Founded around 1400AD by Sultan Sri Majara, Malacca was established as an international trading port. There must have been something about its location as a hundred years later it was invaded by the Portuguese Empire who slaughtered all of the Muslim inhabitants. A further hundred years on and the Dutch seized the city, near destroying it in the process. Then, two hundred years later and after rebuilding it, the Dutch gave it away to the English.
After a four-hour bus trip from Singapore, we arrived in the late afternoon to sticky heat and rain. While the rain would stick around for the four days of our visit it didn’t stop us from getting out and about.
The Chinatown of Malacca, the street is a popular spot for tourist and locals alike. During the day the street is busy with many local stores and cafes.
Then on weekends, the street transforms into night markets, bustling with local food and includes a large stage where locals can show off their karaoke skills.
In 1641 the Dutch defeated the Portuguese in battle to conquer the Malacca, leaving the city in ruins. The city was rebuilt around Red Square in a classic Dutch design. The square also includes a Christ Church, another landmark in the old city centre.
Saint Paul’s Hill
Another historical landmark of Malacca is St Paul’s Hill. Situated behind Red Square it contains the roofless shell of old Saint Paul’s Church, now part of the A Formosa complex, an old Portuguese fort.
During our stay in town, St. Paul’s Church hosted an art festival, with plentiful contemporary dance and music shows.
Break The Code
A more modern aspect of Malacca, Break The Code is an escape room experience. Blindfolded, you are lead into a room and given an hour to escape. The idea is to solve a set of puzzles that lead to more puzzles, which will eventually allow you to exit the room(s), all in the space of an hour. There are four separate rooms available, each with a different theme: ‘kidnapped’, ‘haunted house’ and similar.
While possible to complete the task with only two players, it’s quite tough. For this kind of game, the more minds thinking through the puzzles and throwing around ideas the better. While the two of us managed to get much of the way through, we ultimately failed to escape. A fun experience and one I’d do again, but perhaps with more people.
Right off the coast of Malacca is Pulau Upeh, an island that is currently under reclamation. With only a short bridge to it, we rode there on bicycles loaned to us by the hostel.
The island is in a strange state of being semi-built. A large portion of the island is already completed, with shops, housing, hotels built and just sitting there empty. The mosque is perhaps the only building in full use…
Then at the other end of the island, diggers are working to build more of the island. The island does have perhaps the best beaches in the city.
Malacca was a nice place to spend a few days where simply walking through the quiet streets at night has a light show of its own.
As for the local transport, there are the Trishaw’s emblazoned with Hello Kitty that lights up brightly at night and pumps out hard dance music.
Next we head 92km north to the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
The Trail Wanderers