Malacca is located on the Malay Peninsula, an hour and a half south of Kuala Lumpur and five hours from Johor Bahru and Singapore on the peninsula’s tip.
The history of Malacca is what drew me to it; its charm is what keeps me going back.
The history stuff first. Malacca was taken over by the Portuguese in the early part of the 16th century, being a perfect outpost for their trade forays into the spice islands. They established a small settlement, including St. Paul’s church whose structure is one of the oldest European buildings in the region. The Dutch removed the Portuguese in the 17th century and the English returned the favor in the 19th century. The European colonialists provide a rich layer of history to Malacca with fascinating architecture and beautiful old colonial houses and shops.
Jonker Street and the surrounding streets provides a rich shopping experience for antiques, art, and varied knickknacks and rare finds. Malacca boasts some of the best Nonya (Straits Chinese) food in Malaysia.
In the past few years, the Malacca River has gone through a renaissance of sorts, lined with beautiful walks, refurbished ancient structures, and modern and sleek hotels and restaurants.
It’s a cultural and historical feast – as well as a gastronomical one. For all of these purposes, Malacca ranks as one of my top 10 places in Asia.
Here are a few photos from my last visit to Malacca: