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Michael Portillo: Great Asian Railway Journeys #18 – Melaka to Johore Bahru


Please note episodes 7,8 and 9 appear to be unavailable

Michael Portillo is in Malaysia on a 2,500-mile tour of south east Asia. His 1913 Bradshaw’s Guide takes him to Melaka, for centuries one of the greatest trading ports in the world. He tastes the spicy cuisine of the Kristang community, descendants of early 16th-century Portuguese settlers who mixed with local Malays.

Continuing to Kluang amid fertile farmland, Michael joins in the pineapple harvest and discovers how Malaysia’s resources of tin and tropical fruit created a global market in food.

Arriving at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula in Johor Bahru, Michael visits the palace of Sultan Abu Bakar, a canny and well-travelled monarch who became friends with Queen Victoria and used what he learned in Britain to modernise his realm. Michael learns how Malaysia’s first ever railway fell prey to an implacable foe.

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