One of multicultural Malaysia’s most colorful cities, the port of Melaka (Malacca) boasts more than 600 years of history. A UNESCO World Heritage Site for its blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences, the city delivers Hello Kitty trishaws, ruined churches, fusion food, and more. Here’s how to enjoy one day in Melaka.
Morning: Historic Melaka
Start the day by exploring Melaka’s historic center. Not a lot remains of the 16th-century Portuguese A’Famosa Fort, but the Porta de Santiago gate gives an idea of its scale. Amble up to the atmospheric ruins of St. Paul’s Church, first built in 1521. Stop to admire the Stadthuys, the center of government for Dutch colonists a century or so later, then cross the river to Jonker Street, with its seductive shops. Don’t miss Harmony Street, named for the three religions that meet here. Visit the Hindu Sri Pogyatha Vinoyagar Moorthi Temple, the Chinese Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, and the Malay Kampung Kling Mosque.
Afternoon: Watery Wanderings
Discover Melaka’s signature fusion cuisine, Peranakan or Nyonya food, over lunch at a restaurant—or go deeper with a hands-on cooking course. Next, learn about the Chinese-Malaysian culture that created the cuisine as you tour the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum. Board a glitzy trishaw, decked out in pink or glitter, and capture the signature Melaka selfie as you zip around the old town. Then soak up scenic shophouse landscapes on a Melaka River cruise; choose an amphibious vehicle for extra thrills. If time permits, explore the Flora de la Mar Maritime Museum, a re-creation of a Portuguese trading ship.
Night: Show Spectacular
As sunset comes around, head up high for a view across the city. The Menara Taming Sari is a rotating viewpoint that rises 262 feet (80 meters) into the air for 360-degree views. Alternatively, opt for the Shore Sky Tower, with an observation deck 535 feet (134 meters) above the city. Next, discover Melaka’s rich history at the ultramodern Encore Melaka theater, where a cast of around 200 perform a song-and-dance extravaganza atop a rotating stage. Round off your evening in classic style, by snacking and grazing your way through the Jonker Street Night Market.