Melaka – a tourist trap

Melaka – a tourist trap

As it’s called a highlight of Malaysia in the Lonely Planet guide, we stopped for two nights in the historic port city of Melaka (also known as Malacca).

In the past decade, there’s been an attempt to transform the town centre and its riverside into a tourism destination. There’s charming old streets and buildings for sure, but generally the place feels a bit run down and tired, with lots of unloved hotels. There’s a sense the tourism push hasn’t delivered.

Melaka’s an enjoyable place to wander around, sit in a riverside restaurant or take a short trip up the river, but with the sea now removed from the historic centre (due to land reclamation) it’s hard to picture the historical importance of this place. We’ll cover this tomorrow.

Roger and Hilary take the tourist boat up the river – a south east Asian version of Venice or Amsterdam
Almost unique to Melaka, the trishaws (bicycle rickshaws) are bizarrely tarted up in garish colours with their own sound systems playing loud music
The main tourist area centres around the Stadthuys. Built in 1641-1660, it’s the oldest Dutch building in eastern Asia

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