It's common to take a trishaw ride around the centre of Melacca, and the drivers approach you the moment you arrive with hard sells. We negotiated with ours for two trishaws for half an hour time. We specified over and over that we would use this time to go to an exhibit and to take us back again, and that the time inside the exhibit would not be included. The driver spoke very good English and understood very well what we were bargaining for. He tried to have our time inside places included in his time, but we bargained not to.
After our first visit inside perhaps the museum, we came out to find that the drivers thought their time was up, and that it would take more money to take us back. I argued, but it was no dice. They offered for us all to take it up with the tourist police, which in hindsight I think we should have done, but we didn;t want to waste time on our day trip. It was a short walk back to the centre.
If for any reason you're trapped by Policeman, YOU ARE NO MORE SUPPOSED TO TRY TO DEAL with. Anti-corruption law seems to be applied, and you could be charged more for trying corruption (or win/win approachs).
Some policemans are still "open", mainly before the chineese new year, but no way to know in advance. It's becoming to be a risky psychological game !
Be aware you're supposed to have your international driving licences.
Unique Suggestions: Play the psychological game at your own risks ...
Fun Alternatives: Try to explain, penalty is not removed but most of the time is decreased.
No free maps / brochures on Melaka. You have to pay RM3 for a copy of map. It's very ridiculous !
Unique Suggestions: Take all other brochures on other parts of Malaysia.
Fun Alternatives: Log in to Virtual Tourist for more information or the below websites to download e-copy materials:-
In most travel guides, Medan Portugis is described as I nice place to see. So we went there... and there is basicelly nothing! It's an empty place with some restaurants....
Unique Suggestions: Have a drink at one of the restaurants and leave again.
Fun Alternatives: Stay in the main city area....
The Melaka River is the most historically significant river in the country during its glory days. Now its just a shallow river and no ships can go up river.
Since the early days of Parameswara through the days of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British, and since the country gained independence in 1957, the river has been a focus for trade and commerce.
Unique Suggestions: Now it cater for tourist and they have a river cruise up river. Its just a short cruise and all that you can see is the river bank with iquanas and some old housed. I went on this tour once and its not worth it.
Malaysia taxi drivers are infamous for ripping off tourist, likewise for Malacca. There is no single taxi in Malacca thats runs on meter, so don't waste your time waiting in hope for one. The minimum price starts at 10 RM. I tried to bargain down to 8 RM but just wasting my saliva.
Unique Suggestions: If taking a cab is a must, save it for longer journeys.
Fun Alternatives: Malacca is considered a small city, therefore traveling by foot will allow more sight seeing.Try to get a hotel in the heart of the city that will be more convenient. For example city bay view, emperor hotel or hotel orkid are located in the central of the Malacca. There are also budget hotel (guesthouse) located in Jonker street.
In Malacca's red square we saw some people that offered the tourists the chance to have a "funny" picture taken with wild animals like a white boa or a big iguana.
Please, do not support any form of wild animal abuse.
Fun Alternatives: No alternatives. If you do want to have your picture taken, not only will you lose your money, but you also take the risk of seeing your picture posted in the net, for the entire world to know.
Not a very good example of what a portuguese settlement looks like. Very disappointing.
Fun Alternatives: Melaka itself was nice. I went around in a tuk tuk, lovely colourful things. The temple route was lovely and I managed to find a shop which initially looked like a restaurant but which had the best zen garden I have ever seen.
They advertise VIP service to Singapore.. in fact they say 230 245 300 pm departures, what they dont tell you is that they are all the same service. they stop many many times and go to Larkin and the drivers stop to chat and they spent nearly one hour at immigration and customs chatting with each other and the whole trip took more than 5 hours. also they drop you off at a different place in singapore than where they picked you up. all in all I say avoid Transtar service. there are many other services. I liked the singapore melaka express even though their buses are a little grotty, good service and direct service and got you there fast, just under four hours
Unique Suggestions: dont book them. go to either lavender street bus stop which is not near lavender street mrt but a good walk away from there in front of some hakka food store, whcih serves mediocre food but could have some tea if you like. the man at the singapore melaka express counter is an old chinese gentlemen who looks like a colonial left over and extremely pleasant ( when you think of some of his other counterparts in singapore). on the way back go to the sentral station and buy tickets in advance from one of the other companies but not TRANSTAR.. this is the second time i am having this bad experience I should have taken my won advice..
Foolishly parting with a small fortune to look like Britney Spears at the Dutch Square in Melaka. The famous singer, if you remembered, angered animal lovers all over the world when she posed with a live, white snake on stage.
Unique Suggestions: Just keep your money and take a nice picture of the Queen victoria's fountain and the nice red buildings without the reptile for Pete's sake. Just remember that the poor animal has been there for the whole day, under the hot sun and passed from one eager tourist to another.
Antique shops abound in Malacca, and while you can find some really great bargains, and the genuine stuff, be warned that quite often some of the things you see are not antiques, they're just old!!
Unique Suggestions: Bring someone who knows antiques and can advise you properly, if you're hoping to score a really precious find
Fun Alternatives: Then again, other people's old stuff may be your priceless treasure! We found some quirky old violins and beer mugs/shot glasses from the early 20th century and street name plates and all sorts of other stuff... every category of goods are available in these stores!
The tourist police is located in the town near the entrance to st. paul hill. This unit is to help and facilitate the tourist in anyway you need help. So, if you feel that you are not treated fairly or you need any help, please dont hesitate to approach them.
White man's price
Whenever you buy anything it is better you bring along a local friend as you will get the local price.
For most places here have what I term as the white man's price.
The rationale is the white man's currency is bigger so he must pay more than the local.
Unique Suggestions: If you stll want to buy something then begin the bargain by bringing the price down by 1/4 on whatever price is being quoted to you. Then from this base start bargaining further.
This is not applicable to the fixed price shops.
Fun Alternatives: The other thing you can do is spot the item you want and get a local friend to buy it for you.
this place is called the hang tuah well.. as far as malaccan legend goes, hang tuah is a hero.. and according to the legend, he dug this well himself a looooong time ago and it has never dried up since.. even in the worst of droughts.. however, at the actual site, there's really nothing much to see other than a hole in the ground.. the road leading up to the well is very impressive.. with pillars of lights all the way.. but only to have an anti-climax at the end.. also, this place is pretty far away from town.. not really worth a visit, unless you're a big fan of hang tuah..
Unique Suggestions: marvel at the very high water level (not a very common thing).. use the bucket and get some water to wash yourself.. legend has it that this is miracle water.. go ahead.. you've go nothing to lose! :)
Fun Alternatives: if you really want to see a historical well, visit the hang li poh well instead.. the well was built by the followers of hang li poh, a chinese princess given as a gift to the malaccan sultan from the chinese emperor, around the well is bukit cina, believed to be the largest chinese cemetery outside china, with many tombs dating back to the ming mynasty..
A bit of Cuban style propaganda about the glorious contribution of youth
Unique Suggestions: Take photographs from outside..
Fun Alternatives: nice bulding to look at, right at the centre