Why a Trip to Malaysia is incomplete without visiting Malacca?

Tripoto
17th Mar 2017
Photo of Why a Trip to Malaysia is incomplete without visiting Malacca? by Yash Shiralkar

When you think of Malaysia, there are several things that come to mind. The PETRONAS Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the gambling culture in Genting Highlands, the beautiful rainforests of Taman Negara or the pristine beaches of Langkawi. But there is another destination that trumps the rest. It is Malacca, or Melaka as called by the local Malays.

What is Malacca all about? It is a place that is rich with diversity, and is a perfect location for people on a budget and for those looking to splurge.

It is a huge city, however the bulk of its attractions are concentrated in the town centre making it easily accessible to individuals on foot, and this saves you from splurging on public transport, of which there is little in Malacca.

Having been ruled by the Sultanate, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English at different points in history, for trading and for its strategic location, Malacca has absorbed a lot over the past millennium and hence, there is so much that Malacca can offer. Bits of each colonizer's culture has been preserved over the centuries.

Malacca has several other monuments that stand out with the architectural marvels of each civilization. You will come across several such structures like, the St. Francis Xavier's Church built by the Jesuits, the Stadthuys (town hall) built by the Dutch, or the remnants of another Fort on the banks of the River Melaka used by the British.

Malacca also boasts of a vast collection of historical artifacts ranging from artillery to numismatics, which is housed in the myriad museums of this city. While entry to them is not free, each of them provide an accurate and fascinating insight into the history of this former colony.

A replica of one of the Portuguese ships, which now houses a museum.

However, if you're not fascinated by whatever the past has to offer, rest assured because Malacca has you covered. This city is beautifully maintained and a single walk along the banks of the Malacca river or a boat ride, can prove that to you.

But the hallmark feature of this city which attracts backpackers from around the world is perhaps the best that Malacca provides tourists. It is a market!

The view from the Observatory Deck on the 86th Floor of the PETRONAS Twin Towers.

Photo of Malacca Malaysia by Yash Shiralkar
Photo of Malacca Malaysia by Yash Shiralkar

What is Malacca all about? It is a place that is rich with diversity, and is a perfect location for people on a budget as well as for those looking to splurge.

It is a huge city, however the bulk of its attractions are concentrated in the town centre making it easily accessible to individuals on foot, and this saves you from splurging on public transport, of which there is little in Malacca.

Having been ruled by the Sultanate, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English at different points in history, for trading and for its strategic location, Malacca has absorbed a lot over the past millennium and hence, there is so much that Malacca can offer. Bits of each colonizer's culture has been preserved over the centuries.

A Famosa. What remains of a Fort built by the Portuguese in 1511 AD.

Photo of Why a Trip to Malaysia is incomplete without visiting Malacca? by Yash Shiralkar

An engraving on the fort that testifies its old age.

Photo of Why a Trip to Malaysia is incomplete without visiting Malacca? by Yash Shiralkar

Malacca has several other monuments that stand out with architectural marvels of each civilization. You will come across several such structures like the St. Francis Xavier's Church built by the Jesuits, the Stadthuys (town hall) built by the Dutch, or the remnants of another Fort on the banks of the River Melaka used by the British.

Malacca also boasts of a vast collection of historical artifacts ranging from artillery to numismatics, which is housed in the myriad museums of this city. While entry to them is not free, each of them provide an accurate and fascinating insight into the history of this former colony.

A replica of one of the Portuguese ships, which now houses a museum.

Photo of Why a Trip to Malaysia is incomplete without visiting Malacca? by Yash Shiralkar

However, if you're not fascinated by whatever the past has to offer, rest assured because Malacca has you covered. This city is beautifully maintained and a single walk along the banks of the Malacca river or a boat ride, can prove that to you.

But the hallmark feature of this city which attracts backpackers from around the world is perhaps the best that Malacca provides tourists which is a market!

A Motor-Boat carrying tourists through the Malacca River.

Photo of Why a Trip to Malaysia is incomplete without visiting Malacca? by Yash Shiralkar

The Jonker Street Market, the Jonker Tourist Night Market or simply the Jonker Walk, known by many names but known by all, is paradise. The market begins on the west bank of the river at Hard Rock Café, Melaka and stretches endlessly in one direction.

This market runs only during the weekends from 6pm till midnight when the roads are shut for cars, and open for shopkeepers and tourists.

What the Street Market is all about!

Photo of Why a Trip to Malaysia is incomplete without visiting Malacca? by Yash Shiralkar

There are shops selling traditional Malay products including food, spices and even hand-showers! But above all is the food, every dish that you get in Malaysia you get in Jonker Street. From simple stuff like Fruit Smoothies and Ice-Cream to Grilled Stingray and Octopus Satay.

You will see people of completely different backgrounds exhibiting their diverse cultures with pride and sheer magnificence. We witnessed a Chinese concert, including senior Chinese women performing what I can only describe as Chinese Zumba Dancing. We also ran into a couple of Spanish people heralding from Cordoba, who were strumming their guitars and passionately performing some of the classics by The Beatles.

Rehearsal before the concert.

The gentleman stole the show!

Photo of Why a Trip to Malaysia is incomplete without visiting Malacca? by Yash Shiralkar

And if you are a really lazy person then you can ride in a 'trickshaw' ask to be taken around Malacca for an astronomical fare. In order to compete with each other to secure passengers, these 'pimped-out rickshaws' are decorated with ornate lights and music.

Where to Stay?: There are several hotels and hostels in Malacca but we preferred the 1825 Gallery Hotel located on the river and just 5 minutes away from the hustle-bustle of the town centre.

Hello Kitty seems to be the most popular, but you'll see Doraemon, Ben-10 and many more.

Photo of Why a Trip to Malaysia is incomplete without visiting Malacca? by Yash Shiralkar

How to get here?: The Batu Berendam Airport is very close, however there are hardly 5 flights that land there on a weekly basis. The most popular way to get here is by bus to Melaka Sentral, and can be a perfect night stop on your way to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur.

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