This article is brought to you in part by Casa Del Rio Melaka.
Melaka is commonly referred to as the Historic City – its official designation is Bandar Bersejarah, which is simply a Malay translation. The city/state was the location of one of the earliest Malay Sultanates in the region and was established as a major trading port. In the early 1500s, the Portuguese conquered Melaka and held it for over 100 years. Later, the Dutch defeated the Portuguese and took control of the now thriving port. The Dutch then ceded Melaka to the British in the 1824 who colonised it until Malaysia’s eventual independence. For a brief spell between 1942 and 1945, Melaka was taken over by the Japanese who were eventually defeated by the British who again took control.
With such a vibrant and rich history, it’s not surprising that Melaka is basically a living museum of Malaysia’s colonial past. In fact, it is common knowledge that Melaka is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect it’s many historical sites and traditions left behind by it’s many colonisers.
The best way to really see Melaka in all it’s old world glory is to get on the ground and start walking. Every road and tiny lane will lead you to a building or location with an intriguing story to tell. Some of the more popular sights in Melaka that show up in nearly every travel guide are Jonker Street, The Stadthuys and St Francis Xavier’s church built by the Dutch, and Porta de Santiago built by the Portuguese. However, there’s plenty more to see in this old world city.
One street worth checking out – apart from Jonker – is Heeren Street, also known as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. This was the street where affluent individuals lived. It was originally known as Kampung Belanda, or Dutch Village, but eventually ended up being called Millionaires Row thanks to the many well-off individuals who lived on this street. The houses that line Heeren Street are ornate constructions with decorated facades, its inhabitants usually prosperous Peranakan people. One of the biggest names in Malaysian history was even born in a house on Millionaire’s Row, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, who co-founded the Malaysian Chinese Association in 1949. The street was eventually renamed after him.
Other streets worth exploring are Jalan Tukang Besi (formerly Blacksmith Street), which, obviously, was dominated by blacksmiths stoking and pounding on hot metals, as well as tinsmiths, coffin makers, and craft shops. Also, you cannot miss Jalan Tokong Besi in Chinatown which is also known as Street of Harmony. Houses of worship of various religions line up along this street, making it the perfect illustration of peaceful, multicultural Malaysia. The three houses of worship are Cheng Hoon Teng Temple which is the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia, built in 1654; Kampung Kling Mosque, finished in 1868; and Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Hindu Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia built in the 18th century.
Melaka Heritage & History Discovery Walk
You can explore these streets and more when you take the Melaka Heritage & History Discovery walk. Organised and hosted by Casa Del Rio, a boutique hotel by the bank of the Melaka river, the walk will take you through the city’s historical sights and highlight some of Melaka’s traditional trades and heritage. Along the way, you can even take the opportunity to explore the local coffee shops for snacks and stop for some quintessential snapshots of Melaka.
Discover the hidden gems of Melaka with this hotel and tour packages by Casa Del Rio. The package for two includes a 3 days and 2 nights stay in their Deluxe Lago / River Room with breakfast, Peranakan tiffin set lunch with cendol treat, Satkara Spa foot massage, and the Heritage Walk which will be a private tour specially for you. The package starts from RM1488+.
Details on Heritage Walk
The walk will be be conducted in English by experienced local, Melaka-born senior guides. Do note that the walk takes places around the streets of Melaka which can be uneven, so it is not advisable for wheelchair users.
Price: RM88 nett per person (Min 4 persons per trip)
Time: 9am – 12noon (Estimated)
What to wear: light clothing, comfortable shoes
What to bring: drinking water, sunscreen, hat/cap
To join a walk, make sure to make a booking three days in advance! Contact [email protected] or call 06 – 289 6888 to make a booking and find out more.