Malacca is a small, friendly city that with many eye-catching sights and attractive modern establishments. It is easy to go around on foot or trishaw to explore the many places that make Malacca unique. As you explore them, you’ll learn about the rich heritage and hostory that has shaped the landscape and left a mark on Malaysia’s cultural lifestyle. In fact, the city is a mix of old and new, historical establishments and old shops stand side-by-side with shopping complexes and modern offices.
Dutch square in the city centre…
Shopping complexes in the city…
The Christ Church was built in 1753 by the Dutch to commemorate a century of their rule. It still stands today in Malacca city, a landmark of fine Dutch architecture. The beams were constructed from cutting and carving a single tree and have no joints! The hand-made pews, on the other hand, date back some 200 years. Mounted on its walls are some decorative fanlights and plaques in memory of those who died of various pidemics. Yet another plaque, a wooden one, sits at the rear of the western wall remembering local planters who did not live through World War II. The church is indeed a sight for those who love fine structural design.
Queen Victoria Fountain
Erected by the people of malacca in memory of the great queen Victoria Regina 1837-1901. The Queen Victoria’s Fountain was built in 1904 by the British in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s 60th anniversary of coronation.
Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower
The clock tower was built by the third generation of a Chinese philantrophic millionaire family. Although named after Tan Beng Swee, it was in fact built in 1886 by his son Tan Jiak Kim, to fulfill his father’s wish. Tan Beng Swee, was the son of Tan Kim Seng who donated both the bridge adjacent to the clocktower and land for the Chinese cemetery. The original clock was imported from England. When the clock was replaced by one from Seiko in 1982, it caused an uproar among the senior citizens of Malacca who still recall the harsh treatment they suffered during Japan occupation.
Windmill Model located opposite the clock tower…
Once a centre of the Dutch administration in Melaka and housed the quarters of its governors and officers. This red building was built between 1641 and 1660 on the ruins of a Portuguese fort, by using imported bricks and is believed to be the oldest Dutch building in the East. The Stadthuys of Malacca (Dutch Town Hall) was the official residence of the Dutch Governor. It now houses the Historic Museum and Ethnography Museum which has many traditional bridal costumes and relics on display.
Inside the museum…
A statue of Admiral Cheng Ho…
St. Paul’s Church
of Melaka was originally a Portuguese chapel built by Duarte Coelho in 1521, in gratitude to Our Lady of Grace (Joao de Barros of the 16th century) for a miraculous escape from an attack on his ship by a fleet in the South China Sea. This chapel was known as Chapel of the Mother of God (Madre de Deus) or Our Lady of the Hill (Nossa Senhora do Oiteiro). In 1548 the Archbishop of Goa in India, Don Albuquerque, handed over the church to the Society of Jesus. St. Francis Xavier, the pioneering Catholic missionary of Southeast Asia, received the title deeds on behalf of the Society. The body of St. Francis Xavier was laid to rest at open grave (now covered by wire mesh) of the church for a period of eight and a half months after his death at San Chian of China. In 1952, a statue of St. Francis Xavier was built to commemorate the passing of the saint. Originally, the statue was completely constructed with the right arm in place. However, on the morning after the consecration ceremony, a large casuarina tree fell on it and broke off the right arm, resulted in a statue with missing arm until today.
Within the ruins of the church…
The external of the church…
The Dutch Graveyard is an old cemetery located within the core zone of the Malacca Unesco World Heritage Site. Located at the foot of St Paul’s Hill, the cemetery dates back to the last quarter of the 17th century, when burials were carried out between 1670 and 1682. Despite its name, only five of the graves in the cemetery contain remains of Dutch officers, the other 33 belong to British administrators and their spouses. Apparently the change in colonial administrators to Malacca goes as far as six feet under. The British buried their dead here between 1818 and 1838. Initially, the British their dead on St. Paul’s Hill. Only in 1818 that they began to bury here. The first burial was that of John Kidd, a sea captain, while the last was the wife of a British army offier. Today the Dutch Graveyard has been gazetted as a national monument by the Antiquities Act of 1976.
Porta de Santiago
One of the four main gates of the A Famosa fortress. It was built by the Portuguese in 1512 under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque, the leader of the Portuguese army that seized Malacca in 1511. For almost 150 years, this magnificent fort had successfully protected the Portuguese position in Melaka, until it was overrun by the Dutch. It was damaged during the attack, but the Dutch later repaired and renamed it VOC with an embossed emblem. But unfortunately what is left until today is nothing more than a gateway called Porta de Santiago. During the age of Dutch occupation in Melaka, the Porta de Santiago was not only renamed to VOC, but reconstructed to bear the coat of arms of the Dutch East India Company as well. Until today, the company crest is still significantly seen on the gateway. The Badan Warisan Malaysia (Heritage of Malaysia Trust) has published an article to summarize the possible discovery of the Santiago Bastion.
Malacca Sultanate Palace
An exquisite piece of Malay architecture and a replica of the original 15th century palace of Malacca’s extinct Sultanate, The palace is built based on sketches found in the ancient Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals). This wooden replica of the Sultan’s palace houses the Malacca Cultural Museum. Facing the palace is the Historic City Memorial Garden. An intriguing monument to commemorate the declaration of Malacca as a Historic City is the showpiece of this garden. The monument is topped with a replica of a Malay royal headress, a symbol of Malaysians’ allegiance to the throne.
Corridor with wood carvings (left) and stained glass (right)
Inside the museum…
St Francis Xavier’s Church
A domineering presence in the skyline of Malacca, this twin-spired neo-gothic structure was built on the site of an old Portuguese church by a French priest, Father Farvé, in 1856, in honour of St. Francis Xavier, a prominent 16th-century Catholic missionary also known as ‘Apostle of the East’. Located on Jalan Laksamana, the church’s finishing touches were completed in 1859 by Father Allard, with the present-day presbytery built in 1874. To this day, St Francis Xavier’s Church still serves its function as a Catholic church, with regular mass services being held from time to time. Having been around for more than a century, the church’s building now leans slightly to the left.
Statues in the church compound…
SFX Church from the front…
Kampung Kling Mosque
Built in 1748, the Kampung Kling Mosque is among the oldest mosques in Malaysia. It is located on the corner of Jalan Hang Lekiu and Jalan Tokong, or Temple Street, in Malacca. All the major faiths in Malaysia are represented along this road. In addition to the Kampung Kling Mosque, the Cheng Hoon Teng Chinese Temple and the Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple are also along Jalan Tokong.
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
This is the oldest functioning Chinese temple in Malaysia. It was founded in 1645 by Kapitan China Lee Wei King. Cheng Hoon Teng, located at the heart of Melaka Chinatown, is a premier historical monument that has survived the ravages of time. It remains the finest of Chinese temples in Malaysia – a fact underscored by an UNESCO award for outstanding architectural restoration. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy.
Inside the temple…
The back door and exit…
Melaka River (Sungai Melaka)
Once dubbed ‘Venice of the East’ by European seafarers back in those days when the state has yet to be formed, Melaka River is the point where the history of Malacca began. A Prince from Sumatra, Parameswara – also the founder of Malacca – had established his sultanate near the mouth of this river in the early 1400s, and his palace was built on the east-bank of the river at the foot of St. Paul’s Hill, then known as Malacca Hill.
A view of the boardwalk – Eye on Malaysia in the background
View of the river banks - Jonker Street (left) and Malay Sultanate Water Wheel (right)
Going on the Malacca River Cruise…
Melaka River Pirate Park / Eye On Malacca
Situated on the banks of Melaka River, just opposite the old Cathay Cinema near Jalan Hang Tuah bridge, the 25-metre-high Eye on Malacca is Malacca’s latest tourist attraction. Two other attractions have been added on to it – a trampoline bungee and a pirate ship – which can be experienced as a bundled deal along with a ride on the Eye on Malacca. Consisting of 16 pods, with each pod able to accommodate five adults at one time, patrons can enjoy a sprawling view of Malacca town from the highest point of the wheel, which is truly a sight to behold on a clear, sunny day. At night, the whole attraction area bursts into life with neon lights and colourful lightings, providing a spectacular sight from afar.
Kampung Morten is one of Malaysian national heritage site. It is located next to the Melaka River. It was named after J.F. Morten, who was the Commissioner of Land in the early 1920′s during the early history of the village. Traditional “kampung houses” in the Melaka architectural style can be seen with attractive color schemes. Also located here is a living museum called Villa Sentosa.
Malay Sultanate Water Wheel
This water wheel is said to be used to fuel Malacca’s booming port trade in the past. The water wheel is just a replica and seems not to be functioning anymore. It is located beside the Melaka River.
True to its nature, the museum is built in a replica of a Portuguese ship, the ‘Flo De La Mar’ that sank off the coast of Malacca while on the way to Portugal. Here, visitors can view dioramas and intricately crafted models of ships on board. There are detailed descriptions of Malacca history and a map that features actual charts used by Portuguese sailors centuries ago.
Melaka Revolving Tower (Menara Taming Sari)
Located at Bandar Hilir, beside Dataran Pahlawan Megamall, This 110m high revolving tower was built using Swiss technology at a total cost of RM23mil. It is the first of its kind in the country with a revolving observation cabin, which provides a breathtaking 360-degree view of the entire historical areas in Melaka city. This was supposed to be built near The Stadthuys (Dutch Square). But, the plan was stopped and relocated, when an ancient Portuguese wall – Middleburg Bastion, was discovered on the site.
Going up the tower…
At the top of Malacca – video of the action can be found here!
Portuguese wall – Middleburg Bastion
Eye on Malaysia
The Eye on Malaysia was a 60 metre tall portable Ferris wheel installation. It welcomed its first visitors to its new permanent home at the scenic mouth of the Melaka River that runs through the historic City of Melaka at a spectacular launch ceremony officiated by TYT Tun Datuk Seri Utama Mohd Khalil Bin Yaakob, State Governor of Melaka. The Eye’s move to Melaka marks the next phase in its development as a tourism icon and headlines a comprehensive outdoor leisure park occupying 4 acres of prime reclaimed land on the Melaka coast.
Melaka New Chinatown covers the streets of Jalan Kee Ann, Jalan Bunga Raya, Jalan Pasar Baru, Jalan Jawa, Jalan Munshi Abdullah and Jalan Bendahara. These streets are located to the eastern banks of the Melaka River. Most part of Chinatown in Malacca is now on UNESCO’s list as a World Heritage site together with George Town.
Jonker Street (Jalan Hang Jebat)
During the day, Jonker Street becomes a famous haunt for shopping antiques and other old goods. At night on weekends (Friday & Saturday), the place transforms into a fantastic eating stretch where you can bask in the moonlight while visiting stalls upon stalls of traders peddling all sorts of goods and food. Similar to a ‘Pasar Malam’ or night market, Jonker Street shuts its doors to traffic at 7pm. Then, hawkers congregate on the area to dish out a variety of sumptuous delights, most of them unique food from Nyonya culture. The hawkers themselves use traditional utensils to cook their fare, adding to the cultural charm of Jonker Street.
Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
In Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, there’s a small museum comprising 3 adjacent townhouses called the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. Appearing to be similar in design with other old houses in the old Melaka Chinatown, this privately owned and managed museum is showcasing the best of distinctive cultural values and lifestyle inherited by the Baba Nyonya community and family. It’s not exaggerating to consider this small but comprehensive museum as the gateway of your discovery to the Baba Nyonya cultural establishments.
Malaysia’s first “Twin Island City Centre”, is undertaken by Pulau Kembar Sdn Bhd. A 98.999%-owned subsidiary of Talam. This waterfront development project involves the reclamation of two islands, approximately 0.5 km off the coast of Malacca new town centre measuring 40ha and 50ha respectively.
The Straits Mosque
Masjid Selat Melaka is a mosque on the man-made island of Pulau Melaka. It looks like a floating structure if the water level is high. Construction cost of the mosque is about MYR10 million and the Opening Ceremony was done in 24 November 2006 by the Supreme Ruler of Malaysia (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail.
The jetty was abandoned shortly after it was built due to a shallow seabed. After being neglected for more than 10 years, it has now been transformed into a hotspot for Malaccan youth activities.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn and would recommend it for it’s superb service and qulity rooms. We got a room on the 10th floor facing the sea and managed to get some really nice shots of the sunset and lightning bolts.
Streets just outside the hotel…
View from our room at dusk…
View from our room at sunset…
View from our room during a storm one of the nights…
BTW, next time we should go on the Panorama Melaka (red and blue). This hop-on-hop-off bus brings tourists to the attractions in town for a flat fee of RM5/day (red bus) and RM2/day (blue bus). The buses are operational daily from 6.30am to 10pm. Route map: http://www.tourism-melaka.com/panoramaroutes.pdf.
A fantastic trip overall. Cost per pax:
- Coach tickets: S$70
- Accomodation for 2 nights: S$150
- Spending money: $100
- Total: S$320
Check out this post for the food that we had on this trip! :)