Melaka – Why It’s Worth A Visit

We had about a month left in Malaysia before our trip down to Singapore in June and needed to find a place where we could relax and work for a while.

Melaka turned out to be the perfect place for this, and we ended up staying there for the whole month – with it becoming our favorite city in Malaysia!

Time Stands Still

The people in Melaka are very relaxed and welcoming, and it didn’t take very long until many of them started recognizing us and treating us like locals.

While the city is pretty close to the cosmopolitan capital Kuala Lumpur, Melaka has an entirely different vibe.

Hurry was not a known word in this place, everybody took their time, and you could sit and do nothing at all, without feeling bad for it.

The hands on the clock tower on the main square had stopped at half past two, but nobody seemed to have bothered to change it (or even noticed?) for a long time, perhaps because time is irrelevant there anyway.

The True Land Of Smiles

What I noticed about Malaysia in general was even more obvious in Melaka – this is the true land of smiles!

In contrary to many countries, people in Malaysia smile just for the sake of smiling, nothing else.

It is such a freeing feeling to know that the person smiling at you doesn’t want anything in return but a smile from you too.

In many countries the only smiles you get are when someone wants something from you, most often your business.

When they want to sell you something, they smile – if they don’t, they won’t bother.

In Malaysia, people smile a lot, and they do it because they simply want to, especially in Melaka.

The City Itself

Because of Melaka’s interesting history, with Dutch, Brittish and Portuguese settlers, there is a fun diversity there.

You’ll find Dutch inspired houses, Portuguese inspired food, and shoes and traditions from the Nyonya people (Chinese-Malay).

Sitting by one of the cafes lining the (Dutch) canal was one of my favorite things to do, although you could get quite tired having to always wave back at every tour boat and fishing boat that passed by on the canal – yes, waving to each other was like an unwritten law there..!

Every Day Is A Holiday

It is sometimes a little difficult to travel in Malaysia without anything pre-planned.

Malaysians themselves love to travel in their own country, and with all the holidays they have hotels are fully booked very often.

I was not surprised to find out that Malaysia has the most holidays in the whole world – it literally felt as though every second day was some sort of holiday!

Open-Minded

My experience with Malaysians is that they are very open-minded to other cultures and traditions.

This became especially clear to me when a group of teenage girls came up to me one day in a mall for an interview for their school project.

They immediately started showering me with compliments: “You look so fashionable today!”, “I love your blonde hair!”, they said while touching my hair and smiling.

This was so funny, because the contrast between us couldn’t have been bigger – they  were all wearing Tudong and Baju Kurung (veil and full-covering dresses), and there I was in a short sleeveless dress…

Which is your favorite city in Malaysia?

15 Responses to Melaka – Why It’s Worth A Visit

  1. Anton August 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Melaka … We had great time. It’s so strange, when you take a bus from KUL and arrive to Melaka’s bus station, which does not look anything special. Take public bus into the town – and while riding it – nothing really changes, very grey and boring…. and then, at one point, you drive into different dimension. Something more European. Something closer to heart. We loved it. Sitting by the canal and eating ice cream :)


    Anton

    • Sofia August 12, 2012 at 2:33 am #

      Haha I know, it’s a little crazy how everything suddenly changes, and just how red the city is..!

  2. Rachel August 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    I spent a few days in Melaka in 2008 and have to say that I felt very safe as a single, female traveller, the opposite to how I felt in Kuala Lumpur. They’re the only 2 places I’ve been in Malaysia. Strangely I’ve just written a post about a night out I had in Melaka. The fact that you stayed out there for a month has given me the confidence to perhaps return to Malaysia in the future. I had a bad experience in KL that had put me off the country.

    • Sofia August 12, 2012 at 2:29 am #

      Hi Rachel,

      Sorry to hear you had a bad experience in KL – the first impression of a place means a lot, but I hope you decide to give Malaysia another chance, there are some really wonderful places and people in Malaysia, especially if you get out of KL :)

  3. Lily August 8, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Yes, it’s true that Malaysia is land of smiles, the people there are hospitable and friendly :))

  4. Dani August 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    We spent some time in Melaka back in May and loved it! What a great little city. We met a couple of fellow travel bloggers who also kept coming back to Melaka and who spent a month there – it sure is popular :)

    • Sofia August 12, 2012 at 2:37 am #

      That’s great to hear! Melaka definitely deserves some credit, it’s such a relaxed, nice place.

  5. Leif August 12, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    I really loved melaka. I really loved the night street market. Such good food! My hostel was really nice as well. Can’t remember the name though.

    • Sofia August 12, 2012 at 4:23 am #

      I agree, the food in Melaka was so good! They have some very strange desserts though..

  6. Tom Stockwell August 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Melaka! It’s the one place I want to visit the most in Malaysia, but I didn’t have time to go there when I was in KL last year – really enjoyed reading this as it’s made me even more determined to go when I’m in Malaysia next year!

    You’re so right about the holidays, too. I have some Malaysian friends and I wonder if they ever work!

    • Sofia August 13, 2012 at 2:26 am #

      Hi Tom, glad you enjoyed the post. Definitely make sure you visit Melaka next year, it’s a really nice place :)

  7. Rupesh August 22, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Enjoyed your article, the photo selection was very good idea too…I enjoyed reading all through it, I am going there in a couple of months may be, I will have an experience of what you already had, thanks for posting… :-)

  8. Tey October 4, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    I don’t agree with you. Tourist felt that Melaka(or Malaysia) is safe because tourist are only visiting the tourist centre. There is always a down side of the city(or country). I am a Malaysian and is studying in Malaysia. Most of the English and Malay newspaper are controled(partly controled) by the goverment. Politics are not very open yet. Lot’s of foreign workers(unskilled workers). I hope that tourist can also see the different face of the country that I did in Japan.

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