Melaka, Malaysia: A UNESCO World Heritage City
Dubbed “The Historic State,” Melaka’s position on the Malaysian peninsula made it a key location for warehousing and trade, particularly with the Chinese. Like most of Malaysia, the Hindu, Chinese, Burmese, and Muslim inhabitants peacefully coexisted up until the Portuguese invaded the city in 1511, when Afonso de Albuquerque ordered the massacre of Muslims and sold Muslim survivors into slavery.
Early in the 17th century, the Dutch launched a series of attacks on the Portuguese, eventually taking control of Melaka in 1641. The city was ceded to the British in 1824, and then briefly occupied by the Japanese during WWII. In 1963, Malaysia was officially formed, which included Melaka, the unofficial historical capital of the country.
Things to do in Melaka
I had limited time in the city, so I booked a hostel in the center of everything and wandered around the area. Donning my rain jacket, I headed for Jonker Street, known for its weekend night market, antique shops, and amazing street food.
The iconic Christ Church is located right off of Jonker Street, as well as several other Hindu and Buddhist temples, mosques, and churches.
Melaka has a fair amount of art galleries and coffee shops. Whether you’re looking for more traditional Malaccan cuisine—chicken rice balls and durian ice cream—or something more westernized, Melaka has you covered.
Getting around Melaka
The city is pretty small, so it’s easy to get around by walking. If you want a more scenic/vibrant experience, you can hire a blinged out tricycle to take you around the city (complete with a funky beat to jive to throughout your ride) or take the more traditional route via river cruise.
Overall, I enjoyed Melaka and thought that a day was the perfect amount of time to explore. I’d recommend visiting on a weekend, since that’s when the night market is open, but even if you go on a weekday, there’s still plenty to do!