Melaka is one of my favourite places in Malaysia but whenever I visit I come away thinking that it could be better.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site it attracts a lot of tourists; 16.7 million in 2017 according to press reports, with Chinese tourists taking the top spot.
They are not evenly distributed. On any day you can see coach loads of Chinese tourists milling around ‘Dutch Square’, taking selfies next to the Stadthuys, Christ Church, clock tower and the Hello Kitty trishaws. Then they are taken to selected souvenir and food shops in nearby Jonker Street, probably owned by associates of the tour operators, to buy chicken rice balls, durian products and pineapple tarts, before being bussed back to a hotel in KL. You have to wonder whether the ordinary small business owners in Melaka see much benefit from the daily invasion of tourists.
By the time the sun sets, most shops in downtown Melaka are firmly shuttered and soon the streets take on a deserted look apart from a few eateries in Jalan Hang Jebat and side streets but even here they struggle to find customers on weekday nights.
Melaka’s tourism chiefs and real estate developers have plans to vastly expand Melaka’s attractions with ambitious developments under way on land recently reclaimed from the Straits of Malacca. These projects were agreed prior to the Malaysian General Election and it remains to be seen whether they will all be completed given the new Government’s emphasis on saving money.
Even fewer tourists venture beyond Melaka City to visit other places in Melaka State. At Kampung Duyong few example just outside the city is a large tourism complex, built at considerable expense, celebrating Malaysia’s famous hero Hang Tuah.
I was in Northern Ireland recently where we saw Dark Hedges, a tree-lined street which apparently featured in Game of Thrones. It doesn’t look anything special in my photo (probably need a zoom lens).
This is Malaysia’s version of Dark Hedges, a street near Kampung Duyong, Melaka. It looks much more impressive.
Perhaps Melaka needs to become the setting for a popular series like Game of Thrones with filming locations spread around the state in order to share the benefits to tourism more widely.
9 thoughts on “Melaka Tourism”
I liked Malacca but I was only there for one day with an overnight stay. I didn’t know about any of Malacca’s other interesting sights besides the Dutch buildings and Jonkers Street (plus the street next to it with heritage buildings).
There’s a lot to see in Malacca. You can find out some of my recommendations on my other website:
Good roundup of attractions. I really did not know about 90% of the places listed. I especially wish I’d gone to the Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum which I think I passed near to.
Partner and I were planning to visit Malaka, next year, in Jan 2019. Hotels were reviewed and selected (The Majestic was the first choice), flights were being checked, transfers researched, etc.. However, the travel arrangements getting there (from Penang or maybe Lankawi), and then on to Singapore appeared problematical so in the end we changed our plans. We still want to get to Malaka, staying for several days rather than a hit-and-run. Let’s hope that the place hasn’t been too ‘improved’ to attract tourists by the time we get there. Thanks again for the interesting, informative post.
Thanks for commenting Robert. Yes you should spend time in Melaka on your next trip. You can book this very fine Airbnb apartment (mine!):
Don’t worry about Malacca becoming too improved. The good parts haven’t changed much in 600 years .
The thing about our Malaysian tourism board is that they fail to promote the right things – the reason why places like Indonesia has such a thriving tourism industry is that they emphasise a lot on their culture and heritage, whereas in Malaysia, we promote things like malls and theme parks which can be found anywhere else in the world. Sad, really.
I did not know about the Dark Hedges in Melaka, it looks like a place I’d visit for photos – so thanks for highlighting that !
Yes Luna, I agree Malaysian Tourism could do more. Dark Hedges in Melaka is of course just my invention but, who knows, that tree-lined street could become famous one day.
Why on earth they allow those garish, noisy trishaws to ruin the main heritage area I will never understand. Absolutely hideous things!
I agree, very noisy. I suppose initially it was a way to provide continued employment for the old licensed trishaw drivers who used to ply the streets of Malacca.