Malacca is a quiet seaside city located on the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia facing the Straits of Malacca, about 147 km from Kuala Lumpur. Malacca is a wonderful repository of its cultural heritage. Its colonial past is evident in its Portuguese architecture, where as on the streets, Chinese influence is most visible. Most of the businessmen here are Chinese. Over the centuries, the Chinese and local Malay cultures in Malacca intertwined, eventually producing a completely unique society-a mosaic of different cultures.
Malacca rose from a humble fishing village to become a major center of
the spice trade forming a vital link between the East and the West. The
city was founded in 1400 AD by a fleeing Sumatra Prince, Parameswara. As
Malacca was situated at strategically important place- midway along the
straits that linked China to India and the Near East-it was perfectly
positioned as a center for maritime trade. The city grew rapidly, and
within fifty years it became a hub of international commerce, with a
population of over 50,000. During this time Islam was introduced in the
Malay Peninsula, arriving along with Gujarati traders in Western India.
When the European powers began their colonial quest, Malacca was one of
the first cities that caught their attention. The Portuguese under the
command of Alfonso de Albuquerque arrived first, taking the city after a
sustained bombardment in 1511. The Portuguese were determined to control
the East-West trade; so Malacca still retained its importance as a trade
center until 1641 when the Portuguese surrendered Malacca to the Dutch.
The Dutch who had a stronger foothold over the Indonesia archipelago
swung the trade center over to Sumatra. In the meantime, Malacca's trade
also declined due to the silting of its port. In 1795, Malacca was given
to the British to prevent it form falling in the hands of the French,
where the Netherlands was captured during the French Revolution. By the
time British took over in 1824, the focus of the trade had shifted from
Malacca to Singapore and Penang. Malacca however became the focal point
again during the struggle for independence after the Japanese Occupation
during the Second World War and the British Colonial period that
followed. So when Malaya gained its independence in 1957 it was only
fitting that the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in Malacca,
where it all began. In 1989, Malacca was declared as Malaysia's history
Malaysia has a tropical climate. The temperatures are more or less same
throughout the year, in the vicinity of 26-27°C. The total rainfall
is around 213 cm per year. Humidity is high throughout the year.
Best Time to Visit
The months of January and February have comparatively less rainfall
than other months and hence it is the best time to visit Malacca.
Tourist Attractions / Places to See
Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum: The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum is
the ancestral home of three generations of a Straits-born Chinese Baba
family. The building is now converted into a stunning museum that
preserves the unique legacy of the Babas. The Babas combine Chinese and
Malay culture, a result of marriages between early Chinese settlers and
local Malay women. Over the years, a distinct culture called the Baba
Nyonya or Peranakan culture emerged.
Padang Pahlwan, Bandar Hilir: A sound and light show is held at
Padang Pahlwan, Bandar Hilir, which brings alive the 600 years of
history of Malacca.
The Stadthuys: Built in 1650 as the official residence of Dutch
Governors and their officers, the edifice is a fine example of Dutch
architecture. Preserved in its original structure and form, it now
houses the Historic Museum and Ethnography Museum.
The Malacca Zoo: The open-habitat zoo sprawls over 22 hectares
and has been rated as one of the best in Malaysia. It is home to the
rare and endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros as well as many other animals
indigenous to Southeast Asia.
Mini Malaysia: A stupendous theme complex to enable visitors to
view the traditional houses of the 13 states in Malaysia on a single
visit. The complex displays life-size authentic houses of Malaysia
crafted by master builders.
Mini ASEAN: A unique theme park conceived as a summary of the
prominent cultural elements of the countries that make up ASEAN
(Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Brunei).
Butterfly Farm: One of the world's most comprehensive butterfly
and insect farms, with well over two hundred local species, including
the rare Raja Brooke and Birdwing butterflies. The farm also possesses
an extensive collection of insect specimens.
Crocodile Farm: One of the largest crocodile farms in the
country. There are more than a hundred species found here, including
Albino and humpbacked crocodiles. The farm is landscaped to recreate the
reptiles' natural environment.
Pulau Besar: An ideal place for those seeking sandy beaches,
clear blue waters, the sun and sea front chalets on stilts. The island
is an excellent resort for swimming, fishing, picnicking and snorkeling.
Bukit China: It was the official settlement of the Chinese
entourage that arrived with Princess Hang Li Poh. She was sent to
Malacca by the Emperor to marry the sultan to mark the advent of
diplomatic relationship between Malacca and China. The entourage stayed
on this settlement until Portuguese occupation in 1511. Today, Bukit
China is the largest Chinese cemetry outside China with many of the
tombs dating back to Ming Dynasty.
Malacca is famous for its antiques. Many artifacts and authentic
antique items are available at more than 15 antique shops lining the
busy streets of Jonker Street, affectionately known as the 'street of
antiques' and is well known among the international antique collectors.
The street is named Jalan Hang Jebat.
How to Reach Malacca
The airport in Malacca is about 9.5 km north of the town centre, at
Batu Berendam, which can accommodate mainly smaller aircrafts.
Traveling by bus is the mode of transportation favored by most people
as there are many bus companies making quite a few trips at different
times to various destinations in Malaysia every day. It is comparatively
If you intend to go by train, then the nearest station is Tampin, about 38 km to the north of Malacca.