My week in Malaysia was a whirlwind, as we never spent more than three nights in any place. Melaka, known by the British as Melaka, was one such place and I wish’d I’d been able to explore more of the historic city. The group was in town for a tourism conference and the country’s Deepavali (Malaysian Diwali) celebrations, so our time wasn’t our own. Thankfully, we set aside a bit of extra time to cram in as much sightseeing as possible.
We started the afternoon on a river cruise, which wound through the city, where most of the buildings had been decorated with murals and street art. There was even an artist at work on a scaffold as we passed by. Our guide extraordinaire Frankie provided us with background information on the city, including how it went from a small fishing village to a sultanate. These days there’s talk of turning the city into the next great Asian cruise port, with a ferris wheel like those in London and Las Vegas and massive shopping complexes, much to my dismay.
But for now, it’s still the place to go to learn about Malaysia’s history, where the Dutch, British and many other nations influenced the city’s architecture and culture. The UNESCO Heritage-listed city is home to houses of worship for three major religions. The colorful town square and its kooky trishaws blasting pop music make for great photo opportunities.
Nearby Jonker Street is the place to purchase antiques and to indulge in street food when the stalls set up at around 5 pm. Be sure to try sweets like pineapple tarts and cendol or savory options Nyonya laksa or Tandoori chicken. I didn’t have time to indulge in most of the food in Melaka since many of our meals were catered or in large groups, but this is something I will remedy as soon as I can return.
What’s your favorite photo of colorful Melaka?
My time in Melaka was hosted by Tourism Malaysia.