On the top of Melaka Hill you will find the ruins of St. Paul’s Church. Nearly 500 years old, this was built by the Portuguese and is the oldest church in Southeast Asia. It isn’t in use now; in fact, it doesn’t have a roof any more. At the front, there is a statue of St. Francis Xavier who used the church as a base of missionary activity across Asia. The statue had its arm knocked off by a falling tree… the day after it was installed!
It’s a short climb to the church, but it’s exposed and very hot – the steps also look like they might be treacherous if there were to be a downpour while you were at the top. There’s a lad selling cold drinks just before the final set of steps who might come in handy.
There isn’t very much to see at the top, unless like me you’re interested in reading old gravestones (or unlike me, interested in buying tat from the dozen or so tat-sellers). The church is ruined, but it’s still attractive.
Both times I visited, there was a guy with a lizard and a cockatoo selling photo opportunities. Up to you if you take these, but before he started I saw him blowing smoke of some sort in the lizard’s nostrils. Seemed unsavoury to me, but your call.
A version of this review appeared on VT.com