On our return from Singapore we headed back to Country Garden Marina for a couple of days and then set off for Langkawi via the Melacca Straights. We are taking part in Sail Malaysia which is a rally which goes from Johor to Langkawi. It is not a long rally and there are many stops in marinas which is unusual for us – anchoring being our preference. Our first stop was Admiral Marina in Port Dickson. A beautiful building which doubles up as a hotel. We got a berth immediately and by lunchtime, after an overnighter, we were safely tucked up in our pen. The main reason for our stopping here was to visit the very old town of Melacca which is about an hour’s drive south.
Melacca is the oldest town in Malaysia and a very important trading centre and is situated in the narrowest part of the straights. It is popular with tourists and Jonker Street is the artistic centre – with many antique shops, galleries and great little shops.
We hired a taxi with Claire & Errol and set off for the day to explore. What a gem – I loved it. A day was not nearly enough time to discover all its quirky lanes and shops but now that we have seen it – we will definitely be back as we are spending about a year here. Our first stop was a Muslim mosque – where we had to cover up with neck to floor blue gowns. It was fascinating place to visit. It was actually built by Chinese muslims who had been converted on their arrival in Melacca and as a result, the traditional dome of the mosque is in a Chinese style rather than the round style.
The next place we visited was the Hindu temple. They are so colourful and bright but we found out that they can only be painted every 11 years.
The next stop was to the museum of Cheng Ho. He was a Chinese eunuch admiral who led a Treasure fleet to explore the seas around China. There were 7 expeditions in all with over 28,000 men and they sailed to Africa, Southeast Asia, India, and even Australia and New Zealand. The reason there is a museum in Malacca dedicated to him is because he set up Melacca as the most important trading post in the region and he set up warehouses for trading and storing of goods. By becoming such an important trading post, Melacca increased in size and power. The museum had artifacts from many of his voyages, which included horse ships, water ships, hospital ships, warships and educational ships – for recording purposes. This was a museum you could spend all day in.
Must as we could have stayed here, but wanted to explore more of Melacca. It’s a very artistic place with many quirky little shops which Claire and I loved. The guys just wanted to eat but us girls wanted to shop – or window shop even.
We spent the next few hours wandering around, having lunch and exploring. I loved Malacca – it was a pity we had such a short time but gives us a good reason to return.
We spent a great day here but had to head back to Admiral Marina for our welcoming drinks from the Rally. We only stayed a couple of days more as we wanted to head onto Penang. Next stop is Pangkor Island – where they have lifting facilities so we want to book in there early next year to get some bottom work done.