Ahh…Malaysia. Such a beautiful country that’s so underrated compared to its neighbors Thailand and Singapore. When I went there back in 2014, I had an incredible experience. I wondered why more people didn’t choose to come here on their Southeast Asian trip. Then, I realized, maybe a lot of people don’t know too much about this country and what there is to do there. Granted, I didn’t spend too much time there myself. But, while I was there, I got to explore the beautiful city of Malacca, and if I could, I would go back there in a heartbeat.
Whether you ever find yourself in Malacca or you want to make absolutely sure you’re tour stops here, here’s my experience in this colorful and vibrant city:
Jonker Street, or Jonker Walk, is the main tourist walking street, or downtown area, in Malacca. It’s also where the night market is held every night, so you can come and try some delicious street food, shop for knick-knacks, or take a ride in a light-up tuk-tuk. I distinctly remember Jonker Street not just because of the vibrant nature of it, but because this was the first time in Southeast Asia I tried Dorian. If you’re not familiar, Dorian is a very pungent fruit that you can smell from a mile away. People aren’t allowed to bring it into public areas because of the smell.
They say when it comes to Dorian, you either hate it or love it. For me, it’s the former.
History and Architecture
Malacca was colonized by the Dutch, British, and Portuguese, and occupied by the Japanese. Because of this, you can see how the influence existed here based on the architecture. The buildings are stunning, and walking through Malacca is like walking through time. There are still a lot of remnants from the colonizations, like a replica of the Portuguese ship, Flora de Lamar, on display outside the Maritime Museum, which happens to be the most popular museum in Malacca.
Like most food in Malaysia, the cuisine combines gastronomical influences from China, the Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries. In Malaysia, a lot of the food consists of various spices and coconut milk, as well as a meat like chicken and some rice. You may have heard of the national dish, Nasi lemak. While you can find all this in Malacca, one of the most popular dishes here is called Asam Pedas. It’s a fish stew that tastes sour and spicy. Keep in mind that a lot of Malays are Muslim, and therefore, you will find lots of Halal dishes. Also, remember if you go during Ramadan (like we did) there won’t be too much open until after sunset.
Because of Malacca’s strategic location and it’s unique history, it’s now a very diverse population. You can find descendants of the Portuguese, who today, still speak Portuguese Creole. There are also Chinese, Indian, Dutch Eurasian, Chitty, Malay, a small group of indigenous peoples, etc. This makes Malacca and exciting place to be. The culture has combined aspects from all the groups to bring you one of the most interesting places in Malaysia.
There are so many things to see and do in Malacca. But, I have to say that when I was there, I thoroughly just enjoyed walking the streets. But, a few things worth seeing/doing are Stadthuy’s, Southeast Asia’s oldest Dutch building, taking a boat along the river, or going for a ride in the Menara Taming Sari, which will give you a view of the whole city.
Whatever tour brings you to Malaysia, make sure it stops here in Malacca!
Hana LaRock is originally from New York, though has called other places around the world her home for the last two years. She currently lives in Mexico and freelance travel writer. When she’s not working, she enjoys writing, reading, spending time with her dog, and of course, traveling. You can find her at www.hanalarockwriting.com.