The problem with Malacca was that we had gone to Ayuthaya the previous year.
Ayuthaya was the ancient capital of Siam. A majestic city with opulent palace grounds and ravaged monastries, carefully preserved for tourists, a day trip from Bangkok.
We gave a similar brief to our travel agent - day trip from KL, mind blowing history. The closest we could come up with was Malacca. So we headed to Malacca looking for another Ayuthaya.
Well, it was a day trip from Kl by bus, as Ayuthaya was from Bangkok. That's where the similarity ended.
No grand palace here. It was billed as a 'historical city' but there were very little attempts to bring alive this history. It struck one more like being an average a small town.
One must admit that there was the cultural diversity Malaysia (Truly Asia) is famous for. We saw a Chinese temple and ambled down the lanes of a Chinese village. A nice peaceful walk down the country but not comparable to the regal grandeur and history one got used to in neighbouring Thailand.
And it was not all about Chinese villages and Buddhist temples. We came across a red coloured church in the town square. But there was no one to tell us anything special about either the town or the Church. And we were with a fairly expensive day tour.
The red theme seemed quite common to Malacca. Later in the day we went up what seemed like an old fort. From there we could look down at the pier of what presumably was the Malaccan Streets. And in the distance were a number a red houses with red roofs. They painted quite a pretty picture.
You would have noticed that a couple of things were left to conjecture in the previous paragraph. That's because the Malaysians did not share the Thai knack of showcasing themselves for tourists. The guides in Malaysia were quite reticent compared to those in Thailand. And we were yet to discover Lonely Planet then.
All in all, Malacca was a nice break from the urban landscapes of KL. Thousand things to see before I die? Perhaps in the late 900s.
Of course, holidays are not just about what a place has to offer. Often memories are built beyond this.
Looking at our photos reminded me of two Oriental ladies who wanted to photograph themselves with Kainaz and me at the town square. And this was before Danny Boyle put us brown skins on the red carpet.
And then there were these guys with pythons to take photos with. Kainaz, who loves snakes, promptly got a picture taken with a yellow python. Then she pulled me against my better judgement to join her and her friend for a pic. I can't say that having the wet, slithery, weight around my neck was a high point of the trip! I am quite proud of my calm smile though.
- Malacca is about a 3-4 hr bus ride from KL
- We went on an organised tour which picked us from the hotel
- We had a Chinese dinner at a restaurant there which was part of the package
- You are better taking a 'Lonely Planet' or equivalent because the tour guides are fairly basic