Malacca (Or Melaka) is the historic city of Malaysia. This historical city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 7 July 2008. Malacca was a fishing village first, like in 1300. Then Malay sultanates controlled it till the Portuguese conquered it in 1511. Malacca was important to them as it was accessible in all seasons and on the strategically located narrowest point of the Malacca Straits. In 1641, the Dutch defeated the Portuguese in an effort to capture Malacca. Malacca was ceded to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 in exchange for Bencoolen on Sumatra. From 1826 to 1946, Malacca was under the rule of the British. Malacca went briefly under the rule of Empire of Japan in 1942–1945 during World War II.
Since Malacca straights plays a vital role in sea trade, and Old city of Malacca situated at the narrowest part of the straights, You can probably understand the amount of sailors from different parts of the world hovering around the old city back then.
How to get to Malacca
I travelled from KL, by Bus, which was the easiest. You can book buses online. There are several bus services operating to Malacca(Or Melaka Sentral Terminal). I took KKKL bus liner to go Malacca(RM 14.50) and Transnational service to get out of Malacca.(To KLIA2 RM 24.50). out of the 2 bus services I used, I could safely say KKKL is much better, more leg space and comfortable.
I booked my tickets from here: http://www.busonlineticket.com/bus-from-kl-to-melaka
Journey is like 2.5 hours. In fact you cover 95% of your journey in 2 hours on highway and rest 30 mins traveling main streets of Melacca facing obvious traffic. Traffic is much less though.
Once you get to Melaka Sentral Terminal, You can book a Grab to reach your hotel.
Booking a hotel
I used Agoda. 2 most important things.
1. Book accommodation anywhere within 10 min reach from Jonker street
2. Night market operates on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
All most all the Historical sites are within the reach from Jonker street. So you can cover all that by walking. Or else you can rent a fancy trishaw, which I haven’t tried.
Another accommodation booking tip is, try to go for an A/C room if possible. Heat is unbearable sometimes. Especially if you’re an European.
Same way, by bus is the easiest and cheapest. There are buses operating to KLIA and KLIA2 as well. My ticket to KLIA2 was RM24.50 and it was a 2 hours journey.
St. Paul’s Church
The ruins of St. Paul’s Church are at the summit of St. Paul's Hill. It has been in ruins for more than 150 years. To this little mountain top, you can clearly see the Malacca straights.
St. Paul’s Church was enlarged to two stories in 1556 (after the Archbishop of Goa in India handed over the church to the Jesuits in 1548); between 1567 and 1596 the Portuguese added gun turrets to the chapel and it became a fortress. In 1590 a belfry tower was added to the front of the church and it was renamed the Igreja de Madre de Deus (Church of the Mother of God). When the Dutch invaded Malacca in 1641 it was badly damaged (the belfry tower was destroyed) but the complex was later repaired and renamed St. Paul’s Church, it was primarily used as a Protestant church for about 112 years until Christ Church was completed in 1753. After that, St. Paul’s Church fell into disuse. Under the British administration, a lighthouse was built and it eventually ended up as a storehouse for gunpowder.
A’Famosa was built in 1511, the settlement used to sprawl across a whole hillside but now only a lone gate (Porta de Santiago) remains. One of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. Originally constructed by Alfonso de Albuquerque (who led the Portuguese invasion on the Malacca Sultanate), the remains of the fort is now a crumbling whitewashed gatehouse and is located downhill from St. Paul’s Church
Jonker Walk/ Jonker street
Probably the most remarkable place to visit in Malacca. The road starts from across Melaka River near the Stadthuys. The road is filled with historical houses along its left and right sides dating back to 17th century. It also has shops selling antiques, textiles, foods, handicrafts and souvenirs.
Flor do Mar dutch ship
Not the original ship, but a replica of the original ship. This is a Naval Museum in Malacca now. For a foreigner entrance fee is RM 10. It absolutely worth to pay the price and see the museum. I never thought I’d get inside a Dutch ship one day. Probably the part I enjoyed most in my time in Malacca.
Queen Victoria’s Fountain
The Queen Victoria Fountain was built in 1901 by the British. This fountain is still functioning well and is probably the only functioning colonial water fountains in Malaysia. The fountain is a famous backdrop for visitors who come to Malacca. On the tip of the fountain says 'Victoria Regina 1837-1901, erected by the people of Malacca in memory of a great Queen.
The Queen Victoria Fountain is probably one of the last traces of the British colonial era in Malaysia and it symbolizes the glorious days of the British colonization in Malaysia.