Once a quiet fishing village along Malaysia’s western coast, Melaka City was the first taste of Malaysia for many European settlers. Merchants from all over the world docked here, lured by the wares traded at its harbour. Although the bustling trading port has quietened down, today the range of faraway influences remains spectacularly evident in this thriving regional capital: scarlet colonial buildings dominate the streets, and the city’s multicultural population produce a varied, international cuisine.
Located on the main north-south highway between KL and Singapore, Melaka City is an easily accessible destination. Its accommodation options are many and varied, with something to suit every traveller — from grand and luxurious chains to more traditional home stays, all of which provide a perfect base for exploring Melaka’s fascinating city centre.
This coastal city is a true melting pot, serving up contrasting cultures with bold extravagance: the grand Melaka Straits Mosque is a must-see sight, especially at night, while St Paul’s Church, one of Asia’s oldest churches, stands majestically above the city. Further vestiges of Melaka City’s colonial past are everywhere, including Portuguese fortress A Famosa and the Dutch-built Stadthuys (the old city hall), now one of the city’s best museums. Visitors should also seek out the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum and the ornate Cheng Hoon Teng temple.
Hail a trishaw to tour Melaka City, stopping for a cup of Malaysian kopi (coffee) and a warming bowl of fragrant nyonya laksa (curry noodle soup) at one of the many vibrant eateries dotted across town. Alternatively, take in the lush forests, hills and rubber plantations of the surrounding landscape by bike, and finish the day with a stroll through Jonker Walk Night Market, where the lights, music and bartering are certain to leave a lasting impression. If you’re seeking a true taste of multicultural Malaysia, Melaka awaits you with open arms.