I will describe Melaka and Georgetown in one page, because of their similarity. Of course there are many differences between the two of them. What they do have in common, is they are both picturesque towns in Malaysia, where you can enjoy wandering through colourful streets and discovering cute eateries. As a colonial village, they are protected by Unesco. You will find my experience of each town below.
13 march 2015 – 2 nights
A town with modern buildings and old heritage houses. The Portuguese build here and you can tell this from the colourful streets. Although Georgetown consists mostly of modern blocks, it’s fun to discover the old part. Especially with the effort that’s made of street-art, you will enjoy spotting the paintings and taking pictures of it. Some recommendations for Georgetown:
– cosey street Lebuh Armenian with café’s , shops and art
– checking out the Clan Jetties (wooden houses on stilts)
– the best secondhand bookstores in the country at Chowraster Bazaar’s second floor
– have lunch or dinner at Sip ’n Chew (72, Lebuh Pitt) or Tang (corner Lebuh Penang and Lebuh China)
We stayed in Little India which is a strategical and funny area. If you have time, you can shop at the impressive Prangin Mall or visit the Botanical Gardens (Bus 10 from Komtar busstation, 2R, 30 mins).
You pay to get here by ferry (1,20R), but the way back is free :). The Ferry runs every 20 minutes and goes from big city Butterworth, which had good bus connections to other parts of the country. Bus and Ferry terminal are next to each other and everything is well indicated (no chances of getting lost here). You can also reach Georgetown by bus. The main terminal is Komtar, which is underneath the Prangin mall. From Komtar station, it’s a 20 minute walk to Chinatown or Little India.
Good, happy memories of Melaka. Alhough Georgetown and Melaka get similar treatment by Unesco, the latter is far more touristic. Walking around Melaka’s Chinatown, it feels a bit like being in a theme park. That said, there’s plenty to see and to discover, also away from clicking camera’s. Things to do:
– endless wandering through the good vibed streets, exploring (art) shops, eateries and cafés
– check out the famous Dutch buildings around the clocktower and also the ruins of St Paul’s church (30 mins).
– gaze at the hectic Saturday evening market in Jonkerstreet. Funny to see, lot’s of kitsch stuff to score
– take a walk, following the Melaka river up north. At the height of Jln Kampung Pantai you will find cheerfully painted houses
– Enjoy lunch or diner at my favourites LocaHouz (53, Jalan Tokong) or Riverview Café (82, Jalan Kampung Pantai)
– if you are not on a tight budget, take a bicycle tour
How to get to Melaka (from Tioman)
not hard to get here as there are frequent bus departures from main cities close by, like for example Kuala Lumpur (every 30 mins, 12R). We got here from Tioman. Of course, from the island you first take the ferry to Mersing (departure times vary, duration 3-4 hours). From Mersing there are bus departures at 9:00, 1:15 and 4:30 to Melaka. We made a booking online through easybook.com but I think on the island there are shops who can also make the booking for you. The drive took 6 (!) hours and cost 25,10 R.
A long-distance bus to Melaka will drop you of at Busstation Central. To get from here to Chinatown, take Bus 17 to station ‘Clocktower’ (20 mins, 1,50R). This is the main square of Melaka, with also a tourist information point. To get back from Chinatown to bus station Central, you can take Bus 17 from the clocktower again, but as it makes a loop, you will arrive one hour later in the bus station. You can also do like me, and walk to the end of Jonkerstreet and wait on Jln Kibu opposite of restaurant Poh Pia Lwee in the bus stop. Every 10 mins a bus passes towards the busstation central (20 mins, 1,50R).