Melaka, a city I last visited in October 2017, is a UNESCO world heritage site thanks to its history and the buildings that persist. It used to ‘be’ Malaysia, in the sense that it was a kingdom that spread over much of the area of the country, and had huge influence. The kingdom converted to Islam, which remains the national religion, despite colonial influence from Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain.
Apart from that significance, it’s a city of good food, beautiful views over the canal, especially at night, the call to prayer sounding out and the smells of food, joss sticks and lavender as you walk through. I didn’t have long enough there in October, so headed back for six days between Singapore and KL.
The place is a little disjointed. Walking the river is a delight – albeit very hot during the day – while there are several big malls, and walking from one to the other is a pain. There aren’t many pavements, you’ll cross largish roads and be strolling along the side of some of them. You might spot the odd big lizard galloping (away from you) in the drains. Either there isn’t a will or there isn’t the money to setup pedestrian infrastructure. It is very hot, mind, so after a walk the malls are an air-conditioned joy. Each has a cinema at the top – when I was there, your choices were a couple of Chinese films, or Avengers: Infinity War.