Malacca with Kids: Dust and Neon – Malaysia

This post may contain affiliate links. Please visit our Disclosure page for details.

Malaysia is packed with fun stuff to do with children:the museums of of Kuala Lumpur, the beaches (and precarious waterfalls) of Langkawi, and of course, all that Penang has to offer.

Our next Malaysian destination was Malacca, so we drove down to soak in the old-town ambiance. The history runs deep there, and a lot the most interesting aspects of the town deal with the past.

So if you go to Malacca with kids, they’ll get more out of the visit if you first discuss the city’s role in the spice trade and its occupations by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British and the Japanese.

I say this because a lot of the most interesting places I chose to go leaned heavy on the history. For example, I found the Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum fascinating, but the kids grew bored quickly. There were lots of dusty old mannequin-filled dioramas reenacting moments of import from the time, but after a quick look at these, the kids had no desire to keep reading on.

What they did find interesting, however, was the hike up the hill to St. Paul’s Church, which was turned into a burial ground for Dutch noblemen  in the 17th century. It’s where we found this gravestone you see above, which read: “Laid to rest here is Hendrik Eversten, who in his life was a citizen, a captain and a free merchant”

A citizen, a captain and a free merchant, huh? Add in the skull and bones of his gravestone, and that sure sounds like a pirate to us.

The place is a popular spot for wedding photography as well, it seems.

Yes, history was the name of the game here. There were cheesy tourist shops set up all over, but between them were antiques and faded paint.

We found a spot for some authentic Nyonya/Peranakan cuisine.  On the menu were pickled peppers, bamboo flower salad with coconut milk and this raw shrimp salad with stink beans.

But Malacca’s most vivid colors don’t present themselves until after dark when all the trishaws line up downtown, blasting top 40 and Bollywood tracks, looking for customers. We didn’t go for a ride: they were so loud (literally and figuratively) that it never even crossed our minds, but they were fun to photograph. I’ll put a few more in a post here.

We stayed for two days. If you head to Malacca with kids, I’d advise you to go for either a longer period of time or stay only an afternoon and evening. I felt like it was the kind of place that opens up to you only after soaking it in for a few days, but others might feel differently. Have you been to Malacca? What was your experience?



  1. Hi Jason. I’ve just come across your blog and love the photos and your style. Food photography is a strong suit of yours!

    We’re travelling as a family around Malaysia and also visited Melaka (I wrote about it here: and you’ve managed to catch the vibe well.

    Next time we visit we’ll certainly try those crazy trishaws.

    Over all, great work, and I’m looking forward to reading more.