Malacca (Melaka in Malay) is considered a World Heritage City; its historical city centre is listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It is ideally located between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, such that if you’re planning to visit these two top cities of Southeast Asia, it’s not far-fetched to find yourself passing through Melaka if you’re travelling on land. Due to its ideal location, it is a popular take-off point for travellers who had visited Singapore and planning to go to Kuala Lumpur next. As such, we spent a weekend in this heritage city during one of our holidays in Singapore.
Compared to KL and nearby areas, Melaka is a little bit laid back. This may be due to the fact that there is considerable influence of Portuguese and Dutch cultures to the inhabitants of this region. As it is, the advantage one will notice is that there is sort of a relaxed atmosphere, which is good for the visitors of the city. Of course, this is not to say there is no influence from Malays and Chinese, which naturally is not true, especially if you happen to experience the “Jonker Walk” in designated evenings.
Here are our top things to do while in Melaka:
1. Visit to the Kota A Famosa (an old Portuguese Fortress meaning “The Famous”), which is among the oldest European architectural remains in Asia. This area is also the most popular tourist attraction in the city.
2. Visit to the historical city centre – the Christ Church and Stadthuys. The Stadthuys is also known as the Red Square, and is located at the heart of the historical old town. The Christ Church is the oldest Protestant Church in Malaysia, and is one of the main legacies left by the Dutch.
3. Visit to St. Paul’s Church. This church was originally named “Our Lady of the Hill” by the Portuguese. It was later converted into a burial ground by the Dutch for their nobles, and renamed St. Paul’s Church. A few of the tombstones can still be found in the church interior. St. Francis Xavier was interred here temporarily, before his remains were taken to Goa.
4. Visit to the Mini-Malaysia Cultural Village. This cultural theme park shows, among others, houses from different regions of Malaysia. You can also buy traditional handicrafts and delicacies from small shops at the entrance.
5. Visit to one of the museums dotting the historical city centre.
6. Experiencing the “Jonker Walk”, Melaka’s vibrant night market in – you know it – Jonker Street, where you can find different local and popular items at bargain prices, as well as various Melakan and Malaysian delicacies.
7. Attend a Catholic mass. St. Francis Xavier and St. Peter catholic churches are among the more popular catholic churches in the city.
8. Riding one of the beautifully decorated bicycle rickshaws. Many of these rickshaws are located at the historical centre, and they will give you a ride from the Red Square to A Famosa or vice-versa.
9. Buying souvenirs at the Melaka souvenir market. Located near the Cultural Centre and a park, just a few minutes away from the city centre, here is where you can buy traditional handicrafts and Melaka souvenir shirts, fans and other novelty items.
10. Seafood dinner at the Portuguese Village. Located east of Central Melaka, this place is easily accessible by taxi, or even on foot. This area of Melaka is home to the descendants of the Portuguese who ruled the city from early 1500s to mid 1600s. Small restaurants at the waterfront serve delicious dishes, and the best time to visit is just before dusk to watch the sunset while savouring spicy seafood and grilled fresh fish.
teachers for most of the last 15 years... into educational technology, e-learning and quality assurance. builds scale models of cars and robots, and experiments in photography in spare time. loves to travel and explore new places with family.
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