The journey from Gemas to Malacca really opened my eyes about how does Malaysian countryside really looks like.
Back during my working days in 2004, I never got any chance because no one would take me around. I even heard that Malaysian countryside/villages are not as developed as the ones in Indonesia. Some villages near Kuala Lumpur weren’t even electrified! Is that true? Now it’s the time to see the proof.
From Gemas, we’re heading to the South West. I was really impressed on the way Malaysian main roads are constructed. They’re made of high quality asphalt.
Unlike those in Indonesia which often made of lower grade asphalt which will get bumpy or even cratered after several months.
Sometime the road would wind around hilly place. This view reminds me of the one around Bandung, unless the asphalt condition obviously different.
The road often passed through deserted and uninhabited place. So, if anything went wrong help wont come immediately.
But sometime, we came across small town.
It is really a small town, as no one would built their house away from towns, possibly due to the past troubles such as Malaya Emergency in 1950s.
I was really stunned by how fast everyone (including bang Noor) drove their car. Most of them will drive above 100 km/h! Once we get held up by a car that travel at 70 km/h (it is considered fast in Java island), yet bang Noor complained on how slow he is. Yup, slow!
But after we overtook him, the road is clear and empty…
I was really amazed on how virgin the hills are. In Indonesia (especially Java island) such hills wont be as heavily vegetated as this one, and there might be some houses too.
We came across this junction.
You could see how remote the place is. There are no signs of towns around the place.
Along the way we came across the railway line. This is Gemas-KL railway line.
Apparently, we’re in Batang Melaka. You could see the new railway station (the grey modern building in the distance), and the old station building (the yellow building on the left center) complete with the old railway alignment to the old station.
Malaysian railway underwent major makeover these years, and in the future, all mainlines in Malaysia will be electrified and would look like this.
These include realignment where they will also relocate the track to shorter alignment.
So the sight of idyllic and traditional railway station will become history.
We resumed our journey to Malacca.
At one point we traveled along this scenic lakeside. I forgot the lake’s name.
Sometime we traveled next to a rural “kampongs” complete with the old traditional Malay house.
But some “kampongs” have been modernized and they even feature this modern housing complex.
We finally arrive at this junction.
And we finally arrived at Malacca.
Malacca is a busy tourist destination, so it is not surprising if tourist buses are common sight in Malacca.
Despite of its popularity, you could still see the face of old Malaysia at this Semabok suburb of Malacca.
Some places in Malacca still have this rural feel.
But some already has been developed into urban places.
Since Malacca is a popular tourist destination, it is packed with hotels such as this one.
That’s interesting sight….
After zigzagging around Malacca, we finally came to a place where we could park the car.
Unfortunately, by the time we finished praying it rains heavily! But I’m interested with the cross in the middle of the park.
After the rain, we went to the park to inspect it closer. Apparently it is a marker stone where the spot was a landing place for fames Christian evangelist St. Franciscus Xaverius.
Near the park there is a site where one former Malaysian air force airplane is displayed.
Including this former airport fire truck.
But this is the most interesting sight of all: a locomotive and a coach.
This Japanese built locomotive is the only diesel hydraulic type ever operated by KTM. It didn’t serve long before being retired in 1960s after only a decade of service.
It is quite interesting that some of the nameplates feature Arabic inscription.
After we finished watching the locomotive, we headed to the old derelict structure nearby.
This is A Famosa fortress. It is the icon of Malacca.
The fortress was used to protect the church on the top of the hill.
Bang Noor challenged us to go to the top, and we gladly accept it. I have to say, the trip to the top was quite challenging.
But we made it anyway. The view from the top was superb. You could see the city’s parade ground clearly.
Once we arrived on the top, we were greeted by this sight. The church’s ruin really gave an eerie atmosphere of the place.
Still, the sights of Malacca old harbor really a sight to behold.
On the top of the hill is the remnant of the old Church, complete with the statue of Franciscus Xaverius and replica of bell tower.
Back in the old days, the church didn’t have neighbors. But now it does have some, including this old English colonial style building which is now a museum.
The above view gave the feeling of the old days, when Malaysia was a part of British colonial empire, but if you widened the view, you could see how much Malacca have been modernized.
We went inside the church ruin. It is generally open, and no entrance ticket required. Sometime we would came across homeless who stayed in the area, or stray cats who mating in the premises.
The partly derelict ruins gave the grim impression about the place.
I can’t imagine how this eerie looking place would have looked like at night. Maybe you’d see some ghost apparitions….
Once we finished looking at the church, we returned back to the carpark, where we were greeted by the sight of passing tricycle taxi.
We wants to see the famed Stadthuys. Bang Noor said the easiest way is by walking. So we walked to that place. Along the way we came across many museums. Apparently Malacca is well known for it’s wealthy collection of museums. The problem is, all of the were closed when we were there.
Including this one, which feature a retired Fast Patrol Boat. Anybody know the name of this vessel?
This must be Malaysian Naval Museum. You can see many of its exhibits on its yard.
There is even a replica of Portuguese galleon on the riverfront.
Although not as impressive as Singapore’s Clarke Quay, Malacca riverfront is still an impressive place to be.
There is even a large paddle wheel in one corner of the waterfront.
After several minutes of exhausting walk, we finally arrived at Stadthuys. Unfortunately, it’s getting darker.
But our camera’s sophisticated sensor allowed us to take great photos in poor lighting.
One of tricycle taxi is modified with lights, to make it spectacular at night time.
They really made a nice picture before we resumed our journey to Kuala Lumpur.
To be continued.