Melaka Introduction Walking Tour, Melaka

Melaka Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Melaka

Melaka often spelled as Malacca, is the oldest Malaysian city on the Straits of Malacca. Melaka is a historic city that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

According to legend, when Parameswara, the founder of Melaka, arrived here in the late 14th century. While he was resting under a tree known as a Melaka tree, he saw his warrior's hunting dogs being challenged and kicked into a river by a tiny mouse deer. Amused by this, he chose to name the site Melaka after the tree under which he was sitting.

Much of the architecture and culture of Melaka comes from the nations that Melaka was trading with and from the many occupying forces that controlled the city. In the early 15th century, Ming China actively sought to develop a commercial hub and a base of operation for voyages into the Indian Ocean. Due to Chinese involvement, Melaka had grown to become an important port and trading center.

Its strategic location also attracted Arab, Persian and Indian traders. Malacca turned into an Islamic sultanate when Parameswara converted to Islam after he had married a princess from Sumatra. The authority of Malay sultanates ended in 1511 after the Portuguese conquest. The Portuguese left their mark on Melaka until the Dutch conquest in 1641.

The Dutch ruled the area through 1798 when the British took control. The British remained the ruling force of Melaka through 1957, with a brief occupation by the Japanese during World War II. Finally, Melaka became a part of the new country of Malaysia in 1963.

Today, Melaka is widely known as a center for trade. Due to its location, many exporting businesses use the area as a hub. A steady need for the movement of products has allowed Melaka to develop a large port, convention services, and safe transit. There are also a large number of hotels and restaurants that cater to business travelers and tourists.

The culture of Melaka is unique to the region. The Dondang Sayang art form is practiced on street corners, particularly on Jonker Walk, part of the Chinatown area. Other attractions visitors are sure to find interesting include the Middelburg Bastion, the Proclamation of Independence Memorial, and the Stadthuys, among many others.

Take this self-guided walking tour to learn more about the beautiful city of Melaka.
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Melaka Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Melaka Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Malaysia » Melaka (See other walking tours in Melaka)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: emma
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Dutch Square
  • Malacca Sultanate Palace
  • A Famosa Fort
  • Proclaimation of Independence Memorial
  • St. Paul's Church
  • Taming Sari Tower
  • Malacca River Walk
  • Baba-Nonya Heritage Museum
  • Jonker Street
Dutch Square

1) Dutch Square (must see)

The Dutch Square is the most famous landmark in Melaka, located in the historic district Bandar Hilir. The square is also referred to as Red Square due to the red-painted buildings that surround it. The most notable of these buildings is the City Hall, also known as Stadthuys.

The red buildings were erected during the 17th and 18th centuries. They all bring forth the distinctive features of Dutch architecture during that time. Each building offers large windows and decorative details made from wrought iron. A mixture of British and Portuguese architecture is reflected in the Tan Ben Swee Clock Tower. Portuguese influences are also seen at A Famosa ("The Famous" in English), the old fortress built in 1512.

The Dutch Square is a popular area for tourists because of its beauty and easy access to a number of places of interest. Some of these include Christ Church Melaka, the Melaka Art Gallery, and the Malaysia Youth Museum. There are also numerous stalls lining the square where visitors can find souvenirs to remember their trip.

The center of Dutch Square contains the Queen Victoria Fountain. This fountain was built in 1901 to honor Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.
Malacca Sultanate Palace

2) Malacca Sultanate Palace

Malacca Sultanate Palace is a museum and exhibition hall. The museum showcases the culture and history of Melaka (Malacca) throughout the palace and the carefully manicured garden.

The original palace was built in the 15th century. The existing Malacca Sultanate Palace was rebuilt in 1984 for use as a museum at the behest of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The palace officially opened in July 1986.

The building was designed to resemble the palace of the Malacca Sultanate, Mansur Shah, as closely as possible. Using data from the Malay Annals, a literary work that gives a primary source of information on past events, the museum even uses the same types of construction materials that would have been used in the original palace. The walls and roof are made from wood, and the structure uses wooden pegs rather than nails.

The objective of the Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum is to preserve the architectural style used for these palaces and to exhibit artifacts from royal households. It also informs patrons about the heritage of the Malay people, the Malacca Sultanate, and the battle of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat, the legendary Malaccan heroes known for their rebellion against the Malacca Sultanate.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM.
A Famosa Fort

3) A Famosa Fort

A Famosa was a Portuguese fortress built in 1512. Now mostly in ruins, visitors to the Dutch Square can see A Famosa as an integral part of the history of Melaka.

The fortress was controlled by the Portuguese from its construction through 1641. The Dutch took control of the fort from 1641 to 1795, leaving its mark on the area. In 1795, Britain became the controlling force and demolished most of the fortress in 1807.

All that remains of the fortress is a small gatehouse Santiago's Gate (Porta de Santiago), the City Hall, the church, and a restored bastion. It was once a five-story fortress with reinforced outer walls and four major towers. One of these towers was the tallest building in the area until 1641 when the tower was destroyed by Dutch forces.

These portions of the fort were restored from 2004 to 2006. Tourists may explore the gates and the bastion 24 hours a day.
Proclaimation of Independence Memorial

4) Proclaimation of Independence Memorial

The Proclamation of Independence Memorial is a museum that focuses on the country's occupation by foreign forces and their struggle for independence. Exhibits detail control by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British, followed by independence and development of the country.

The building was erected in 1912 in the Dutch Colonial architectural style. The mansion is covered in white stucco with two golden onion domes on the top. It used to be the home of the Malacca Club, a gathering place popular with the British residents of Malaysia.

The museum was established in 1985 by former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, almost 22 years after the country gained independence.

The Proclamation of Independence Memorial offers outdoor exhibits with its indoor displays, photos, and dioramas. Among the outdoor exhibits are a pair of armored police vehicles and a 1957 Chevy Sedan used by Tunku Abdul Rahman.

The museum is open from 9 AM to 6 PM on Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission to the memorial is free.
St. Paul's Church

5) St. Paul's Church (must see)

St. Paul's Church is a former church that now functions as an outdoor museum. It is part of the Malacca Museum Complex along with the ruins of A Famosa and Stadthuys. It is the oldest church building in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

The church was originally built as a Roman Catholic chapel in 1521 by Portuguese nobleman Duarte Coelho, as an act of gratitude following his escape from a storm in the South China Sea. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Annunciation. In 1548 St. Francis Xavier, a Spanish Jesuit, the patron saint of Roman Catholic missions, developed a school on the premises of the chapel, the first school established in the Malay Peninsula.
The second floor was added to the small chapel in 1556, and a belfry tower was built in 1590. The chapel was renamed the Igreja de Madre de Deus (Church of the Mother of God).

The building was later used as a Dutch Reformed church after the Dutch conquest. It was renamed St. Paul's Church and functioned as the main church of the Dutch Community through 1753.

St. Paul's Church fell into ruins after it was deconsecrated following the construction of a new Dutch Reformed church. During the British occupation, it was used as a powder magazine and allowed to fall into even further disrepair.

Efforts have been made over the years to restore and protect St. Paul's though it remains in disrepair. Tourists can explore the ruins by paying careful attention to the Dutch tombstones that have been restored and placed against the church's interior walls.
Taming Sari Tower

6) Taming Sari Tower (must see)

Taming Sari Tower is a revolving observation tower. It was the first tower of its kind built in the city. The construction began in 2006 and was completed in 2008. The concrete tower was named for the keris, or asymmetrical dagger, that belonged to the legendary warrior Hang Tuah.

At 360 feet tall, the tower was the tallest structure in the city from its construction in 2008 until 2014 when it was surpassed by the Shore Sky Tower.

The platform lifts passengers approximately 262 feet in the air, rotating for seven minutes while offering a 360-degree view of the city and the sea. It is an excellent spot to get out of the heat as the glass platform is air-conditioned. The platform holds 66 passengers at a time. It is open daily from 10 AM to 10 PM.

Dozens of shops surround Taming Sari Tower, allowing tourists to look for souvenirs, snacks, and cold drinks.
Malacca River Walk

7) Malacca River Walk

Malacca River Walk is a park that is open 24 hours. The park consists of walking paths that run along the shores of the Malacca River. The paths are lined in greenery with trees and potted plants, creating a lush atmosphere in the midst of the city.

The area is constantly under development with new spaces being regularly added. There are plenty of cafes and shops along the Malacca River Walk for those who like to break up their walking tours by sampling local food and browsing for souvenirs.

Outdoor art is featured throughout the walk. The murals decorate many of the homes on the west side of the river. There are also many places to stop and rest in shade created by pergolas covered in plants.

The Malacca River Walk is a perfect place to reach many of the historical sites in the city. It is also a fine choice for a lovely evening stroll as most of the walk is well lit at night.
Baba-Nonya Heritage Museum

8) Baba-Nonya Heritage Museum (must see)

The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of the ethnic Chinese-Malays of the region. The museum was founded by Chan Kim Lay in 1896.

The museum resides in a mansion built in 1896 by Chan Kim Lay's great-grandfather. After his family had lived in the mansion for four generations, he chose to open the home to showcase the luxurious interiors for others to see.

The house museum features stunning, intricately carved woodwork throughout the doors, walls, and cabinetry. Visitors will see antique furniture used by the family daily but retains its original luster.

The museum is open from Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. While walk-in visitors are allowed, tourists are encouraged to book a tour at least one month in advance to ensure adequate space and time are available. Those traveling with young children are welcome and will even receive a children's activity package to enhance their experience.
Jonker Street

9) Jonker Street (must see)

Jonker Street, also known as Jonker Walk, is the Chinatown area in the city. It begins near the Malacca River, directly across from the Dutch Square. Tourists will find historical houses that date to the 17th century.

Jonker Street vendors sell all manner of wares during the day. The night market is even more lively and worth a visit. The night market opens Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from 6 PM to midnight. During the night market, the street is closed to traffic and is open only to pedestrians.

Though there are plenty of chains like H&M and Hard Rock Cafe nearby, the true essence of Jonker Street is the locally owned and operated stores and restaurants. It was historically known for antique shops, but these have largely been replaced with souvenir stands, clothing outlets, and packaged food.

There are still antique shops and vendors selling handicrafts between the numerous shops selling t-shirts, magnets, and totes. The night market brings entertainment in the form of buskers and performance artists. However, watching the cooks prepare street food can be just as entertaining.

Along with numerous shopping venues, many spots can be visited around Jonker Street. Some of these include the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, the Hang Jebat Mausoleum, the Kampung King Mosque, the Straits Chinese Jewelry Museum, and the Tamil Methodist Church.

Jonker Street is open 24 hours. Visit during the daytime to admire the Chinese-Malay architecture but come back during the night market for a truly unique experience.

Walking Tours in Melaka, Malaysia

Create Your Own Walk in Melaka

Create Your Own Walk in Melaka

Creating your own self-guided walk in Melaka is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Melaka Old City Walking Tour

Melaka Old City Walking Tour

Rich in heritage, Melaka City is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Malaysia. From its humble beginnings as a coastal village, it went on to witness the glorious tales of the Melaka Sultanate and later became the setting for the country‚Äôs colonial past with the Portuguese, Dutch and British leaving their mark on its tapestry. The history of Melaka is manifested in numerous...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles