UNESCO World Heritage City Malacca


World Heritage City Malacca is one of the two World Heritage Cities in Malaysia (Penang is the other). I have been several times to Malacca, the first time in 1990 as a backpacker, the last time in April 2010 when I was cycling from Johor Bharu to Sitiawan and Pangkor Island. Here is a report of my bike journey in April 2010.

Welcome to Malacca World heritage City
The only sign I found about Malacca being World Heritage City, opposite of St. Francis Church at a parking ground

It took me some searching and hoping for the best until more or less by accident I ended up at the more familiar sight of Malacca's city center. Although Malacca is a major tourist destination it was remarkable quiet on this Tuesday afternoon.

I decided it would be useful to have a city map so I moved to the cities main tourist office. It was closed, as it was closed during the rest of the Tuesday and the whole Wednesday (I checked several times when I was walking around). Also the Malacca UNESCO World Heritage office was closed (soon to be opened, Malacca is already more then a year listed in UNESCO's World Heritage list).

Arriving in Malacca's World Heritage City
My bicycle on arrival in World Heritage City Malacca

Walking through Malacca's historical Chinatown was fantastic. Jonker Street and many other little streets were renovated and were breathing a pleasant atmosphere. There are many old shophouses, an old Mosque, Hindu Temple and several Chinese temples to see. I couldn't help myself wondering what it had been in the high days of Malacca's power in Asia, the days that the Portuguese, British and Dutch rules this part of Malaysia. The remains are still visible.

A'Famosa, the Portuguese Fort in Malacca
A'Famosa, the Portuguese Fort in Malacca

But the modern world has been closing in, just south of the heritage area is a complete new build massive shopping center build which had not been there when I first visited Malacca in 1990.

City center Malacca with Christchurch and Stadthuys
City center Malacca with Christchurch and Stadthuys

I kept wandering through the city center, admiring the small Chinese shop lots. I was enjoying a lunch in one of those typical little food stalls were I had a ho kien mee (prawn noodles). It always amazes me how cheap these meals can be, less then a dollar and you're eating more then you can handle.

Still, tired of walking around I found a little cafe with fruit juices with all kinds of exciting names. What would image when reading: "Honeydew Tomato Hangover", "Cucumber Cruiser", "Give Me Back My Guava" or "Pineapple Hu La La". Sure, the drinks were not cheap, but drinks like these must be great, and they were!

UNESCO World Heritage City Malacca, view towards St Francis Xavier Cathedral
UNESCO World Heritage City Malacca, view towards St Francis Xavier Cathedral

I wandered along the riverside, was surprised most of Chinatown was closed at night with the exception of 1 or 2 restaurants. It seemed that nightlife seems to be restricted to the shopping malls.

Malacca city center Malacca city center
A few examples of houses in the Malacca city center

Via Kota Melaka I walked to the old "Flor De La Mar", the Portuguese ship that sank off the coast of Melaka with its hull laden with treasure.

Detail of a roof of a heritage house in Chinatown, Malacca
Detail of a roof of a heritage house in Chinatown, Malacca

By that time I was hungry and found a small restaurant with some excellent rice dishes. It had been a very well spend day.

Accommodation in Malacca

With the appointment as heritage city, there's more hotels, hostels and guesthouses in Malacca available then ever in the past. We offer a selection of midrange and up market hotels plus a selection of dirt cheap budget guesthouses and hostels:

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Hotels, guesthouses and hostels in Malacca

Malacca, even more now it is appointed as World Heritage by the UNESCO, attracts more travelers then ever. Part of the consequence is that there are plenty of accommodation is available.