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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in malacca
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Modern-day Malacca is a small and fairly sleepy city.
There are some interesting legends surrounding the foundation and naming of Malacca. According to the 16th century Malay Annals, the city was founded by Parameswara, a descendent of Alexander the Great. More likely, he was a Hindu prince and political fugitive from nearby Java. The legend goes that Paramswara was out on a hunt in the region and had stopped to refresh himself near what is now the Malacca River. Standing near a Melaka tree he was surprised to witness one of his hunting dogs so startled by a mouse deer that it fell into the river. Parameswara took this as a propitious sign of the weak overcoming the powerful and decided to build the capital of his new kingdom where he stood, naming it for the tree under which he had been resting. Another account says Malacca is derived from the Arabic word "Malakat", meaning market. Malacca had a navigable harbor sheltered by nearby Sumatra across the narrow straits, ample supply of fresh water, enjoyed a prime location relative to the shifting monsoon winds, and had a central location in regional trade patterns, all of which soon made it a prosperous trading town. Its fortunes increased with its official adoption of Islam in the 14th century. The Sultans of Malacca were soon attracting Arab traders from far afield. However, Malacca continued to trade with merchants of all races and religions.
After the visit of the Chinese Muslim Admiral Cheng Ho in the mid-15th century, contact between China and Malacca intensified. In exchange for protection against Siam, Malacca became a vassal state to Ming China. To ensure Malacca's safety, a new powerful kingdom was founded by the Sultan of Samudra-Pasai.
The power of the Malays began to rise through the 15th century. The sultan at that time married a Ming Chinese consort.
Things started to change with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1509. They were at first welcomed, but Indian traders soon turned the sultan against the Portuguese and they had to flee. In 1511 the Portuguese returned, and at their second attempt seized the city. This marked the start of the formation of a large Eurasian community. An alliance between the Dutch and the Sultanate of Johor Bahru saw the loss much of Malaccas power. In 1641 the Dutch put a blockade on Malacca and they seized the city after six months.
Only after 150 years did the Dutch lose their hold on Malacca. In 1795 The Netherlands was conquered by the French, and the British were keen to take over the Dutch holdings in Malacca. By that time, Malacca had lost most of its importance.
Malacca is a center of Peranakan culture. When Chinese settlers originally came to Malacca as miners, traders and coolies, they took local (often Malay) brides and adopted many local customs. The result of this is an interesting mix of Malay and Chinese cultures. The men are known as Babas and the women Nonyas.
A small group of Eurasians of Portuguese descent continue to speak their unique creole, known as Cristão or Kristang.
Batu Berendam Airport is located about 10km from Malacca city. There are no Malaysian domestic flights serving this airport. However, Pelangi Air flies several times weekly to Pekanbaru, Sumatra.
There are two public transportation options for getting to/from the airport:
All long-distance and local buses now operate from the Melaka Sentral bus terminal, a good 3km from the historic core of the city.
Some of the companies operating from Malacca are:
Malacca can be accessed from the North South Expressway by exiting at the Alor Gajah-Tampin (officially Simpang Ampat), Ayer Keroh and Lipat Kijang (Jasin) exits. Ayer Keroh exit is the nearest to Malacca city.
Malacca city is on the Coastal Trunk Road (Federal Route 5), and can be accessed from the Main Trunk Road (Federal Route 1) by turning off at Simpang Kendong or Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. Malacca is 150km from Kuala Lumpur, 216km from Johor Baru, 90km from Port Dickson.
Malacca is not served by any railway lines. The closest railway station is at Tampin (Railway station Tel: +60-6-3411034), about 40 km away, and connected by the following buses:
Daily ferries run to and from Dumai and Pekanbaru in Sumatra, Indonesia. All ferries leave from the Harbour Master's jetty (Jeti Shahbandar) at Taman Melaka Raya near the Maritime Museum. Malacca Town Bus No. 17 (Green) goes near the Harbour Master's jetty which is just down the road from the Red Square.
Malacca is by no means a small city, but exploring on foot is a good idea. You could rent a bike. Alternatively, take Bus 17 to go from the bus station to the old city core and back. Bus 19 runs to Ayer Keroh. Bus 50 runs to the Mahkota Parade shopping centre and nearby seafood restaurants. Metered Taxis are just about everywhere. Trishaws are available as well, but they do not really belong here and are mainly for tourists.
There are also chartered taxi services available at end of Jalan Kee Ann. These chartered taxis within Melaka and outside Melaka such as to KLIA International Airport, Kuala Lumpur and even Singapore. These chartered taxis can carry up to 4 passengers at a time. Chartered taxis should cost no more than RM 10 in the city center and up to RM 20 for points in the vicinity; see Tourism Melaka (http://www.tourism-melaka.com/taxi.html) for the official fare chart.
Streets in the older/historical part of the city are very narrow, so they quickly become clogged during rush hours. Don't be ignorant and stand in the middle of the road holding up traffic in order to take pictures of buildings, for heaven's sake. (This happens!)
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. Unfortunately, they tend to be not well preserved and the city government decided to paint all the buildings in the historical district a bright brick red some years ago, which detracts from their aesthetic value.