Malacca is a historical settlement which is blessed with a vast array of tourist sights and attractions by merit of its long and fascinating history. Often considered the cultural heart of the nation, the Portuguese, Dutch and British have all controlled the city over the centuries and an influx of Chinese and Indian immigrants mixed with the local Malay population has led to a unique amalgam of ethnicities.
Navigating the city is simple with most Melaka attractions within easy walking distance from one another, and traditional trishaws available if you need a break from the sweltering heat. Just wondering through the narrow streets of the old town is thrilling enough for most people, but see our list of the top sightseeing attractions in Melaka for a comprehensive guide to the city.
Constructed in 1753, this ancient church is the oldest place of worship for Malaysian Protestants in the country and was originally built to mark 100 years of Dutch rule in the city. Decorated with a deep red featuring an enormous white cross in the centre, the original building has undergone many alternations over the years.
This former governor’s residence and town hall is understood to be the oldest remaining Dutch building in Asia. Constructed in the mid 17th century, it’s pink exterior, imposing staircases and high windows are typical of Northern European style. Today the fascinating History and Ethnography Museum lies within (RM2) which displays Chinese and Malay weapons and pottery plus a detailed account of the history of the settlement.
People’s Museum (Muzium Rakyat)
This large museum contains several collections including the Enduring Beauty display on the third floor which is especially impressive. This shows the different methods people employ to alter their appearances including head deformation, tattoos, dental mutilation, scaring and foot binding.
Maritime and Naval Museum
Contained within an accurate replica of a Portuguese ship called the Flora de la Mar which sank near Melaka’s port, this 1990 museum is home to ancient scrolls, weaponry, models of colonial vessels and countless naval artefacts spanning the lifetime of the settlement.
A’Famosa Gate (Porta De Santiago)
The historic A’Famosa Gate is the only thing left of Portuguese fortifications built in 1511 to protect Melaka from Dutch attack.
The British dismantled much of the fort before ceding Melaka to the Netherlands in 1810 towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars, but Singapore-founder Sir Stamford Raffles – then an officer in the British army – ordered the Romanesque gate be saved from destruction. This imposing piece of melaka history is an obligatory stop on any Melaka sightseeing tour and a great place to pose for pictures with the family.
Melaka Sultanate Palace
Based on detailed descriptions of Sultan Mansur Shah’s 15th century palace contained within the Malay Annals, this wooden replica currently houses a cultural museum. The elaborately-carved woodwork is set off by exhibits explaining the court structure of the age and the life of the Sultan.
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
Constructed in 1646, this is the oldest Buddhist temple of the Chinese school in the country with elaborate carved woodwork frontage and brightly coloured interior design. Dedicated to goddess of mercy Kwan Yin, the temple remains a focal point for Melaka’s Oriental community and is regularly packed with worshippers.