Malacca, a city, and state located in Malaysia. The history of Malacca is an impressive one, unfortunately the city’s impressive nature has been largely left in the past. It is, however, something of a modern day phoenix, as the city has begun to pull itself out of the ashes of its past and into something as impressive as its once glorious past.
In the time when Kuala Lumpur was exactly what its name suggests; muddy confluence, better known as swamp, and Penang was simply a grain of sand in an oyster on its way to become “The Pearl of the Orient”, Malacca was an impressive trading port; one of the best in Southeast Asia.
It was once a city of hard fought conquests, maritime greatness and supreme grandeur, unfortunately, thanks largely to the emergence of Singapore, the city fell from grace. This loss of global importance came at just the right time for Malacca, as it provided the foundation for its future purpose. The loss of trade ensured the impressive and antique architecture of the region was left pristine. So many cities remove theirs in favour of new splendour, Malacca’s remained intact and led to its naming as the historical state.
The swagger has returned to this once glorious city, its historic centre has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the tourists are pouring in, coming to visit the museums night markets, stay at unique hotels in Malacca and view the amazing architecture.
The area of Malacca is split into three main areas. There is Central Malacca, which is presided over by Malacca City. There are then two more areas, which are larger in size, but smaller in terms of population. Alor Gajah, and Jasin. Both are governed by towns bearing the same respective name.
Initially the city was a small and simple fishing village inhabited by local Malay people. The city proper begun on its way to its current day set up around 1400. It coincided with the arrival of Sri Majara, the last Sultan of an area which became Singapore. Upon his arrival he found a good port, and a strategic location. Malacca was born.
Thanks to its location, and good port, it quickly became an important stopping point for Zheng He’s fleet. Local lore suggests this importance was rewarded with a daughter of the Emperor of the Ming dynasty marrying the then Sultan, and bringing with her 500 attendants.
The city fell to the Portuguese in 1511. Alfonso de Albuquerque came with 1,200 men and 17 ships. The Hindus, Chinese and Burmese were spared, the same can’t be said for the native Muslims. They were all either killed or sold to slavery. This really puts the British issue with immigration into perspective. They invaded with the idea of controlling all Asian trade, but it resulted in severe disruption in the area.
Such was the importance of the port to the area’s trade, it wasn’t long before others came prowling for control. Dutch invasions began with a Jesuit missionary in the 1540s, by the start of the 1600s they were full blown attacks on the port. Finally, by 1641, the Dutch defeated the Portuguese and took control. They ruled until 1798, but weren’t interested in it as a port, they were more interested in removing it as one, allowing Batavia to prosper.
Later on it was ceded to the British in 1824, in exchange for Bencoolen, Sumatra. It remained so until 1946 when it formed the Straits Settlements with Singapore and Penang. It was briefly occupied by Japan during World War 2
There is Malacca International Airport; IATA: MKZ, ICAO; WMKM. Once known as Batu Berendam Airport, and it is located around about 10km outside of the main city. The majority of flights come from the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and there are a few international stops.
There are a number of frequent bus links between Malacca and various nearby cities, such as Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Johor Bahru and Singapore. The majority of the long distance busses now terminate at the Malacca Central Bus Terminal, which is an unfortunate 4.5km out of town. To get into the city, take the Number 17 bus from behind the terminal. It will take you to the Chinatown and Taming Sari.
To get in from Kuala Lumpur, take a bus from the new Bersepadu Selatan Terminal. It is located close to the LRT and MRT commuter stations in Siyth Bandar Tasik. Busses leave every half hour and cost around 12 Ringgit.
The bus from Singapore originates in City Plaza, schedules may vary, and do be warned, it is popular for Singaporeans to leave Saturday and return Sunday. So it is recommended to avoid this. To save money, you could go first to Johor Bahru and then onto Malacca. Time is similar, but the cost is smaller. Time takes between 3 and 5 hours depending on the border crossing.
Malacca is easily accessed by the North South Expressway. When going northward go along the E2, and exit at the Ayer Keroh exit. You could also leave the highway at Simpang Empat exit, and then take the usual road to Malacca. It will take you through Alor Gajah.
The typical attraction of Malacca is the historical centre. It is a perfect preservation of old Malacca. People come from all over the world to see its ancient architecture and all the excellent museums.
A beautiful, relaxing, and romantic cruise down the Malacca River. From the jetty close to the Martime museum to just the other side of Kampung Morten. It goes through the main trade area of Malacca’s golden era.
It is most advised to take the night cruise, it is much more atmospheric. Unfortunately dual pricing is in effect here. Foreigners typically pay more than the natives, judge that as you will.
Held in the large field just behind the Sultan Palace, close to the Independance Memorial Museum. This impressive, informative, and entertaining show is a retelling of Malacca’s rich history. It takes approximately an hour, and shows are held daily at 8:30pm and costs around 10RM. If you are interested in history, especially the history of this excellent city, then it is a much see exhibit.
If you’re looking for impressive views, then this is the absolute “go-to” of the city. The Taming Sari Revolving Tower on Jalan Merdeka. It is a 110m tower which seats just under 70 people at a time. It then takes you on a 7 minute revolving ride to show you the entirety of the city.
Take a stroll around the city, then head on up for a whole new perspective. It is open all day and fees range from RM5 to RM20. It depends on whether you have a MyKad card and your age.
A superb location for a family vacation. It adds an extra dimension to the holiday which is perfect for kids. The deluxe water park is all about fun for the kids; it is the perfect foil after a hard, and hot day walking around the city.
It is well located, which is essential when considering the city’s terrible transport system. Just a 15 minute walk to the city centre, and all the amazing historical attractions.
The hotel is well facilitated. There is a splendid gym, and even a mini art museum,
Malacca is still somewhat a business area, and this is the perfect hotel for a business traveller. Of course, it is also perfect if you like the more luxurious life of travel.
It is an impressive building, it has 22 floors to it, so it is also very large. There are some incredible views of the city, especially the colonial buildings. There are also a few rooms with a view of the straits, it is possible to request either way depending on availability.
The restaurants on site are excellent and more than worth trying. They are famed in Malacca for their excellent renditions of the Peranakan cuisine. Peranakan is the unique blend of Chinese and Malay food, it is a must try for anyone in the area.
With the terrible transportation, well located is essential to a good hotel here. This hotel provides the best access to the colonial amazements of the city.
The access is twofold, not only on the ground but also with its amazing views of the area. It also has some views of the straits.
It is a well catered hotel, and the grilled meats are well recommended by all who go there. They have their own BBQ pit, and this makes the whole event of eating there very special.