The 3 days I spent Malacca is so fulfilling that I’m compelled to create another post to extend and expand the earlier one. If you have read
Malacca Top Attractions
1. River Cruise Malacca
River Cruise Malacca is a memorable adventure, it practically brings one to all the tourist attractions along the river. The good thing is visitors are able to have a glance of what to explore further later when on land, the drawback is there are no stops in between the journey.
The cruise duration is about 30 minutes. My advice is to take it during the day where the river bank scenery is visible, anytime after 7pm is a waste of time, as the surrounding is too dark to allow visitors to see anything.
It is quite interesting seeing the many houses along the river painted with traditional customs and beliefs.
The ticket cost for the cruise is RM$15.00 for adult and RM$7.00 for children. You can see many hotels lining along the river, some are available from RM$40.00, and budget hotels from as low as RM$15.00 per night. It is always good to stay somewhere along the river, as it is not only convenient to go to any tourist attractions through walking but there are many pubs and cafes along the river bank to entertain you.
I was not quite interested in the cruise, but the long queue tempted me to go for it, so I took it on the last day, by then I had already seen almost everything in Malacca, the sense of curiosity had gone. Still I find it interesting on board when recalling the 4 days and 3 nights of Malacca’s experience. So, board the cruise upon arrival on Malacca.
2. Sam Po Keng Temple 三宝公庙
Sam Po Kong Temple was built in 1795 in honour of the great Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho (1371–1433), who made several expeditions around the world and often stop by at Malacca.
So why wasn’t it called Cheng Ho temple then? Legend has it that during one of his voyage, his ship encountered a leak. During the struggle for survival, a fish called Sam Po Kong came and got caught in the hole, it stopped the leak and thereby saved the sinking ship.
Above picture is a statue of Cheng Ho, also spelled as Zheng He 郑和. Rumour has it that anyone who encounter obstacles in life, just touch his sword, Cheng Ho would help get rid of all problems. He who wants prosperity and fortune should touch or pat his right shoulder. How true is it, well, there’s no harm believing it. Or perhaps, it is true, for the original Cheng Ho statue was stolen in 1980’s.
Today, the temple worshipped the famous Chinese deity Tua Pek Kong, the ruler of the land. The temple is very popular among the Chinese, many famous Chinese politicians had come to pay a visit.
Chinese President Jiang ZheMin ( left picture) and Premier Li Peng ( right picture)
The temple is so widely recognized by the Chinese that even a few Emperors of China had bestowed it through the years, as can be seen on the few huge tablets lying around the temple. But I was quite upset upon seeing the few historical tablets being tucked at one corner, surrounding it with daily utensils and even rubbish.
3. The King’s Well or Han Li Po Well
What makes visiting the place even more interesting is just beside the temple is another battle ground between the Dutch and Portuguese – The King’s Well. Sultan Mansur Shah(1458-1477) had ordered the well to be dug for the exclusive used of his wife, Hang Li Po, who came from China. It was said that whosoever who drinks from the well will return to Malacca.
After the British took over Malacca in 1824, they were wary of the well, it soon fell into disuse and the fort was left in ruined.
4. Bastion Victoria
It seems to me that every inch of earth in Malacca is hidden with some treasures. While on my way to St. Xavi Church, I accidently discovered another historical site- Bastion Victoria.
Bastion Victoria was among the most important fortresses during the Portuguese and Dutch era. It was a defence of the Malacca river and its surroundings during that time when Malacca river was flourished with trading boats and commercial activities .The fort was discovered years ago during the construction for a parking lot.
5. St. Francis Xavier’s Church
Just across the Bastion Victoria is the well known St. Francis Xavier’s Church. The church was built in 1849 in honour of St.Francis Xavier for his effort in propagating the Roman Catholic faith.
Francis Xavier (1506-1552) was a Roman Catholic missionary who led missions into Asia, notably in India, Japan and Indonesia, and especially in the Portuguese Empire. His mission was to spread Christianity among the Portuguese settlers.
It was estimated that he had successfully converted more than 30,000 to Christianity, an astronomical figure indeed, even by today’s standard.
The statue of St. Xavier is located at the hill of St. Paul’s church.
The church is located just 10 minutes walk from Christ Church – the central of attraction in Malacca.
6. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
Built in 1645 and Located at Jonker Street, or Chinatown, Cheng Hoon Teng temple is the oldest temple in the country, not just in Malacca. The main deity in the temple is Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.
I went to visit the day before on my way back to the hotel, and saw large congregation of tourists there So today I went in the early morning to have a better look at it. The crowd was not there, I liked it.
It was said that the authentic lantern in the temple was around for over 400 years. Incredible!
Another temple which has many huge tablets from the Chinese Court with the year clearly inscribed. The materials for the construction were all imported from China, even the artisans were brought to stay here for years to complete it. In 2003, the temple was awarded a UNESCO award for outstanding architectural restoration, another great achievements!
If you like visiting religious site, this is a great temple to appreciate for at least an hour on its exquisite crafting skill and the many artefacts around, provided if you understand Chinese. Otherwise it can be quite bore if there is no tour guide to help you understand its rich history. I’ve seen many Caucasians come and leave soon after taking a few pictures. The temple is situated in a place where there is no tree and no shade, and Malacca weather is punishing hot.
7. Malacca Bus Central – getting around Malacca
Places of interest in Malacca is so closed to one another that my initial budget of RM$100.00 on taxi was kept almost intact. I spent just a total of RM$30.00 in taking a ride upon my arrival to the hotel and vice versa.
From the moment you steps onto Malacca, the taxi touts start to storm onto you. They usually quote you an exorbitant price of 50% higher than any other tour operators. Some offer to chauffeur you around Malacca for a day at RM$200.00.
In actual fact the taxi drivers are supposed to use the taxi fare meter. The best options is to negotiate with them before even get into it. Not to worry though, as they may be aggressive in their tactics, but they are not offensive. I have yet to come across any locals who are not friendly in my 3 days there.
Get to Malacca Bus Central, and you’re instantly connected to the world. Malacca is a good place to get to anywhere- just like the old days when it flourished as a trading hub, especially to Singapore or other states of Malaysia. There are more than 50 travel bus operators over there, indeed I was quite shocked to see prices for bus tickets were available from as low as RM$10.00 to other states, such as KL (Kuala Lumpur), a 1.5 hours journey from Malacca and RM$26.00 for a 4 hours ride to Singapore.
There are many options to travel around, the safest way is to do an advance booking when you arrive. Secondly, there is a first-come-first-first-serve system, whereby a traveler book a ticket now and travel now, this is easy during weekdays, when buses are usually only 60% filled. As for Friday- Sunday, forget about it, there’s no way to do a last minute booking, as all seats are fully occupied. It’s important to note that Malacca is very centrally located in Malaysia, it’s Malaysian’s favourite weekend’s holiday town, they would come on Friday and leave on Sunday.
Enjoy your trip!