Day Trippin': Malacca

7/18/11

Central Malacca's famous points of interest are mostly concentrated around Dutch Square and Bukit St. Paul. A short walk away is Chinatown, just across the Malacca River. Because of the close proximity of everything, it is possible to cover a lot of sightseeing ground in just one day. Here are some of the things we saw in one day on a quick weekend getaway to Malacca.St. Paul's Church: The ruins of St. Paul's Church at the top of Bukit St. Paul are an example of the layered colonial history that made Malacca what it is today. The church was originally built in 1521 as a Catholic church by the Portuguese. When the Dutch took over Malacca in 1641, the church was converted to a Dutch Reformed church and used until Christ Church (see below) was built in 1753. 
The British next occupied Malacca starting in 1824, and they used the church to store gunpowder and for other military purposes. The lighthouse awkwardly placed in front of the entrance to the church was their addition, too. St. Paul's deteriorated over the years after it ceased being a functioning church. The statue in front of the church is of St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary who used Malacca as his base in Asia. When he died, he was buried briefly at St. Paul's before his body was sent to its final resting place in Goa. His hand is missing because the Vatican asked for it during St. Francis Xavier's canonization process.Porta de Santiago: The Portuguese built a fortress around Malacca in 1511 called A Famosa. The Dutch used the fortress during their occupation of Malacca, even remodeling parts of it. When the British took over, they decided to tear down A Famosa. The fortress was almost completely torn down until Sir Stamford Raffles stepped in and prevented the Porta de Santiago from being demolished. This gate is all that remains of the fortress. As you walk around near Dutch Square, you'll see excavations revealing where the fortress walls once stood. A recreation of what the walls once looked like can be found next to the Tourist Information Center across from Dutch Square. The Malacca River: Separating the colonial part of town from Chinatown is the Malacca River. Boat trips along the river are available, but walking on the paved walkways alongside it is a great way to see some of the architecture of Malacca up close. The restaurants along the river make for some surprisingly quiet places to get away from the hoards of tourists. Make sure you cross the river and spend some time wandering through Chinatown. If you're in Malacca on a Saturday night, stick around for the night market on Jonker Street, where you can enjoy delicious street food and do some shopping. The street is closed off to traffic and vendors fill the road. It was my favorite part of the trip!Christ Church and Dutch Square: Possibly the most iconic structure in Malacca, Christ Church was built by the Dutch in 1753 and still conducts services every Sunday morning at 8:30 am. Next to the church is Stadthuys, a building which was used as a town hall when the Dutch and British were in Malacca. It now houses a museum. Dutch Square is where to go to hire a trishaw or buy souvenirs. It's also where most of the tourists and tour groups seem to congregate, so come early or else you'll have lots of random people in your photos.

The Maritime Museum: You could spend an entire day in Malacca just going to museums alone. There are several scattered around the central part of town, but the one we chose to visit was the Maritime Museum. It is housed in a replica of the Flor De La Mar, a Portuguese cargo ship which sank in Malacca's harbor. Inside are exhibits detailing the maritime history of Malacca and its significance as the "Emporium of the East."

Have you been to Malacca? What was your favorite part of the trip? Jeff and I had a really good time here and want to come back soon. If you've been and have some recommendations on what to see and do the next time we're there, please share! 

15 comments:

  1. My favourite part was the Maritime Museum. Awesome replica ship ..and great history too!

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  2. http://www.afamosa.com/main.php

    Never been there but would love to bring the entire extended family there someday!!!

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  3. What is that little doorway that you are coming out of?
    I would be tempted to pretend i was a giant coming to crush the city if I saw that door

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  4. Wonderful....!!! :-)
    Kisses...Miriam

    Fashion Crazy Ball:
    http://fashioncrazyball.blogspot.com

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  5. OUCH!! You encouraged me to check when we were there last .... FEB 2009!

    me bad.

    one of my blog posts at the time was:
    http://leonefabre.blogspot.com/2009/02/bit-of-wander-around-town.html

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  6. This looks like a nice little weekend getaway!

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  7. @mlw: it's a little guard tower on a fortress wall. It has a very teeny opening!

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  8. oh gosh, that sounds awesome, i enjoyed the pics :)

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  9. beautiful pictures! we plan on travelling there soon. thanks for the tips! :)

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  10. How beautiful! Love your blog!

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  11. wooooow!
    what an amazing place,lovely photos!

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  12. i absolutely love that first pic of the building- it's beautiful! thanks for posting some self photos of you two so i can remmy whatcha look like ;o) miss yousss, ILYs!

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  13. I was there in 2003 I guess. Took a day trip with a friend of mine from Singapore. Used the buses at Golden Mile Complex quite often to get to Malaysia back then :)
    Lovely pictures!! happy Monday!

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