Photo: History plus seafood at Kampung Portugis.

Kampung Portugis (Portuguese Settlement)

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Melaka’s seaside Kampung Portugis is born of her colonial past, settled by a Eurasian community known as Kristang, descendants of the Portuguese who conquered Melaka in 1511. The village itself is unexceptional, but it's interesting to learn a little about this ethnically blended community—and it offers an opportunity to enjoy a delicious seafood dinner by the coast.

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Along with the Malay Kampung Morten on the Melaka River, and Kampung Chetty, home of Hindu Peranakans, this village has been granted a heritage listing, however this has not saved them from nearby rapid development and land reclamation, which has muddied the coastal waters here. Fishing is no longer a viable livelihood and what was once a pretty coastal fishing village has suffered greatly; many residents have now moved on.

One of the old wooden houses remaining today. Photo taken in or around Kampung Portugis (Portuguese Settlement), Melaka, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

One of the old wooden houses remaining today. Photo: Sally Arnold

Like the Straits Chinese Peranakan and the Tamil-Malay Chetties, Kristang culture is a unique intermingling of customs and beliefs. Some speak a creole of Portuguese and Malay (called Kristang) although this is somewhat of a dying language, but most are devoutly Roman Catholic—the term “Kristang” comes from “Christian”. The village has an active convent and a shrine to San Pedro (Saint Peter), the patron saint of fishermen, looks out to sea. Their cuisine is spice-rich, a blend not only of Malay and Portuguese, but tastes from other Portuguese colonies like Goa in India and Macau. One notable person of Kristang descent is Tony Fernandes, the CEO of Air Asia.

The village was established in the 1930s by two Catholic priests when the British colonial government granted 28 acres of seaside land to the Portuguese descendants. Today, a few wooden houses survive, and you may see fishermen mending their nets or fish drying in the sun. In an attempt to give some background to this historical area, street signs have an explanation of their ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Kampung Portugis is located along the coast about four kilometres east of downtown Melaka. It’s ideal for a bike ride or you can get here via bus number 17 from Dutch Square.

Kampung Portugis (Portuguese Settlement)
4 km from Melaka city centre
Admission: Free

Location map for Kampung Portugis (Portuguese Settlement)

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