Melaka (Malacca), they say, is where Malaysia began. Founded in the 1400s this city can certainly claim historical pedigree more than any other in Malaysia. Its long list of narratives include Malay sultanates, Chinese migration, Portuguese, Dutch, British and Japanese occupations.
Similar to its northern sister city, Georgetown, Melaka boast of a multicultural legacy brought about by these currents of history. However, unlike the former, Melaka's historic center is noticeably smaller and in fact, may well just be zipped through for the obligatory photo opportunity as I noticed with a lot of day tour packages.
The history of Melaka has always been tied up with trading and the Melaka River certainly played a very big part in it. Take a stroll at the refurbished river promenade before heading on Chinatown across the river. Located on the three major streets (which are all parallel each other) very close the Dutch Square, this is perhaps the liveliest part of the old town. Lined with traditional shop houses that still function in their original purpose, they range from simple to really ornate.
So much history, all captured within one overnight stay. Definitely worth the sleep.