Singapore & Southern Malaysia

We’re a bit behind with the blogs so we’re going to have to whiz through the last couple of weeks pretty speedily: Singapore was hot, humid and very civilised. We did our best not to break the law by not chewing gum, jay walking or eating Durian fruit (smells almost like very ripe cheese) on the metro. We visited a couple of impressive temples (Hindu and Buddhist) and explored China town but as we only had one full day there we didn’t really have time to do all that much.

We then caught a bus north to Melaka, a town on the west coast of Malaysia. Historically it was an important town as it was half way between India and China and sheltered from the monsoon winds & rains. In the 15th Century apparently it was recorded that there were 42 languages spoken in the town and more than 2,000 ships in the harbour. However, it began to decline soon after as first the Portuguese, then the Dutch and finally the British colonised it. The old bit of the town is a UNESCO World Heritage site is quite pretty at night with loads of chinese lanterns hanging everywhere. We went on a night cruise along the river and saw huge monitor lizards on the banks, visited a reconstruction of a Portuguese 16th Century sailing ship and went up a revolving observation tower. It also had a bustling night market and some amazing food. In fact, the food in South East Asia has been fantastic, a delicious melting pot of Chinese, Indian, Thai and Malaysian. It took me a while to get used to having rice and noodles for breakfast but as long as  a bit of gloopy sweet and sour sauce is drizzled on top, it goes down a treat.

From Melaka, we took a bus to Seremban, a thoroughly untouristy town. The guidebook warned that the town suffered from a shortage of cheap hotels that weren’t brothels. Although this didn’t seem to bother Claire as much as it did me, we ended up paying a bit more for a room just to be on the safe side! The town had little to offer tourists other than a museum on the outskirts which had a couple of wooden palaces in the grounds. The palace roofs curved upwards like horns and the entire buildings were made just of wood. From Seremban we took a taxi (driven by Seremban’s only woman taxi driver) to Kuala Lumpur airport to meet Lexi, my sister…

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