Melaka, the capital city of Malacca is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. Colonised by the Portuguese in the 1500’s the town has little signs of its domination. The area was highly disputed by the European and taken by the Dutch in the mid 1700’s and later by the British. Being the main port of south of Asia and specially close to the Spice Route, Melaka survived it all and now it enjoys a multicultural lifestyle with just ruins to remind its past.
We stayed in a little guest house near the Melaka River, right next to the historical centre. There’s plenty of old colonial buildings and stone ruins that are now museums telling the history of this centennial city. We were drawn by the only standing Portuguese ruin in the site, (the maybe lost in translation) ‘A Famosa’ or ‘Formosa’ Porta de Santiago which is the oldest Catholic church built in Asia.
There’s even a little Portuguese settlement near the beach if you want to experience Portuguese food in Malaysia. Other than that, the town is taken back by the locals who live happily with the tourism its past offers.
If you stay there, make sure to dive right into their museums and learn a bit more about the culture. Most galleries have really cheap entry fees varying around RM5-15 (AU$2-5).
The locals are very friendly and helpful if you need information. There are also little ‘bikes’ which can take around for a ‘tour’ as they display their adorned cycling devices with loud music.
There’s a colonial feel to the whole of historical centre and there are shops with the most varied articles for sale. Most food is really cheap and you can indulge in nice restaurant for about AU$20-40 (with drinks). There are also street vendors everywhere, selling small trivialities and souvenirs to local spices and desserts.
If you ever travel to Melaka, do yourself a favour and enjoy a few days relaxing and strolling the old colonial town and fall in love with charming city.
Larissa & Jean