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A Day in Malacca

By: Cityseeker
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St. Peter's Church

This was the primary location for congregations of Portuguese Catholics who had it constructed in 1710, during the period of Dutch rule. Now it qualifies as the oldest Catholic Church in Malaysia and still serves resident worshippers of the Catholic faith. They include descendants of the 600 men that Alfonso d'Albuquerque brought ashore after his conquest of Malacca. The existing bell in the belfry states the date and place of manufacture as 1608 - Goa, and was salvaged from an older church the Dutch had burned down. There is also an alabaster statue of the Lord Before The Resurrection.

Jalan Bendahara, Malacca, Malaysia, 75100
Chinese Hill

If Malacca's tale can be compacted into one place, this is it. For there is no escaping it as kings or commoners, priests or thieves, haves or have-nots, there is an end for us all. Then again, some will always have it better than others, even here. Imperial Ming subjects are clearly marked out, colonial community heads (or kapitan cinas) rest within huge horseshoe shaped masonry and the Malay chieftains share a VIP zone. Sadly however, a 1581 Franciscan Monastery had long since degenerated into a few unmarked fiat stones lying haphazardly around.

Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Malacca, Malaysia, 75100
Sam Poh Kong Temple

This typically Taoist temple takes its name from the fish sam poh that plugged a leaking hole in Admiral Cheng Ho's ship, thus saving him from drowning in a storm. So the folklore goes. Factually, the Admiral was a Mandarin Marco Polo on the high seas. Under Ming sponsorship from 1405 to 1433, he saw 30 nations from Asia to Africa, travelling in such naval style and splendour that there have been few Chinese equals since. This temple is dedicated to the Admiral.

Jalan Puteri Hang Li Poh, Malacca, Malaysia, 75100
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

This highly revered Chinese temple is the oldest in Malaysia, its name translates as Temple of Bright Clouds. More than 300 years old, it was commissioned by Kapitan China Lee Wei King, a Chinese fugitive who made good. Numerous craftsmen and a large amount of materials were specially brought in from China to construct the temple. Visitors can expect an ornate monument of the Taoist faith built in the architectural style of the temples of southern China and adorned with intricate woodcarvings, panels and lacquer works. The main deity in the temple is Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.

25 Temple Street, Jalan Tokong, Malacca, Malaysia, 75000
Dutch Square

Famous for its red-painted buildings, the Dutch Square is clear testimony of Dutch masonry and architectural skills. The Stadthuys, situated in the Square, is believed to have been completed in 1650 and was home to the Dutch governors. Now, it has become the Malacca Historical Museum. Also within the vicinity is Queen Victoria's fountain that was erected in 1901 to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Next to it is the Malacca Clock Tower, built in 1886 by Tan Jiak Kim.

Jalan Gereja, Malacca, Malaysia, 75000
Hokkien Huay Kuan

A feast to the eyes, the exterior of this well-restored historic clan house beckons the passers-by. A pair of symmetrical pillars with dragon relief graces the front porch, beyond which the eyes are instantly arrested by a striking set of door and wall panels with intricate carvings and bold colours. Two rows of Chinese characters frame the entrance door, composing a poignant eulogy to the achievements of the clan and its members. Once inside, an ancient scene comes alive instantly. The large ancestral house is a wonder of Chinese architectural styles, customs and relics.

Jalan Hang Jebat, No. 23, Malacca, Malaysia, 75200
Christ Church

"Before there were striking clocks, only the bell of the parish Church, cathedral or monastery supplemented the sun or the burning of a candle as a record of passing time, and it did so by announcing the hour of another act of worship," said historian J.M. Roberts. This 18th century Dutch architectural convention church was built with red bricks specially imported from Holland for its construction in 1753. Inside, don't miss the handsome handmade pews and huge overhead beams holding up the roof. When there were no more Dutch Lutherans, this church housed congregations of Anglicans. While admission is free, visitors are requested to make a small donation for the upkeep of the church.

Jalan Kota, Kompleks Warisan, Malacca, Malaysia, 75000
Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum

This heritage museum focus on Babas and Nyonyas - offspring of interracial marriages, generally between a Chinese male and a native non-Muslim female. Also called Peranakan or Straits Chinese, they become culturally distinct from their community. The featured museum, a private enterprise housed in a beautifully restored ancestral home dating back to the mid 19th Century, is a rare treasure which succinctly captures the aura of an interesting era. At the heart of its charm is an archive of costumes and knick-knacks that once served the Peranakan lifestyle.

Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, No. 48-50, Malacca, Malaysia, 75200
Jehan Chan Art Gallery

Perhaps one of the most successful living painters in Malaysia, Jehan Chan perfected the technique of watercolor collage on crinkled rice paper, an art form which produces surprisingly authentic and uncommon effects. Two of the master's most well-known bodies of works are the Seascape Series and the Swimming Carps in Lotus Pond series, both on display at two of his three galleries in Malacca. However, immense popularity seems to have produced Salvador Dali-like effects apparent even from a casual survey of the galleries. So many of the same or similar compositions have been made that they look more like prints than rare originals.

Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, No. 10 & 124, Malacca, Malaysia, 75200
St. Paul's Church

The Portuguese built this church in 1521 and called it “Our Lady of the Hill.” It acquired its present name from the Dutch, who built a new Lutheran church down the hill, while St. Paul's became a funereal ground and a white-washed navigational marker for passing ships. It owes much of its fame to St. Francis Xavier, who preached, lived and was laid to rest here. The Saint's remains were later transferred to Goa but his legend continues to grace new visitors here every day.

Jalan Kota, St. Paul's Hill, Malacca, Malaysia, 75000
A' Famosa Water World

A world of excitement awaits you at the A' Famosa Water World, a sprawling 1300 acre family theme park. Delight yourself with splashy games and joy rides. Or try the hot-air-balloon ride and enjoy the panorama of the A' Famosa Resort. The park also features a man-made beach, a wave pool, a spa pool, a waterfall, a boating lake and even an archery range. When hunger pangs hit, head for the Hillside Restaurant and Lake Side Restaurant for local and Western delicacies or the several fast-food outlets for quick bites.

Jalan Kemus, Simpang Empat, Malacca, Malaysia, 78000
Mount Ophir

Also known as Gunung Ledang, this is a rugged mountain forest reserve accessible from the North-South Highway at the Tangkak exit. Clear and well-marked trails leading to the 1,276-meter summit make it a popular school holiday excursion destination. At the base of the mountain is the Sagil Waterfall, an ideal picnic spot that is also good for a swim with its cool and clear waters. A resort provides affordable chalets for extended stays, while amenities like resting sheds, changing rooms, campsites and food stalls are also available.

Between the border of Muar and Melaka, Asahan, Malaysia
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