One of Malaysia’s oldest trading ports, the historic city of Malacca has been captivating travellers for years. Just two hours south of Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia’s west coast, Malacca rewards visitors with beautifully preserved architecture and lively night markets. Although smaller (and less shiny) than Kuala Lumpur, this fascinating city is undoubtedly worth a day or two’s exploration.
A legacy of its past as one of Southeast Asia’s greatest ports, Malacca is a cultural and historical melting pot with Peranakan, Portuguese, Dutch and British influences bringing a irreplicable charm to the city. After it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, tourism in Malacca has boomed. Although this did see some accompanying commercialism in the form of vibrant bars, restaurants and shopping centres, this has not overrun the eclectic mix of architectural styles throughout its winding alleys, old mansions, temples and churches.
On the weekend, the vibrant Jonker Street Night Market is a hub of activity where you can find everything from trinkets and street food to music and fortune tellers. Some of the highlights to spot as you stroll through the streets include St. Peters Church, the oldest Christian Church in the country, the famous Porta de Santiago, a fortress built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century, and the Stadthuys, also known as the Red Square, housing the Malacca Museum. Most of Malacca’s popular sites are accessible on foot, or on one of the city’s famous trishaws.