5 things to do in Melaka
Malacca City is located just 148 km south east of Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Known for its maritime history, colonial architecture and cuisine, it’s a historic jewel in the Malaysian Peninsula. If you’re planning to visit, I’ve listed below 5 must-dos for your time there.
Maritime Naval Museum
Located at Jalan Quayside, near the mouth of the Melaka River, the Maritime Museum is a replica of the Flora de La Mar, a Portuguese ship that sank during a storm on the 20th November 1511. It was bound for Portugal after the conquest of Melaka, carrying a loot of treasure which was destined for the Portuguese king.
The main objective of this museum is to highlight the importance of Melaka as a regional and international business hub, from the early period of the Melaka Sultanate, right through to the Portuguese, Dutch and British era.
Visiting this museum is a great way to learn about the history of Melaka as well as seeing the impressive life size replica, which stands 34 metres tall and 8 metres wide. It’s also a must for anyone keen on Maritime history.
After learning about the maritime history at the naval museum, it’s nice to get out on the river and experience the sea air for yourself. For only $10 RM, you can take a guided cruise up the shallow Melaka River to Kampong Morten and back again. All up, it’s about a 10 km journey and will last for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Check out the local architecture
What firmly sticks in my mind from my short visit was the colonial architecture. With Portuguese, Dutch and British influence, it’s a lovely blend of European inspired design which makes for terrific photo opportunities as you wander through the quiet streets.
To start to get a better understanding of the diverse history of Melaka, the following sites are worth visiting:
- A Famosa Fortress (1512) – The ruins of an original Portuguese fortress.
- Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (built 1645 onwards) – The oldest Chinese temple in Melaka.
- Stadthuys Town Hall (1641-1660) – The oldest and largest Dutch colonial building surviving in Southeast Asia.
- Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (1645) – The oldest Chinese temple in Melaka.
- Christ Church (1741) – The oldest functioning Protestant church in Melaka.
If you’re after an inconspicuous way to explore Melaka, I wouldn’t recommend going on a Trishaw ride. These bright yellow bikes, draped in exuberant decorations and colourful flowers are an incredibly loud, but fun way to explore the streets of Melaka. A 30 minute ride will set you back around $20 RM.
After you’ve spent the day exploring Melaka, it’s only fair to see what the night has to offer. Jonker street, located directly in the middle of Chinatown, has a vibrant market scene where you can purchase cheap goods and dine on the local cuisine. To experience it at its fullest, visit on a Friday or Saturday night.