I missed going to Malacca when I went to Malaysia last June. When were able to convince the Tourism Malaysia people to let us go to this Unesco World Heritage City, we rejoiced but at the same time, saddened that we missed a lot of places. You can see how fitting my title is for this quaint little town.
Melaka, as it is called in Malay, is situated in a very strategic location along the spice trade in the Straits of Malacca. European colonizers coveted this port, with the Portuguese, Dutch and the English staking their claim. The Malays, Chinese and Indians who populate the land makes Malacca a veritable melting pot of cultures. Not to mention the stunning architecture and array of textures.
Marie, our tour guide, made sure we did not miss the highlights of a trip to Malacca: Bukit Cina, the biggest Chinese cemetery outside China; Christ Church, the oldest and functioning Protestant church in Malaysia, Stadthuys or the Red Square, owing to the predominantly red color of the administrative buildings built by the Dutch; St. Paul’s Church on St. Paul’s hill, with its stunning views of the town and the river flowing out to sea; A Famosa, an old Portuguese fort at the foot of St. Paul’s hill; Kampung Kling Mosque and the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, both on Jalan Tokong, two of the three houses of worship in the same street, and; Jonker’s Walk, the lively market street lined with Peranakan shop houses selling all kinds of wares. Marie even made sure we sampled some great Nyonya cuisine for lunch.
Still, it feels as if we were only able to scratch the surface. There’s still more to see and discover in this small heritage town. Unfortunately, one of the places we missed was Hang Li Poh’s well. It is said that whoever throws a coin in the well (for it has long been converted into a wishing well) will return to Malacca. I’ll just have to make sure I am able to go back then!