The Exotic Magic of Malacca

One of the most important and inciting tourist destinations of Southeast Asia lies about 150 kilometers south of the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The historical city of Malacca or Melaka, as it is known locally, represents a magical and charming destination, with a cultural heritage that goes back for more than half a millennia. Once the capital of a powerful empire, this rather small city boasts impressive sights and a diversity that is hard to find anywhere else. The historical centre of Malacca has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are plenty of interesting things to discover in this charming city.

Malacca Mosque
Malacca Straits Mosque.  Photo: Sham Hardy

According to local legends of the beginning of Malacca, it was founded by a Hindu price named Parameswara, who was resting under a Melaka tree and witnessed something that made him decide to build the kingdom. One of his hunting dogs was pushed into the river by a mouse deer that it was chasing and the prince saw this as a sign that the weak can also overpower the strong. The location of Malacca was always one of its strong assets, becoming a powerful port along the years. This also attracted the attention of European naval powers and Malacca was either conquered or attacked by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French or the British.

From its rich and boasting past, the city now offers an incredibly diverse cultural heritage, with a delightful mix of traditional Malay and Chinese, as well as Portuguese, Dutch or British influences. A visit to this wonderful and exotic treasure is worth everything. There are an impressive amount of things to see and do in Malacca, starting with the historical center, packing a great number of landmarks, including the traditional old houses, the European style palaces and buildings, as well as the old Chinese shops. Malacca is also a great place for cultural discovery, featuring a long list of long list of festivals and events that provide a deeper insight into the Malaysian and colonial descent.

Church in Dutch SquareAmong the most important landmarks of Malacca, the list of interesting visits includes the Baba and Nyonya Peranakan Museum, the Sultanate Palace, the Malaysian Navy Museum, the Christ Church, the Chong Hoon Teng Temple, Masjid Kampung Hulu, A Formosa old Portuguese port, King's Well, the Portuguese settlement, Bukit China, Poh San Teng Temple, Melaka Zoo, Geok Hu Keng Temple, Malay and Islamic World Museum, Dutch Square, Stadhuys and many others. Apart from these, the actual charm of the traditional city with the Jonker, Heeren and other pleasant streets, as well as the surrounding jungle forest or the Melaka River, are extremely inviting.

As for the tourist services of Malacca, there are plenty of hotels, from the budget choices to several luxury destinations. As for other countries in Southeast Asia, the conditions and features of low-cost hotels can prove to be questionable, but there are also perfect options. If there is one thing that tourists visiting Malacca have to try is the traditional Malay food and there are a lot of culinary delights and restaurants where to find them.

About the Author

World Footprints co-host Tonya Fitzpatrick with a lot of monkeys on her back.

Tonya Fitzpatrick is the co-founder of World Footprints Media.  A self-described “recovering attorney”, she found her purpose as a cultural connector.  Tonya shares a life full of adventure, dark chocolate and champagne with her husband and business partner, Ian.   She has a deep love for animals and would be happy owning a zoo if she weren’t traveling. 

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