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Melaka History

Overview
a-famosa

It was in the fourteenth century that the fishing village of Melaka gained the attention a Hindu prince named Parameswara from Sumatra. He was the last ruler of ancient Singapore who was of Malay origin. The ruler decided to make this place a permanent settlement and named it ‘Melaka’ after a tree. A special position is occupied by Melaka Sultanate when it comes to history of Malaysia. The discovery of this new place led to the emergence of new Malayan Empire. Melaka served as the perfect platform on which the Dutch, Portuguese and English played their roles towards shaping the history of this beautiful place. The industrious nature of Parameswara along with chiefs made this place a powerful maritime trading destination attracting traders from different parts. Muslim traders from India and West Asia shifted their attention towards Melaka from other trading places. The strategic location of Melaka made it a popular trading centre with merchants and ships arriving from India, Japan, China, South Africa and Arab.

In the year 1511, Melaka was captured by the Portuguese which soon shifted to the hands on the Dutch in the year 1641. It was in the year, 1795 the British took control of Melaka to prevent French occupancy. However, after treaty of Vienna came into effect, Melaka was again handed over to the Dutch. Following the year 1826, British East India Company together with Penang and Singapore started to govern the place. The place was ruled by the Dutch for more than a century which is prominent from the fine buildings that exist still today. The red Christ Church which is a prominent feature of Melaka city was built with pink bricks that were imported from Holland. Local red lacerite was then used to give the structure that red appearance. The European presence is constantly reminded by some of the famous structures like the St. Paul’s Church and A Famosa.


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Best of Melaka Travel in 1-day walking

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best-melaka-travel1

Melaka touches me with its mixture of culture where you can find traces of countries from the east (China and Japan) and west (Portugal, Spain and England). When I had a chance to travel to Melaka for a period of 3 days and 2 nights, I realized if I want to experience this place to the fullest, I had to make a good travel plan.

Ok, the first thing I need to do is to get an hotel at the center of Melaka City. I decided to choose the only 4-star heritage RC Hotel for its prime location along Melaka river. The room comfort, vintage decor, stunning river view and customized service is what makes it one of the best luxurious hotels in the heritage area.




The room rate during low seasons starts from RM268++. You may check the actual pricing and make the booking at Agoda’s RC Hotel page.

Since my plan is to make good use of my time on the second day, I decided to explore Melaka by foot for one whole day, but not just going chaotically from one place to another. So I made a detailed itinerary that guided me through the best of Melaka! The result is I visited them one by one and managed to cover all in just one day, from 9.10am to 10pm! It was a crazy day that filled my head with unforgettable and important details and information, but it was worth it!

Included in my list is 12 attractions and 3 eating places to be covered. Base on my research about Melaka, I made a travel plan consisting of the most important destinations.

The following is the summary of what I had visited and the actual timeline. It was a long fruitful day for me. I hope you’ll get some inspirations from reading my experience when you plan your next Melaka holiday.

Cheng Ho Cultural Museum

Menara Taming Sari

Flora de la Mar Maritime Museum

St. Paul’s Hill

Stadthuys

Christ Church

Red Square

Queen Victoria’s Fountain

Chung Wah Chicken Rice Balls

No. 8 Heeren Street Heritage Centre

Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum

Jonker 88

San Shu Gong

The Baboon House

Jonker Street (Closed for vehicle traffic)

I had a wonderful sleep. Took my breakfast and started my expedition with my precious camera. My first destination is an award-winning museum called Cheng Ho Cultural Museum. It is about 100m from where I stayed.Without Cheng Ho (or Zheng He 郑和), Melaka would not be what it is like today so the understanding of this great man is a good way to start my first attraction of the day.Ticket, movie, a guide and 45 minutes were everything I needed to enjoy and understand the development of diplomatic relations between China and Melaka. The museum showcase Cheng Ho’s intelligence and incredible grasp of international relations. This very well put-together museum in an original and very large house made me understand why many of his soldiers and bodyguards married to locals. They eventually formed the Straits Chinese (Baba Nonya) community. Once again, this place is not to be missed, especially if you are a fan of history.

Learn about the man, Cheng Ho who visited Melaka 5 times during his 7 voyages.


My next destination, Menara Taming Sari is 700m away from Cheng Ho museum and took me 7 mins walk to reach. I bought a ticket, rented binoculars and couldn’t wait to have a bird’s eye view of Melaka. In the waiting area my excitement continue to rise. The sun shone brightly on the east side of the buildings; the weather was exceptionally clear and fine that I could even see the Sumatera Island when the revolving gyro reached the top. Many other major attractions around the city are all so near to each other. I really enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of Melaka City!

Most of the famous attractions are situated around Jonker Street. So I took a slow scroll to get there. On the way, I visited my third destination – Flora de la Mar Maritime Museum. This is a replica of a Portuguese ship that sank off the coast of Melaka. This impressive museum is a restored Portuguese ship. I bought a ticket of RM5 and started to count stairs. Quite a bit of stairs to negotiate so be prepared for that. I felt as though I was on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean. This is the museum that will tell you everything about the trading history of Melaka. It made for an educational visit. I could easily spent 1-2 hours there, but I had other attactions to discover.


Next in my must-go list was St. Paul’s Hill or Bukit St. Paul. About 500m from the maritime museum, there are quite a number of other museums along Jalan Kota. I picked a few and took pictures from the outside, just to have more authentic architectural photos.

Stamp Museum

UMNO Museum

Islamic Museum

Built in 1521, St. Paul Church was once a fort defense structure. St. Paul’s Hill was an important place on my plan because both the Portuguese and Dutch left their mark there. Stairs are a challenge and entrance is free. St. Paul’s Church is located on top of the hills that is partly preserved due to the war destruction. The Portugese tombstone inscription gives an insight to the history but it would be good if there is a guide to tell the story. There are great views of the city from the top and some interesting history billboard found on the way up and near the base of the hill. All in all I am happy because I managed to visit the highest travel point in Melaka.


It was 12 noon and I decided to go further to my next four destinations: Stadthuys, Christ Church, Red Square and Queen Victoria’s Fountain. All these attractions are located next to each other and are free of charge. I managed to explore them between 12:15am and 1:10pm.Stadthuys is also known as the Museum of History and Ethnography. It is the oldest Dutch colonial building in Southeast Asia. Strategically located at the center of Melaka, you you won’t skip this place if you travel to Melaka. It was a pity that there were restoration nettings covering the building. It must be quite charming when it is clean and not under construction. Besides its Dutch red exterior old style buildings there are traditional costumes, handicraft and souvenir shops around that you can do some shopping here.


Completed in 1753. the bricks used to build the church were specially shipped in from Holland. I was pretty impressed with the church itself. Unfortunately, the surrounding building was under construction so I couldn’t get a clear shot of the church. Despite the fact that Christ Church must be the most photographed item in Melaka it is forbidden to take photos inside. I wanted to make a few photos, but the cool and peaceful atmosphere stopped me. I am not a religious guy, but as soon as I entered this building I felt very good. It was the same emotion like when I held my son in my arms for the first time! It is an amazing and free place to visit! I gave nothing and received a lot!


On the way to Queen Victoria’s Fountain I took a lot of photos at the Red Square, also known as Dutch Square. It dated from the 17th century and reflects the history of Melaka from Dutch colonization till today. This place amazed me with its tourist density! The name says it all – yes, it’s red and always full of market stalls to check out and an amazing place to find out history of Melaka. Of course you can take photos ad-infinitum like I did – there are spectacular sights, colors, buildings, people, market stalls and those colorful trishaws. This place is really a throwback to the glory days of the Dutch empire.


You can’t miss the Queen Victoria’s fountain as it’s situated in the middle of Dutch Square. Built in 1904 by the Melaka people in memory of Queen Victoria Regina, it has been very well preserved and provides a good photo opportunity. The Britain commemorative tribute is also impressive. I have a childish tradition: every time I see a fountain I must make a wish and drop a coin in the water. This time wasn’t an exception. I made a wish and hope it will come true!


Time is ticking away and it was already 1:15pm. My stomach sent me a message, it was hungry! I made a short walk to the other side of the river and queued up for lunch at Chung Wah Chicken Rice Balls. This place is always busy and you’ll have to wait a bit until you get a table. The queue was long, about 30-40 pax and I waited around 30 minutes.I asked for a half steamed Hainanese-style chicken with rice balls and was amazed with the extraordinary taste of rice balls in which the rice was cooked with chicken broth. Of course I had to mixed the chicken with chili sauce. The taste is simply marvelous! The chicken is the tougher kampong chicken unlike the ones with softer texture I had a week ago in Singapore. It was the best chicken rice I’ve ever had so far comparing with the ones I did in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and also Penang. Tender and juicy chicken goes perfectly with flavorful rice balls. Yummy!Chung Wah Chicken Rice Ball’s business hours are between 7.30am and 3.00pm.

Talking about food, Melaka has some of the best in Malaysia. The editor of this website has done a good job introducing the top food you must try in Melaka. My 1-day holiday could only touch on a few but I am sure I’ll be back again just for the food!!

Leaving with a full stomach, my next destination is No. 8 Heeren Street Heritage Centre which is about 500m away. I took a nice walk along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, until I found number 8 at around 2:45pm. From the outside it is easy to miss this place. Nothing much to see in the house but the interesting stories told is what worth the visit. The house is opened between 10am and 4pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays.There is no entrance fee but the staff is extremely friendly and welcoming to share their story. One of them, Mr. Goh, sat with me in the courtyard and he told me stories about the history of Melaka and the style of building they’re trying to preserve. It’s definitely worth a stop and there’s a donation jar in front to help these sweet people with their passion.

My watch showed 3.35pm and I followed the same route back until I reached Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum.Prepare to spend an hour at this place – you certainly can’t rush through your visit of this fascinating museum. I brought a RM20 adult ticket and was waiting a little bit before the guide started the tour. The guided tour normally takes about 30-45 mins to complete. But since I am very keen on the Baba-Nyonya culture, I ask a lot of questions and it is good that the tour guide is happy to share his knowledge.The tour was very insightful and informative. This is a living museum which pays tribute to the “Straits Chinese”, or Baba Nonya and the luxurious lifestyle they used to be leading through the jewelries and furniture display. It gave me a peek into peranakan living in the early days. The house is fascinating just to look at and the stories told make it much more interesting. It is such an enriching experience that it is worth the money.

Unlike Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum located at the front end of the road, photo shooting is permitted inside the Straits Chinese Jewelry Museum.


My head was spinning after I was bombarded with so much information so I decided to take a break in Jonker 88 for the famous cendol dessert.Again a very long queue was between me and my dessert! This was quite an experience for me! I stayed in line and waited for my turn to order Cendol. Then I carried the plastic tray with my dessert and walked through the crowded coffee shop trying to find an empty table. Oh, that was a delicious Cendol! Not too sweet, but rich and tasty with fine shaved ice, coconut milk and Gula Malacca.The decor of this restaurant is attractive with a lot to view on walls and surroundings. The indoor seats were fully occupied by people having their meals, so some guys ordered and sat at the park beside to enjoy it. After that they just went back to return the bowls. It shows how good the food is!

This restaurant also sells good nyonya food but it is the cendol that steals the limelight.


How can a trip be complete without shopping for local food stuff? Instead of shopping for souvenir, I chose to take a 5-minute walk to San Shu Gong shopping centre, located right at the mouth of Jonker Street. The shop sells a wide range of local delicacies such as dodol, durian cendol, cream puffs and much much more.Shopping for food stuff was one of the most memorable moment of my day! Staff was polite and friendly. There are over a hundred local delicacies and they offered many free samples for tasting and I just cannot walk away without buying anything. My friend visited this place and he filled up two baskets within minutes – prawn, crab, seaweed sesame crackers, cuttlefish crackers, dried and sweet cuttlefish, dried mangoes, wolf herring crackers, pickled cuttlefish, Gula Malacca, satay fish and white coffee. All these were fantastic gifts to bring home for friends.


The sky began to turn dark and after all the walking and shopping, I need to replenish my energy with a big meal. I walked a few minutes and reached my dinner destination: The Baboon House. I wasn’t in a hurry. Stayed there between 6:10pm and 7:30pm.This restaurant is a real gem! Its decor is like a polished garden. Some part of it looks like forest. the building structure is unmodified and remains the same Baba-Nonya old building, the environment is so relaxing with soft music. They (pretty much) only serve burgers, but these are among the best I’ve ever had on this planet! I had the pork and beef burger, it was so juicy and delicious! Food is homemade and reasonably priced. The staff is very friendly and attentive and the whole atmosphere is just wonderfully relaxing. Don’t miss the full-of-green lush back courtyard. Dubbed the best burger available in Melaka, they are well deserved it.The only drawback was that I was told not to take photos even if I was a customer.

Overall, it is a good place to spend your afternoon to chill out with friends or stay alone reading book. I swear I could have spent my whole day here if I had the luxury to travel for more days.

When I stepped out of the restaurant, I can feel the crowd building up at the other side of the street. I had done my research so I know what’s happening. The whole 500-meter Jonker Street was closed for traffic and stalls appeared selling fingerfood, local delicacies and interesting souvenirs. Although it caters to tourists, it retains its old charm in the midst of Melaka. You need to bargain, but most sellers are polite and will give you a good price.It is so vibrant at night and people are rushing in for many reasons. For me, it had been a long walk so I just picked a bar, sit down, relax and experience the hustle bustle of this street.I believe Jonker Street is easily the most popular place in the city of Melaka. All the best attractions and restaurants I visited today are within walking distant from the street. Find Jonker Street on the map and you’ll see the strategic location and it should be at the top of your “to-be-visited” list.

Lots of energy and excitement when Jonker Street was closed for traffic on certain hours from Friday to Sunday. This is my highlight of the day!


If you are a traveller and have only one day in a place, you got to pick the best to explore. The fruitful day I had in Melaka was my first such experience and it inspired me to go further! Right now I am working on my next city to explore in only one day, and truly to say I am very excited!

Melaka impressed me with everything! I managed to discover its past, its culture, its provenience and origins. I had a chance to speak with locals when I queued up for lunch, I had the pleasure to discuss with guides and asked them everything I didn’t know, I had the honor to debate with other tourists and, finally, I had the opportunity to travel to Melaka! Don’t hesitate and visit this wonderful city, it is worth your every second and penny!

How do you spend your day in Melaka? Feel free to share your travel experience by leaving your comment below.


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27 Responses to Best of Melaka Travel in 1-day walking

  1. Jyinx Wong says:

    thanks for sharing your 1 day trip in Melaka =) is a very good refer for us to have a tour around Melaka. Although I am Malaysian, I don’t even know are these places is walking distance?? but I went there before. I am planning to go with my best friend but we both can’t drive around yet due to no lincense and still learning. Anyway, thanks for sharing =D

  2. penny pang says:

    How do I go to Melaka?By Bus Or By train?

    • Go Admin says:

      There is no train transport to Melaka. The only public transport is via bus at the moment.

  3. Corrina says:

    Great! Just need it bringing my family for a day trip. Thanks

  4. Kyvernny says:

    Do you know where to park the car if I’m driving over to Malacca? Fyi, one day trip and walking distance to all the places. 😉 thank you.

    • Go Admin says:

      There are parking spaces by the roadside of some of the main roads but you need to purchase coupon. You may also park inside the shopping center and the nearest ones to the heritage area are the Mahkota and Dataran Pahlawan Shopping Mall, which are about 400 meters away from Menara Taming Sari.

  5. Lem says:

    Dude, thanks for sharing this. I just wish the Malacca Zoo (among other things) was within range. Still, since St Paul’s Church is my main agenda, this is good. Thanks a lot, man.

  6. Wendy says:

    Thanks for sharing. Very details with nice picture.

  7. Carla says:

    Looks like a very rewarding trip! Can’t wait to see Malacca.

    If I’ll be coming from KL and going back the same day, do you think there is enough time to do the activities you’ve mentioned. Also, would you know bus schedule from KL to Malacca and then back to KL.

    Thanks!

    • Go Admin says:

      You may go to http://www.easybook.com/ to find out the bus schedule from KL to Melaka. The earliest bus to Melaka is 8am while the last bus is 11pm. The drive takes about 2+ hours so you should be able to arrive Melaka bus station before 10:30am if you take the 8am bus. It is definitely possible for you to cover all the attractions and restaurants covered in this article but you have to keep your eye on the closing time of some of the attractions. I suggest you to take the Menara Taming Sari ride at night if you leave Melaka after 10pm.

      • Carla says:

        Thanks!

  8. bzmama says:

    thank you very much for such a valuable info. I am planning for a day trip to Melaka this 1 jan 2015. and I only have half a day, since I will only be arriving Melaka around 11am. but I have till midnight

    this has been very helpful.

    Thank you again

  9. Deus says:

    Malacca Sultanate Palace is another attraction that you shouldn’t miss! It’s just another 2 mins walking from St Paul, and the fees is only RM 2, quite a lot to discover in there.

  10. priekum says:

    can’t wait to see Melaka…. I’ll be there on July….

  11. Karissa says:

    Hi!! it was great stumbling upon your page! I’ll be in Melaka mid-year (I know Its too early for research but I love DIYs!) and your Melaka Day trip Itinerary really helps A LOT! Thanks!! :-)

  12. Lan Chi says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. We will travel to Melaka at the end of this month and we are so excited about the trip now. We also stay at Wayfarer guest house :). Do you know by chance where should we book the bus ticket from Melaka to Kualar Lumpur airport? As i research there are total 11 schedules per day travelling from Melaka to KLIA/KLIA2, with 7 schedules departing from Melaka Sentral and 4 remaining schedules departing from Mahkota Medical Centre. Should we better start from Melaka Sentral or Mahkota Medical Centre? Many thanks for the advice.

    • Go Admin says:

      Whether to depart from Melaka Sentral or Mahkota Medical Centre depends on your schedule and where you stay. Since you stay at the heritage site, it is best to depart from Mahkota Medical Centre as Wayfarer is within 1km away compared to a few kilometers from Melaka Sentral.

  13. Juni says:

    Hi ….

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. It really helps and so many places to see in a day … I’m planning to visit Melaka on July and thinking to take bus from Terminal bersepadu selatan (KL) to Terminal Melaka Sentral . But how do I go to the heritage site from there ? is there any bus can take me to the heritage site or should I rent a car ? Many thanks for the advice in advance …

    • Go Admin says:

      At Melaka Sentral, you may get a taxi to the heritage site that costs about RM20. Alternatively, you can get a bus named Panorama and pay a small fee of RM2.

      There isn’t a need to rent a car if you are exploring just the heritage site.

  14. akhila says:

    hi,,
    Im coming from singapore on a cruise and i only have few hours in malacca. Can you please tell me what is the closest attraction of your collection from where the ship docks? I coudnt find cruise center in malacca map.

    • Go Admin says:

      Normally, the cruise ship docks in the middle of the sea near Malacca town. From there, small boats take passengers to Parameswara Jetty which is within walking distance from major Melaka attractions, with the nearest being Menara Taming Sari (about 200 meters away).

  15. Frank Lucas says:

    I will be driving from KL with my car to Malacca for the first time. I want to do a walking tour through Malacca to learn about its heritage and culture.

    We ( my wife and I ) look for a guide to show us Malacca as a walking guided tour.

    Please let me know where I can get such a tour

    Frank Lucas
    Kuala Lumpur

    • Go Admin says:

      We offer walking tour that last for 4 hours within Melaka heritage area. The price is USD150 for a group of up to 4 persons.

      Please email us at getawayasia @ gmail.com to get more info. Thanks.

  16. khoon says:

    i’m planning a 2d1n family trip to melaka in dec 2015, i will choose weekday to avoid big crowd. I am driving from penang, I wish to know where can i park my car , i think i am mostly visiting jonker area, red square area take a nite river cruise.

    • Go Admin says:

      There are a lot of parking space within and around the heritage area. It is much easier to get a car park during weekdays. Most likely you’ll be parking in the public area where you need to place the car coupon. The fee is RM0.6 per hour. If you will be parking for more than 5 hours, it is advisable to buy a day coupon that costs RM5.

  17. Aisha says:

    I love your itinerary! Thanks so much for making the time to prepare this. I have a question though, if I want to take the earliest bus from KLIA2 do you think I should book the Transnasional bus ticket in advance or do you think it won’t sold out and I can just get it at the same day? Thanks in advance.

    • Go Admin says:

      The quick way to check the bus availability is via Easybook. You can also make online booking directly from that platform.

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Top 15 Places to See in Melaka

Diary
places-to-see

The Dutch possession of Malaysia is quite eminent from the Red Square (Dutch Square) area. You can witness two of the most prominent landmarks of the area which includes the Christ Church and the old town hall or Stadthuys. You can also enjoy a tri-shaw ride in the area and indulge yourself in some souvenir shopping.

Located at the top of St. Paul’s Hill, the St. Paul’s Church ruins make for some photography shots. You can have some amazing views of the city from the top of the hill after the brief walk up. The place has been well maintained and preserved by the local authorities. The tomb stone and relic inscriptions will allow you to get a detailed insight into the history of the church.

Built in 1645, Cheng Hoong Teng temple certainly offers its visitors with a calm, serene and tranquil environment to offer their prayers. You will be fascinated by the architectural style along with the carvings of this Buddhist temple. The place mostly remains free from tourists and serves as a nice retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The wealth of the Baba Nyonya family can be witnessed at this museum which has been kept in a similar way as it was during the earlier times. The place desires to share the way of life and history of Baba Nyonya and you can take advantage of a guided tour which is included in the package.

It is easy to miss the place from the outside but the interiors are more refined. The place opens around eleven in the morning and has been declared as a UNESCO heritage site. You can get a brief idea about the history, architecture and culture of early shop houses that were based in Melaka. Admission is free of charge.

A visit to this museum will take you back to the times of the famous admiral of China, Cheng He also known as Zheng Ho. A short video accompanied by a thirty minute guided tour is all included within the entry fee. The displays and exhibits of the museum are extremely informative and certain to appeal to history lovers.

While in Chinatown expect something unusual and unique at all times. This vibrant place boasts of eye-catchy architecture and brilliant lighting. The center of the Chinatown is at Jonker Street, where you wouldn’t want to miss out on the bustling weekend night markets. Places to eat are available in plenty and certainly the best place to hang out in Melaka.

A visit to this place will take you back to the culture and history of Malaysia. This century old home acts as a living museum village which is presently inhabited by the granddaughter of the actual owner of the house. She is extremely courteous and will guide you through her house to get a better understanding of how people used to live in the past.

This is actually the replica of the original palace also known by the name Istana. There are more than one thousand three hundred exhibits along with drawings, photographs, prints and artefacts. You will be left amazed by this three storey replica which has been divided into three galleries and eight chambers.

Located in the Red(Dutch) Square, Christ Church is a favourite among the locals as well as tourists from all over the world. The church dates back to eighteenth century and offers you with a peaceful and cool ambience inside. This area around the Christ Church remains extremely crowded and it is a better idea to come early and take some nice photographs.

The Famosa Fort in Melaka is a popular tourist destination and an important historic landmark. You can visit the fort preferably during the morning so as to avoid the crowd. You can also click some nice pictures standing in front of the canons which were actually used during the early times.

Built in 1781, Sri Pogyatha Vinoyagar Moorthi Temple has been quite well maintained over the years. The temple is dedicated towards Lord Ganesha (Vonyagar) and consists of elaborate and intricate decorations. If you are in Jonker Street area then, it is definitely worth a visit to this temple. You can also visit during the evening time when the (puja) worship takes place.

The Menara Taming Sari happens to be the lone gyro tower of Malaysia. The ride will take you to heights from where you can good views of sea and the city. If you are holidaying with your family then, it can turn out to be a great experience for the entire family. The best time is the evening as from the top you can spectacular views of the sun setting down.

Built in the year 1856, the St. Francis Xavier Church is situated at Jalan Laksamana. The neo-gothic structure is located quite close to some of the popular scenic spots of the city which will make it convenient and easy for you. If you observe closely then you’ll find that the structure tilts slightly towards the left.

This museum is actually a replica of Flora de la Mar, the ship from Portugal which sank off the coast of the country after carrying loot from Melaka. You can find some interesting documents, artefacts and exhibitions inside the replica about the golden era of Melaka. Children are definite to like the place a lot.

 

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MELAKA MILLIONAIRES’ ROW

Malacca’s Millionaires’ Row
Posted on June 7, 2013 – Featured, Property News.
OUR STREET HERITAGE
By M. Veera Pandiyan
[email protected]

Looking around: Tourists soaking in the sights in Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.

JONKER Street, or Jalan Hang Jebat, is possibly the most famous road in Malacca, thanks to Jonker Walk which attracts hordes of tourists from all over the world.

But the road running parallel to it – Heeren Street – has a more interesting history and richer architectural charms.

Heeren Street, or Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, was once the place to live for those who made it to the top.

Originally called “Kampung Belanda” (Dutch Village), it ended up with the nickname of “Millionaires’ Row” because of its well-heeled residents.

The narrow street with houses adorned with ornately decorated façades was the choice neighbourhood for the prosperous Straits-born Chinese (Peranakan or Babas and Nyonyas) in the mid-19th and early 20th century.

These affluent folks competed with each other to build the most flamboyant of houses, many of which stand to this day.

Quite a number have been fully restored to their former glory and turned into highly popular boutique hotels, museums, galleries, restaurants and cafes.

Walking into these places is like going back in time to the era of Malacca’s occupation by the Dutch.

A classic example to visit is Number 8, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, a shophouse built in the 1700s.

It has been painstakingly renovated by Badan Warisan (Malaysia’s National Trust) with a grant from the US Embassy.

Entry is free but donations are welcome.

The grandest of them all: The Chee Mansion was built by the first chairman of the OCBC.

While Jonker Street (from the Dutch Jonghheer) was named after a place for “young noblemen” who had not quite made it to the upper level of nobility.

Heeren Street (originally Heeren straat), was for the “gentlemen” or “masters” in the upper crust of society.

The characteristic features of most buildings are high roofs, floors and corridors lined with intricate tiles, teak front doors carved with family names or mottos in gold calligraphy.

Most windows are also beautifully decorated with motifs while some homes even have decorated roofs with image of dragons, birds and flowers.

The houses on the street are rather narrow and small when viewed from the outside but are long and spacious inside.

This is because the houseowners then were taxed on the width of the buildings instead of the total area.

Most of them have open courtyards to provide ventilation and light. Some even have small wells to draw water or ponds to collect rainwater from the roof.

The street was home to famous Malacca Babas, including Tan Kim Seng, one of the pioneers in the development of Singapore, and Tan Chay Yan, who was Malaya’s first rubber planter in 1896.

Tan Kim Seng or Baba Kim Seng, who amassed a great fortune in Singapore, built a bridge across the Singapore River which is now named after him.

He also donated money for a bridge, named after him in Malacca, and for the famous Clocktower in front of Christ Church in the Dutch Square.

Tan Kim Seng’s stately ancestral home, built in 1822, is the present Hotel Puri.

When it was the home of Kim Seng, there was a menagerie behind with many animals, including a tiger.

The grandest house in “Millionaires’ Row” is the Chee Mansion, which stands majestically directly opposite Hotel Puri.

The breathtaking building is a Dutch era architectural gem, complete with a fairy-tale inspired watchtower.

It was built by tycoon and philanthropist Chee Swee Cheng, the first chairman of the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC).

As it was run almost entirely by the Baba’s in the old days, OCBC was jokingly referred to as Orang China Bukan China.

Chee Swee Cheng built the mansion at 117 Heeren Street as a dedication to his father, Chee Yam Chuan.

The Chee Mansion, also known as the Chee Yam Chuan Temple, is used as the family’s ancestral home.

But “Millionaires’ Row” bears the name of an outstanding fifth-generation Baba and one of the country’s illustrious early leaders.

Tun Tan Cheng Lock, who co-founded the MCA in 1949, was born at house number 111.

The dignified family home was where the country’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tan held many discussions before Merdeka.

His son, Tun Tan Siew Sin, was Malaya’s first Commerce and Indus try Minister before being the longest serving Finance Minister for 15 years.

He was also the third president of the MCA after his father and Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu.

It may not be as hectic as Jonker Street where the tourists to Malacca throng but Heeren Street oozes more history, old-world charm and provides amazing sights and stories.

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

TOURISTS DRAW TO MALACCA ATTRACTIONS

Thursday March 21, 2013

Attractions in Malacca a major tourist draw

Historical landmark: The Stadthuys and Christ Church are two popular landmarks in Malacca town.
MALACCA, a Unesco world heritage site, must have among the most number of places to visit in the country.

Travel portal Trip Advisor has recommended 51 attractions in Malacca, including the Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum, No. 8 Heeren Street Heritage Centre, Jonker Street, Cheng Hoong Teng Temple, Cheng Ho Cultural Museum, Sri Poyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple, Malacca River and Stadthuys.

It is also a common sight to see streets in the city and the famed Portuguese Square brimming with foreign visitors. World-class hotels and entertainment outlets have also mushroomed in Malacca over the last two decades.

Chinese, Portuguese, Arab, Indian, Dutch and English influences have made the city more fascinating. Visitors are also enthralled by the unique culture of the Peranakan and Chitty communities.

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default