Morning market in Batu Pahat
Batu Pahat is a not-so-small small city along the Straits of Malacca in the southern state of Johor. It has an interesting and long history. It played a large role in the Siamese assault on Melaka, the formation of the country's ruling party, and has featured prominently in a minister's recent sex tape. I opted to avoid politics and sex tapes on my trip here and just wandered the city, walking aimlessly without a map for hours. As usual, there was no single fantastic attraction to draw people here, but the place as a whole has a lot of character in the style of Muar or Melaka. There are quite a few malls that have sprung up over the last ten years or so.
Around Batu Pahat
..bigger than you would expect for a place of this size. And the nightlife appears decent for its size as well. The main attraction is a statue of a suspended hand chiseling a rock. I know...not too thrilling. And I gave it a miss. But the old style architecture and overall unkempt appearance of the buildings gave it some charm...and not just run-down-dump style. I found the morning market near the river--it was quite lively. And the wet market immediately behind it was as smelly as to be expected. The river itself has not been developed for commercial activity (other than an international ferry port to a few islands off the coast of Sumatra). I think the highlight of my trip was finding a nice, trendy-looking café with cheap prices and a live band playing at around 5-6pm. It was unexpected, but they were quite good. I would go back again...in a few years.