Malacca was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008. It is strategically situated along the Straits of Malacca and was previously the center of an important trading empire. It is a very popular destination for local as well as international tourists. Many people travel here to view the historical sites and to enjoy the unique, delicious Nyonya food, for which this city is famous for. Take a trishaw ride to the famous Jonker Street where you can find antiques,handicrafts,textiles and souvenirs. This city has a rich cultural history from the Malacca Sultanate, followed by the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Ancient architecture here include Portuguese, Dutch, British buildings and Peranakan ancestral homes.
The Stadthuys with its striking red walls was once the official residence of the Dutch governors and their officers. This tourist attraction was built in 1645 and is visited by local as well as international travelers. It is the oldest remaining Dutch building in Southeast Asia. Currently, it houses the Museum of History and Ethnography which showcases Malacca’s rich history, customs and traditions. The Museum of Literature is just behind the Stadthuys and has detailed maps and photographs regarding the local history and legends of Malacca. A single admission ticket allows you to visit both museums.
Christ Church was completed in 1753 and is the oldest functioning Protestant Church in Malaysia. This iconic church is easily recognised by its’ coral red color with a huge white cross at the middle. This church is situated opposite the Stadthuys which was the official residence for the Dutch government long ago. Striking and beautifully decorated trishaws can be found outside the church, offering a unique way to travel around the town. One of the most outstanding features of this church is that the ceiling beams are constructed from a single tree trunk without any joints between each other. Incorporated on the floors of the church are tombstones with Armenian and Portuguese inscriptions which were used as paving blocks.
The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum , a collection of 3 beautifully restored houses, was once the home of three generations of a wealthy Baba Nyonya family. The Straits Chinese, also known as Peranakan people are the descendants of the earliest Chinese migrants who have intermarried with the local Malay people. Inside the museum are original pieces of antique rosewood furniture as well as an indoor courtyard. Visiting this museum, which was established in 1896, provides a glimpse into the wealthy lifestyle of the Baba Nonya family. There is a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures and European architecture.
One of Malacca’s most visited landmarks is the Porta De Santiago which is one of the four entrances to the A’Famosa fortress. This fortress was built in 1511 by the Portuguese admiral Alfonso d ‘ Albuquerque. During the Dutch invasion in 1641,the rest of the fortress was badly damaged but this famous landmark remained till today. There is a replica cannon at the front of the entrance.
Bukit Cina or Chinese Hill is the largest and oldest Chinese cemetery outside of China. It was used as an ancestral graveyard by the early Chinese settlers and the Chinese community of Malacca. There are about 12,500 graves with 20 Muslim tombs. Nowadays , many people use the hill for jogging.
St Paul’s Church is located at the top of St Paul’s Hill and was built in 1521. Many people visit the ruins of the church which is now part of the Malacca Museum Complex. Here can be seen the marble statue of St Francis Xavier which was built in 1953, it has only one arm. Visitors should be aware that there is quite a climb to this tourist spot.
The Malacca River Cruise takes you down the Malacca River and comes with an informative commentary and gives an insight into parts of historical Malacca. Sights that can be seen include 3 beautifully restored houses, ancient shop houses, old warehouses and also original bridges. One of the places on the cruise is Kampung Morten, which is the only Malay village in Malacca that maintains its customs and traditions. The cruise takes about 45 minutes and departs from Muar Jetty. There are 3 types of cruise, one at daylight, another at sunset and the last cruise at night, in the dark to see the colors and lights.
Jonker Street, also known as Jalan Hang Jebat and Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock are two of the well -known places where antique lovers go to look for antique pieces. Some of the antiques found here are old currencies, ceramics, pottery, jewellery and furniture. Medan Samudera on Jalan Quayside has a good selection of pottery and handcrafted items while traditional Peranakan clothing and footwear can be found on Jalan Laksamana. Souvenirs like keychains, T-shirts, mugs can be found in many shops on Jonker Street. There is a vibrant night market at Jonker Street on Fridays and Saturdays where you can buy souvenirs, crafts and tasty food. Visit Jonker Street for the night life, restaurants and to shop, it is the most vibrant part of Malacca.
South west of the Stadthuys, on the river is the Flor de Mar, a half sized replica of the galley which brought the Portuguese viceroy to Malacca. It is a Maritime Museum where you can see a large collection of different ship models, exhibits of porcelain, spices, silk and textile. Next to the Stadthuys, is the 18th century red-walled Christ Church, a Dutch Reformed Church. It is situated at Church Street, near to the famous Chinatown area of Malacca. This building with a huge white cross was constructed in 1775 to celebrate the 100 years Dutch occupation in Malacca. The Tang Beng Swee Clocktower which was built by a wealthy Straits Born Chinese family in 1886 is near the Stadthuys.