Summary: I had the morning in Malacca before catching a 1:20pm bus back to Singapore, so decided to explore some less-advertised tourist sites.  Having seen the World Heritage historical sites and downtown area the previous day, I chose to visit the Malacca Strait Mosque and shop at the Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall.

Singapore, Singapore and Malacca, Malaysia
Total Length of Stay: 
5 days, 6 nights (first 3 days in Singapore, then 2 days in Malaysia)
Getting There: International flight to and from Singapore, local bus to Malaysia from Singapore

This Blog Post:
 Day 2 out of 2 in Malacca; Day 5 out of 5 for entire trip
Accommodation: The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
Tour Operator: Grassland Express & Tours booked round-trip bus and accommodation, but tour completely self-guided
Time Spent Traveling: 10 hours including nearly 6 hour bus ride in afternoon
Activity Level: 3 hours of light walking in the morning, then nearly 6 hour bus ride in afternoon

ITINERARY (times are very approximate and meant to only roughly illustrate the pace)
1.) Malacca Straits Mosque (9:30-10am)
This place isn't a heavily advertised tourist attraction - it wasn’t on the tourism map provided by my hotel, and I didn’t come across it when doing research beforehand.  Built recently in 2006, I suppose it doesn't have the same historical significance as the World Heritage sites.  Even so, it’s a gorgeous mosque built on an man-made island and looks like it’s floating on the water.  I was lucky to have a view from my hotel balcony!  I discovered it while taking an iPhone panorama from said balcony, on the 14th floor.  
After eating breakfast at my hotel – where I really enjoyed the spicy squid and coconut rice – I decided to visit this mosque.  It’s not easily accessible so I hired a cab driver to take me there, wait about 10-15 minutes, and take me back.  It was just as beautiful as I imagined.  If the tide was higher in that first picture, it really would look like a floating structure.
Besides the mosque, the Malacca Strait is a man-made island of EXTREME economic importance.  A shipping channel off the coast of Malaysia, situated between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, about 1/4 of the world’s traded goods pass through here at some point.
I was curious about the mosque’s interior so I timidly approached it.  I had never been inside a mosque and am not well-versed in Islamic traditions.  Someone came out and politely told me (in pretty good English) that I could not enter without covering up.  He pointed out where I could find burqas and hijabs, and a woman who was cleaning the restrooms helped me put them on.  She was friendly and encouraged me to look in the mirror, and at no point did I feel unwelcome.  I proceeded to walk inside the mosque, where the near-empty prayer hall was tranquil and relaxing.  The view of the Indian Ocean out the back was also splendid.  No matter what your religious beliefs, I think this place will give you a sense of awe and enlightenment.
This was my first time in a mosque and I knew next to nothing, so afterwards, I did some research on the structure of mosques.  I learned that the “tower” next to it is called a minaret.  Much taller than the main building, the minaret provides a vantage point from which a call to prayer can be issued, traditionally five times a day.  Looking back, I wished I had taken more time to explore the minaret, instead of just taking pictures from a distance.  It somehow slipped my mind in the moment, perhaps because I was thinking about the shopping I planned to do next.
2.) Shopping in Little Nyona (10-10:30am)
I had asked the hotel tour desk attendant where I could find Malaysian souvenirs and he recommended this place.  Well it’s not exactly “souvenirs,” they sell traditional Malaysian snacks.  The ladies who worked here were Chinese Malaysian and spoke 3 languages: Chinese, Malay, and English.  Various Indian Malaysian cab drivers I had throughout my trip spoke Tamil, Malay, and English.  I tried a few candy samples, lamented the fact that I was not more multilingual, and opted to buy some sticky plum candy.
3.) Shopping in Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall - and maybe Hatten Square too (10:30am-12:15pm)
This mall was literally right across the street from my hotel so I decided to have a look – and ended up buying so much stuff.  For those who like shopping, things here are pretty cheap and the US dollar to ringgit conversion rate is pretty good (as of June 2013).  I started out buying two shirts, one for 50 ringgit (US$15.68) and the other for 20 ringgit (US$6.27) .  I was surprised that such a large shopping center issued handwritten receipts.  After the clothes, I soon found a cute Hello Kitty iPhone cover for 29.90 ringgit (US$9.38).
Next, I walked into a cute shop whose name is, actually, Cute Shop.  Similar to the Hello Kitty brand, all their products bear a cute, smiling animal display.  Unlike Hello Kitty, they are not restricted to just kittens, and also feature adorable puppies, piglets, and I believe other animals too.
I walked by a dessert stand and saw mango sago with pomelo cream on the menu.  I had sago before in a Malaysian restaurant in Australia, long before I ever thought of visiting Malaysia, and was under the impression that this was a traditional Malaysian dessert.  Turns out it’s actually a Hong Kong specialty, but it was delicious nevertheless.
From here I wandered around some more and got lost.  Hatten Square Mall is connected to Dataran Pahlawan, and I’m not sure exactly when I crossed over.  Anyways, the signs were good and it wasn’t difficult to find my way back, after which I found some basement shops near an entrance of Dataran Pahlawan.  I got two postcards from a souvenir shop, and then my last stop was a restaurant serving chicken rice balls.  I ordered a take-away set of 4 rice balls and ate them in the lobby of Hotel Equatorial, where my bus back to Singapore (operated by Grassland Express & Tours) picked up from.
Due to the horrific traffic, I did not arrive in Singapore until about 7:10pm.  Along the way, we stopped for about 10-15 minutes at a large complex that had some cafes, food stands, and souvenir shops.  I thought the heart-shaped chicken skewers were cool, and tried some corn kernels.
When I got off the bus, I caught a taxi and the traffic was equally bad during the ride back to the Fullerton Hotel.  I ate a quick dinner at the Raffles City food court – many options, great food, and very active area at night – and started packing my bags afterwards.  My Singapore and Malaysia adventures concluded with a super early flight the next morning.

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