Jun 22, 2011

Malaysia - George Town/Melaka

In Malaysia, two cities are distinguished and protected as Unesco World Heritage. One is an island located in the north of the country - George Town on Penang Island – the other is a coastal harbour at the south of Malaysia, famous because it gives its name to a strategic strait, Melaka.

Penang island

Those cities (it seems to be a national feature) are characterized by their multiculturalism. The protected city centres cover three different districts: Chinatown, Little India and the Malay district.

In George Town, the Armenian street is a charming little alley which marks a separation between two Chinese temples and their surrounding houses. An Indian temple and a mosque are a couple of streets away.

Armenian street

In Kapitan Keling Mosque we bumped into a very friendly young Indian who is in charge of the mosque with his brother. He spent one hour showing us the mosque and discussing about Islam in a didactic mode, stimulating our curiosity and answering all the questions that came to our minds.

Kapitan Keling Mosque

When we visited Khoo Komgsi Chinese Temple, the shooting of an advertisement was taking place. They redid numerous times the scene of a young couple walking five metres in the temple and admiring the adornments. And it is indeed a fine temple!

Continuing our impromptu afternoon meetings: while visiting Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple, we arrived in the middle of a photo shoot.

A Chinese Mandarin, Cheong Fatt Tze, also known as the Asian Rockefeller, built a 38 rooms mansion at the end of the 19th century. Very well restored, the blue mansion was the set of the movie Indochine with Catherine Deneuve which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1992.


Melaka benefited from its rich past as well as from its position near Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and became a famous tourist stop. In the Chinese district you can find a lot of crowded souvenirs shops, trendy clothes stores, food stalls and some temples.

Jalan (street) Hang Jebat, gate to Chinatown
Jalan (street) Hang Jebat

Melaka was colonized successively by Portuguese, Dutch, English and then Japanese. Portuguese left few marks in the city, for exemple St Paul church located on a hill, Porta de Santiago (a fortress gate) and a replica of a galleon named Flor do Mar which hosts the Maritime museum. But the best inheritance remains the portuguese egg tarts!! Yummy!

Maritime Museum

Pasteis de nata, portuguese egg tarts in Jalan (street) Hang Jebat

The Dutch Christ Church

Before colonization, Melaka was ruled by a sultan. His palace was distroyed but Malays decided to build a perfect replica, basing the construction entirely on sketches. This impressive wooden palace was inaugurated in 1986.

Melaka Sultanate Palace

In brief, Melaka is a very pleasant city to go all over, walking along a peaceful riverside or old colored colonial buildings.

Melaka River


  1. please bring some pasteis de nata with you when you come back

    love from christer

  2. On t'invitera à les manger à la sortie du four à Lisbonne!! :)
    Gros bisous