Journey into the historic Malacca town and enjoy the oldest city in Malaysia. Malacca or Melaka (in the local language) is 94 miles from Kuala Lumpur and 151 miles from Singapore. It is possible to go for a day trip from both cities. But it is better to spend a relaxing weekend there.
Here are 5 ways to spend a relaxing weekend in Malacca:
1. Stroll along Jonker and Heeren Streets
Jonker Street, also known as Jalan Hang Jebat has 300 years of history. Serious antique collectors and history buffs will find this street fascinating. Besides rare finds and authentic artifacts, Jonker Street is lined with restored historic homes and shops with European and Asian architectural influences. In recent years, Jonker Street has added more attractions – specialty coffee shops.
Heeren Street, another historic street which runs parallel to Jonker Street is equally impressive. It is formerly known as Millionaire’s Row and home to the rich and famous Straits-born Chinese (Peranakan). Peranakan is a unique culture found only in Malacca, Singapore, and Penang. They are descendants of Chinese immigrants and the local Malay – and have a blend of the Chinese and Malay cultures. The Baba Peranakan Museum of Melaka and centuries-old bound feet shoemaker shop are some of the highlights on Heeren Street.
You may need a few hours to take a stroll along both old narrow streets.
2. Sightseeing tour in Malacca
Conquered and governed by the Portuguese (from 1511), Dutch (from 1641 and briefly under the British rule in 1795) and British (from 1824). The Portuguese, Dutch and British have contributed to the rich history and culture of Malacca. Visit these historic sites to learn more about Malacca’s past:
- A Famosa Fort and St. Peter’s Church (Portuguese)
- Christ Church and Stadhuys (Dutch)
- Private mansions and club houses with Victorian tiles along the Malacca River (British)
A half day tour of Malacca usually includes a walk to St. Paul’s Hill through A Famosa Fort to St. Peter’s Church, Christ Church and Stadhuys and Kampong Morten (a traditional Malay village).
3. Malacca River Cruise
Take a 45-minute cruise along the river in a 20-seater boat. Boats depart and drop off at the Quayside Heritage Centre near the Maritime Museum. The round trip cruise passes by historic buildings, old warehouses, and villages.
4. Try Malacca cuisine
Many cultures influence Malacca cuisine. The most unique are the Nyonya (Peranakan) food – a mixture of Chinese, Malay, British, Dutch and Portuguese. Try chicken ponteh (chicken stew with potatoes), chicken rice balls and a variety of desserts (called kuih by the locals) made from glutinous rice flour and rice flour.
For an authentic kuih experience go to Straits Affair, a Peranakan cafe located on a side street near Jonker Street. Their afternoon tea consists of the famous kueh ku (Chinese influenced), pang su sie (Portuguese influenced buns) and ondeh ondeh (Malay influenced).
A must try is the chicken rice ball dish. The most famous chicken rice ball restaurant is Hoe Kee. If you can’t get a seat, try Famosa Chicken Rice.
5. Spa at Majestic Hotel and Casa del Rio
Stay at the Majestic Hotel or Casa del Rio and ease your tired muscles and overworked feet after a day of sightseeing at one of the luxurious spas.
The Majestic Hotel’s Spa Village offers a unique spa treatment using the elaborate Peranakan healing traditions and local ingredients. Before treatment, guests are given a “temperature” test using traditional Chinese medicine’s yin and yang measurement. A cool body would need a warming treatment. While the hot body requires the cooling treatment.
Casa del Rio’s Satkara Spa offers the traditional Malay spa where you’ll get a warming wrap, a traditional herbal bath, and a massage.
Malacca has 600 years of history and was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2008. Have you been there?