One of Malaysia's most eagerly sought-after destinations, the small city-state of Malacca attracts visitors to its namesake picturesque Portuguese colonial port. Proud of its multicultural heritage, architecture, plentiful museums and assorted cultural attractions, Malacca is a tourist habitat par excellence.
Malacca was founded in the 14th century but came to prominence as one of Asia's greatest trading ports after the Portuguese conquered it in 1511. It remained under European influence for some 400 years with the Dutch rising to power in 1641 and the British in 1824, while also an important immigration hub for the Chinese and Indians. While today Malacca is a modern city, the architectural legacy of the Portuguese, Dutch and British is plain to see, with forts, museums, churches and towers dotted throughout the historic quarter, many painstakingly restored.
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the wealth of attractions are easily explored on foot or by trishaw. As a focal point, the Melaka River runs through the middle of the city bisecting the tourist area, making it easy to find your way around. On the south of the river is the colonial quarter where you'll find the major historic sights including Dutch Square, Christ Church, The Stadthuys and the relic of the Portuguese fort A'Famosa. North of the river is Chinatown which is where you'll find the majority of the city's hotels along with temples, restaurants, souvenir shops and Jalan Hang Jebat (formerly known as Jonker Walk).
Known worldwide among serious antique collectors, Jalan Hang Jebat is also popular with visitors for the vibrant market held every Friday and Saturday evenings. Along with entertainment and live music, there's a wide array of stalls selling everything from tasty treats to souvenirs and clothing. Many of the shophouses in Jalan Hang Jebat have been converted into restaurants specialising in Peranakan cuisine, a blend of Chinese and Malay cooking that originated here in Malacca. Nightlife does tend to be fairly low key, but wander by the riverfront and you'll find numerous places to relax with a cold drink or two.
- Rich in history and heritage
- Fascinating architecture
- Vibrant night market
- Superb cuisine