I did a self-guided Malaka Walking Tour as soon as I arrived in the UNESCO-World Cultural Heritage city. I had a whole day to spare, so I decided to do it on my own. The blistering sun didn’t really dissuade me from walking. Having a hat and bottled water were enough for me. But, if you can afford, experience being “chauffeured” around with one of the colorful rickshaws. It would be a fun thing to do in Melacca.
Where to start? Well, I began at the heart of the postcard-perfect old town. I know that’s where the crowd goes, but you can’t avoid tourists wherever you go. Besides, it’s always good to start a walking tour at the heart of history, right? 😉
The order of these places are based on how I discovered them. You can exactly follow the route in order to save time. You’re welcome. 😉
In Dutch, this building means “City Hall” and it’s been standing there since 1650. There’s a museum inside if you are into that sort of thing. One of the first things you’ll notice is its red structure – and so are the rest of the other old buildings around. Thus, they also call it “Red Square.”
A visit to the Red Square won’t be complete without going inside Christ Church. Though small, this baroque-style place of worship is littered with things that are centuries old.
Memorial Art Gallery and Malaysia Youth Museum
Right on the left side of Christ Church, you will find the Memorial Art Gallery and Malaysia Museum. It’s small and there’s nothing much to see that was of interest to me – at least.
You should never ever leave Melaka without riding on Asia’s most-decorated rickshaws. 😉
I have to be honest – I didn’t go inside because I was so hungry that I had to attend to my grumbling stomach first. And after eating, I just decided to skip it. Sorry…
The Bastion House
This is a heritage house that dates back to 1910 and was once housed Dunlop, a rubber company owned by the British. Inside, you will find the Malay and Islamic World Museum which is informative and interesting.
Proclamation of Independence Memorial House
If you want to see the country’s history towards its independence from foreign conquests, this museum has a detailed information and some memorabilia.
The building you see is a modern reconstruction of the Sultanate Palace of Malacca. Today, it is a cultural museum. I really have no idea what’s inside because I was at the gate but couldn’t find the entrance. I didn’t even see people queuing for tickets nor a security guard at the gate.
Porta de Santiago
Also called as “A Famosa,” the ancient fortress is your getaway to visit the ruins of the St Paul Church on the hill.
Bukit St Paul Church
This is Southeast Asia’s oldest church built in 1521 – the same year Magellan arrived in the Philippines. What do you see here? Well, not much, really. You can go around and pretend to be inquisitive in ten minutes. Ok, you can see some tombstones here. 🙂
Menara Taming Sari
From Bukit St Paul, you’ll have a view of the city and the revolving tower of Malacca. If you have time, visit it and tell me what you see. 🙂
Behind the ruins of St Paul’s Church, there’s this white building. Again, there’s a gate here but it was closed. I don’t know if this is the entrance but there’s a signboard that welcomes visitors to Governor’s Museum, Literature Museum and History Museum. I really wanted to visit the Literature Museum.
When I went down from the hill, I went back to the Red Square or Stadthuys. Few meters away, by the riverbank, you will find the remnants of the Portuguese Port.
Chinatown Melaka / Jonker Street
I’d recommend that you walk the long stretch of Jonker Street/Chinatown of Melaka. There are a lot interesting things I saw made me stop to take a look of them. Also, if you walk leisurely, you would notice ancient doors, tiny houses and temples.
The Statue of Bodybuilder Datuk Wira Dr. Gan Boon Leong
Well, he’s a city treasure in Melaka. His titles include, “Mr. Asia,” Mr. Universe,” “Mr. Malaysia,” and “Mr. Melaka.”
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
Touted as the country’s oldest functioning temple, Cheen Hoon Teng Temple is also known as the Temple of Green Cloud. Everything I found here was fascinating. This is, perhaps, the only temple I could remember that devotes to Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
Masjid Kampung Kling
A few steps from Cheen Hoon Teng Temple is this historical mosque. If you go inside, you find the foreign influences of its design – English, Chinese, Portuguese and Indian.
Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Hindu Temple
Also on the same street with the Chinese temple and the mosque is this Hindu Temple. All of these three places of worship are located in “Harmony Street.” Just like any other Hindu temple I’ve been to, this temple features colorful statues of Hindu gods and goddesses.
If you want to help the plight of the orang-utans better, buy your souvenir here.
The Umbrella Street
Ok, I’m not really sure the name of this street but I call it Umbrella Street due to the outdoor art installations of the umbrellas. Good for your Instagram posts! 🙂
You must be tired by now from walking but if you want to rest, you can sit in one of the cafes by the river (or canal?).
The Murals in Malaka
And when you’re ready, continue walking along the river and you’ll find amazing murals across the river.
When you reach the bridge, go across it and you’ll pass by these ruins that no visitors are allowed to get in.
From the Portuguese settlement, walk to Sentosa Village. I must warn you that it’s a bit far – so you better take a taxi or one of those colorful rickshaws. If you want to see a living Malay traditional house, then you must visit Sentosa Villa. I promise you won’t regret it!
After leaving Sentosa Villa, I flagged down a taxi to catch the bus back to Kuala Lumpur. This day trip was exhausting but it was worth it.