If you travelling to Malaysia, I most recommend Malacca. This is because it is a great to visit, with its rich historical and cultural background from previous Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. The centre of city was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in year 2008.
Malacca is the capital of the state of Malacca, which is located on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, easily reached by bus or by car.
Malacca began as a small fishing village which was founded by Parameswara, a Sumatran prince who arrived around year 1400AD. The State of Malacca was located in a strategic location at the narrowest part of the Straits of Melaka. Thus, it was quickly established as a port with spice trade for maritime traders and commerce for the East and West. Malacca had attracted the Portuguese who conquered the state in 1511 and held it until the Dutch took over in 1641. Then, the British in turn, ruled Malacca from 1826 until Malaysia’s independence in 1957.
So, what are the attractions in Malacca? The A’ Famosa Fort, St. Paul’s Church and the Red Square (Dutch Square) are the most popular landmarks in this district. When the Portuguese came in 1511, they built a fort overlooking the river and named it A’ Famosa. Now, the A’ Famosa Fort has been mostly destroyed.
The St. Paul’s Church’s original structure was a simple chapel built in 1521 by a Portuguese as an act of gratitude following his escape from a storm in the South China Sea. To reach the church, a short climb required on the St. Paul’s Hill. It is worth it to climb up while you can, enjoying the great view down to the river. Inside the church, you will find out the tombstones against the walls.
The center of town is referred to as “Red Square” (Dutch Square) because of the Dutch-inspired red buildings. Now, most of the Chinese locals called it as “Red House” in Mandarin. In Red Square distinct, you will see an eye-catching building, Christ Church. It is recognizable by its brick-red building with a huge white cross at the top. Christ Church was built in 1753 to celebrate a century of Dutch occupation.
Aside from attractions above, Malacca River is one popular tourist attraction as well. Malacca River is just next to the Red Square. River Cruise is available to take you on a tour along the riverbank.
Tasting local foods is also a must — Jonker Street will be a perfect place for you. Night markets are held there every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. You can get delicious local foods such as laksa and cendol on this street. Of course, lots of themed cafes and pubs are located here, too. You can get many unique souvenirs and local handmade stuff here, as well.
Another attraction is the Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum which is located at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. Baba Nyonya is also known as a Straits-born Chinese (or Peranakan) that are of Chinese noble descent, which adopted the Malays culture. The interesting unique blend of cultures is born after the intermarriages between the Chinese and the local Malay.
Baba Nyonya Heritage Musuem is the great place to explore this exceptional culture. The museum displays the century Baby Nyonya traditional costume, wood-work and furniture. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos.
Malacca has many other interesting attractions waiting for you to explore it.