Port Dickson is another place I have not been. But will spend just a few days there and then get back to Petaling Jaya for a few days to meet up with a friend I worked with at IBM for some years. We have tried to meet before while we both were working for IBM but our projects and timelines seemed to conspire against us. I decided to just spend a few nights there and get to see him and perhaps see a friend that lives in Singapore but works often in KL. On the 15th I’ll fly out on my last minute 5 day trip before going up north to Penang for a month. I’m pretty excited to be staying in Penang at a nice Airbnb place where I can have the entire condo to myself and not have the usual hotel things going on.
I don’t like coming up with lists of places I have to go but I also know if I don’t plan a few days at the end to reach a museum, a palace that was restored, and a Portuguese settlement I may miss it. So my last few days are the “must see” places. Up until then its the wandering around camera in hand I just like to do.
I did come up with a sorta kinda list though. Here it is for you link bait aficionados:
Food. You have to try the Nonya food here. There is a delicious pineapple prawn curry dish with steamed rice that is so good. Also get to the Muslim places and have some Tandoori chicken or roti or whatever. Also you must try the traditional breakfast of Half-Boiled eggs, toast bread, perhaps some chicken rice, and a cup of kopi or coffee either iced or cold. Also something worth checking out are the food courts or hawker stands or whatever you wanna call them. You can eat on the cheap and I mean really cheap! But yet the beer will cost more. So go figure :-).
Walking. Forget the day tours that you buy into. Get yourself some good walking shoes and pound that pavement. Melaka is a fun city to walk in. You can reach just about everywhere on foot. You do not need a Grab Taxi except to get back to Melaka Sentral to catch the bus.
Planning. Forget planning. Forget destinations. Forget lists except maybe as I do them at the end. Just go! Do the second thing with no plans. Strike out in a direction and see what you can see.
Length of time. That’s a hard one. I have heard some people here for three days. I kinda think what? How can you possibly see Melaka in three days but they do. Its like going to Siem Reap for two days. Yeah right. The ten temples you maybe saw are just a blur. You don’t know a Bayon from any other one. I have an idea. Give yourself a week here. Do the first two things. Forget the planning and give yourself a week. Slow down tourists or travelers. The hours in the day will expand and you will slow down and enjoy a place more.
Shopping. There is lots of shopping here you can do. At night the market starts up. I don’t particularly care for these markets as much as something like the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City or the Central or Russian Market in Phnom Penh. I feel the ability to haggle and negotiate, find deals on the good fake stuff, and then see more of everything possible is a big deal at those markets. These markets in KL and here are more tourist havens with a few restaurants thrown in. If you wanna see the whole thing in some decadent fashion perhaps check out the Siem Reap Night Market with Pub Street next door. I have been propositioned by a variety of characters, found tacos, drank $0.50 cent draft beers and also shopped. So for me Cambodia and Vietnam are better shopping locales but check out the Jonker Street night market. See what you think.
Conclusions as it were…
Its tough to travel when you have a schedule and you have this desire to hit all those cities and countries. A stop at a place is a quick excursion to all of those things above but what stands out? I am not sure. I think people should slow down and stay longer, travel slower, become good at observing, living, participating in a place. If you go back to a place and I know a lot of travelers that do the round the world things would never go back, its not the same. You have changed and the place has changed. You may have taken thousands of photographs of the people, temples, buildings, restaurants but its different each time. Nothing stays static and what you see in Ho Chi Minh City one day will be completely different the next time. In evidence of this was when I spent a month there once and then went back for a day, I was amazed at the city all over again. There is a grit and a realism and a wonder that comes from walking those streets, finding those half-hidden pho places, drinking the coffee and walking the side streets. You may miss it.
Don’t let that happen. Be the person that stops and wants to see it more, see it different. Then do it all over again another time. You will not regret it.