Back in the 15th century, Melaka was one of Southeast Asia’s greatest trading ports. The historic centre was crowned a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008, and is famous for its beautiful architecture, Nyonya Baba heritage and more infamous for it’s trippy trishaws. Only 150KM from Kuala Lumpur, it’s definitely a favorite port of call for most visitors to Malaysia.
Here at 10 of our favourite Things to do in Malacca …
1. Stay at the Majestic Malacca
Located on the banks of the river which in yesteryear teemed with Chinese junks and spice-laden vessels from all over the world, The Majestic Malacca provides a glimpse into the splendid saga of an extraordinary empire in a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Steeped in a rich tapestry of multicultural influences reflected in its heritage architecture, diverse lifestyles and eclectic cuisine, this classic hotel is an integral part of Malacca’s colourful history. The heart of the hotel is a restored 1920s Straits Settlement mansion complete with its original porcelain tile flooring and teakwood fittings. It has been sympathetically extended to house the 54 guest rooms and suites as well as spa that is a reflection of that era, melding luxury, modernity and tradition.
The original fixtures of the mansion were restored to the mansion’s former glory in the 1920s. Colourful stained glass and Straits Settlement windows painted in soft pastel shades greet guests as they arrive at the porte cochere.
Within its interiors, the intricate Straits Chinese porcelain tiles were lovingly restored and gleam elegantly beside plush leather chairs and dark teakwood fittings.The Straits Chinese porcelain tiles of the era were all imported from Europe and was the norm for wealthy Straits Chinese families in Malacca.
Afternoon tea is a must at The Majestic Malacca… loved the Nyonya kuihs served in quaint traditional wooden lacquered tiffins
Dressed in cool shades of beige and green timber framing, The Majestic Malacca retains its genuine old world charm and the architectural design integrates the old with the new to perfection.
And pre-dinner Signature Cocktails are another huge highlight, at the Majestic hotel bar. The Spiced Straits is a must order. Apparently the only place in Malacca that serves this unique gin, the cocktail is made with Tanqueray Malacca gin, hazelnut syrup, green apple juice, ginger, spring mint leaves. It was explosive mouthfuls of fresh ginger, apple and gin laced with an aftertaste of hazelnut notes. Simply delicious!
2. Eat Peranakan Food
There are many places in Malacca, to enjoy Kristang food, and one of them is the newly refurbished Melba at the Majestic Malacca.
Melba at the Mansion serves authentic Malacca-Portuguese cuisine, also known colloquially as ‘Kristang’ cuisine – a unique yet elusive gourmet tradition, important to Malaccan history.
Must eats include the Assam Pedas Fish, Chicken Pong Teh, Stuffed Crabs and Cincalok Omelets
Other Kristang must orders include, Ayam Kari Keluak and Kaldu Laksa Malaka (Malacca Laksa).
Fabulous service at Melba at the Masion. We highly recommend dining here! Melba at The Mansion is open daily for lunch between 12.00pm to 3.00pm and for dinner between 7.00pm to 10.30pm.
3. Go for a Run or Walk along Malacca River
One of our favourite things to do, is to run along the Malacca river. Sometimes, walking is great fun too. The Malacca river never loses its charm really.
You can walk along beautifully tiled kampung compounds, and watch the boat rides go up and down the river. There’s a nice stretch with murals on the side wall of the buildings lining the river and form here, the Portuguese fort and the old Dutch church is just behind Dataran Palahwan.
We “found” Pikachu! There could be the odd trippy rickshaw you might bump into along the river as well!
If you move away from the river, you will find yourself in town and we chanced upon an old abandoned rubber & corn factory that used to be derelict, now converted into an undesignated skate park.
“No Drug. Just Water.”
Cool graffiti adorned the crumbling walls. Met some really cute kids who couldn’t wait to show off Evel Knievel skills on their bikes.
4. Explore Klebang Beach
Bet many folks outside of Malacca, didn’t know there was a pristine beach that close to Malacca town. Klebang is a coastal town in Malacca and is located along the Malacca Strait.
Klebang beach is a popular location for the locals (as well as visitors) to hang out, and enjoy the breeze and watch fishermen boats and ships sail by.
It’s also a hotspot for the famous Klebang Coconut Shake, and many stalls dot the coastal ridge selling these cooling drinks.
5. Drink Coconut Shake
These shakes are the perfect thirst quenchers and on a scorching weekend! There were so many, we didn’t know which to pick. In the end we tried the Klebang Original Coconut Milk Shake.
One scoop of vanilla ice cream, blend together with coconut flesh & water. Then a second scoop of ice cream is added on top of the shake. Pretty refreshing but not super wow, if you know what I mean. Just tasted like milkshake to me, with a wee bit of coconut after tastes.
6. Eat Satay Celup
Why eat satay celup? Because everybody does it! Here are some places to try it at.. Capitol Satay & McQuek’s Satay Celup.
Photo credit : http://nomadandcamera.com/
It’s all about dunking raw food into boiling satay gravy – a lot like lok lok except that instead of boiling soup, it’s boiling satay peanut sauce. If you feel dubious about double dipping, you aren’t alone. The thought of it gives me the heebeegeebeez too.
7. Chicken Rice Ball
Why is chicken rice ball better than just chicken rice? I don’t know really. But apparently it tastes better? Hmmmm.. somehow I’m not convinced. Gimmicky mostly, but some say it’s the added ‘flavour’ when balls are rolled by hand.
Well how about machine rolled balls then? The jury is still out, on that one.
8. Go for a traditional haircut at the hair salon of the Oldest Barber on Kampung Jawa
As we explored Malacca, on this particular trip, we found ourselves in Kampung Jawa. As usual, @tummyleejones never gives up the chance to seek out the oldest barber on the row, for a haircut.
That’s when we stumbled upon, The Last Barber of Kampung Jawa…
Watch the Video!
9. Visit Jonker Walk Night Market
No trip to Malacca is complete without paying homage to the famous Jonker Street.
Here, you may check out heritage buildings, night markets, street lanes with hidden food stalls, and even a drinking strip, for those who like the nightlife.
Jonker Walk located on Jalan Hang Jebat as is commonly known, is a street in historical Chinatown of Melaka starting just across the river from the Dutch Square. Jonker Walk is flanked on both sides of the road with heritage houses dating back up to the 17th century. At that time, rich Baba Nonyas (also known as Perankans, descendents of 15th – 16th century Chinese immigrants marrying local Malay women) lived and traded here. Today, the street houses many shops selling antiques, textiles, handicrafts and souvenirs. On the weekends, starting Friday night at 6pm, the road is closed off for traffic and turns into a very crowded night market.
The list of heritage sites near this hotel includes Jonker Walk, the mosques (especially the one in Kampung Hulu), Hindu and Buddhist temples, the Admiral Cheng Ho Cultural Museum, A Famosa and St Paul’s Hill (which originally was the site of the palace of Prince Parameswara who founded Melaka in the 15th Century), the Royal Museum, Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, the Stadthuys, St Peter’s Cathedral and the world-famous Portuguese Settlement where you can sample authentic Portugese cuisine.
Christ church melaka in the background and the famous Melaka trishaw in the foreground..
a man spins the gasing (top) – we caught this shot in mid flight
the stroll up to St Paul’s Cathedral
10. Explore Bukit China
More than 12,500 graves, including about 20 Muslim tombs, cover the 25 grassy hectares of serene ‘Chinese Hill’. In the middle of the 15th century, the sultan of Melaka imported the Ming emperor’s daughter from China as his bride in a move to seal relations between the two countries. She brought with her a vast retinue, including 500 handmaidens, who settled around Bukit China. It has been a Chinese area ever since.
Since the times of British rule, there have been several attempts to acquire Bukit China for road widening, land reclamation or development purposes. Fortunately, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, with strong community support, has thwarted these attempts. At the base of the hill is the Poh San Teng Temple. ‘Precious Hill Temple’ was built around 1795 and is dedicated to the guardian deity Tua Pek Kong. To the right of the temple is the King’s Well, a 15th-century well built by Sultan Mansur Shah.