Melaka at night is a wholly different experience from the tranquility of the dusk riverwalk. It’s certainly not a city bustling with nightlife, but it certainly does come alive at night.
The suspended dragon, now a shimmering gold in the night lighting, kicked off the entrance to the Chinatown street market. Like others I had been to in Thailand, this night market became a mass of shoulder-to-shoulder people moving slowly and stopping abruptly to look at the random and often useless trinkets for sale at the booths.
One of the things I had heard about Melaka was that it had some very interesting and unique food dishes. One of these easily found in Chinatown was the chicken rice balls. Despite all the hype behind these little orbs, about the size of ping-pong balls, I thought they were pretty bland and too dry for what they were. Then again, maybe I just wasn’t eating them correctly.
A random street made of open-air bars named Jonker Walk shot off the main street. It’s lights and food stands seemed to be drawing a crowd, though the most interesting sight in the area was the very exaggerated statue of Datuk Wira Dr. Gan Boon Leong, or Mr. Melaka. Apparently he is the father of Malaysian bodybuilding, but his statue was too funny to pass up a picture with.
Back across the river, all the historic building were lit up and passing through them were some of the most elaborately and ridiculously decorated rickshaws I could ever have imagined. I’d seen some pimped-out tuk-tuks in Thailand, but they had nothing on these pedal-rickshaws. Lights and paper-flower work covered every square centimeter. They had music, Asian and American pop blaring from speakers somehow attached somewhere on these oversized tricycles.
The area nearing the mouth of the river on this side houses a vast and confusing complex of buildings, many looking like hotels and apartments, I had to navigate around in order to find my way back to the other side.
My night ended in Chinatown as the night market was beginning to break down after a stimulating Chinese foot reflexology massage. It was stimulating mostly because, instead of washing my feet like I was used to in Thailand, I actually had to submerge them in near-boiling water for about 20 second in order to soften them up. It took me a couple tries.