• On the Road
  • From Spain to Australia

    The Rod Trip, from Spain to Australia is over. On February I reached the other side of the world in an amazing journey that took me 20 months, 590 days across 32 countries in between Europe, Asia and Oceania. about 87.000 km full of experiences, people and new cultures.

    New trips will come but this one will always remain as one of my greatest challenges and adventures.

    Keep tune for what it is about to come. Future is so unpredictable!

  • On the Road
  • 18/01/11 – Ferry Ende to Kupang – Indonesia

    Back again to one of the cramp Pelni’s ferry. The more I sail with them the more their inhuman conditions disgusts me. I would encourage you to avoid sailing with them, but there are no many other options.

    As I posted in previous entries, this is the site to check their schedules and prices. If you are travelling oversees you might need it. Pelni

    The departing port may change site, so check it first at Pelni Headquarters in Ende, from there both ports are pretty close and both have some kiosks and warungs – “restaurants” – around.

    To make the travel more pleasant, I brought some noodles, cookies, fresh water and tea bags. Food in the ferries is only rice with a little piece of fish. This time it was disgusting. I have tolerated many nasty foods in this trip, but I simply refuse to eat this one the second time I was offered.

    The sail, once more, long and tedious. We were sailing in more open waters in rainy season. The vessel moved with the waves. What gave as a result people trying to sleep on the deck to avoid seasickness. Unfortunately for everyone, the rain pushed them into the corridors, making moving on board very uncomfortable. Not to talk about people puking everywhere. In between the discomforts of the trip, some kids crying and making noises all night long and an overheated deck.

    ADVICE, try to get a place in the upper decks as are colder than the ones in the bottom. Also bring a sarong or lining for more comfort.

    The trip between Ende and Kupang takes 26h. and has two stops, one in Sawa and other in Rote.

    The arrival in Kupang is 14km away from town so is almost mandatory to catch up a public transport all the way to any accommodation. Motorbikes are about IDR 50k and taxis IND 70-100k. I got one for 10k though. It included an argument on arrival as the driver thought I was offering him 100k. Nothing I can’t deal with. I do not mean the payment, but getting rid of scammers.

    One way or another I made it to Timor. I am one step closer to Australia.

     

  • On the Road
  • 18/01/10 – Across Flores – Indonesia

    After 7 hours ride by bus I am finally at Ende. What means “the end” in German. Surprisingly, the bus made all the way from Ruteng to Ende in little more than 6 hours. It is about 136 km in straight line, but 260 on a curvy road up and down mountains. At the end of the journey I felt broken. I hit myself at least five times against the window due to the fast driving. For sure it was impossible to sleep. On the way I said goodbye to my beloved moustache-friend Miguel “El Chato” after an amazing week together.

    Today I embark in another Pelni trip across to Timor. I am getting closer and closer to Australia, but still I haven’t found a vessel to sail across Asia and Oceania.

     

  • On the Road
  • 17/12/07 – Bandung

    Once I found out the departure date of the ferry to Borneo and i had the ticket in hand on my way out of the country to renew my visa, I decided to get out of Jakarta to visit something else. Unfortunately, the only ferry was in two days and there was no other until after Christmas. I had only the chance to spend one night out.

    Bandung is a “little” city not far from Jakarta. I say “little” as it is how locals described it to me, but it is the home for more than 8 million Indonesians. Bigger than many European capital cities and even some European countries.

    To get there the options are bus or train, price or time wise, there are little differences. However, in terms of comfort train is the best choice. On the way there I took the bus as there were no more trains, from the 3 to 4 hours ride, 70% of the way is getting out of the Jakarta. Then a little stop to pray at sunset and that’s it.

    I arrived to Bandung in the afternoon to a hostel where I was the only guest. Not bad! I activated my hangout and 2-3 hours latter I was at the main pub street of Braga drinking beers with a bunch of locals. I love this!

    Next day I had my train back to Jakarta in the afternoon so I had little time to do things there. For sure if you ever go, it is worth a couple of days. The main town has little to offer, but it is in the surroundings where you can visit amazing landscapes.

    To the south there is the white crater Kawah Putih, a unique landscape. To the north there are tea fields and another volcano.

    From what I could visit, I went to the northern tea fields and the village of Lembang in the north. I had no time for everything, but the little I had I spent it talking with people. It was a very generous girl who took me in her moto to these environments and told me about all the other things I was missing for not staying longer.

    On the way back to the train station we passed by the City Hall and unfortunately, that was it in my express visit to Bandung.

    The train back to Jakarta was much more smooth and comfortable than the bus. In three hours and a half I was back to Jakarta arguing with annoying Uber drivers.

  • On the Road
  • 17/12/05 – Jakarta

    Jakarta is the biggest city in Indonesia and the capital. Located in the overpopulated Java it hosts about 40 million of the 150 million inhabitants of the Island. It is one of the biggest cities in the world and a bit of a mess.

    It is far away from a touristic place and there is little to visit. Most of the people that stop by is due to the International Airport connexions and not for more than one day. Me, however, I stayed for 5 days. The reason, the people I met all around.

    As I have said already, development is lower here than in Malaysia as I can feel. There are many urban infrastructures missing. No subway, or tram. They are building it now. Urban bus is a mess although they are working on a transJakarta bus to connect over bus lanes must of the metropolis.

    The first days I stayed with a great Couchsurfer that not only hosted me in her little apartment, but picked me up from the Ferry terminal. Just on the few kilometres between the terminal and her house, after more than one hour in the car I realised how complicated was the traffic in such a metropolis. Pretty much there are no rules, just drive in the left side of the road meanwhile is possible.

    The city as I was saying has little to visit. The National monument is not even impressive but has a huge queue to go to the top. I didn’t even try.

    Nearby there is the Istiqlal Mosque which is much worth a visit. It is a modern mosque, the principal of the city. I happened to be there by the anniversary of the Prophet Mohammed so it was crowded.

    Indonesia is 87% Muslim and the country with more muslims in the world. Still, most of them do not speak Arab, but learn how to read the Quran by heart. However, religion populations change in every Island and there are some where Christians are majority. One or another religion, they all live together in harmony, and next to the Istiqlal mosque there is a Christian Cathedral which towers try to imitate the ones of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelone.

    The other interesting place to visit in Jakarta was the Taman Mini. It is a bit far away from the city centre, but reachable by public bus. I had the luck that my CS took me there in her car and showed me around.

    Taman Mini is a big park that host other parks as water park or theme parks, it also hosts the Museum of Indonesia and the most interesting, traditional houses of the different regions and cultures of Indonesia.

    In the Museum of Indonesia there is a compilation of the different cultures and traditions in Indonesia. From traditional customs, instruments, entertainment activities to professions and workshop tools. There are more than 330 languages spoken in this, the biggest country in SouthEast Asia. Still there are natives in most of the Islands and for sure, there is a big influence of all the colonies that have passed by here.

    After the visit to the museum and a fast introduction to what is Indonesia we had a tour around the traditional houses of Indonesia.

    Once finishing the full tour, nearby the entrance on the other side of the lake or pound is a miniature of the temples of the 6 main religions of Indonesia: Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Hinduism.

    Back in town what rests is to get lost in the Dutch-colonial-style old town and China Town. Easy to go walking from one to the other as they are not far away.

    The Old Town is an open square with the old city hall and few roads around.

    And China Town is little more than one long street full of business and little restaurants.

    There’s little more than this few monuments to visit in Jakarta. However, as I said, the best to me was encountering people. I even was invited to a wedding in the purest Indonesian style.

    In the morning there is the official marriage event to which only attends the family members and the more direct relatives. Once the sun is down it starts the festivity that takes little more than two hours.

    At the reception there are boards decorated with colours and flowers wishing the best to the just married. They are located at the entrance to the ballroom. Before access, every guest sign at the invitations book and give a gift – normally money – to the couple.

    Once in the ballroom everyone awaits the entrance of the couple in a promenade followed by their parents, siblings and other relatives. They get to the centre of the ballroom where a ritual dance take place.

    Then the couple place themselves at the podium and during the next hours they receive all the guests one by one to receive their best wishes. In general terms, there are between 500 to 1.000 guests in one of these celebrations. Meanwhile, the rest of us we fill our bellies at the buffet. All you can it! Local tasty food, and magnificent desserts. As this is a Muslim country there is no alcohol available, so water is the basic drink during all the event.

    From my point of view, a wedding is a torture for the just married couple. Uncomfortable dressing, but beautiful and elegant. A 2kg. crown for the wife that does not let her bend her neck and 2h. standing shaking hands. They barely get a bite or a drink of all what is at their feet.

    As I have been told, couples live each one with their family until they get married that they move to their own house. People gets married here between 23 to 30 yo. However, in small villages they do it younger.

    Other great experiences I had in Jakarta was with my Couchsurfer and the people I met through the social networks. Just walking around, eating here and there.

    The most romantic moment however was to have a cocktail at sunset at the top of Skye from where I you can have an overview of the whole city.

  • On the Road
  • 17/12/01 – Ferry Batam Jakarta

    If you are following this blog and you have read the previous posts, you might have notice that getting a ticket to the ferry was kind of an adventure. It reminded me of a roll game asking here and there to get to solve the quest.

    To travel from Batam to Jakarta, there are also cheap flights which is the option most of the people is going to suggest you to take. Cheaper and faster. The ferry takes 28h so if you are not afraid of flights, or travelling overland and seas like me, you should be really willing to have an adventure if you go for this option

    Long story short, if you ever think about taking this ferry here I tell you how to avoid struggling as I do. You can purchase the ticket online at www.pelni.co.id where also you can see the schedule for the following two months. If you prefer to buy it once in the Island, the only vendor I found was Paris Travel Agency at Nagoya just on the other side of the avenue from the BCA Bank and Nite and day Batam Hotel. They will charge you a little commission plus 4% if you pay with credit card.

    The boat departs from Batu Ampar, wich is not far from Nagoya. It is probably the only non-ferry terminal in the Island, but more a cargo ships harbour. Nearby there is nothing more than a dirty cafeteria. So, if you want to bring something on board consider buying it in advance.

    You will have to arrive to the port 2 hours in advance and the control to get into the boat is very simple, I even doubt they pay to much attention at what you are carrying with you.

    Once on board the ferry is very basic, pretty much rooms are distributed by class in different decks.

    Economic are bunkbeds in a big common hall, Second and first class however have different options between sharing a room with 8, 6 ,4 or having a private one. Toilets are nasty dirty. People do not flush or flush does not work. I had the guts to have a shower, but a college I met on board at the end did only washed his face.

    There is very basic food at the canteen and live music during lunch, dinner and at night time. There is no alcohol for sale in board and food won’t be much more than some rice with a piece of fish or chicken and a little slice of fruit.

    As activities, there is only one terrace and a little shop where to get a coffee or some snacks for two times what you would have pay out of the vessel and a fitness room with broken machines and a table tennis in good conditions.

    The journey is long so prepare yourself some activities to entertain along the way.

  • On the Road
  • 17/11/29 – Batam – Indonesia

    After all the struggles to get the ticket to Jakarta which was my main reason to stop in this Island I decided to visit few of the sightseeing here.

    Since the very first moment I get out of customs I saw Batam as a dirty crappy place. Roads aren’t in good conditions, there is rubbish all around. It was indeed a big contrast when coming from Singapore 20km away. Might be the fact that I wasn’t in a good mood after not receiving a visa I can extend or just the though of coming back to a place like Cambodia, but I didn’t react well to the first taxi drivers that started annoying me once I get out from the terminal. Even, here, in my western education, I found them much more unpolite. It was not the “Taxi, Sir” from the other ASEAN countries. Here they clap hands and make noises as if they where calling a dog. What make it worst is that even ignoring theme, they will follow and approach with that same attitude. Do they think I am deft or blind? If so, why they keep annoying me?

    Not to mention, but there are no proper taxis, it is just regular people with their car trying to get some extra money, and for sure, me as western, I was a good piece. They behave was not that intensive with other locals.

    People didn’t help me much to get all the way to the main town, neither to find anything I might be looking for as you may have read in the previous post. Still I get to meet good people that did their best to help.

    From the bus between ports on different sides of the Island, I could see it wasn’t very developed in terms of infrastructure. Most of the buildings as well were in need of a restoration or at least to be repaint.

    Nagoya didn’t appeal me at all. Smelly, with muddy bad roads, trash on the side roads, and old crumbly buildings. I found my self in the bars and pubs area to find out that all the bars had dark windows and ladies at the entrance. In one of those particular moments, the only non-locals I came across where three Spanish guys from Murcia coming out from one of the pubs saying that this was the paradise. After them three young ladies where saying goodbye from the door of the bar.

    The hotels I visited where not very clean, but very cheap if I compare them to the ones in Singapore, but expensive regarding the rest of the ASEAN.

    As I learnt later, this Island is considered a touristic spot. I don’t know why, though. It seems that in the north there are nice beaches and there is a ferry boat to go to nearby paradise-picture Islands. It is rainy season now, so not the good time to be here maybe.

    There are no many sightseeing in the Island, and probably the mayor attraction for tourists are the resorts themselves. In Batam Center and Nagoya, there are several malls where most of the people hang around.

    As it is cultural here, the market takes place in a market square and along the nearby streets. Shop tenants compete in prices and product, while motorbikes collapse the walking area.

    There are several mosques and temples, however I just visited some of them in my walk between Nagoya and Batam Center.

    The two biggest ones I visited there are not far from each other. The buddhist temple of Maha Vihara Duta Matreya is in between both settlements. It is a big concrete building that could have perfectly been a stocking if it weren’t because of the sculptures and symbols.

    The Mosque of Batam is located in Batam Center and the square in front of it make it visible from the distance. Its style repeats the common style for the temples in the regions, but in a bigger size and dividing the roof with different levels.

    Definitively, this stop was pretty much forced and if not completely unnecessary unless you are looking for cheap prostitution or to chill inside the resorts.

  • On the Road
  • 17/11/27 – from Singapore to Batam – Indonesia

    After a last night out and a chilling day in Singapore it was time to continue to Indonesia. There are plenty ferries that travel from Singapore to Batam, an Island just 20km. away.

    Singapore to Batam

    The ferries depart from Harbourfront, the same place where is the monorail to go to Sentosa Island. As there are many ferries, I just bought a ticket as I arrived. As my plan is to connect to go to Jakarta, I asked the vending lady which port was the more appropriated. There are several possible destinations in the Island – Batam Center, Harbour bay and Sekupang. She suggested me to go to Sekupang. And I did so. Why shouldn’t I trust her?

    However, if you are planning to do the same take the one to Harbour bay.

    Customs is easy going and friendly and the journey doesn’t take more than one hour. Once in Sekupang, as European we do not need visa. However, I had red that to be able to extend the visa is necessary to ask for a special visa on arrival. I did ask so to the lady at the customs, and she friendly told me that there is not such a possibility of extension. I did ask if there is not a way I can get a visa on arrival that I can extend afterwards, and she answered me “no possible extension”. I decided that insisting will not take me anywhere.

    Finding a ferry to Jakarta

    Once with the stamp on my passport and out of customs I started asking where could I find a ferry to Jakarta. Some people told me that there was no ferry to Jakarta from Batam, then someone directed me to a travel agency. They told me that it was not until Wednesday. I said ok and asked them if they could sell me one ticket. They said no and told me that I need to buy it at Batam Centre.

    I manage my way to get the Trans Batam bus to Batam Central where once again I started asking. The same story repeated. Some people didn’t know about the existance of such ferry, others informed me that it wasn’t until Wednesday and after asking in all ferries agencies I was addressed to go to Nagoya Hill Mall.

     

    As I had time I decided to continue the research the following day and then first find a hostel or hotel and had dinner I look for a place next to the mall.

    The next day I keep on asking at the mall. Here it was at the currency exchange shops where you buy the ferry tickets. Some denied me a ticket as I was not Indonesian – I think they thought I was willing to go to Singapore. Other told me that just to Singapore. Finally, someone told me to go directly to the departing port, Batu Ampar. Near Harbour Bay.

    A nice guy drove me all the way to harbour for free when I was asking how to go there. Once there, at the basic police control to the harbour, they told me that I there is no one selling tickets on the Harbour. The police offered to sell me one. He was about to buy it online and there is where I get the website of the company. www.pelni.co.id. Also, they told me that I can buy it at a travel agency in Nagoya called Paris.

    I turned back and at the agency, after checking the prices and finding that online you have to buy the ticket at least 3 days before the departing day I got my second-class ticket to Jakarta. Now I only have to wait.

    Conclusion

    What I learnt is that if you are traveling overland to Indonesia from Malaysia, you can go from Melaka to Medan or from Singapore to Batam and there connect to Jakarta. The ferry company from Batam to Jakarta is Pelni www.pelni.co.id At their site you can check the schedules just for the following one or two months and buy the tickets with more than 3 days from departure.

    The ferry to Jakarta departs at 13:00 from Batu Ampar which is next to Harbour Bay, so you can even get a morning ferry from Singapore to Batam Harbour Bay and connect to the ferry to Jakarta. You would just need to arrive to the harbour at Batu Ampar 2 hours in advance.

    And the most important. If you come across an ignorant at customs that do not know that Indonesia has a special visa you can extend, insist or turn back and go with another customs agent. To be continue

  • On the Road
  • 17/11/25 – Singapore

    I have heard people saying that Singapore is in China. Others that it is the capital city of Malaysia or just a big city in the area not knowing of which country. In my personal opinion, it is the twin Indo-Malaysian brother of Hong Kong. Another former British colonial city in Asia that has developed himself into one of the greatest economical regions in the world.

    Singapore is considered the first country and probably the only one that was forced to be independent. Yes, as you are reading. The Malaysian government gave Singapore their independence without them asking for it. As a proud Malay told me, one year after being released by the British colony, they unified Malaysia. Despite the discriminative policies of Malaysia where Malaysian Malays were to be considered with more right, Singapore government was claiming equal rights for every citizen. The central government, seeing that the Singapore government was powerful and to avoid the expansion of their ideas, on the morning of 9 August 1965, the Parliament of Malaysia voted 126–0 in favour of expelling Singapore.

    Since then the ruling government has worked in order to create the greatest economy hub in the world. It is the great Asian success history. In last 40 years the country has evolved from corruption and chaos to one of the safest and clean places in the world. Zero tolerance and strict laws have changed the multicultural behaviour into a common global respect and tolerance.

    So far, right now, despite some stewardess or customs agents might not know whether Singapore is or not a country or where it is located, the Singapore passport is the best travel document in the world.

    However, for traveling, it is an expensive destination, even more if we compare it with its Asian neighbours. Still you can find ways to make it no so expensive and even cheaper than an average Europe travel.

    By now I have spent several days in the metropolis. Since I arrived I like it. The underground is far from the best organized as it lacks of maps, signals, and indications. However, there are plenty about rules applied.

    As soon as I got out of the subway in Chinatown where I have been staying – Cheap hostel and pretty centred – I found myself speechless. The cleanest Chinatown ever. Chinatown is an old town surrounded by modern skyscrapers. In the area are included some 21st century canopies to protect clients from the rain. The habitual chaotic street shops were organised alongside the streets in both sides leaving enough place for pedestrians to walk the street.

    As I get late afternoon I did little more than learn as much as I could from an Argentinian that came all the way here to train and compete fighting in the MMA. It seams that it is growing here this combination of Martial Arts and that Singapore host some of the best training centres.

    The following days I combined my routine by visiting the city at the time I meet with locals. Couchsurfing helped a lot.

    In between the main spots to visit is the Marina Bay. It is basically an artificial Marina where you wont sea many sailing vessels. In the side of the Esplanade are the auditorium and exhibition halls. It is a complex of two buildings shaped like the fruit king of the region, the Durian. Reason enough for locals to called with that name. From the platform of bars and restaurants that looks to the Marina Bay is the view towards the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Marina Bay Mall.

    We walked all the way there through the Spiral bridge. On the Marina front just in front of the mall is the platform and the fountain that every night at 20:00, 21:00 and 22:00 (only weekends) amuse the tourist with a fantastic water and lights show.

    On the side is the ArtScience Museum and a – I bet – not cheap Louis Vuitton store. As we did, once finished the Show here, we walked across the mall and behind the hotel to get to the artificial Garden by the Bay. You probably have seen this garden in pictures. Here there is also a light show over the metallic trees. As it is already over Halloween, we can say is Christmas time. Here Christmas is well celebrated, probably due to the shopping and economical benefit rather than religiously. Most of the population is not Christian. In between both shows there are 20 min delay so perfect timing. Both shows are visible as well from the rooftop of the Marina Bay Hotel.

    Not far from the Gardens there is a food court – these are the best place to save money when looking for a bite. Food is local, good and for S$6 you can get a good meal. I was surprised it was so close to all the touristic attractions.

    A local CSer took us a bit further to the Marina Barrage. It is the defence that protects the marina from the differences in the sea levels. The interest of coming here was not the concrete building, but the garden terrace from where there is a magnificent view of the city. Such a romantic place to visit with your couple or some friends, a bunch of beers and a PicNic. Up to you.

    As well in this area is the Merlion. A ridiculous Lion Mermaid sculpted with no other reason or motivation than to be a touristic attraction where Chinese could take a selfie to publish in their Instagram.

    Out of the city centre there are Little India and Chinatown that are worth a visit. Both are to be walk along the streets looking to the facades of the old two or three story residential buildings. In the Ground floor, here the first floor, is normally a shop or commercial business. In between two of them there is normally a door that connects to a corridor or a staircase that goes inside to the patio or up to the house. Both areas are arranged in a perfect grid.

    Distance are very walk-able and from little India, without even realising it we got to the Muslim area and the mosques. A bit further is the big mall of Bugis Junction.

    In terms of eating is easy to find a food court almost all around the city and if not, there are always nice little restaurants everywhere. Still cheap options. Little India however is not a good place for grabbing a beer. After an incident that in the area, Alcohol get to be banned. Regarding who tell you the story you might get a different version of what happened.

    From Bugis in the way to Chinatown is Clarke Quay, a riverfront walk full of terraces. The perfect place for a CS meeting and have a drink until late night without going to an expensive club. I attended the CS meeting on Thursday but during the one on Friday, last night, I had an expensive drink at Ce La Vie, the expensive bar on top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

    If you are thinking on visiting the rooftop to catch the city view from there you have several options.

    1. Get a room at the hotel, about US$400 and you also get access to the swimming pool.
    2. Get a visit to the SkyDeck S$23 from where you can have a perfect view of both sides, the bay and gardens by the bay, and take as many selfies as you want.
    3. Go for a drink at Ce La Vie S$20 before 21:00 as entrance fee and discounted on your consumption. Beer S$18-20 Cocktails S$23
    4. Don’t go

    We decided to go for the 3 option and after a drink at Ce La Vie we spent the night at the club with the magnificent views towards the bay.

     

    Back to the city sightseeing, in Chinatown there is the Buddha Tooth Temple. A Chinese castle shape building where is stored as a relic what is supposed to be the tooth of Siddhartha. I found it a bit to big to even be human. Do not forget to climb upstairs to the terrace to sea a view over the rooftops of all Chinatown with the tall skyscrapers on the back.

    In the area there is also an Hindi temple very popular among tourists, but I found it was a bit more of what you see in Malaysia and not as impressive.

    On the same street after the Buddhist temple and the Hindi, there is a little mosque. I kind of like this neighbourhoods.

    On one side of Chinatown I learnt about the urban development of shanghai, it’s origin and melting pot at the URA building. There are two big models of the city and several interactive panels showing information of all the urban and society aspects of Singapore along its history.

    One step farther there is a tall building with a platform connecting 7 towers that you can climb for S$6 previews registration at the tower G.

    The last sightseeing, I have visited in these days was the Botanic garden. It is a bit out of the main town, but easy reachable by MRT.

    The Botanic Garden is not as impressive as the Gardens by the Bay, but it also hosts a great variety of plants and you should not get surprise to find great big lizards crossing your path.

  • On the Road
  • 17/11/20 – Melaka

    It has been a couple of days in Melaka. Who for some reason, it’s name reminds me of the city I started this journey, Malaga. The last days were amazing thanks to the people I met through Couchsurfing Hangouts. Yes, After a while travelling without that app, I am back to it. The last to night I spent them with them hanging out and eating at the weekend Night Market.

    On Sunday, there was a regatta at the river.  Vessels were like long canoes but in a more traditional way. Teams were of 8 to 10 rowers a captain and a drummer to set the rhythm. The city was vivid. I found out that Melaka together with Cameron Highlands are the favourite weekend destinations for the citizens of the capital city. Here also many Singaporeans come for its tasty cheap food and the nice weather.

    Along the day however, I kept discovering the city on my own. For the last day I walked along the riverside, admired the colonial architecture in the old town and spatially the style in the mosques there. The old town is not big, so temples of many religions end up near each other.

    On the outer side of the river, are located the mane colonial buildings, the Clock tower, the Dutch square and a bit further, the Dutch graveyard. Although from the Portuguese colonial period there is little more than a famous Portuguese restaurant, the fortress and the remains of a church, the British and Dutch left much more in terms of housing and urbanisation in the old town.

    I left to Singapore the following day, not because I was feeling like moving, but because I felt I had to continue my journey. In every place I have been in Malaysia I could have stayed a couple of days more. If it wasn’t because I feel like confronting the challenge of finding a vessel to Indonesia and Australia, I might have stayed there for a while working and enjoying. Malays are by far the kindest people I have met by now in Southeast Asia.

    At the hostel, Buffalo Soldier I felt little less than part of the family that own the Guesthouse.

    Getting to Singapore from Melaka is not more than catching a bus that takes you directly to the neighbouring country. Just need to go down from the bus once in each border to pass the successive customs controls and that’s all. As European, visa is not needed and you get a stamp for staying up to 90 days. Much more than what I need.