When we get off the bus at Dutch Square in the heart of Melaka we are welcomed by rickshaws in frozen, superhero, and hello-kitty style with large sound systems and hundreds of colourful lights. Oh boy that will take a little while to get used to! Although we knew in advance that Melaka is an important tourist attraction, the historic centre of the city – especially at night – looks like a big fair with a misplaced Hard Rock Cafe at its centre.
When we walk back towards our hostel, the streets have been changed into a cheerful night market, of course with street food and karaoke. A perfect opportunity to celebrate our hundredth travel day. After a night’s sleep we are used to the screaming storm of rickshaws and hordes of Chinese tourists. We dive into the history of Melaka with a large share of VOC history: The Stadthuys, Dutch Square, a windmill and one or two step- or bell-facades and a few large guns with VOC-logo on the bastion.
We decide to postpone Singapore and a three day stay in Melaka we head back to the east coast to make few dives. Pulau Tioman seems to be the perfect destination for that. Four hours of buses, a bit of a wait and two hours of boats later we get on the beach of Air Batang on Pulau Tioman. Air Batang is the typical example of a laid back village, no stress what so ever. No roads, so no cars, almost no internet, a few small shops and eateries whose opening times and days vary depending on the mood of the owner.
Pulau Tioman is teeming with large lizards, some of them almost two meters long. We therefore regularly encounter some when we look for beautiful beaches and bays. We make two beautiful dives at Chebeh Island and celebrate Rubens’s thirtieth birthday in Island-style, under a palm tree with the toes in the sand, happy hour and hamburgers!
After five days we recharged our batteries to conquer Singapore and we take the ferry back to the mainland. We do not know exactly how we will get to Singapore, but we will finally go that way!