Friday, April 04, 2008


One of the rising stars of South-East Asian tourism, a nation looking to the future while cherishing the ways of past. Do you know where I talk about?

Just ring the bell to let into another world,

now Malaysia:)

Because of its central location, between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, Malaysia (Turkish: Malezya) has traditionally been a meeting point for traders and travelers from both the East and West. As a result, in the heart of Asia lies a land of many cultures, wonders, attractions, races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and numerous indigenous people live together in peace and harmony. Today it has a combined population of over 25 million people.

As far as its background, Malaysia was formed in 1963 through a federation of the former British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, including the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo. So the country is a federation of thirteen states and three federal territories.

A land of fascinating extremes where towering skyscrapers -world's tallest twin towers- look down upon primitive longhouses. A tropical climate with warm weather all year round, it is indeed blessed with natural wonders galore with excellent beaches and diving spots in the world. Did you know dense rainforests in the eastern states of Sarawak and Sabah, on the island of Borneo, are a refuge for wildlife and tribal traditions?

It's like landing in a Postcard:)

Above postcard that I received recently is enough rich to highlight why Malaysia is so ethnically and culturally diverse! You see there four-sections in topleft clockwise. Lets give each section a try that will draw your attention, I'm sure:)

~~ The Melaka (Malacca) Cultural Museum:

Malacca is known for its historical prominence and its cultural appeal; in the 16th century Melaka enjoyed a reputation as the foremost maritime trading centre in the region. The rich multi-cultural heritage of Melaka's people is reflected in their unique customs, traditions, food, festivals, dances,
buildings and lifestyles. To browse visit here for more about Malacca culture and heritage.

The Melaka Sultanate Palace (Cultural Museum) is located at the foot of St Paul's Hill, lies the wooden replica of a 15th century Malay palace. The replica was built from information and data obtained from the Malay Annals. These historical documents had references to the construction and the architecture of palaces during the era of Sultan Mansur Syah, who ruled from 1456 to 1477. The building has been turned into a cultural museum with main exhibits relating to Melaka culture. The building is made of hardwood while the roof is made of 'belian' heavy hardwood. An interesting feature of the building is that no nails were used in the construction of the building, only wooden pegs.

~~ An Old Malay House in Merlimau:

The Malacca Malay kampung(village) House is a work of art. There are intricate woodcarvings on the exterior and interior of the house.

Traditional Malacca Malay Houses can be seen especially in the Merlimau area about 20km south of Malacca City on the coastal road to Muar and Johor. Merlimau is well known for its beautiful staircases which use colorful and intricate-designed tiles are called 'tangga Melaka' (which means Melaka's staircases). So it is one of the more distinguishable feature of a traditional Melaka Malay House. I felt in love with its architecture, amazing!

~~ Beaded shoes:

Malaysian clothing styles represent the Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures as we see beaded shoes and slippers, kebaya blouson dresses, Punjabi suits and sarongs lining the streets.

During the Peranakan days, it was a trend for the nyonyas to wear beaded shoes called 'manek ay'. Most of them learn how to sew it themselves, and they work with the tiny colorful size beads known as 'manek potong'. Oh isn't it strenuous sewing a pair of beaded shoe? At least I myself am not patient for that kind of work:)

There are many shops which sell beaded shoes in Malacca but Nyonya Heritage is one of the few which make and sell their own shoes. It means the customers can make personalized shoes with certain types of heels or pick their own designs.

Such shoes were de rigueur for social occasions like weddings and reunions. In the old days, after the shoes were used, they were carefully put away, and wrapped in layers of soft, non-abrasive paper until the next special occasion. I loved this shoes related tradition:)

~~ Bullock carts:

Malacca is also the land of the bullock-carts as it was the first means of transportation in the old days. Often brightly colored and
have a pointed roof. By the mid 20th century, other modes of transport such as the jin-rickshaws introduced by the Chinese, the bullock carts introduced by the Indian, and the horse-carts, gradually disappeared from the roads.

Yes I would like to enjoy an exciting experience taking a cart ride that is drawn by a bullock:) Sure it would take me back in time... But it is said that buffalo-carts, like bullock carts were, until the 1970s, prevalent in Malacca. Although there are still many bullock carts in some places in Malaysia, it's impossible to find buffalo-carts elsewhere today. Is it a goodbye to the old days of utilizing nature's gift? Oh no thanks for modern transportation;)

I was so excited for the wonderful giveaway time last month in March that was organized by a very dear friend of mine, Mary Kate. So that's how I entered to win her giveaway:) It's another good contribution for my Postcards Collection, and hers is the first entry presenting Malaysia. Thank you so much for holding this GREAT bloggy giveaway, my friend.

Maybe it is an unwanted Lovely end to a Heavenly Country Malaysia here as talking by myside, but I would advice you to jump on M. Kate's world at La Vie Est Belle as designed to provide more insight into Malaysia, and view her delicious archieves as well:)

If there is one trend I believe in - it's giving people something that makes sense for the way they live- and makes life just a little better.


  1. When I visit your blog it makes me want to go to the nearest travel agent and book a flight. Short of that I'll just click on all the links and dream.


  2. Hi Nihal, sorry for popping over a bit late..did come here earlier but went through the post briefly, but now i took time to read every single word you wrote, and i swear you did a much better post than me on malacca, 2 thumbs up for your 'thesis'. you really have a way with, not so wordy goody as you can see. Isnt it great to be able to be friends at a click of a mouse..and really, i am still learning a lot on turkey and always loving being here, your posts are always a great inspiration. my good friend, you do have a fantastic week ahead and a big HUG to you :)