Malacca: My Take

Christ Church Melaka (Malacca)

Christ Church Melaka in the early hours of the morning.

Even the hard-working aspiring writers find themselves struggling for words sometimes.  I was almost tempted to simply post these recent photos and let the images speak for themselves.  Besides, a picture paints a thousand words, right?  Yeah right.  But a part of me also believes that a thousand words paint a beautiful picture.  If you love writing, use it to make up for a lousy photography (which I have already done so many times 🙂 ).  This is a blog anyway so try to make use of what you’re paying for.  Use it or lose it.  Constantly moving or travelling does not always get you somewhere.  So we stop for a while and write about our most recent travels to help us articulate and reflect on the things that we have learned from them.  And what is a more perfect time to reflect and to remember than during the last Easter weekend?

For those staying in Singapore, Malacca is a favorite destination for long weekends and public holidays.  Much has already been written about this beautiful place which makes it difficult for me to write about something new and to find fresh inspiration.  So what can I write about?  How about food as a topic?  Nope.  Not that one.  Admittedly, I am a bit of a food junkie myself, but a really lousy food photographer. 🙂   By the way, the food here is really great and one that you should experience (the Malacca coffee is superb).  How about “Things to do in Malacca”?  Not that one either.  Too lazy to do those things; whatever activities those might be.  Top Family Attractions?  I travelled solo this time (surprisingly, and sadly).  So I guess that leaves me with “Top  Places to See in Malacca” to write about.  Nothing out of  the ordinary but something I really like; where I could put my photography into use.  But even that one was a bit frustrating.  The problem with major tourist spots is that they have been shot to death.  You find a beautiful place (and there are lots of it in Malacca) and shoot it from an apparently unique angle; only to find the same angle later already posted in the net by other photographers (ain’t the internet grand?).  So in the end, all I have is a set of beautiful postcards which are very special only because they were created by me personally.  So the photographs in this article do not really speak truthfully about its title.  Talk about originality.  So the only value of this post now is what you could learn from it.  Use this post as your travel guide; your visual companion to Malaccan architecture; or your encouragement to do better, creative, or original photography. 🙂

Malacca Street Art (Malacca)

Malacca Street Art along Malacca River.

Malacca is perhaps Malaysia’s most historical state.  It was here where European colonial forces first made contact with Malaysia, which eventually shaped and formed the country’s current political, cultural, and economic system.  The Portuguese, Dutch, and the British all made their marks here (with varying forms of responses from the locals); their strong influences basically evident in what remains of their public buildings, museums, churches, forts, and town squares.  Its rich and colorful (and complicated) history has created a feel and flavor that is uniquely Malacca today.  It is a seamless blend of cultures so to speak; with strong local traditions standing alongside modern lifestyles that will leave you in a swirl and in awe.  Malacca is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The major tourist spots can get really crowded (duh); obviously like all tourist spots we know.  So most of my photos here were taken either early in the morning or late in the afternoon when most of the crowds haven’t arrived yet or has already thinned out.  In between these times, tourists (who all look the same, and dress the same) come in by the busload every minute.  If you don’t mind having them in your photos, then shoot away anyway. 🙂

Needless to say, my bias has always been towards the architecture of a place.  This (alongside with the food which I enjoyed very much when the crowd at the tourist spots was at its thickest) is my best way to learn and appreciate a city’s history and culture.  I have featured below some of these wonderful works of architecture and picturesque places in Malacca.  My take (sort of). 🙂

A’Famosa Fort:  A’Famosa is perhaps Malacca’s most famous sighseeing spot.  It was built in 1511 to house the Portuguese administration and as an outpost in Malacca, which was an important link to the Spice Route in China during thr 16th Century.  It has changed hands from the Portuguese to the Dutch and finally to the British who ordered the destruction of the Fort.  Fortunately, Sir Stamford Raffles (founder of Singapore) visited Malacca in 1810; and because of his love for history, stopped the destruction of the Fort.  What remains to this day is the lone gate (Porta de Santiago) that stands at the foot of St. Paul’s hill.

A'Famosa Fort (Malacca)

The ruins of A’Famosa Fort at the foot of Bukit St. Paul.

Christ Church Melaka:  Christ Church is the most recognizable of the Malacca structures with its brick red exterior and large white cross.  It was built in 1753 by the Dutch to commemorate a century of occupation and to address the need for another place of worship other than St. Paul’s Church.  It has changed hands from the Dutch to the British who turned it from a Protestant church to an Anglican one.  The church sits squarely infront Dutch Square along Jalan Gereja.

Christ Church Melaka (Malacca)

Christ Church Melaka. The centerpiece of Dutch Square.

St. Paul’s Church Ruins:  The beautiful ruins of St. Paul’s Church stand on top of St. Paul’s Hill which can be reached via a long flight of stairs from the lone gate of A’Famosa at the bottom of the hill.  The original structure was built by a Portuguese captain as a sign of gratitude to the Blessed Virgin Mary for saving his life during a storm at sea.  The ruins is now famous for its breathtaking views of Malacca City below it.

St. Paul's Church (Malacca)

St. Paul’s Church at the top of Bukit St. Paul.


St. Paul's Church (Malacca)

The beautiful and eerie ruins of St. Paul’s Church.

Malacca River:  Malacca River was once called the “Venice of the East”.   Now it is famous for the river cruise that takes tourists past several riverside establishments, bridges, Malay villages and settlements.  It is considered the birthplace of Malacca because it was here where the Sumatran prince Parameswara established the Malaccan sultanate.

Malacca River View (Malacca)

Malacca River at Twilight.


Malacca River View (Malacca)

A view along Malacca River at night.


Casa del Rio (Malacca)

Casa del Rio Hotel along Malacca River.

Masjid Terapung Selat:  This mosque is situated on the man-made island of Pulau Melaka facing the Straits of Malacca.  It is perhaps the only Middle Eastern-inspired structure I have seen during my stay there, and a much more recent building compared to the ones mentioned earlier.  Tourists come here for the magnificent view of the mosque against the sunset.

Masjid Terapung Selat (Malacca)

Malacca Straits Mosque at the Golden Hour.

Malacca is usually a day trip destination for most tourists visiting Kuala Lumpur.  From Kuala Lumpur, take a bus to Malacca where you will alight at the Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal off Jalan Tun Razak.  From there, a taxi can take you to town where all the major tourist attractions are located.   Most parts of the town can be explored by foot as the major attractions are near each other.

So there you go; my take on this beautiful and quaint city.  I hope I have kept you inspired in this adventure of exploration.  Enjoy the images as much as I do.

See you in my next post.  Cheers!!!

 

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