From Malacca

Singapore-Malacca Trip: A Sample 5-Day Itinerary (How We Did It)

While this trip comprises both Singapore and the Malaysian city of Malacca, it was actually the latter that I was more excited about. I had been to Singapore a number of times but never Malacca. It had always been on my bucket list and  I was thankful that I finally had the chance to set foot on this remarkable place. The Singapore leg of this trip, however, also proved to be extremely enjoyable even though it was a repeat of my previous SG trip.

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Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Malacca: The Oldest Chinese Temple in Malaysia

The crowd was starting to grow bigger at Cheng Hoon Teng Temple grounds. By the gate, vendors greeted tourists with invitations to see and buy the peacock feathers in their gentle embrace while another group sat behind a set of bouquets. Beyond the gate outside the main prayer hall, tourists walked around the complex while carrying cameras around their neck.  At the  front porch and inside the hall, Chinese locals, oblivious to the snapping and clicking of the metal gadgets, gathered to light incense sticks and offer prayers for the departed loved ones. It was around nine in the morning.

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Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple in Malacca: Malaysia’s Oldest Hindu Temple

I had never been inside a Hindu temple.

I had seen a number of Hindu temples before: in Singapore, in Penang, in Kuala Lumpur. But I had never been inside one. I only had a chance to stand outside with my head tilted and my mouth open as I admired the facade and overall architecture. When I learned that there’s one along Harmony Street in Malacca, I got so thrilled thinking that the time had come that I get to step into a place of worship for one of the oldest religions in the world. I thought it was my lucky day!

And lucky day it was not!

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Kampung Kling Mosque: Embracing Diversity in Malacca, Malaysia

A dark grey dove glided through the air into the mosque and perched atop a fountain in the middle of the pool. I looked at my friends Asta and Ces and, without saying a word, stood there and watched it. Two muslim men sitting on the porch were watching us, too, as we watched the bird. Don’t get us wrong — we’ve seen doves before, but we were drawn by how regally it stood on the second layer of the fountain before us.

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Walking in Harmony: 4 Religious Places to Visit at Temple Street, Malacca, Malaysia

The street is known by many names. Locals have three names for this long road, one for each segment: Jalan Tukang Emas, Jalan Tukang Besi, and Jalan Tokong. Why they have to “divide” the street and give it three names is quite beyond me, but it really is just one long, curved street. Tourists usually call it “Temple Street” because of the number of temples that stand on its edges. But my favorite among all its names — Harmony.

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Lao San Cafe: Where to Eat in Malacca, Malaysia

Carrying an empty stomach, the Poor Traveler and his poor friends Asta and Ces hurried back to Jonker Street to find a place to have dinner at. Unfortunately for us, the restaurants along Jonker were all closed for the day. It was already past 9 o’clock and we have just finished the Malacca River Cruise, for which we spent much time waiting in line. While street food abounded the famous street that night, we were looking for a place where we could sit down and have proper dinner. We had walked the length of the street twice to no avail; we decided to look elsewhere.

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Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Balls: Where to Eat in Malacca, Malaysia

The very long queue in front of Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Ball extended down to Singapore. Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but it was long enough to push my friends Ces and Asta and me to deliberate for several minutes whether we would like to try this evidently popular restaurant or not. While the long line was truly convincing, a testament to how good their food could be, it was also very discouraging.

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Jonker Street in Malacca, Malaysia

The Chinese New Year was very much alive when we were in Melaka. An enormous Chinese water dragon, dangling over Jonker Street was spitting cold water into a small fountain to the delight of tourists and locals alike. Darkness was slowly blanketing the UNESCO World Heritage Site but Jonker Street was just starting to get a life of its own.

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Melaka River Cruise, Malaysia: Through Lights and Colors

The queue at the jetty for the river cruise stretched several yards. Backpackers and families composed the long line and excited conversations filled the air as we the queue moved slowly. After a couple of loading batches of tourists, it was finally our turn to step on the ferry. I guess it is not a secret that the Malacca River Cruise is best enjoyed in the evening as recommended to us by Asri, our hotel owner.

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