Churches, Temples and Mosques of Malacca, Malaysia

Malacca has many religious buildings, including some of the oldest ones in Malaysia. Due to being Islamicized, then colonised by Christians, and having a large Chinese community, there is a good mixture of churches, temples and mosques.

Here are five that we found interesting:

1) Mesjid Kampung Hulu

Mesjid Kampung Hulu

The oldest functioning mosque in Malaysia, Mesjid Kampung Hulu was commissioned by the Dutch (who were keen to appease those who wished to practise Islam) in 1728. It has predominantly Javanese architecture, and we were surprised by how small it actually looks.


2) Kampung Kling Mosque

Kampung Kling Mosque

This mosque features a high tower, which was apparently inspired by the design of Hindu temples.


3) Christ Church

Christ Church

Part of the Stadhuys complex in the centre of the old town (a good focal point, and bus 17 from Melaka Sentral will drop you off here), this church features grave stones from 1800. While we were there a Chinese-language service was taking place, so we couldn’t walk around inside.


4) St Paul’s Church

St Paul's Church

This much older church sits on a hilltop over the town. Now in ruins, with no roof, it features graves from the 1600s, and spectacular views out to sea. The former tomb of St Francis Xavier is here (his body was moved to Goa, India).

Graveyard tourist

Some unusual tourism – photo with a gravestone, anyone?

5) Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

This is Malaysia’s oldest traditional Chinese temple (dating from 1646). Its striking black and gold carved wood was totally different to the décor of other temples I have seen, which tend to be more colourful.

Inside Cheng Hoon Teng Temple


Moni, Flores: A Brief Guide to the Kelimutu Gateway

Moni is one destination most visitors to Flores are bound to spend a night, as the departure point for visiting Kelimutu volcanic crater lakes, the most famous tourist attraction on the island. So here’s a brief guide based on my own two-night stay.

Views out to sea from MoniIn the Village

Moni is not right next to Kelimutu—it’s still a 13km journey away—but it has become the main hub for visitors, probably due to its location on the main trans-Flores road, and a large number of accommodation options and other tourist facilities have sprung up.

The village lines both sides of the main road, and has a church and a field area, which is used for the local market on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mornings. From the upper parts of the village you can look out to a fantastic view across the hills, all the way to the ocean.

You won’t get woken up by the call to prayer in Moni, because there is no mosque. Like the rest of Flores, Moni has a Catholic majority. Walking through the village is pleasant and the local people were friendly. I met three little girls, who took me to see the Mary statue and shrine beside the church. The local language is called Lio, which sounds very different to Indonesian, though the majority of people also speak Indonesian.

Moni churchFacilities for Visitors

Many homestays line the main road offering reasonably priced rooms for travellers. I stayed at Bintang Bungalows, which is apparently a popular option. It was full for one of the nights I was there, and this is outside the main tourist season. I paid Rp. 100,000 (after haggling from Rp. 120,000) for a room with bathroom and cold water only, and it was quite cold for showering. Moni is not a hot place though the high altitude means it gets strong sunlight in the middle of the day.

Eating cheaply is difficult in Moni, where most eateries are restaurants aimed at foreign tourists. Local people tend to cook at home rather than eating out. However, down the road I found a cheap bakso (meatball soup) place, run by an East Javanese man. I ate at Bintang Restaurant, run by Tobias, the brother-in-law of Sinta who owns Bintang Bungalows, and the portions were on the large side, which may justify the extra expense.

Transport and guides are available in Moni. Motorbikes can be hired for Rp. 100,000 or more per day, and I hired a guide, called Udin, and motorbike for a whole day for Rp. 130,000. Sinta of Bintang Bungalows has a car and a minibus (bemo) that she rents out. It is easy to organise onward transport from Moni to your next destination, because it is located on the main trans-Flores road, so buses, minibuses and public cars all pass through.

Forested Hills