We’re rockin’-and-rollin’ on our psychedelic Malacca trishaw ride! And going by trishaw is the most fun way to see Malacca’s points of interest.
Malacca, by the way, is also known as Melaka and Melacca. 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
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!
Malacca points of interest
We had 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.
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.
Dutch Square and 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.
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.
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.
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 a bit, 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.)
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.
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 tour map
You can zoom in or out on this Malacca map.
All photos are © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase (except lead photo, courtesy John Ragai)