boys to cook dinner. 🙂
I wanted to go to one of the outdoor gyms in KL and I had been trying to zero down on where to go. Now, as I had an idea of the city and the distances, I realized every gym was extremely far from Ani’s place and decided to let go of that idea. But, I was getting super bored and dying to eat some local cuisine. I decided to go to Baba Low for lunch. Before that, to Mid valley mall as Ani had kept asking me to go there. I am not too interested in malls and shopping but I decided to go there as it had a Sister’s Crispy Popiah outlet. I got a crispy chicken Popiah which is something like a spring roll, sat in a corner and ate. Not too thrilled with it, was too sweet for me.
I walked around aimlessly and came across a huge supermarket. Lost my mind in there buying some great south Asian cooking supplies, like udon noodles, seaweed papers and stuff.
After spending some more money, I took a cab and went to Baba Low, a tiny little joint. No fanciness, nothing. I ordered a Mee Siam. A noodle salad drenched in the yummiest tamarind sauce.
There was a plan to go out in the night. Ani wanted to take me to Zouk. Trek is an area/lane in Kuala lumpur lined with bars and pubs. A high end version of Bukit Bintang. We reached there around 10, it was still too early to get into Zouk. The whole area warmed up only after 12. We went to another place, had couple of drinks and dinner.
At around 11 we went to Zouk. It had 5 different rooms with different kind of music playing. It was so loud that my ear drums actually started hurting. Only the ground floor room had people and we went in there. Packed with people, it was impossible to even have a drink properly. Our entry came with two drinks each. They dumped all those drinks at one go and we didn’t even have a table. I went on the dance floor for a bit, but it felt more like a fight than dance. Struggling to even stand, it wasn’t fun. On top of that, random men trying to come close to you. A British guy just came and put his arm around me, I lost my cool but, luckily his friends came and dragged him away while apologizing. Couldn’t take this place anymore and we walked out. I just wanted to go home.
It was a long weekend and Ani was at home. We chilled most of the day at home and went to IOI city mall near his house. Did some shopping for Aren. Action figures for my Avengers crazy son. Some lip smacking tarts! The dinner was the best of the whole trip. Had Korean food at Dubu yo. Lip smacking Dol sot bibimbap and Kimchi gogi. Yum yum yum! I even won a game there!
I am leaving KL tomorrow and this is my last day here. One last day of workout in the gym. Ani wanted to take me to Suria KLCC mall and see the fountain. We went to his friend Pavan’s place first and dragged him out with us. We had a few drinks and dinner at Svago and then wanted to call it a night. It was now Pavan’s turn to drag us and we headed to Bukit Bintang. Back at Healy Mac and then to a Bollywood bar called Uptown. I usually don’t go to Bolly places but Pavan really wanted to and was feeling too polite to ask. It was packed with, obviously Indians. I had enough drinks in me to enjoy it all and break out into all bollywood dance moves. Ani looked embarrassed and wanted to crawl into a hole or I guess throw me in one. 😀
This was a fun way to end my last day out on a great holiday. I cannot thank Ani enough for forcing me to do this. It was the perfect mix of relaxation, fun and travel. Couldn’t have asked for something better. But, I was also glad it had come to an end. I was missing my son a lot. I realized 7 days was my threshold. I can’t travel more than that. Specially not solo. I am a wanderer but also a homebody.