A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about tourist sites

Melaka - Colonial town steeped in history Unes

View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Unesco World Heritage City Melake is teeming with historical structures, the most famous of which is A'Fomosa, at the foot of an old Portugese (I think; maybe Spanish) fort. A'Fomosa is a lot less impressive than the photos make it look, being a small 2-story building with a grand-looking facade.

We went to the museum of enduring beauty, which had pictures and displays of different cultures' ways of mutilating themselves to their society's ideal of beauty. This encompasses foot binding, tattoos, cosmetic scarring (similar to tattoo, but with scars from cutting or burning instead of ink) and devices to change the size or shape of facial features (including elongating lips and ears). We don't have many pictures, as the museum was less interesting than the content: many displays are simply photocopies of National Geographic pictures. Here are the foot shape and shoes associated with foot-binding.

The main market is Jonker Street in Chinatown, and we tried some Durian (rotting garbage-smelling fruit) Cendol (ice cream dish). Sue liked it and has taken a shining to durian; I didn't enjoy it as much.

The Christmas building (actually no idea what it is)

While walking along the riverside we randomly saw a couple kimodo dragons, 2 alive, 1 dead.

Most of the old houses are in good shape, but some are just being let go - here's one with no roof, and trees growing on the second floor.

Back near A'Fomosa there are a slew of pink buildings that used to function as the local government buildings.

Just outside of town is a district with tons of attractions clustered together: the zoo, botanical garden, a few museums, amusement park, and this: Mini Malaysia and Mini ASEAN, which has furnished model traditional houses from each of Malaysia's provinces and each Southeast Asian country. Unfortunately they are mostly built in the same style (raised on stilts; thached walls and banana leaf roof), so we lost most of our enthusiasm after Mini Malaysia.

After Mini Malaysia we went to the botanical garden, which had far more trees than and went on for a few kilometers and was full of mosquitoes

Posted by chrisvasil 21:21 Archived in Malaysia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur - Ultramodern Asian metropolis

View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Kuala Lumpur is what I was expecting to see when I first went to Shanghai, or in Delhi or Mumbai: a shiny new city expressing the continent's incredibly quick progression into a world-class financial and commercial locale. Everything is new, buildings are tall and and well-planned, the subway system is effecient, and the city fits together as a whole.

The main attraction architecturally are the twin Petronas towers, which at the time of construction was the tallest building in the world.


There are some food and tea stands in Chinatown (Jetan Petaling), but relatively expensive and the food simply can't compare to what we grow accustomed to in Thailand.

A sign saying to beware of snatch thief, where the thief is appears to be snatching a bag from an otherwise unclothed lady.

I found Malaysia generally to be a country of compromises between East and West: old colonial buildings alongside some built with Chinese influence, Asian food that is very tame, and reasonably polite people who speak English (though with an accent that I really like when they get excited). It might make a good first stop in Asia to ease into the continent, but once settled into the continent it simply feels less authentic than other areas.

Posted by chrisvasil 21:19 Archived in Malaysia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Madurai - Tamil temples

View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

The main attraction in Madurai is the temple complex, whose temples are built in the Tamil style of being a large pile of hundreds of statues and carvings stacked in a pyramid shape on a blue background. After going inside we went across the street to a rooftop shop, where we could see the entire complex from above for as long as we wanted before going back down the stairs to the sound of their sales pitch.


Inside the temple there was an elephant in a wig and makeup that would "bless" people with its trunk in exchange for a few rupees. It was cool to see inside an otherwise normal temple complex, though the trainers did hit the poor thing more often than I'd have liked to see.

The market was hard to find, and after rain the unpaved floor was quite muddy, which made the produce a bit less appealing and the walking around a lot less appealing, though it also made it a unique experience within the center of a fairly modern city.

With this we bid farewell to India: it's been cheap ($500 for a month including lodging and lots of trains; $1000 also including visas and flights to and from SE Asia; prices are total and not per person). We met some interesting characters, ate a lot of curry and mutton, stayed in some great value for money hotels (and some cheap grubby places), negotiated a lot (esp for rickshaws and fruit), and saw great things in both the dusty North and the lush South.

Posted by chrisvasil 21:18 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Cochin - 800 year old Chinese fishing nets, terrible palace

View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Nov 6-8 Cochin - 800 year old functional Chinese fishing nets

Cochin (now Kochi) is comprised of 2 main parts connected by boat: Fort Cochin, the historical district; and Erakulum, the modern city part. We stayed in Erakulum but spent 2 days (1 morning and 1 evening) in Fort Cochin.

In line for the ferry across, we saw the best Euromullet of the trip.

The main road in Fort Cochin is covered with wholesalers of things like tea and rice.

2 churches and a synagogue, in Fort Cochin. The second church has a Jesus draped in Indian clothes, riding a horse, and carrying a sword. That church is located in Jew Town, and was blessed by His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. something, Bishop of Cochin. India is big on titles.

The old Dutch Castle is ok value for money for the 2 Rupees (4 cents) entrance fee, but given that it is one of the main draws to Cochin it's very disappointing. It's basically a 2-storey industrial-looking building with peeling paint and a small museum on the inside. I didn't take any pictures, but it looked like half the (budget) places where we stayed.

At night we went to a Kerali play, which is preceeded by applying make-up on the actors. The make-up is extremely elaborate, taking about an hour. The white parts along the neck of the green guy are stuck on using tools and clay in such a way as to completely hide the seams along his face, and the yellow guy has a coat of purple face paint under the yellow, which gives kind of a two-toned effect when he's on stage. No words are used in the play; instead communication is through dance, hand gestures, and facial expressions which are explained at the beginning of the show. Apparently people that study the genre can understand entire dialogues and plots, but to us it was a bunch of dancing with a few wonderful facial expressions. For the next couple weeks I was looking at Sue with an expression of romance, as demonstrated, which involved keeping my eyes big, moving my eyebrows, and looking around a lot. The story, explained in the programme, is more-or-less as follows: the green guy is a good god; the black guy is a demon; when the demon is making a delivery of maidens to the god, the demon falls in love with the god. The demon then transforms into a beautiful woman, tries to seduce the god, fails, and turns back into the demon. When the god sees that the demon was trying to seduce him, he vanquishes the demon.

The Fort Cochin area was on a trade route with China, and one excellent piece of engineering that they kept from 800 years ago are the fishing nets. They are massive nets that balance on a hinge, counter-balanced by rocks of roughly the same weight on a pulley. The net part goes in the water, and is pulled back up some minutes later with any marine life that was swimming above it at the time. The system was economical for large-scale fishing until a few decades ago, and is still used for small-scale fishing (more effecient to have 5 people working this fishing net than using fishing rods, but less effecient than using trawlers or other modern large-scale techniques). As the sun began to set we happened upon a fish market, where the catch of the day was being weighed and sold by the box. We wanted to see the trading the next morning, but woke up too late.

Cats joining in the fish-eating fun

There were a lot of exotic (possibly illegal) fish for sale. Here is what I believe to be a baby hammerhead shark.

Unexpectedly, a fancy mall boasts Abad Food Court, while slightly repressed induividuals may live in the Bay Pride Tower and shop at the Bay Pride Mall.

Posted by chrisvasil 21:00 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Goa - Fun and sun on India's beaches

View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Goa is a province that remained a colony of Portugal for about a decade after India's independence from Britain. There are some great beaches, and it is a popular spot among Europeans for resort holidays. Since we went by train rather than on a package tour, we were able to go to a town where the beaches aren't full of tourists and paid just Rs 250 (just over $5) per night for our hotel room. Sue spent most of her time near the beach, and I went into the sea for a few hours, swimming with and against the current, jumping over the waves (the water was mostly knee to waist high), and just playing over there.

There were lots of crayfish, tiny crabs, and starfish. The crabs move around a lot when their ground is disturbed, so that when you upon picking up handful of sand the sand usually vibrates until the crab isn't there anymore. I tried to get crayfish to fight, but didn't have any luck with that. We dug for clams toward the end of our second day there, and some locals Sue befriended helped. We ended up with a big bag of clams, and we spent about an hour to find a restaurant which would cook it. Most places the staff looked at us like there was something wrong with us for wanting to eat clams, but finally we found a place. They were very good, though a bit sandy.

Posted by chrisvasil 02:58 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

(Entries 16 - 20 of 84) Previous « Page 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. » Next