Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

Download links will be available after you disable the ad blocker and reload the page.

Through the Malay Archipelago

Download options:

  • 287.29 KB
  • 773.46 KB
  • 277.99 KB




The traveller who reaches those enchanted gates of the Far East which swing open at the palm-girt shores of Ceylon, enters upon a new range of thought and feeling. The first sight of tropical scenery generally awakens a passionate desire for further experiences of the vast Archipelago in the Southern Seas which girdles the Equator with an emerald zone. Lured onward by the scented breeze in that eternal search for perfection destined to remain unsatisfied where every step marks a higher ideal than the one already attained, the pilgrim pursues his endless quest, for human aspiration has never yet touched the goal of desires and dreams. The cocoanut woods of Ceylon and her equatorial vegetation lead fancy further afield, for the glassy straits of Malacca beckon the wanderer down their watery highways to mysterious Java, where vast forests of waving palms, blue chains of volcanic mountains, and mighty ruins of a vanished civilisation, loom before the imagination and invest the tropical paradise with ideal attractions. The island, seven hundred miles long, and described by Marianne North as "one magnificent garden of tropical luxuriance," has not yet become a popular resort of the average tourist, but though lacking some of those comforts and luxuries found under the British flag, it offers many compensations in the wealth of beauty and interest afforded by scenery, architecture, and people. The two days' passage from Singapore lies through a green chain of countless islets, once the refuge of those pirates who thronged the Southern seas until suppressed by European power. The cliffs of Banka, honeycombed with tin quarries, and the flat green shores of Eastern Sumatra, stretching away to the purple mountains of the interior, flank the silvery straits, populous with native proas, coasting steamers, sampans, and the hollowed log or "dug-out" which serves as the Malayan canoe. Patched sails of scarlet and yellow, shaped like bats' wings, suggest gigantic butterflies afloat upon the tranquil sea. The red roofs of whitewashed towns, and the tall shafts of white lighthouses emphasise the rich verdure between the silvery azure of sky and water. The little voyage ends at Tandjon Priok, nine miles from Batavia, for a volcanic eruption of Mount Salak in 1699 filled up the ancient harbour, and necessitated the removal of shipping to a deep bay, as the old city was landed high and dry through the mass of mud, lava, and volcanic sand, which dammed up the lower reaches of the Tjiligong river, and destroyed connection with the sea. The present model harbour, erected at tremendous cost, permits ships of heavy burden to discharge passengers and cargo with comfort and safety at a long wharf, without that unpleasant interlude of rocking sampans and reckless boatmen common to Eastern travel. A background of blue peaks and clustering palms rises beyond the long line of quays and breakwaters flanked by the railway, and a wealth of tropical scenery covers a marshy plain with riotous luxuriance....