Sick of going to places with high-rise buildings and tired of travelling to busy cities in Malaysia? Then seek for an escapade and venture into the historical city of Malaysia, Malacca! Located about 2 hours drive from the busy capital city of Kuala Lumpur, definitely you will not want to miss a short visit to Malacca. As you drive into the UNESCO World Heritage city of Malacca, you will immediately see the Colonial influence through the remarkable architecture of each building in the historical city itself. In short, the city itself is like a very large museum! Most of the hotspots are just within walking distance from each other and unfortunately, public transportations in this city are quite scarce. So buy yourself a pair of good shoes and start your adventure!
The Malacca river was once known as the ‘Venice of the East’. Hop on the Malacca River Cruise at either the Muara Jetty located next to Quayside Heritage Centre or catch the cruise at the Taman Rempah Jetty, next to the Hang Jebat Bridge. It will be a nice quick tour for about 45 minutes where you will pass through the traditional Malay village known as Kampung Morten, the beautiful murals alongside the Jonker Walk and other sights that will keep eyes busy all the time. I would suggest that you take the cruise in the evening so that you are able to enjoy the sunset. The cruise starts at 9.00 am until 11.30 pm, so plan your trips well.
The A’Famosa Fort or also known as the Porta De Santiago is definitely the top attraction that often visited by the tourists, so make sure you do not miss it. Built in the year of 1511 by the Portuguese and constructed Alfonso de Alburqueque who led the invasion of the Portuguese on the Malacca Sultanate back then, the fort was used as the Portuguese administration building which housed hospitals, churches, ammunition storage room, captain’s residence and so much more during that period. However, when the British came and took over Malacca, the fort was ordered to be demolished. The only part of the A’Famosa that remains until today is a small gate house and a newly-discovered fortress wall that was accidentally found in 2006. Still, the A’Famosa is known as the best sightseeing spot among the tourists. This fort is undeniably an important sight of the Malaysia history.
The ruins of the St. Paul’s Church are located near the remains of the A’Famosa fort. To be more exact, it is located at the summit of St. Paul’s Hill, and that is why you have to climb up the stairs before you can enjoy the view of the beautiful and the breezy sanctuary. It is recommended for you not to come if the haze is coming your way or you will be quite disappointed as you will have a hard time to enjoy the sceneries. An armless marble statue of St. Francis Xavier, once a Catholic missionary was placed outside the church. Stories say that his hand was demanded by the Vatican upon his death. You will further notice that inside the ruins of the church, there is a lineup of engraved tombstones belongs to the Dutch nobility that were buried here. St. Paul Church offers a great view of Malacca and there are stalls at the top of the hill for you to spend.
Located at the foot of the St. Paul’s Hill, you will find the magnificent wooden replica of Sultan Mansur Shah palace. The palace is one of the finest traditional wooden palaces built without nails supported with carved wooden pillars. The Malacca Sultanate Palace is now known also as the Cultural Museum that houses around 1,300 artifacts, jewelries, traditional costumes, photographs, musical instruments and others that reflect the ancient Malay kingdom that once flourished in the historical city of Malacca. All of these items are being displayed in the three-storey museum which is divided into eight different chambers. The legendary tale of the fight or clash between the legends of Malacca, Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat is also being showcased in the palace. However, please do remember that the palace is closed on Mondays and is open to public from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Ever ride a trishaw? Try riding on one of them at the Dutch Square. Then pay a visit to the Stadthuys, once it served as the official residence of the Dutch governors and during the British administration, it was used as a town hall. It is believed that the Stadthuys is the oldest-surviving Dutch building in the East. It was built on the ruins of a Portuguese fort. Now, it houses a collection of museums to be visited by the public. The main building houses the Museum of History & Ethnography which provides information on Malaccan customs and traditions, not forgetting the historical aspects of the city starting from the period of the Malaccan Sultanate up until the Potuguese, Dutch and British occupation.
This is another red giant building located just opposite the Stadthuys and was built by the Dutch after they took over Malacca from the Portuguese. The main reason the church was built was because the Dutch did not have any other place of worship other that the St. Paul’s Church. It was also built to commemorate the occupation of the Dutch from the hands of the Portuguese. The interior of the cathedral is decorated with a collection of 200 years old handmade pews, decorative fanlights and plaques that honor the Dutch soldiers and locals. There is also the famous painting of “The Last Supper” being presented in the Christ Church in a very unique way. Instead of being painted on a canvas or oil paint, it was made up of glazing and glossy tiles in different color.
Located 10 minutes away from the Dutch Square, the Malacca Maritime Museum is a replica of a Portuguese ship that sank off the coast of Malacca, known as Flor de la Mar. Like the Museum of History & Ethnography in Stadthuys, the Malacca Maritime Museum is also divided into few sections displaying documents and artifacts from different eras of the Malaccan Sultanate, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. The interior design of the Malacca Maritime Museum is definitely not the same as other museums you have ever visited. It is subtly lit with a unique spiral staircase built inside the so-called ship. You can find a collection of spices, porcelain, textiles and silk brought in by the traders from Arab, India and China downstairs meanwhile the upper level of the ship is the captain’s cabin. There are also a collection of ships models and pictures being displayed in the museum as well.
Get on board the glass cabin and enjoy the ride to the top of the 80 meters Taming Sari Tower that will promise you a spectacular and panoramic view of the UNESCO World Heritage city of Malacca. And yes, the tower revolves 360 degrees for you to enjoy the scenic view of the city. Upon reaching at the top, you will be able to sight many interesting sites such as the St. Paul’s Hill, Independence Memorial Building, Malacca Maritime Museum, Samudera Museum, Dataran Pahlawan, Pulau Selat Mosque, Pulau Besar and the Straits of Malacca. The ride will take about 7 minutes and will take up to 60 passengers at one time. You can take the ride during the day or if you love to have a sight of Malacca at night, you may do so as the ride closed at 11.00 pm. By the way, the Taming Sari Tower is just 15 minutes to 20 minutes away from the Malacca River Cruise, Stadthuys, the Christ Church, the Malacca Maritime Museum and the Jonker Street if you prefer to walk on your foot. It is just nearby, so do pay a visit there!
What is a visit to Malacca without having a walk in Jonker Street? You can do everything there! Shopping for souvenirs or clothes, have a taste of local delicacies, snapping some photos or you can even stay at any of the guesthouses in Jonker Street. There are lots of cafes along the streets and you may enjoy having your hi-tea with your friends and families at the cafes, most of them located next to the Malacca River. If you are an antique lover, then this is definitely your place. Jonker Street is lined with museums such as the Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum and Chang Ho’s Cultural Museum as well as art galleries. You might as well want to visit the Jonker Street Library, which has an impressive collection of Buddhist literature and scriptures. The lively nightlife is not something you should miss too especially on Friday and Saturday nights for its renowned night market. Now get yourself ready to walk and spend!
The A’Famosa Resort is basically a hotel with an on-site indoor and outdoor theme park which offers wide varieties of things to do for all ages. If you are an animal lover, stop by the Animal World Safari and visit the animals as well as sit back and enjoy the performances. Next is the Cowboy Town, based on the old west vibe decorations and equipped with children’s theme park. There are restaurants available in the Cowboy Town and you can do some shopping there as well. Golf maniac are also invited as there is also a 27-hole golf course within the A’Famosa Resort, one of the best in Malaysia. Whereas for fishing maniac, you can always bring your fishing rods and do some fishing at one of the golf course’s natural lake. Horseback riding and paintball are other activities you should try for fun at the A’Famosa Resort! Last but not least, the Water World! There is a man-made beach with a wave pool on-site or you can try the Lazy River. Need a more adrenaline rush game? Then get yourself on the Seven-Storey-High Speed Slide!
So what are you waiting for? You may spend a day or two at the UNESCO World Heritage city of Malacca and experience the uniqueness of the city if to be compared with the other states in Malaysia. It will not cost you much as the entrance fees and rides are not that expensive, enjoy cheap local foods at the Jonker Street and unless you plan to do a lot of shopping, bring your credit card along or do prepare some cash! Welcome to the historical city of Malacca!