Friday, October 22, 2010


If we had known what Malacca was like, we would've stayed more than a day.

After spending a couple days around Kuala Lumpur, my parents, Jia, and I took a taxi to Malacca, a quiet colonial town less than two hours outside the Malaysian capital. The hotel concierge helped us find a friendly driver for a reasonable price (and his car ran on natural gas). When we arrived, he even offered to pick us up the next day after dinner for the same price.

Malacca is a walkable town, although the heat and humidity take some getting used to. After the noise and traffic of KL, this was a great place to relax. And we relaxed in between the sights--we found great food near the hotel and cafes along the river. And like everywhere else in Malaysia, we found the locals to be very friendly.

In America, we love to talk about diversity and tolerance, but we've got nothing on Malacca. On one particular street near the central tourist area is a beacon of religious tolerance. At one end of the street is a church. A little further down is a mosque, which is next door to a Hindu temple. A short walk down from there is a Taoist temple across the street from a Buddhist temple. I have never seen anything like it before or since.

On the same street, we found a shop that sold Buddhist paintings, furnishings, and other items mostly imported from Dharmsala. The shop owner was from India. He explained that he first came to Malaysia to visit his brother in Kuala Lumpur, but decided to stay after seeing Malacca. He pointed out the houses of worship outside and said he couldn't find a more peaceful street.

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