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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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.


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


The teahouse has a small open courtyard.


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


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


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


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.


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


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.


One Comment

  1. The Assam Fish was very good too!

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