More than 600 years ago, Malacca rose to prominence as an important entrepot, attracting traders, mariners and visitors from both east and west.
The town was the seat of Malay Sultan who married a Chinese princess, Han Li Po. It later welcomed the enigmatic Zheng He to Malacca before he travelled westwards to India and Africa.
The Portuguese, Dutch and the English who came much later opened up the Maritime Silk Route, connecting China with Southeast Asia, India, Egypt and Europe. This in particular attracted Chinese merchants who played a pivotal role as intermediaries with the British, Dutch and the Portuguese traders.
They integrated with the locals, while fusing their Chinese traditions with the local culture. They learned how to operate in a multi linguistic, multicultural world, borrowing, lending and learning along the way – the Peranakans were already ahead of their time, and Malacca is in a way a true representation of the hybrid culture.
Today, the bustling town manages to keep itself going by tourists who come to savour the delectable Peranakan cuisine and walk along Jonker Walk.
The cycle rickshaws give Malacca its true character. From Frozen Princess to Spiderman to Minions to Pikachu to Hello Kitty – the trishaw drivers have thought of all possible cartoon characters. Each rickshaw is decked in flowers, lights and fitted with boom boxes that play Malay, English, Chinese, Tamil and Hindi songs. It is a ride of your lifetime.