Historical, Colourful, Wonderful Malacca

After a trip to Bali, my good chum Fiona was flying home via Kuala Lumpur and suggested I join her for a four-day stopover. Well, if you ask me to recommend a must-see place for a first-time visitor to Malaysia, it has to be Malacca, which is just a couple of hours by bus from KL. Once a flourishing centre of trade along the great spice route, this fascinating city – now listed as a UNESCO world heritage site – first won my heart about three years ago, and was such a joy to revisit.

Malacca is an intriguing, historical, melting-pot of cultures, religions and races, all of which are reflected in its food,

Chinese and Hindu temples,


and mosques,

antique shops and art,

Chinese architecture,

and reminders of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial powers. The harbour once teemed with the sails and masts of the spice-laden vessels of the most lucrative trade in the world.

A signature feature of Malacca is the flamboyant, multi-coloured, and sometimes loud trishaws that convene around the Dutch Square and cruise around the busy streets giving rides to tourists. You have to credit the drivers for their clever, flashy and facetious creativity. Each decorates his trishaw with bright plastic flowers, flashing lights, flags and souvenirs. The current theme seems to be Hello Kitty.

One of the best places to be at the weekend is the Night Market at Jonker Street in Chinatown.

See you again soon, Malacca, I’ll be back.


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