Photo: Poh San Tang Temple, at the base of Bukit Cina.

Bukit Cina

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Bukit Cina lies about a kilometre northeast of Melaka’s colonial district, part of a 42-hectare grassy forest that covers three low hills (or bukit). Reputed to be the site of the first Chinese settlement in Melaka, it is without debate the last home for many: Today it’s Melaka’s largest Chinese cemetery.

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During the 15th century reign of Sultan Mansur Shah back in the days when diplomatic and trade deals included potential wives, the Chinese Ming Dynasty Emperor sent his “astonishingly beautiful” daughter Hung Li Poh along with an entourage of 500 to Melaka. Stunned by her attractive looks, Sultan Mansur Shah arranged her conversion to Islam and she promptly became the fifth wife of the Sultan. Sultan Mansur Shah built a palace for his new consort (and co.) on the forested hill known ever after as Bukit Cina (“Chinese Hill”).

Easy walk to the top. Photo taken in or around Bukit Cina, Melaka, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Easy walk to the top. Photo: Sally Arnold

Here their descendants continued to live until the fall of Melaka to the Portuguese in 1511. This story recorded in the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) and indeed the very existence of Hung Li Poh have been fiercely debated in recent years in Malaysia, causing much ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 600 words.)

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