local magic of melaka
In the World Heritage-listed town of Melaka you instantly step back in time and absorb the atmosphere of this historically important port. With her Intrepid leader cap on, Hannah Bound takes us on a wander through one of her favourite towns in Malaysia…
“Hareem Street is a small winding road lined with Straits Chinese mansions. The Straits Chinese were early settlers who integrated their culture with that of the Malay to create a unique cultural fusion.
Enter a world of friendly ghost stories, dwellings with exotic histories stained in their walls and traces of a colourful past in the extravagant antiques. You can take a fascinating trishaw ride and visit the Chinese Clan or ‘Association’ houses, originally built for the recruitment, education and financial welfare of the first Chinese immigrants.
With great wealth predominantly amassed from the rubber trade, some of these clans built elaborate mansions with ornate temples and luxurious opium dens. Some remaining mansions are more than 200 years old and are now art galleries and coffee shops, or bars with contemporary painted walls in airy courtyards.
After wandering Hareem Street, turn off this historical road to enter magical Harmony Street, named after the harmonious array of mosques, Chinese, Hindu and Buddhist temples. Plus take time to explore Jonker Street, lit with Chinese red lanterns, smelling of the delicious Nyonya cuisine and bustling with lively markets at the weekends. The local experience of Melaka is truly marvelous!”
* photo by Gabriella Fono – Intrepid Photography Competition