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While in Kuala Lumpur, we took a day trip to Melacca 馬六甲 – a historic town that is about 2 hours by car in the southerly direction on the Malaysian peninsula.

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The main street was really crowded with tourists. It took us almost an hour standing in line to get a table at one of the better known Hainanese chicken rice ball shop.

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While we all swore we’ll never wait in line for such a long time for lunch, the chicken was one of the most tender we have had. The rice balls were just a curiosity.

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One of the cultural sights of Melacca is the Zheng He cultural museum which houses a collection of artifacts relating to this famous Chinese sea captain who visited between 1405-1407.

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Zheng He (鄭和, 1371–1433) was an eunuch, mariner, explorer, diplomat, and fleet admiral during China’s early Ming Dynasty.

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The museum is a bit old and many of the displays are chessey.

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We saw a fiberglass model of a giraffe of the Sultan of Bengal, brought from Medieval Somalia, and later taken to China on Zheng He’s ship.

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Connected to the museum is a teahouse which has its own entrance on another street.

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The teahouse is decorated in traditional Chinese style, neat but a bit contrived – it has a theme-park look. We noticed installations of disco lighting suggesting that this venue has been used to host touristy dinner and dance party.

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The owner (?) and his friends were really friendly and we had a nice chat.

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The teahouse has a small open courtyard.

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Zheng He commanded expeditionary voyages from China to Southeast Asia, Middle East and as far as East Africa.

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Over three decades he conducted seven voyages on behalf of the emperor, trading and collecting tribute in the eastern Pacific and Indian Oceans.

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A closeup of one of the admiral’s nautical map recreated with pebbles.

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According to Wikipedia, Zheng He’s first voyage departed 11 July 1405, from Suzhou and consisted of a fleet of 317 ships holding almost 28,000 crewmen. He is believed to have contributed to the spread of Chinese culture along with islam in South East Asia.

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We could not stay for tea because our driver was waiting to take us back to KL.

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Overall, our impression of Melacca is that it is a very historic town but its tourism infrastructure looks underdeveloped given the amount of visitors it is receiving.

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One Comment

  1. The Assam Fish was very good too!


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