Considered as Malaysia’s top-visited states, Melaka is a destination that combines history, heritage, culture and lifestyle. With new attractions and developments popping up every year, Melaka attracts local and international tourists due to its charms and accessibility.
Follow this listicle to map out your next rendezvous at this historic city that overflows with 21st century urbanity!
As the first Europeans who ever stepped foot in South East Asia, the Portuguese had colonised Melaka in 1511. Travellers can witness the culture, traditions, heritage and distinct patois of the localised Portuguese community called the Kristangs at the Portuguese Settlement (also called by various names such as Saint John’s Village, Mini Lisbon, etc.), now home to almost 1,000 residents of Portuguese descent.
The village is especially alive during Christmas, when the entire area is beautifully bedecked with Christmas trees and the streets embellished with sparkling ornaments. The Festa San Pedro (Feast of Saint Peter, the fishermen’s patron saint) is also blithesome with performances of traditional songs and dances by the Kristangs. This celebration is held annually every 29 June. With a small museum, interesting Portuguese delicacies and bars, a quick visit to the Portuguese Settlement will surely leave travellers with a memorable experience.
Ujong Pasir,75050 Melaka
For theatre buffs, Encore Melaka is the perfect location to drool over exquisite composition of world-class audio-visual performances, cultural depictions of natives, including choreographies that blend contemporary and traditional with intricate projection-mapping and costumes. Simply put, it is a retelling of Melaka’s heritage based on rich historical accounts and traditions that can been seen up to the present day.
Directed by Wang Chaoge (the co-director of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony), this performance art is a new addition to the Impression series from China. The show runs approximately 70 minutes daily.
Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
Take a trip back to the late 19th-century and early 20th-century Malaya. Acquired by the Chan family, the museum is a combination of terrace lots that dates back to 1861. It was occupied by four generations of the family and began operating as a museum since March 1985. Indulge in the ornate cultural remnants of the pre-war Peranakan home that is replete with fashionable Chinese-Palladian interior designs and opulent decorations.
No. 48 & 50 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
Operating Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (last tour at 4:00 p.m., last admission at 4:15 p.m.)
Extended Hours on Fri, Sat, Sun: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (last tour at 5:00 p.m., last admission at 5:15 p.m.)
Visit http://babanyonyamuseum.com/a-living-museum/ for more info.
Jonker Night Market
What is the meaning of your trip if you do not binge on local street food and snacks? One cannot deny the allure of Malaysia’s sizzling hot local fares served late at night. It is a nationwide culture to indulge in high-calorie supper with friends and family, and Jonker Nigh Street is the place for this.
Relish the freshness of fruit juices with a Watermelon Handbag (yes, you read it right: it is a whole watermelon with its inside grinded into juice!) and bite into adorable takoyaki-inspired fried quail eggs on skewers or have a whole meal of Nyonya Laksa for some succulent, slurpy business. But of course, these markets are more than just food and hawkers – there are trinket sellers and even fortune tellers lined up along Jonker Street (now formally known as Jalan Hang Jebat) selling services and wares.
Kampung Chetti & Muzium Peranakan Chetti
Similar to the Chinese Peranakan, Peranakan Chetti is a community of locals of Indian-Malay descent whose forefathers were migrant Indian traders who travelled to the Malay archipelago centuries ago. Unlike typical Malaysian Indians who might don the same attires worn by their counterparts in Indian subcontinent, the Chettis sport a different wardrobe that closely resembling Malays such as the kebaya. The Chetti community is unique, with culture that parallels to local Malay, including not consuming pork. However, since they are Hindus, they also steer away from beef. Travellers should try sampling one of their local dishes called the haramjadah (Curry mixed with various vegetables and ingredients) if they have the chance.
A true spectacle of cultural hybridisation, the Chettis is one of the most interesting communities that you witness at least once in your life. Travellers should visit the Peranakan Chetti Museum for an elaborate insight into the community’s traditions and heritage, as well as taking time to marvel the village’s serene environment of the village.
Jalan Gajah Berang,
Visit https://www.facebook.com/ChettiMelaka/ for more information.
Raptor Watch at Tanjung Tuan
One of the most anticipated events in Melaka would be the Raptor watch in Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest. This birdwatching event is catered for bird and nature lovers, avian enthusiasts, photographers and scientists to witness the beautiful migration of thousands of birds of prey (raptors) across the straits of Malacca. This eco-tourism event is perfect for the conservationists in you and highly educational for families and children.
Promoting the importance of conserving the diversity of flora and fauna and inculcating love towards nature, this event is organised by the Malaysian Nature Society and is endorsed by multiple government agencies as one of the highlights in Visit Melaka Year 2019 calendar.
The event starts on 9 March and ends on 10 March 2019
For more info, visit https://mnsraptorwatch.wordpress.com or call +6 03-22879422.
Go restaurant hopping in Melaka
*Images courtesy of respective product’s Facebook page
Melaka is where you could restaurant-hop easily due to its compact commercial area. Unique food and beverages are abundant and easy to find. Start off with a hearty lunch at Asam Pedas Selera Kampung in Merdeka Square for a succulent Asam Pedas (spicy-sour broth) dish with white rice. Next, get ready to queue for the famously delicious Kuih Keria Antarabangsa Hj. Jalil at Limbongan Street. Best eaten fresh out of the pan, the fried sweet potato dessert has a crispy exterior that crunches heavenly at first bite and a soft, steamy interior of moist potato. It is mind-bogglingly tasty!
Then head to Melaka’s most famous beach, Klebang, for a seriously frothy, sweet and refreshing cup of coconut shake (coconut smoothie with vanilla ice-cream topping)! Known to be the nation’s best, Klebang Original Coconut Shake serves up this beverage in hundreds every hour, relieving customers from Melaka’s sweltering weather. For those who do not fancy coconuts, try mango float instead in Batu Berendam to flush away the heat with a gulp of this tropical smoothie topped with fresh mango flesh and ice-cream. Lastly, take a trip to Masjid Tanah for a plate of Rojak Sotong, which is a dish comprising mixed vegetables, fruits, and dough fritters or prawn fritters for an evening snack before you head back home.