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Modern-day Malacca (Malay: Melaka) is a vibrant old city with a unique historical and cultural background from previous Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. The city centre was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in July 2008. The older part of the city proper has, in addition to the old palace and the large buildings left by the Europeans, many private houses and shops from nearly a century or more ago, put up by Chinese traders. Many of these have beautiful details such as moulded porcelain tiles and painted plaster reliefs on the front.

Step back in time with a visit to Baba and Nyonya House Museum which is an actual Peranakan heritage town house and is a great example of Peranakan culture. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia and has an inscription dating 1685 commemorating the deeds of by Kapitan China Li Wei King. Dutch Square is a beautiful square around Christ Church and the Stadhuys. Christ Church replaced a Portuguese church, which was shattered. Bricks were shipped from Zeeland in the Netherlands. On the floor of the church you will find Dutch tombstones. It is the oldest Protestant church in Malaysia. On the altar you will see sacramental silverware, still bearing the Dutch coat of arms. Stadhuys is a reproduction of the former Stadhuis (town hall) of the Frisian town of Hoorn in the Netherlands which existed from 1420 until 1796. Nowadays, it houses the Museums of History and Ethnography. This is one of the oldest Dutch buildings in the east.

Porta de Santiago is the remains of the old Portuguese fort A Famosa, what you can see nowadays is a mostly Dutch reconstruction, bearing the VOC coat of arms. A trip to the Maritime Museum should be a learning experience. The main historical exhibits are hosted inside a replica of the Flora de la Mar, a 16th-Century Portuguese ship. A building includes additional exhibits on modern maritime activity and sea life. Continue your journey to the Melaka Cultural Museum/Sultanate Palace. Below the hill you will find this museum (Melaka Cultural Museum). It is a reconstruction of the istana of the sultan Mansur Shah. It was built in 1985.

Malacca Zoo is the second-biggest, and perhaps the best zoo in Malaysia, even better than the National Zoo. The zoo is in a reserved forest where the animal enclosures more resemble the animals' natural habitat. The trees within the zoo compound provide ample shade for visitors during hot and sunny days. There is a lake in the zoo. Taman Mini Malaysia and Mini ASEAN is located in Ayer Keroh, along the main road from the Ayer Keroh toll plaza to Melaka town, about 1 km from Melaka Zoo between the Zoo and toll plaza. It has full-size reconstructions of typical houses from all 13 Malaysian states and all the members of ASEAN. There are daily cultural shows at 11AM and 2PM.

For a bird's-eye view of Malacca, go to Taming Sari Revolving Tower. The 110 m-tower seats 66 people at a time, taking them on a 7-min ride for a view of Malacca. The ascent takes 1 min, you have 5 min on the top and 1 min for the descent. It offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the historic city and the coastline.

In terms of shopping experience, you can't go wrong with Jonkers Walk and Mahkota Parade Shopping Centre. Jonkers Walk is a night market held every weekend evening to late night. Have a leisure stroll along the street, observing the locals' life, catching a free performance and shop for some for antiques and some local souvenirs.

Of course, Malacca is where you'll find Portuguese-Eurasian food. The greatest concentration of outlets is at the Portuguese Settlement. Seafood is popular, as are the fiery "devil curries". For local Malay delicacies, worth trying asam pedas, the signature dish of the state. A very hot and mild sour fish curry which accompanying white rice. For seafood lovers, head to Umbai, Pernu or Serkam for a dinner of fresh caught grilled fish and crustaceans.


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