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This compact Malaysian state's catchphrase – 'Don't mess with Melaka' – sums up its confident attitude. Recent years have seen Melaka capitalise on its illustrious history and assert itself as one of Malaysia’s most irresistible tourist draws.

In the 15th century, Melaka was one of Southeast Asia's greatest trading ports. Over time it lost favor to Singapore, but this slowdown in trade protected much of the ancient architecture of the state capital, Melaka City, from falling foul of development. The historic centre was crowned a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008, kick-starting a decade of renewal. Modern Melaka swaggers once more, with visitors pouring in to experience the bustling weekend night market, heritage architecture and famously glitzy trishaws.

The rest of the state is a patchwork of forests, farmland and often deserted beaches. There's a generous scattering of family-friendly attractions in the smaller towns of Alor Gajah and Ayer Keroh.

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Melaka.


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