The town of malacca (also known as Melaka) is a beautiful riverside community, with a rich history, artistic walls and a lively heart. It’s small, so don’t expect clubbing til 5am or grand golden temples. Instead, malacca has markets, museums and boats.
Malacca is full of remnants of its 17th century Dutch occupation, which you can see best from Dutch Square. There are five main museums in the Dutch district, the main one, and the only one worth seeing really, is the Historical and Ethnological Museum of Melaka. It isn’t the best museum, and the layout is a bit odd, but if you’ve come to malacca for a bit of culture, surely you should see the museum? It takes you right from the first man in malacca, to the Portuguese, Dutch and British invasion, to modern day Malaysia. Quick tip, the usual 20RM entry fee drops to 2RM on Fridays – their holy day. Other places to see some of malaccas history, are the st Paul’s Hill & Church, which you can climb up to for a great view of the town, the docks, and of course the old town.
Jonker street & Old Town
Japan honker is a place for wondering, nibbling and window shopping. By day, the old heritage buildings open up their bright shutters to reveal art galleries, coffee shops, durian bakeries, kite shops, ice cream parlours… the UNESCO world heritage buildings go right through to the street
behind, and show off carved wooden staircases, central atriums, and intricate heritage tiling. Have a look around for the history as well as the goodies on offer. A favourite of ours was Geographers Cafe, a perfect people watching spot, with an iced coffee to help you escape the heat. Jonkers street is also a great place to go in the evening, when the markets open up. Again, wondering around is the best way to see it, but this time, look through open doorways at boxing classes, or free for all sing alongs, pull up a chair and watch the group dancers do their weekly show, and try the coconut ice cream, Chinese dumplings, smoking ice cream or watermelon juices. I can almost hear you dribbling!
The tuk tuks are malaccas wild side, like Bangkok on steroids, on wheels. Have a ride if you dare. They come in frozen, minion, or Disney princess themes, and play techno music on full blast. Don’t forget the flashing lights and feather boas!
The Indian community in malacca isn’t huge, but my god they are mighty. Just along from Dutch square, the streets turn into little India. Our main experiences were a barbers shop and food. With the heat, hair grows quickly and James was due for a trim, so we followed some advice from our hostel and found a place in little India. The men worked fast with various clippers and scarily sharp razors, giving us big smiles and even a firm massage at the end. Brilliant!
The real highlight of the area though, is the food. I can honestly say the curry combinations in malacca are some of the best foods I’ve ever had. Chose from the three or four on offer and you won’t be disappointed -although I highly recommend Saravanna. Most of them will hand you a menu, with vague things on like ‘chicken curry’, but instead, do as the locals do. Grab a plate and choosing your own, try to get lots of small scoops rather than one dish. Your curry often comes with free popadoms and dipping sauces, and a naan, roti or paratha comes with sauces and daal too. Saravanna is the king of all Indians, we ordered a curry, and ended up with a plate -sorry, banana leaf- of eleven separate foods. Like all street food, it was speedy and well made, but the flavours, the spice, the heat! Oh my holy sh*t. Could it get better? The meal came to 26.40RM/£2.40 each. Malaysia is many things, but the real Malaysia is in malaccas curries.