Malaysia - Truly Asia

I've spent a few nights in KL whilst in transit. I felt that Malaysia had more to offer so on one of those stopovers having a bit more time to kill I bowled on down to Melaka, for a look.

Right: Christ Church, In Melaka's Town Square.

To the right of Christ Church is the Stadthuis, built by the Dutch in the 17th century. It currently houses the History & Ethnography Museum.

Petronas Towers

Melaka (a.k.a. Malacca) is a place rich in history and in fact is where many consider the modern state of Malaysia to have been born. In 1398 a Hindu prince called Parameswara ,who had fled Sumatra and had subsequently been chased out of Singapore (Temasek) by the Siamese for acts of piracy, set up his base in Melaka. The town prospered under Parameswara and soon had diplomatic relations with China, India and Siam. The first Chinese settlers arrived following a visit by Admiral Cheng Ho (Zheng He) and became known as "baba" or "nyonya". The third ruler of Melaka, Maharajah Mohammed Shah converted to Islam and under his son Mudzaffar Shah it became the state religion and it's rulers assuming the title "Sultan". In 1511 The Portuguese under Alphonse d'Alburquerque occupied Melaka and it's sultan fled to Johor. After a century and a half it passed into Dutch hands and was eventually inherited by the English about 150 years or so later as France occupied Holland. During WW2 the Japanese rolled in for a bit. All this has left it's trace and the city itself is like a living museum. Chinatown in particular is a maze of art galleries, museums and antique stores. It is also ethnically diverse. The guide on my riverboat trip proudly claimed Portuguese, Dutch, Indian, Chinese and Malay ancestry and claimed to speak Portuguese (Christao) at home as do many of the Portuguese descendants.

I was there to relax so much of my time was spent just wandering around admiring the scenery and architecture. Melaka is a great place for history buffs but I wouldn't recommend it for any kind of nightlife. I had a good time though, and Malaysia in general is one of my favourite countries. Full of variety and very friendly people.