Things to see and do
This salmon-red church is one of Melaka's iconic heritage buildings found at Dutch Square. The architecture is classic colonial Dutch and the bricks were imported all the way from the Netherlands -- no easy task in the 1740s. Originally a Dutch Reformed Church, when the British took over ... read more
Melaka was a colony of Portugal from 1511 to 1641, and marriages between the colonisers and local people resulted in a unique "Eurasian" culture that has survived to this day. The Portuguese village itself was only created in the 1930s when British colonial rulers granted 28 acres of seaside land ... read more
The interior has been converted into a sprawling, if rather dull, History and Ethnography Museum with antique porcelain, keris swords and creepy mannequins wearing Malay wedding costumes. Admission also includes entry to the Education Museum, Literature Museum, Admiral Cheng Ho Gallery, ... read more
The materials used to build it were imported from China, and its lacquer work and carvings of mythological creatures make it one of Chinatown's most impressive buildings. The impeccable restoration work even earned it a UNESCO award. The main prayer hall is dedicated to Guanyin, the Chinese ... read more
Most of the Chinese shophouses have been converted into antique stores or cafes, but a precious few carry on as bicycle repair shops and tailors. Though it's easy to get distracted by eating and shopping, don't miss the museums and temples on adjacent streets. From 18:00-00:00 on Friday, ... read more
This ancestral house showcases many of them, from carved hardwood furniture to beaded slippers. Don't miss the bridal chamber and the black and white photos of stone-faced young brides and grooms seated in their thrones. You'll get a lot more out of the experience if you join the guided tour -- ... read more
All that survives is the gate house and a few antique cannons have been placed in front for touristy photo-ops.
Before it was destroyed, the fortress passed from the Portuguese to the Dutch, and you can still make out the bas-relief logo of the Dutch East India Company.
The church itself, built in 1521 was visited on a number of occasions by the Jesuit missionary St Francis Xavier and following his death in 1552 his body was buried here for a period before being shifted to Goa in India. The statue of the saint â€“ who is credited for spreading Catholicism to ... read more
Many were built in the 1920s, but have been beautifully restored if a bit tackily decorated (picture roofs tiled to resemble the Malaysia flag). You can get a glimpse from the Melaka River Cruise, or walk over for a closer look and a chat with the friendly residents. One house known as Villa ... read more
Inside there's a collection of antique maps, model ships and old sea-faring devices, but admission is worth it just to climb aboard the ship.
There's also an extension building with maritime art, dioramas of pirate life and information about Malaysia's sea creatures.
The palace was built based on written descriptions in the Malay Annals texts using only materials and techniques available at the time, such as wooden pegs instead of nails.
The palace houses a Cultural Museum with traditional Malay art, weapons, costumes and musical instruments.
Its 13 galleries give exhaustive coverage of the history of the Chinese in Melaka as well as Chinese art, tea culture, religion and sea-faring. There's also a short film and a classical Chinese puppet show of Chen Ho's life. This one's recommended for serious history buffs, but you can walk ... read more
The impressive building was completed in 1856, having taken nearly seven years to complete, and still functions as a Catholic church. It is named in honour of St Francis Xavier, the 16th century missionary who brought Catholicism to the Far East and was a regular visitor to Melaka. Free ... read more
It's not just notable for its age, but also its unique architecture that blends Sumatran, Indian, Malay and even Chinese elements. The minaret looks a lot like a pagoda and if you look closely at the wooden carvings inside you'll spot Chinese lucky symbols. If you hear the Muslim call to prayer ... read more
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