Malacca is perhaps the most obvious stop-off between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore; a place squabbled over by empires, which retains a sense of its colonial past.
While the majority of visitors to Malaysia's west coast focus solely on the islands of Langkawi and Penang, those who look further south will be rewarded with the rural Malay kampongs (hamlets) and palm plantations that characterise the area.
Malacca was founded at the end of the 14th century at a strategic spot overlooking the deep-water strait that bears its name, and grew to become an incredibly wealthy stop-off on the trade route between India and China; merchants would exchange textiles, silk, spices, gold, pepper and sandalwood.
Former influences can still be seen in the opulent town houses of Chinatown, which contains the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia.
Europeans also left their architectural prints on the city, from the imposing governor's residence, the Stadthuys, and other colonial buildings on Dutch Square, to the Portuguese district known as ‘little Lisbon'.
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