What to do in Malacca in 12 hours
Malacca, or spelled Melaka in Malay, is the third smallest state in Malaysia. Also known as “The Historic State” or Melaka Bandaraya Bersejarah, Malacca is known as the location of one of the earliest sultanates before they were abolished when the Portuguese came into the picture and conquered Malacca in 1511.
I remember having to read all those histories on the Malay sultanates in my history class back when I was 13 years old. Learning about the founder of Malacca, Parameswara, who is from Majapahit where according to popular legend also founded the name Melaka. He was resting under a tree near a river when one of his dogs cornered a mouse deer. The mouse deer however, pushed the dog into the river. Taking it as a good sign where the weak overcoming the powerful, Parameswara decided to name the place Melaka, from the tree he took shelter at.
Almost 800 years later, Malacca is now a fully developed state and one of the central hubs for local and international tourists.
My friends and I went to Malacca on June 14th for a single day roadtrip. Bukit Jalil as our starting point, we began our journey at 1pm. It was a Saturday and the North-South highway was slightly congested heading towards Seremban. After that however, it was a smooth cruise at 110 km/h to Malacca state.
Klebang Coconut Shake
Our group headed straight for the Klebang Original Coconut Shake, arriving at Klebang around 2.15pm. The place was packed, normal though considering that it was a Saturday and the last weekend of the school holiday. We had the Special Shake priced at RM2.20 per glass and some kuih muih such as seri muka, karipap and banana fritters.
Our next destination after quenching our thirst was Jonker Street. We arrived quarter before 4pm and after parking the car, we decided to have our own “heritage walk”, first to The Christ Church, then to The Ruins of St. Paul’s Church, followed by A Famosa and ending it at Jonker Street.
The Christ Church
While heading towards The Christ Church, I couldn’t help stopping by the Hard Rock Cafe. I have a hobby of collecting and buying Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts. In case you have a hobby like mine, do make sure you bring some extra cash – all my plans of making this a strictly budget roadtrip flew out the window when I saw Hard Rock Cafe.
It was only a 5-minutes walk from Hard Rock Cafe to The Christ Church.
The Christ Church is an 18th-century Anglican church and the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia. The church was built in Dutch Colonial style, the roof covered with Dutch tiles and Dutch bricks were used for the walls too. The windows however, was changed after the British took over Malacca in 1795.
There were a lot of people here, mostly taking photos of the church as well as the fountain opposite it.
The Ruins of St. Paul’s Church
You’ll have to climb a few stairs to head to this church, it being on top of a hill. The view heading towards the church is beautiful, we reckon that we could see half of Malacca here (or so, we thought!)
There are tombs in this church, which were excavated between 1924 – 1930. These old Portuguese tombstones were then affixed to the walls of the church. When the British took over Malacca, the church was left unkempt and deteriorated. The St. Paul’s Church today is very bare.
We descended stairs from The Ruins of St. Paul’s Church towards one of the most popular attractions in Malacca, the Portuguese fortress, A Famosa. There are many new structures recently uncovered during new construction of buildings near the fort.
It is a great experience to see for yourself these old structures that were built during the Portuguese occupation in Malacca between 1641 – 1824.
Final Heritage Walk
After we had some rest at Dataran Pahlawan opposite of A Famosa, we decided to end our night at Jonker Street before heading home. If you haven’t been to Jonker Street, the charm to this place will have to be the variety of street shopping, restaurants and the handful of bars with live music.
Instead of walking to Jonker Street from Dataran Pahlawan, my friends and I took the trishaw, enjoying the loud music and colorful lights of the trishaws on that balmy night.
After we did some handicrafts and souvenir shopping at Jonker Street, we had our dinner at Geographer’s Cafe, a heritage-type cafe while we were entertained with great live music. By 11pm, we headed back to Kuala Lumpur and completed our roadtrip at half past midnight.
A day trip could feel slightly tiring but if you do this with your close friends, it will be more fun and memorable. If you get to learn a thing or two of the local histories, that is surely a surplus too!