Malacca certainly isn’t for those who are looking to spend their holiday in shopping malls or boisterous nightclubs. Alternatively, it gives a change of pace to the daily grind and allows you to step back in time to appreciate the culture that had been transformed by its colonizers and refined by its settlers.
On our second and only full day, we did nothing but hit all the tourist spots and diners of the quaint Malaysian town.
1. Church of Saint Francis Xavier
We passed by the Church of SFX for the sole reason that I’m a proud alumnus of Xavier School in San Juan, Manila. There are no relics or whatsoever to rave about in here. Just had a quiet moment and took a few photos. Amusing though is the church’s noticeable tilt to one side due to the softer ground under half of the building. It ain’t no Pisa though!
It’s a shame that so little is left of this 16th Century Portuguese Fort that was ransacked and destroyed by the Brits. Today, all can be seen are ruins and a couple of canons. On its own, this fort doesn’t offer a great deal, but it still remains an icon of the town and is a common backdrop in tourist photos.
3. St. Paul’s Hill
Once you get to the top, you are greeted with a pleasing panoramic view of Malacca and its Strait. The hilltop is also where the ruins of the 500-year-old St. Paul’s Church are located. Like most of the attractions in Malacca, not much is left of this place, save for the interesting inscriptions on a dozen of old Dutch tombstones and an open grave marking the spot where St. Francis Xavier used to be buried. The climb up the hill is quite a trek, so weak knees and lungs best take it easy!
3. Chop Chung Wah
Recommended by a friend, we later learned that it’s one of the two most popular chicken rice balls joints in town. The chicken & rice balls combo was alright, but I didn’t get all the hype about it. Although the rice balls were undoubtedly tasty, I actually didn’t quite fancy the chicken. Luckily, we headed there a bit past lunchtime so we didn’t have to queue because I would’ve regretted it if we did. It’s not bad, but nothing great either.
4. Malacca Sultanate Palace
If you wanna learn more about the genuine Malacca, before all the European onslaught, this should be the place for you. This palace-turned-museum contains dioramas and paintings aplenty. It’s adequately informative and a great option if you’re seeking to beat the heat. Entry charge is a decent 2 ringgit
You can’t miss them and won’t run out of them. These extremely decorated and loud disco machines definitely add to the town’s vibe and color. Although the drivers dictate the prices, you could always haggle to have a unique experience in your butterfly or Hello Kitty trishaw while listening to an absolutely bizarre mix of Malaysian dubstep/rap/gangnam music while other people watch you either in envy or total mockery.
6. Dutch Square
The center of Malaccan Tourism, the Dutch Square is full of life and bustling, but almost to a fault. It would’ve been a great place to soak up the history, but there are way too many tacky souvenir stalls and the busy main road next to it ruins the entire scene. Smaller than it seemed in photos, there is not much to do here other than to people watch and well, take photos.
7. Nancy’s Kitchen Restaurant
After a lot of walking, we decided to have our afternoon munch in Nancy’s Kitchen thanks to the good reviews it had on TripAdvisor. And it didn’t disappoint. It’s a place off Jonker Street that serves traditional Peranakan cuisine in a venue that doesn’t really give a hint of the quality of food they serve. Andi had the Nonya Laksa and I enjoyed my spring roll and cendol. Quite a trip for the taste buds done at a modest price!
8. (A bit more of) Jonker Street