If you want a fun day trip in Malaysia I can definitely recommend venturing to the historic township of Malacca (Melaka).
After previously visiting Kuala Lumpur (KL) a year ago I was keen to see more of what Malaysia had to offer.
So I asked my local friend for some suggestions and she recommended her mother’s famous hometown of Malacca, a two hour drive from KL.
A prominent port town, Malacca is full of colourful history as it was previously ruled by the Portugese, Dutch, English and briefly by the Japanese during World War II.
As you drive into the UNESCO World Heritage city centre you immediately see the Colonial influence through the remarkable architecture.
The first stop was the Dutch Square with its striking red 17th century buildings, prettily clipped topiary gardens and marble fountain.
Apparently the buildings were originally painted white but after the locals continually spat red betel-nut juice on the buildings wall in protest, the Brits took out the red paint and made the square red!
It’s here in the old town where you can start your guided tour by pedal power.
You can choose between a rickshaw adorned with Hello Kitty toys or one completely decked out in Frozen paraphernalia!
If you’re lucky, your driver will even serenade you with the movie’s theme song!
If a rickshaw ride isn’t your thing take a short walk up to St Paul’s Hill where you should be able to enjoy a panoramic view of Malacca, Malacca Strait and the old town centre of Bandar Hilir.
However, visibility was really poor and the sky was incredibly hazy thanks to the Indonesian farmers burning off crops in Sumatra. (So no blue skies for me!).
Within the ruins you will notice Dutch tombstones that line the interior and you may even experience a cool sea breeze, which is a welcome relief from the humidity.
After taking in the Ancient ruins you can now cross the river and enjoy a typical Nyonya lunch.
Nyonya food, also referred to as Straits Chinese food, is an interesting mix of Chinese and Malay dishes which was thought to have originated from the Peranakan of Malacca over 400 years ago.
I stopped off at a local restaurant, Kocik Kitchen, and feasted on an entrée of Ngo Hiang Rolls and Kocik Otak-Otak, which is pretty much a minced chicken roll and a delicious fish ball with a tasty dipping sauce.
For my main I devoured a sweet ginger chicken dish and sipped an iced Chinese tea.
Feeling full and satisfied, you can now explore the narrow streets and interesting lanes of Malacca.
I loved strolling up the buzzing Jonker Street rummaging through the junk stores, admiring the antique jewellery shops and little pineapple tart bakeries all whilst taking in the mix of European and local architecture.
The architecture actually drew me to the Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum, which is of Baba Nyonya heritage.
This traditional Malacca home had 25-foot ceilings, an expansive indoor courtyard and was adorned with beautiful coloured tiles.
It was also an experience to see the furnishings, which included mother-of-pearl-topped tables and Venetian mirrors showcasing the richness of Perenakan culture.
But the most amazing feature was the incredible jewellery collection.
The top floor of this museum is dedicated to showcasing over 400 pieces from Josephine Tan Pin Neo’s personal jewellery collection.
Purses crafted from the finest gold chain links, intricately crafted hairpins and bejeweled teaspoons were just a few of the highlights (unfortunately I didn’t get any photos).
But this is definitely a place to visit when in Malacca.
Malaysia is such a melting pot of cultures and Malacca is no different.
Along “Harmony Street” you can visit Cheng Hoong Teng Temple, one of the oldest Chinese temples in Malaysia and definitely one of the most beautiful I’ve visited since being in Asia.
A short walk down the road is the Kampung Kling Mosque with its distinctive pagoda-like minaret.
This mosque uniquely ties together Malacca’s melting pot with a blend of English and Portuguese tiles, Corinthian columns, a Victorian Chandelier and a wooden pulpit with Hindu and Chinese-style carvings.
If all this sight-seeing is making you hungry and you need a reprieve from the heat I suggest you get yourself an ice cream.
I finished off the day in Malacca and cooled myself down with a generous helping of coconut ice-cream, topped with fresh nuts and served in none other than a coconut!
Malacca is an interesting fusion of East and West and is full of vibrant colours and character.
I’m grateful I got to experience the ‘old world’ feeling of this historic town and get a better sense of the magic that is Malaysia!
Malacca is about a 2 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur and I suggest you get yourself on a guided tour.
Just don’t go on the one I did, as it wasn’t really ‘guided!’ (So avoid City Discovery Tours).
There are so many great food options in Malacca but I can highlight recommend Kocik Kitchen.
No. 100 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
STRAITS CHINESE JEWELLERY MUSEUM
There are over 30 different museums within Malacca but you should definitely take the time to visit the Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum.
No. 108 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
Admission – 10 MYR
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