Our first introduction to Malaysia was the ringing of our cell phone as we sailed out of Singapore.  It was an automated message welcoming us into Malaysia.  Evidentially we left the cell system of one country and entered into another picking up our signal.  What a pleasant surprise.....and that was only one of many surprises yet to come in this new, modern, Islamic progressive country. 

3.3 Ringetts = $1.00US

The Marina and it's facilities were the best!  Here our slip was only $20US a day with power and some slips without power only $11 a day.   It was also a gathering place to regroup with cruisers continuing on or ones we had not
seen for some time.

Tom and Fran of s/v Dagon old friends from Warkworth Australia boat yard.

Jan s/vArnak,
Gayla s/v Ariel, Sandy s/v Cat'chus 
meet up on the dock of Admiral Marina

The Sailors Drink Cafe in the Marina served delicious buffet breakfasts for $5US, showed nightly movies and was also a gathering place to connect to family via Skype

s/v China Grove
s/v Mahili

Out in the Marina yard, dancers entertained us during the day and if we felt like just relaxing with a game of chess or design a special sarong, there were friendly volunteers to help us

Tom s/v Dagon             Chicken Curry Cooking Class                      Gayla s/v Ariel

Passion Asia, an event management company catered a special welcome reception for the participants of the rally

 A live band and drinks awaited us in the lobby of Admiral Marina before a grand feast was served.


We were introduced to the specialty dish of Masak Lomak Lada Api - fish, beef or chicken cooked in onion, lemongrass and turmeric all simmered in coconut milk with a dash of hot chilies.

Then we were entertained and honored by several dignitaries who invited us to discover inland west Malaysia by supplying us with buses and local guides.


The next day a very plush air conditioned bus picked us up at the Marina for a day tour to an old palace and two homestays.  

 Our guides would explain the history and government structure of Malaysia and at the same time promoting  'Malaysia as a second home'  a new concept to allow foreigner's to come and go on a 10 year open visa. 

The Royal Lembaga Museum or the Seri Menanti Old Palace of the state of Negeri Sembilan was built in 1908 and was the center of  royal functions & ceremonies 

 Built without a single metal nail this 4 story structure was elevated on pilings to keep out the water and tigers that once roamed these areas.

     Passion Asia rally in front of Seri Menanti Palace


The first homestay we visited served us lunch, traditional style, on woven mats then allowed us to roam around the house to appreciate the lifestyle and hospitality of the people of Malaysia. 

Lunch was served after a few demo  cooking techniques.

The second homestay was a very modern house with all the latest convinces.

 Here at Laman Bangkinang they performed a traditional dance out in the yard near a lake then engaged us in fun games on the lawn.



           Dragging anchor   Winching up sails                Anchor's away


We had an entire week in the Port Dickson Admiral Marina and time to enjoy the facilities, the guided tours organized for us and also time on our own to explore.  

We hired a car from the marina for a day trip to Malacca with Di and David of s/v Amoenitas.  


Malacca is strategically located at the intersection of major waterways between the south China Sea and the Indian Ocean and was one of the principle hubs of the SE Asian trade. 

After the establishment of a Chinese Quan Chang (depot) by Cheng Ho, an admiral of a mighty fleet of ships, the city soon flourished into a distribution center for goods from China, India and the Malay Archipelago.

Malacca became a melting pot of culture.

The architecture of the city depicts all of these mixed peoples and their religions with Hindu, Buddhists, Islamic and Christian churches and temples. 

The streets are full of old antique shops with of mixed cultural items from the Chinese, Dutch to Malay.  

which means the municipal town hall, was built by the Dutch during the 1650's after having taken over from the Portuguese in 1641 and is representative of the many red tile roofs seen in Malacca. 

Trishaws are still seen used as transport and many adorned with plastic flowers are for hire to tour the town.


With a mix of cultures, the Baba and Nyonya's developed which today are called Straights Chinese

 Baba is a word used by the Malays as a term of respect for the Chinese males and later used as a sign of respect for all Chinese males.


 'Nyonya'  was originally a term used by the Malays and Indonesians for a married non-Malay woman of some standing, therefore a term of respect used for the married non-Malay (especially Chinese) women. 

A Baba and Nyonya

 As a result of their hardworking and enterprising spirits, most of the Baba and Nyonya families are very wealthy.  In wealthy families, the young Nyonyas spend most of their time on handcraft and culinary art.   The Nyonya dishes usually consist of Chinese ingredients such as bean paste, bean curd, sesame and mushroom and Malay seasonings such as spices, curry, shrimp paste and coconut milk.  They are mostly spicy and with striking flavors. 

    The 1511 Cafe near Baba Nyonya museum


Steve s/v Ariel and Dave and Di s/v Amoenitas sample Baba Nyonya cuisine.

We ate at the 1511 Cafe and sampled the unique fusion of the Chinese and Malay culinary specialties

'Kuih' savories or cakes


The fleets were of a huge unprecedented scale never before seen in the world.  63 medium and large 'treasure ships'  made up the bulk of the fleets. 
The first voyage was the largest, consisting of some 200 ships and over 28,000 crew members.  This was the largest and most extensively equipped fleet of the 15th century.




The highlight of our journey to Malacca was to learn about Admiral Cheng Ho (Zheng He) and his mighty fleet of several hundred ships that sailed seven times to the Western Seas from China to Africa over the period, 1405-1433.

His fleet visited over 33 countries in the Pacific and Indian Ocean with voyages taking place over half a century before Columbus discovered America.

Cheng Ho's sailing routes

Cheng Ho's comprehensive fleets were of 5 main types of ships primarily consisting of 'treasure ships' and supplementary support ships. The 'treasure ships' were capable of carrying thousands of people and huge amounts of cargo.  The 'horse ships' or swift transport were deployed for official use and the 'supply ships' were used to transport grain and other logistical supplies. There were the 'staff ships' and 'guarding ships' in addition to 'water ships' and further differentiated ships according to specific functions such as cargo transport, combat operations and living quarters.
The 'treasure ships' were over 400 feet long.  Some say such wooden ships would be unstable in the open ocean.  Others say such ships would break apart due to it own weight.

A ship of this size is 5 times the length of Columbus's Santa Maria, however recently discovered evidence reveal that the Chinese had the capability to build these super-ships, even before the time of Cheng Ho.  Not only could they be built, they were built to sail the largest oceans.
                     Could they be built???  


Stone boulders 3 feet in diameter found at the site of large wrecks are believed to be used to balance the huge sails of the Cheng Ho junks. 

Moeraki Beach boulders in New Zealand


The comparison between China and the Western Fleet according to historical research, Admiral Cheng Ho was the earliest to begin the naval expedition to the Western Ocean.  He went 87 years earlier than Columbus, 93 years earlier than de Gama and 116 years earlier than Magellan to reach the Philippines. 

These three European navigators were also unable to compete with Admiral Cheng Ho in terms of the number of fleet, ship size and others.  In their navigations, there were only three to four ships with maximum capacity load of 250 tons.  The ships only comprised about 100 to 200 men.  However, Admiral Cheng Ho's gigantic fleet had more than 200 ships with the treasure ship alone carrying loads above 7,000 tons.


                  Malacca's waterways  today                      Evening market on the back streets of Malacca

Back to the marina after a wonderful and enlightening day in Malacca we still had one more day to see the interior on a planned tour compliments of Passion Asia. 

A luxurious air conditioned bus picked us up early the next morning for a tour of Putrajaya the administrative center of Malaysia and then on to Kuala Lumpar the capitol.



Malaysia is the most politically stable country in the world.  The ruling government is also the longest serving free elected government in the world, representing all races, religions and cultures.  It is safe, with low crime and is based on the British system of independent judiciary.  With a population of 24 million, Malays and the Islam religion make up the majority, Chinese and Indian live freely among them. 


Putrajaya is the new planned city still being built south of KL as the new Federal Government Legislative Center and was just opened in 2001`and declared a Federal Territory.  It was built to ease the congestion in KL where the  principal business and financial center of  Malaysia remains.


Putra Mosque at Putrajaya Lake        New housing in Putrajaya               The Wawasan Bridge

The modern Arabic style is due to the country being Islamic which resulted in the construction of buildings with more Islamic flavor.  There is no separation of church and state in the Islamic states.


Putrajaya government building        Perbadon Government Complex        Prime Ministers Office    


Otherwise known as KL, located in the Klang Valley, it is the capitol and largest city of Malaysia.  Independence coupled with a rapid economic growth from the 1970's to the 1990's has brought the population of the city to 1.6 million.

Gayla in front of the tallest twin towers in the world
Kuala Lumpar Malaysia

View from the KL communication tower

We hurried back from a very long day only to change clothes then bussed off again, this time to the home of the Deputy Minister of the Environment.   This young 45 year old politician and his family invited his neighborhood as well as the entire Passion Asia rally to be their guests for a formal evening meal at their home during  'Deepavale'.  This is the celebration of an Indian holiday like our Christmas where they go from home to home and enjoy the company of others. 

Cruisers enjoying 'Deepavale'

Meeting Minister of Environment

We were honored to meet many of the political dignitaries and learn more about the workings of the government of this Islamic country.  We found them to be very social, friendly and hospitable.  We could see Malaysia is a country on the move.

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