Melaka Tourist attractions
Melaka is a true gem for the cultural junkie. Character and charm ooze out the cracks of charming old buildings and steam off the plates of local dishes. The small, relatively sleepy and once unknown destination is so very squashed full of architecture, artefacts, food and cultural customs from a variety of historical influences.
Jonker Street and the Night Market
The famous Jonker Street, right in the heart of old town is the quintessential experience of a trip to Melaka. The most well-known aspect of the street is certainly the weekend night market. Head there with your stomach ready to be delighted and stretched. The street is packed with fantastic restaurants, is softened by the buzz of live music, and is made enticing by the lure of local crafts, clothing and antiques that line the pavements. If this sounds fantastic but untenable with kids with you, you can take a break from the sounds of the street and the sounds of your children, at Mamee Jonker House – a great spot to recharge while your children use up their vast resources of energy in one of the many activities there.
Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
The street is also home to the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. The museum is a combination of three, side-by-side, historic houses. An informative and stimulating, yet soothing experience is the result of fantastic tour guides, the ancient architecture and décor and the forty five minutes that you're on the tour. The museum is open from 10am – 12.30pm and then again from 2pm– 4.30pm every Monday to Saturday.
Jonker Street Library
The Jonker Street Library offers a similarly soothing and stimulating few minutes. It is well stocked with Chinese and Buddhist Literature, has a cosy reading nook for your escape, and has tasteful pieces of Chinese furniture scattered all around the library. Read some books, take some photos, and take a moment to marvel at the way of the world and the development of languages. The library is open from 10am to 5pm every Tuesday to Friday. It is open for an additional two hours at the end of the day on weekends.
The list of cultural sights awaiting your exploration is long. An ideal way to explore the main cultural attractions is through the Melaka Heritage Trail. Alternatively, you could take it really easy and roll around the town in the back of one of the many vibrant trishaws. Head on over to the Tourist Information Office in the old city. It is in a place locals will call Dutch Square. A fantastically detailed and useful map for MYR 5 will guide you along your way through the town.
First up, Christ Church Melaka. The Church is an iconic symbol of Dutch possession of Melaka. The building is adorned with impactful furniture, worn fanlights and 200 year-old pews. It is open from 9.00 AM to 5:30 PM daily, doesn't cost a penny and has three tours a day that you can try and jump on to.
The Stadhuys – a critical must be on the walking tour. It is the oldest Dutch building in the East, once the house of Dutch Governors. Its illustrious life can be appreciated from the contents of its museum. Also, the Ethnographical Museum is housed in the main building of the Stadhuys. Explore Melakan traditions and soak in the deep details of the Melakan people through pictures, maps and bits and pieces.
The Maritime Museum, located inside a huge, old, Portuguese ship, is just a stone's throw away from the Stadhuys, and is yet another gateway to the immensely diverse history of Melaka. There is a host of models of ships from a bygone era, and a great collection of paraphernalia seamen were known to trade. The museum opens at 9am and closes at 5.30pm on weekdays, 9pm on weekends. Tickets are only MYR 10, and MYR 6 for kids.
St Paul's Church was maybe our most enjoyable stop on the heritage walk. The ruins are at the summit of St Paul's Hill. Bring your camera and get some fantastic shots of the roofless ruins in the light of day, draped in ferns and historic majesty. Learn about the statue of St Francis Xavier and snap a pretty timeless selfie! Just down the hill from St Paul's Church stands the remains of what was once the entire quarters for the Portuguese administration. So head down the hill to the famous A'Famosa and drink it in!
Oh, and do not forget the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple –yet another unmissable cultural phenomenon. It is the oldest Chinese Temple in Malaysia. It is stunning, has some great architecture and makes for some more great snaps! The temple is open from 7am– 7pm and is free! Get there in the golden hours (dusk and dawn) for a magical atmosphere.