Malacca is the city to visit for people who like history. There are plenty of old churches and other buildings left from the Portuguese, Dutch and British settlers. You can also find a great deal of Malay and Chinese history as well. So truly the perfect place for history buffs.
The city isn’t just for people who like history though. There is something for everyone in Malacca. That’s probably the reason why it is such a touristy place as people visit from all over Malaysia and also from the rest of the world.
One of the highlights of my Malacca trip was the Jonker Walk night market. It really reminded me of the night markets I visited during my time in Taiwan, so it brought back great memories. The Jonker Walk night market is only open Friday to Sunday, so make sure you visit on the weekend. It is always packed there, only when it’s raining there might be less people there. I visited over the weekend, so I was there twice. One day the weather was nice, the other it rained a bit. Despite the rain, I just loved walking around, trying food and looking at all the goods.
Before going to the night market you might want to spent your day or days immersed in history. A good place to start is the Baba and Nyonga Heritage Museum. This museum tells the story of how the Chinese and Malay culture came together when Chinese traders and local Malay women married and created their own traditions. I have also visited the Pinang Peranakan Mansion in Georgetown, when I was in Penang. It is a really interesting piece of history. It costs RM16 (~€3,30 or ~$3,90) to visit. This includes a tour guide telling you all about the family that used to live in the house.
A short walk away is the town centre, where you can find Town Square, with Christ Church, Queen Victoria’s Fountain and a windmill, Stadthuys and St. Paul’s Church up on St. Paul’s Hill. Stadthuys used to be the administrative building used by the Dutch settlers and up on St. Paul’s Hill you can admire the ruins of St. Paul’s Church. Honestly, this church might have been my favourite in all of Malaysia. They have a special aura to it, those ruins. And they have these amazing old graves there. They are engraved in Dutch and some of them have skulls on them just like pirates use them on their flags.
A bit further down the river, past Bastion Middleburg, is the Maritime Museum. A huge part of the museum is located on board of a full-sized replica of a Portuguese, 16th century galleon. It costs RM10 (~€2,10 or ~$2,45) to get in as a foreigner. Not far from the Maritime Museum is the Menara Taming Sari. It’s a ride that gives you a 360° panoramic view over Malacca. The entry fee is RM23 (~€4,75 or ~$5,65) and includes a bottle of water as well. The view is really great and I would definitely recommend going.
On a small island off the coast of Malacca, there is Straits Mosque. Try to get there around sunset as it can get really beautiful then, except when it’s cloudy, which happened when I was there, of course. A Grab to get there is about RM6 (~€1,25 or ~$1,50). You could also take the river cruise around sunset, although you might not get to see much of it through all the buildings. (Yes, that happened to me as well. Should have just went to the mosque the day I took the cruise. Oh well.) The cruise costs RM21,20 (~€4,40 or ~$5,20). To be honest, the cruise wasn’t my favourite. So I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you have to much time on your hand, I suppose.
And then there are these colourful themed rickshaws all around the city centre. You could take a ride in them, some have music as well. I didn’t take a ride, so I have no idea how much it would cost. They did seem like tourist traps to me, probably very expensive. They are fun to look at though, especially by night as they light up.
All in all, I really loved Malacca. It was a truly special place. Have you been? Did you like it? Have I missed something by not riding in a rickshaw? Let me know in the comments.