The water glittered in shades of purple, pink and blue, and the boat meandered its way past the décor, buildings and art. It seemed like I was in trance mode with everything bright, beautiful and beaming around me. If I take off the colours, it may seem like am in one of the narrow canals of Venice. But, I wasn’t. I was amidst all the beautiful colours and art of Melaka and cruising through river Melaka.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Melaka in Malaysia is known for its beautiful colonial buildings and structures which are spread across. Museums, temples and the rich cultural heritage of Malacca is ubiquitous in every corner of this beautiful city. However, beyond these, what left me amazed was the wonderful Melaka river cruise at night. River Melaka which was used by Portuguese to invade the place in 1500s, also separates Red Square area from Chinatown.
The ideal time to go on this cruise is after sunset, when the lights are lit and colourful. The boat takes visitors on a 45 minute ride of 9 Kms that goes under numerous bridges that connect Red Square area with Chinatown. Some of these are Pasar bridge (1500 CE), Tan Kim Sen bridge (1862 CE), Chan Koon Cheng bridge (1908 CE) etc. While the oldest one is a wooden bridge, the newer ones have beautiful arches with modern technology and lighting.
Apart from the bridges, the river is flanked by historical structures and landmark buildings which are a testimony to Melaka’s heritage. These include Pre-war buildings, Red building, Bastion Middleburg, Water wheel, Church of St. Francis Xavier, Kampung Hulu mosque, Kampung Morten, Jonker street, Shore Shopping gallery etc. These structures showcase the quaint charm of Melaka as the boat cruises past its vibrant heritage.
Mural art is displayed across the walls of buildings all along the cruise, and that is another highlight of this journey. Many of the trees are lit too in shades of blue and pink. While the cruise would give a different perspective during the day, the night cruise is definitely the more preferred and recommended one.
- The cruise boats operate every half an hour between 9 AM and 11:30 PM on all days.
- The charges are MYR 30 for foreigners and MYR 25 for Malaysians.
- Visitors can board from either Dataran Muara jetty or Taman Rempah jetty.
P.S.: I was hosted by Melaka River Cruise on an invitation from Malaysia Tourism board, but the opinions are my own.