Melaka – a bit of history

5 May
The Dutch old town with Stadhuys

The Dutch old town with Stadhuys

From Singapore I took the ‘massage bus’ to Melaka, about 3-4 hours drive in vibrating chairs further north. Melaka is a little town that got recognized as Unesco World Heritage only last year (at the same time as George Town on Penang Island), so there’s still lots of renovation and tidying going on, but there’s plenty of nice buildings to see. It’s like a polonaise of different countries, cultures and architectural styles that visited (invaded) this coastal town and trading port: Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, British… with a pinch of Sultan influence.

I’m not sure if I was very receptive to take in another city, after a few days running around KL, then Singapore in a nutshell and then another town for just a day. Definitely going too fast, so I’ll slow down soon. So I’ll post pictures instead of writing much. And I ended my day in Melaka with some Chinese mmmmmassage.

Worth a visit

A'Famosa portuguese leftovers

A'Famosa portuguese leftovers

Melaka (or Malaka or Malacca) was the biggest harbour in South East Asia in the 15th century because of its strategic location between India and China on the spice route. The Portuguese invaded the city and chased the Malay Sultan away – there’s only one part of the A’Famosa fortification that remains from that era. A few hundred years later the Dutch took over and built many churches and administrative buildings e.g. the Stadhuys (strange to see this Dutch word on a façade on the other side of the world). But when the French invaded Holland, they gave Melaka to their allies – and the port became one of the British Straits Settlements (together with Singapore).

Lovely Chinatown - Jonkers walk

Lovely Chinatown - Jonkers walk

The area I liked most though was Chinatown – the so called Jonker’s walk with old Chinese shophouses and many Chinese temples. And I went to eat the local speciality in one of the Chinese restaurants there: chicken with rice balls (sounds better than rice with chicken balls, at least).

And what does one do after yet again another long day of walking around? I went to find some massage place. In Malaysia, massage is done by the Chinese community, because obviously the muslim women are not allowed to touch other men. So this time I had half an hour of foot reflexology (my feet needed that pampering) and then one and a half hour of strong massage (ouch, but nice). The Chinese massage is more rough than the Cambodian variety. Nevertheless, a very pleasurable experience, except that I had to buy the massage oil!!! How can they offer massage without oil??? So no tip for her – tough luck.

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2 Responses to “Melaka – a bit of history”

  1. melayu boleh 13 May 2009 at 05:57 #

    ermmm… i just read your blog.. nice info and good tips..

  2. yl 17 December 2009 at 20:59 #

    i also just had a tour from malacca, i like it so much~~~~

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