I think the main reason for staying so long in Melacca was because of Ringo’s Foyer Guesthouse. Never before have I felt so welcome at a hostel. The owner Howard goes to great lengths to make sure his guests are happy and enjoying themselves. When I checked in, I got a full tour from one of the volunteers Mark who introduced me to everyone and I really mean everyone; guest, staff, Howard’s wife and baby daughter. I think that is what really gave it a family feel.
The hostel looked pretty unimpressive on the outside, but the dorms have been newly renovated with pod bunks. I am now a great fan of the pod. You get so much more privacy in a pod. It really didn’t matter if I woke up with a breast exposed, because I was safely hidden in my pod. It was an 18 bed dorm which would have been awful if it has been regular bunk beds. Unfortunately, I did have my first run in with obnoxious Australians on my first night. I knew it had to be a matter of time before it happened. Young, drunk, stupid and racist. The worst kind of travelling Australian. I apologised to my fellow dorm mates on behalf of Australia. Luckily… I haven’t encountered any more since.
The big draw card for this place was the awesome rooftop. I spent many hours reading on their rooftop. The rooftop is where the family feel was found. It was an excellent space to interact with other travelers but you could also find a quiet space to read and chill on your own. Breakfast was also included and was always delicious. Free breakfast is now my favourite two words. Free breakfast on a rooftop… it doesn’t get much better.
Howard is also an avid cycle enthusiast. If he asks if you would like to go for a bike ride, just say yes. His local knowledge is extensive and took us through hidden back streets which took us all over Melacca. Not only were we sightseeing, but he also generated discussion around some of the local issues facing Melacca. Attempts to hide the slums, government corruption and issues around living within the UNESCO world heritage zone were some of my favourite discussions. We also got a good dose of the fundamental basics of Chinese Buddhism.
I was so sad to leave this hostel. Hopefully I can go back on day. Every hostel I now stay in will be measured against Ringo’s. I doubt I will ever stay anywhere as nice or as friendly.