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home > Malaysia > Melaka (Malacca)  





Melaka or Malacca

myMalaysiabooks brings you Melaka (Malacca) the historical city of West Malaysia. Enjoy the colourful history of this old port that was founded before1400, and move around to see her rich history of colonial influence, Malay heritage and Baba-Nyonya culture.

Welcome to the historical city of Malacca! UNESCO world Heritage Site



Melaka (old name - Malacca) is a state in Peninsular Malaysia which is rich in history and culture.  Her strategic position at the narrowest part of the Straits of Melaka or Malacca  made her one of the most important stopover post for ships travelling from east to west. (Malacca Straits got its name from this ancient port) The end of the 14th century saw Melaka grow into a rich trading post and kingdom under the Melaka Sultanate, gaining a name in the maritime world. Conquered and administered by the Portuguese in 1511, the Dutch in 1641, and the British in 1824, Melaka is a centre of many diverse cultures, a unique melting pot of races.

Map of MelakaLocation: West Malaysia

Land Area: 1,652 square kilometers

Capital: Melaka

A Formosa, Malacca (Melaka), Malaysia, Unesco World Heritage siteMelaka the city      

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Today, the architecture of the old town of Malacca reflects her rich historical past. A visit to the city of Melaka, will take you through the history of the place. The urban landscape is a mix old old and new architecture - Dutch, Portuguese, British and Malaysian.   As you walk round Malacca city, stroll along Jonker Walk (or now called Jalan Hang Jebat), it is a place to hunt for antiques and interesting collectables.

     There is an astounding mix of races, cultures and religion. Melaka is know for her Baba Nyonya (Peranakan) culture - referring to the culture of the Baba community, who ancestors are a mix of mainly Malay and Chinese parentage. (This mix of Malay and Chinese cultural practices is unique to Melaka, Penang and Singapore).  Join in the cultural festivities of the communities that are scattered throughout the year (check holidays and festivals in Malaysia).

Attractions of Melaka (Malacca)

trishaws in Melaka (Malacca) Malaysia

streets of Melaka (Malacca) Malaysia, heritage site

Where to go in Malacca? Some attractions and heritage sights of Melaka are:

A' Famosa     This is the most renowned landmark of Melaka. It was built by the Portuguese when they captured Melaka in 15ll as a fortress. It severely damaged by during the Dutch invasion of 1641.

The Stadthuys     Built in 1650 as the official residence of Dutch Governors, it is a typical  example of Dutch architecture of the 17th century. It now houses the Historic Museum and Ethnography Museum.

St Paul's Church     The Portuguese's 'Our Lady Of The Hill' was built by a Portuguese Captain by the name of Duarte Coelho. The Dutch it into a burial ground for their nobles and renamed it St. Paul's Church. St. Francis Xavier, the missionary who helped spread Christianity here, was briefly enshrined in the open grave in 1553 before being shipped to Goa, India.

Christ Church     The church locate right in the city centre was built in1753. It reflects Dutch architectural ingenuity of handmade pews and ceiling beams constructed without joints. 

UNESCO World Heritage list July 2008

Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca (Malaysia) have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible.

read more.....

Kueh - food of Malaysia

The Studthuys, Melaka (Malacca), Malaysia Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Melaka (Malacca) Malaysia - World Heritage site

St. Peter's Church     Located at the end of Jalan Bendahara, This is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia. It was built in 1710, during the Dutch occupation. Its facade and decor combines Eastern and Western architecture.

St. Francis Xavier's Church     This gothic style church dedicated to  St. Francis Xavier was built in 1849.  St Francis Xavier was known as the 'Apostle of the East' and is well-remembered for his missionary work in South East Asia in the 16th Century.

Melaka Sultanate Palace/ Cultural Museum

This wooden palace was built based on the description as written in the Malay Annals. It is located at the foot of St. Paul's Hill.

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple     This temple built in 1646, is noted as one of the oldest Chinese temple in the country. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Kuan Yin. The architecture is typical of Chinese temples built during that period by the early Chinese immigrants to Malays.

Baba & Nonya Heritage Museum     This museum, located at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok is a private museum that display some of the heirloom unique to the Baba and Nyonya or Peranakans of Melaka. The Peranakans were also called 'Straits-born Chinese' and refer to the decedents of Malaysian of Chinese decendents whose ancestors intermarried the Malays in the 18th and 19th century or Chinese who later adopted many of the local cultural practices. The community that evolved, developed their own cultural practices that is a mix of Chinese and Malay. Peranakan culture is predominate in Penang, Melaka and Singapore. The Babas and Nyonyas of Melaka speak in their unique Malay dialect, unlike those in Penang and Singapore who speak in Chinese (Hokkien dialect).

Hang Tuah Mausoleum

Hang Tuah was a famous Malay warrior who served as an admiral in the Melaka navy and successfully defended Melaka.


Dodol , Melaka sweets,  Malaysian sweets

mee koo, bun malaysian


What to eat in Melaka: Nonya or Nyonya food, Portuguese food, Chicken ball rice, satay celuk, cendol, devil's curry, etc.


Melaka History

ship museum, Melaka MalaysiaThe history of Melaka is often told from the foundation of the settlement by an exiled Hindu, SriVijayan prince, Parameswara. From a small fishing settlement, Melaka or Malacca (old name) grew to become one of the most prominent trading post in South East Asia from the 15th century.

     According to a local legend, while out hunting one day, the Sumatrian prince, Parameswara was resting under a tree when one of his dogs encountered a mouse deer. In self-defense, the mouse deer pushed the dog into the river. Impressed by the courage of the deer and taking this as a sign of good omen, Parameswara selected the spot he was sitting to build his kingdom or empire. He named it Melaka (Malacca) after the tree which he had taken shelter.  He ruled as a Hindu ruler until 1414 when he converted to Islam and became known as Sultan Iskandar Shah.

     The strategic position of Melaka attracted many traders, who used the port to await the changing of the Monsoon winds. The hinterlands also provided local and jungle produce for the traders. Settlement of Chinese began in the 15th century, many settling in Bukit China. The Melaka Sultanate became one of the most renowned Malay kingdom and soon overshadowed the importance of Kedah - the kingdom at Bujang (See history at Kedah)

     The prosperity of Melaka also attracted the Siamese but development of relations between China and Melaka helped wad off Siamese dominance. The importance of Melaka as a maritime kingdom was noted by China's notable admiral and explorer, Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho), in the 15th century. Chinese influence grew when Sultan Mansur Shah married a Chinese princess, Hang Li Po. Melaka (Malacca) also became an outpost for China after the visit by Zheng He. The Chinese men soon intermarried with the local Malays forming a unique community called the Peranakans (Babas and Nonyas) [ also similar as in Penang]

     The growth of Melaka brought the Europeans clamouring for control of her wealth and trade. Malacca was conquered on 1511 by Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese viceroy of India, and it became a strategic base for Portuguese in the East Indies. Sultan Mahmud Shah, the last Sultan of Melaka fled and later died in Sumatra. The Portuguese controlled Melaka for 130 years. In 1641, the Dutch captured Melaka from the Portuguese and ruled Melaka until 1795. When British colonized much of Malaya, the Dutch ceded Melaka to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, in exchange for Bencoolen, Sumatra.

    Melaka was first governed by the British East India Company. Then In 1826, Melaka together with Singapore and Penang, formed part of the Straits Settlements, under British colonial office in India. Melaka remained under British control until Malaya gained her independence in 1957.

History of Malaysia

How to get to Melaka

By Road    

The north-south expressway (toll motorway/ plus expressway) cuts through the State. Exit at Ayer Keroh Interchange and travel the trunk road that leads you to Melaka city.

From Kuala Lumpur.   The best way to reach Melaka from Kuala Lumpur (KL) is to travel by road. You can also fly but checking in and out of airports and taxis fares to airports are not cheap - it is more expensive than a bus ticket from KL to Melaka and total travelling time is longer.

     If you fly into KL, from KLIA or the Express Bus Terminal at Jalan Duta in KL, catch a coach or express bus that takes you to the city of Melaka. It takes less than 3 hours to travel from KL to the city of Melaka.....more>>

From Singapore.   If you are travelling from Singapore, the best travel option is also by road. Daily buses or coaches takes you direct from Singapore to Melaka. Bus terminal for daily hourly buses from Singapore to Melaka is at Lavender Street bus station. Numerous tours (free and easy travel) by air or bus which includes hotel stay are available from a number of Singapore travel agency. Be sure to book early especially during school holidays  of both Malaysia or Singapore - Melaka is a very popular tourist destination for Singaporeans...... details on how to travel from Singapore

From Thailand.   If you are from Thailand or in any of the northern Malaysian towns, you will be able to find express buses going to Melaka. You can also fly to KL and travel by bus or taxi to Melaka......details on how to travel from Bangkok, Thailand

Be sure to book hotels, tours and bus tickets early for travel to Malacca. It is a popular destination especially with Singaporeans, many spends their weekends here.

By Air    

Malaysia Airlines flies to Melaka from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and AirAsia from KLIA.2 From Thailand, and Sabah or Sarawak, fly to KL and get connecting flights (which are few).

Check for special airfare to Malaysia here, or flight details from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) or AirAsia Malaysia's budget airline. However, it may be faster to travel by road to Melaka.

By Train    

Unfortunately, the Malayan Railways does not pass Melaka. You can stop at Seremban or Kuala Lumpur and take a bus or taxi to Melaka.

Details on how to travel to and around Malaysia:

Transportation in Malaysia

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Where to stay

Melaka is a very popular destination for Malaysians and Singaporeans so be sure to book your stay early! Those travelling from outside Malaysia, should check out and compare hotel accommodation and travel or tour offers from travel agencies websites online. As Melaka is a very popular destination with both locals and foreigners.

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