Melaka, also sometimes referred to as Malacca, is an historic coastal town south of Kuala Lumpur. Melaka achieved UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2013 (jointly with George Town in Penang) in recognition of its important place in the history of the region and the number of buildings of historical significance located within the city.
History of Melaka
Melaka has had a eventful past with control of this strategically important city located on the straits between the island of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula passing between local rulers under the influence of China, to Vietnam invaders, Portuguese and Dutch colonialists, the East India Company and the British state, and the Japanese before achieving independence in 1957.
The city was founded around 1,400 AD by the Sultan of what is now Singapore who fled there after being defeated in battle. The newly created Sultanate of Melaka lasted until 1511, with backing from the Emperor of China, when a Portuguese fleet captured the city. Under the Sultanate Melaka had flourished as a port and a commercial but these gains were largely reversed due to the poor management of the Portuguese rulers. Melaka was taken from the Portuguese by the Dutch in 1641, who in turn exchanged the city with the British for territory in Sumatra in 1824. British rule lasted until 1942 when the city was taken by the Japanese Empire. During the time of British rule Melaka regained much of rhe prominence it had as a commercial centre until the Sultanate. British rule resumed in 1945 but was short lived as Malaysian Peninsula gained its independence in 1957 after a bloody period when the British armed forces fought with Malay insurgents.
Attractions in Melaka
There are lots of things to do and see in Melaka, the most popular of which are:
- Walk along the riverside area in the old town of Melaka.
- The A’Famosa Fort built by the Portuguese.
- The weekend evening market on Jonker Street.
- Christ Church built by the Dutch.
- The Stadthuys of Malacca which was the official residence of the Dutch Governor.
- The Straights Chinese Jewelry Museum.
- The reconstructed Sultan’s Palace.
Travel to Melaka
There are two ways to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka:
- By Bus: There are regular bus services from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka. Bus services depart from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan in Kuala Lumpur and take slightly over 2 hours to reach Melaka.
- By Train: Melaka is not connected to Malaysia’s railway network, you can however take a train from Kuala Lumpur to Gemas train station and then travel by taxi or local bus services for the remainder of the journey to Melaka.
Location of Melaka
- Melaka is located 150 km to the south of Kuala Lumpur.