Giving its name to the Straits of Malacca, the state locally known as Melaka is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, steeped in multiculturalism thanks to its richly storied past.

Initially a fishing village, Melaka was founded around 1402 by Parameswara, also known as Iskandar Shah, and became one of the earliest Malay Sultanates. Its strategic location along the straits – one of the most important shipping lanes in the world – made it a popular trading port among seafarers of the time.

This can be seen in both Melaka’s architecture and cuisine. Many historical buildings and sites have been preserved, and are major tourism draws today alongside museums. They are certainly worth visiting, regardless if you are a history buff or otherwise. Also well-known is are the Peranakan (or Nyonya) and Eurasian cuisines which are amalgamations of Chinese, Malay and Portuguese ingredients and cooking styles.

For entertainment, locals enjoy visiting the night markets to enjoy street food and shop for cheap wares. Jonker Street is a main shopping destination, full of souvenirs, trinkets, textiles and local handicrafts. With the state having nice beaches too, picnics and family outings by the sea are also a popular pastime.

Though small, Melaka holds its own when it comes to nightlife. Those who appreciate a good night out will be pleased to know there are plentiful watering holes spread across the city. Its a great place to mingle with locals and foreigners alike.
Medical facilities in Melaka are good, but there aren’t as many international schools here as other cities in Malaysia.


Area Total 19,166 km2 (7,400 sq mi)
Population (2015) Total 872,900
Demonym(s) Malaccan
Demographics (2015) Ethnic composition
  • Malay: 66.8%
  • Chinese: 26%
  • Indian: 6.2%
  • Other Bumiputera: 1.4%
  • Non-Malaysian citizen: 0.6%
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