Malacca (also spelled Melaka) is a city in Malaysia and is one of the most historically important cities in Southeast Asia. Long overshadowed by Singapore to the south and George Town to the north, there was once a time when the importance and significance of Malacca exceeded them both.
First controlled by the Portguesse, then the Dutch, and finally the British, Malacca was one of the most important cities for trade in all of the world. And, at the center of this trading city was the very important Malacca River. At one time, small and medium sized boats would ply the river brings goods from every corner of the world into the city for trade; however, today the river is only traversed by camera toting tourists and the occasional monitor lizard. Forty minute river boat rides leave frequently from the pier near the river’s mouth.
In the photo above, you can see the light trails from a tourist boat as it goes through Chinatown in Malacca’s historic center. The area surrounding Chinatown in Malacca was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and draws many tourists every day, many on day trips from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
I had the chance to spend a few days in Malacca this past week, and I really enjoyed being able to learn about a city that was so important to world history, yet somewhere I knew nothing about.
If you are ever in Malaysia, I highly recommend a trip down to Malacca.