Melaka City

Melaka is located to the south east of Kuala Lumpur and is accessible by almost any means of transportation. Whether you prefer to travel by plane, bus, car, boat, train—each are available means of transit to Melaka —its extreme accessibility and proximity to Kuala Lumpur make it a choice starting point for any Malaysian adventure.

Melaka’s history begins around 1400 when Parameswara, the last Raja of Singapuria was supposed to have been resting near a Melaka tree when a mouse deer kicked his hunting dog into the river. Parameswara was impressed and took the event as a sign of the weak overcoming the powerful and decided this land would become the capital of his new kingdom. He chose to name the kingdom after the tree he was standing under when he observed the deer kicking his dog. Turns out it was a pretty good place to start a kingdom as Melaka is supplied with an ample quantity of fresh water, positioned in a prime location relative to the shifting monsoon winds, and had a central location in regional trade patterns, all of which soon made it a prosperous trading town.

Over the years Melaka has shifted from Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial rule and so exists today as an incredible fusion of the architecture and cultural influences of each one of these colonial powers. One example of the interesting diversity of Melaka is Harmony Street which contains prayer houses of each one of Malaysia’s three main faiths:  the Cheng Hoon Teng Chinese temple, the Sri Poyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Hindu Temple, and the Kampung Kling Mosque. And of course, there is Jonker street, which has developed a reputation for some interesting antique shopping opportunities—but be careful about the authenticity of some of these antiques.

So, if you are a fan of history and have a penchant for some unique shopping experiences Melaka should be somewhere near the top of your list for travel experiences in Malaysia. Oh, and I also recommend a quick Google Image Search for Jonker street.

Photo by Riza Nugraha