After enjoying bustling Kuala Lumpur, I decided to travel to Malacca, a picturesque Malaysian city of great historical significance. It is easily accessible by bus from Kuala Lumpur. After I got off the bus, I immediately saw a buzzing street market with smiling sellers and people jostling each other. It was extremely hot and humid and the air was filled with the smell of fresh fish, spices, and recently prepared dishes. The market was my first stop and I was struck by the hospitality and friendliness of the locals, who were curious about what me and my friends were doing in Malacca, offered us some advice and recommended a few places to visit. Like in Kuala Lumpur, I was also able to see a mix of cultures and the historical influence left by the nations that once conquered Malacca. I would have never imagined that there could be so much culture in one place – I managed to see churches, mosques and Dutch-style red terracotta buildings.
Below, I have described some places that I think define Malacca:
1. Dutch Square
Notable for the red colonial Dutch buildings surrounding it, Dutch Square is one of the most characteristic places in Malacca. It is often referred to as ‘Red Square’ due to the colour of the buildings.
2. Churches and temples
Malacca boasts some magnificent churches and temples and I am happy I had a chance to visit a couple of them. However, I put all the temples and churches together as I know some people prefer to visit just one. I visited Christ Church Melaka – a very recognisable and distinctive red church built by the Dutch. I would recommend going inside – the church itself is very small, intimate and well-maintained. Once in Chinatown, it is impossible to miss Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, the oldest Chinese Buddhist temple in Malaysia, devoted to Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy. If you have time, make sure you pop inside as the prayer halls feature sublime decorations. I also visited Masjid Kampung Hulu – the oldest mosque in Malacca and the ruins of St Paul’s Church, on St Paul’s hill, overlooking the scenic city of Malacca.
The remains of what used to be a Portuguese fortress. It is quite convenient to go there after visiting St Paul’s ruins as it’s in the vicinity.
Once you’re in Malacca, take the opportunity to try local food! There are loads of mouth-watering snacks sold on street markets. Also, one of my favourite things in both Malaysia and Indonesia are so called “baby bananas”. Absolutely delicious and the locals we met in one of the mosques were happy to give us some of them for free to try. Have a look at the photos below!