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Hitting Malacca’s points of interest in a psychedelic trishaw

We’re rockin’-and-rollin’ on our psychedelic Malacca trishaw ride!

And going by trishaw is the most fun way to see Malacca’s tourist attractions.

Malacca, by the way, is also known as Melaka and Melacca.

Malacca trishaw
Oh my, these Malacca trishaws are over-the-top!

And we’ll get to the places to visit in Melaka in a sec.

First, we know you’ll get a kick out of seeing the trishaws.

Our colorful Malacca trishaw

Trippin' on a groovy Malacca trishaw ride!
This couple was really trippin’ on their Malacca trishaw ride!

Ruby red, our Melaka trishaw sports yellow plastic roses and pink feathers waving from a petal-shaped canopy (subliminal message – “Hire me!”).

Some of Malacca’s 300 trishaws have flashing lights and stuffed kitty dolls tied to the back.

Many trishaws vying for passengers in the city center even have speakers blaring loud pop music – Indian, Chinese, Western, whatever – the louder, the better.

They’re a blast!

Blue trishaws in Malacca
Cruising for tourists to visit the attractions in Malacca

Malacca points of interest

We were on an Asia cruise; we’d tendered in to the port city of Malacca while cruising the Malay peninsula.

After settling on $15 U.S. an hour for our Melaka trishaw ride, we were off to tour the city.

View of the Malacca River from near the cruise dock
View of the Malacca River from near the cruise dock

Conquered in turn by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, Malacca is known for its multicultural population, including Portuguese Eurasians and Peranakans (Chinese-Malay mix).

In 2008, the colorful city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And there are lots of interesting things to see in Malacca!

Dutch Square and Stadthuys:

One of the top places to see in Malacca is the Stadthuys
One of the top places to see in Malacca is the Stadthuys

Our enthusiastic driver pedaled us first to the Dutch Square in the city center, five minutes from the cruise dock.

This is where the iconic Stadthuys – perhaps Malacca’s most famous landmark – is found.

The colonial brick-red building was built by the Dutch in the 1650s on the ruins of a fort that previously belonged to the Portuguese.

Once Malacca’s center of government, it’s now a history museum.

Christ Church:

Painted a bright ruby red, Christ Church is an 18th century Anglican church in Malacca
Painted a bright ruby red, Christ Church is an 18th century Anglican church in Malacca

Beside the Stadthuys is Christ Church.

Built in 1753, it’s the oldest Protestant church in Malaysia. Originally painted white, it was repainted red in 1911 (along with the Stadthuys).

After snapping photos of the pretty square, including of the windmill and flowering gardens, we climbed back into our trishaw for our next stop – the Porta de Santiago (the old fort).

Porta de Santiago (A Famosa):

The Portuguese built this mighty fortress in 1511 after capturing Malacca from the then-Sultan.

But much of it was destroyed later by the Dutch and then the British, and very little of it remains today apart from a canon and an entrance gate.

St. Paul’s Church:

From here, with our Malacca trishaw driver patiently waiting, we climbed a stairway up the spine of the city hill for a view from the ruins of St. Paul’s Church.

There are great views of Malacca from outside the ruins of St. Paul's Church
There are great views of Malacca from outside the ruins of St. Paul’s Church

Almost more arresting than the view was a newly-married couple getting their wedding photos taken – the bride all in red.

We’ve since discovered that brides often wear scarlet-colored wedding dresses in Malaysia; red is their traditional color for good fortune.

A newly married couple in Malacca - the bride wore red
A newly married couple getting their wedding photos taken – the bride wore red

Malacca Sultanate Palace:

Back in the trishaw, our driver took us to the Malacca Sultanate Palace, another of the must-visit attractions in Malacca.

We felt for him, pedaling the two of us in the heat.

But at least the bike distances were quite short – all the tourist sites are just a couple of minutes away from each other.

And he seemed proud to show us the best places to visit in Melaka and tell us a bit about them.

The Palace of the Malay Sultanate of Malacca, a reconstruction of the original palace, is a museum worth visiting
The Palace of the Malay Sultanate of Malacca, a reconstruction of the original palace, is a museum worth visiting

And the Malacca Sultanate Palace?

It’s a museum and wooden replica of Sultan Mansur Shah’s 15th century palace – no nails were used to hold the structure together, only wooden pegs.

The original was said to be the most elaborate royal palace ever built in the world at that time.

Inside, we enjoyed cooling off in front of a couple of air-conditioning units as much as seeing the sultans’ costumes, ceramics, weaponry and other artifacts on display.

Malacca's history is presented at the Palace of the Malay Sultanate of Melacca
Malacca’s history is presented in a simple way through dioramas like this and other displays

Chinatown:

On the way back to the dock, we peeked in at Jonkers Street, the main thoroughfare in Malacca’s Chinatown, where red lanterns are strung across the street.

At one time, it was known for its antique shops. But we noticed a variety of souvenir shops, clothing stores and eateries.

A whirlwind visit of the attractions in Malacca

Less than two hours after we started, we were dropped back off at the cruise dock with kaleidoscopic visions of the Malacca’s points of interest twirling about in our heads.

Somewhat of a whirlwind visit – true.

But we won’t easily forget Malacca, not with such vivid memories of our wild Malacca trishaw ride.

Malacca trishaw
Our Malacca trishaw – pretty cool, eh?

Malacca tour map

You can zoom in or out on this Malacca map.

Experience more of Asia!

Read our essential posts on:

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China | Zhangjiajie is a hidden treasure if you love mountains, nature and hiking. Here’s a 4-day Zhangjiajie Avatar Mountains itinerary for luxury lovers.


Photo credits: 1 to 4, 6 to 11 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase


Have you ridden in a trishaw? Was it fun?


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Anda

Monday 1st of June 2015

A very colorful and strange place. I'm not sure if I'd like it or not. It's definitely interesting to visit, but would I feel good there? I wander... It's surprising to see a protestant church in Malaysia.

Janice and George

Monday 1st of June 2015

Don't worry. You'd probably feel quite comfortable here. Many Singaporeans visit Malacca on holiday. About 2/3 of the people are Muslim, but you find a wide range of people and cultures. And you can quite easily walk to all the sights - no need to take a trishaw if you don't wish :-).

Camille

Friday 29th of May 2015

Oh, I love the photos in this post! I had no idea about this trishaw "tradition"! Somehow I've managed to miss Melaka on my three visits to Malaysia, I'll have to remedy that...

Sophie

Thursday 28th of May 2015

Such colourful and lovely photos and the trishaw ride looks such fun! Haven't been in Melaka in an age; maybe I should think about another visit

Janice and George

Thursday 28th of May 2015

Yes, and then you can try one of these trishaw rides too :-).

Drew

Wednesday 27th of May 2015

What a fun looking city! Can't say I am very familiar with Malacca, but love the vibrant colors. The trishaws are pretty sweet as well with the very intense detailing. Love the cat trishaw!

Becky Padmore

Tuesday 26th of May 2015

Wow love these trishaws, so colourful and cute!