The historic port town of Malacca, Malaysia offers a wonderful blend of Asian and European influences. Also spelled Melaka, it bears traces of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Portuguese and Dutch cultures.
This varied background is displayed by the colorful trishaws, a form of bicycle-powered rickshaw, that cruise around town. Each driver decorates their trishaw with bright flowers, flashing lights, flags and souvenirs.
The drivers line up in front of Christ Church on the main square and offer sightseeing excursions around town. Usually we’re a bit uncomfortable being carried in human-powered transportation, wondering if it’s fair to the driver. But a worker at the hotel explained to us that it’s better to support the drivers and the local economy than to not use their services. A one-hour tour costs 40 Malaysian ringgits, around $12. For this sum the rider gets transportation and a running commentary about Malacca and its history. It’s definitely well worth this journey into Malacca’s past.
The best time to see the trishaws is at night when their colorful lights cast a glow on the street. Click below for a short video which also gives you a taste of the music played by the drivers.