Red buildings, A Famosa and chicken rice balls – that isn’t what Melaka is just about. If you want to see the other side of this heritage state, try these 7 alternative adventures.
1. Explore the older streets of Melaka
The river that runs through Melaka divides the Heritage Zone into two parts. One side hosts its vibrant landmarks and popular eateries, while the other is sleepy and less touristy. It is where the original community of Melaka still exists.
You can get a local guide to show you the Old-Time Delights of “Xin Qi Wu”, which form the trinity of Jawa Lane, Kee Ann Road and Bunga Raya. Not only would you be able to interact with locals, you can try Asian wine, herbal tea and dim sum from their vintage establishments.
2. Visit the famous graveyard of Bukit Cina
The ancient grounds of Bukit Cina is the largest Chinese cemetery in Melaka. Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, there are 20,000 graves with fading stories of the past. The wooded hill is also entwined with jogging paths that take you up to panoramic views of the city. For a deeper insight into the history of Bukit Cina, we suggest getting a local guide to point out the significant graves and tell you stories you would not be able to find out on your own.
3. Discover unique Baba Nyonya culture along Heeran Street
Peranakan heritage lies at the heart of Melaka’s cultural tapestry. The marriage of Chinese settlers of the past and local Malays gave rise to a lively, one-of-a-kind culture no other country can claim to have. The men are called Babas and the women are called Nyonyas.
In Melaka, Heeran Street is the centre of this culture heritage, with its private museum and historical buildings. There are local tours around to point out the intricate details that tell of their luxurious lifestyle, and how they influenced the state itself.
4. Have a shot at Sin Hiap Hin Winery
Photo: Thrifty Traveller
Sure, you can chill at a riverside bar along the Melaka River, but how about having a drink at Melaka’s oldest bar? Sin Hiap Hin Winery along Java Lane has been about for over 80 years, and has lasted 5 generations. The old-fashioned bar is filled with hard liquor and beers – you better like your booze hard! It is opened from 9am to 6pm.
5. Discover the Hidden Hakka Village of Machap Baru
Machap Baru is one of seventeen New Villages in Melaka, and is primarily a Hakka community with at least 400 families. Back then, it was formed to control the spread of power during the Communist era. The little village has a number of beautiful temples and a mosque with an intriguing backstory. Known for its green tea dishes and roti kok, you have the chance to learn to make green tea buns and go into a 70-year-old bakery to see how the local delights are made.
6. Cycle around the countryside
Cycling around Melaka can be a fun and personal way to experience the countryside. A two-wheeled escapade from the city takes you to lush paddy fields and rubber plantations, across scenic stopping points and into the local neighbourhoods. While one day of cycling is good enough for some, others may prefer a longer trip which involves staying in a camping site and have a BBQ dinner, before taking off again in the morning.
7. Visit Klebang Beach
Did you know that there is an amazing desert-like landscape close to the city centre? Adding an exotic touch to your typical tropical beach, the sand dunes of Klebang Beach boasts beautiful views, especially during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. You can even go sandboarding here!
8. See the hometown of the legendary Hang Tuah
Hang Tuah is a legendary warrior within Malaya’s history, and a prominent figure in its literature. If you are interested in storytelling, you can visit the places in Melaka that are central to Hang Tuah’s existence, with the help of a local guide. There is the Hang Tuah Well, where his soul is believed to remain, the Merlimau paddy fields that offer scenic views, and a traditional Merlimau house of the village chief.