Malacca in one day (and it’s not enough)

The ruins of St. Paul’s Church

I finally had the chance to take a visit to Malacca or (alternative pronunciation) Melaka a few weeks ago but, with only one day to spare, I joined a group tour from Kuala Lumpur. Two hours out of Kuala Lumpur along winding scenic roads, we made our first stop—right at the arch gate welcoming us to Malacca. The adventure has just begun.

Despite the advent of modernization, Malacca City's vibrant past is visible in its share of attractions like historic churches, centuries-old forts and colonial buildings.

We drove around a mess of highways undergoing massive construction and stopped for a few minutes at the St Peter’s Church in Melaka. Established in 1710, it is the oldest functioning Roman Catholic church in Malaysia.

The Strait of Malacca is far from what I had always envisioned of one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. From the concrete lookout area, where we were dropped off for five minutes, I saw a narrow stretch of murky water flanked by heavy construction of buildings surrounding it.

Then we were off to lunch, anticipating a delicious Perakan cuisine or Nyonya food – as the online brochures advertised. We were surprised to be dropped off at a Chinese restaurant, where we shared Chinese food at a round table. I guess you have to make a special trip on your own if you want the whole experience.