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A peek into local culture at Baba-Nyonya Museum

Baba-Nyonya Museum

Baba is the term used to refer to a Straits-born gentleman, while Nyonya is used to address a Straits-born lady. The Baba-Nyonya Museum in Malacca showcases the lives of the affluent families of the past. Built on restoring three townhouses, the museum shows the rich culture of the Peranakan homes before the World War.

About Baba-Nyonya Museum

Located on Millionaire’s street, the later generations of the original family maintained and restored the Baba-Nyonya Museum. As you walk in, you can spot the red lanterns on either side of the elaborate columns. One of the lanterns bears the household name while the other invites good luck into the house. Large intricately carved teakwood doors lead you inside the museum. Extensively covered in hand-painted tiles the house tells about the beliefs and traditions of the past.

Baba Chan Cheng Siew, a second generation Strait’s born Chinese established the house in the year 1985. Before turning the house into a museum, four generations of the Chan family lived here.

 Inside the Baba-Nyonga Museum
Baba-Nyonga Museum

The Victorian lamps and chandeliers show the extent to which the families flaunted their wealth. You can’t help but notice the detailed dark wooden furniture in the interior. The floral designed wrought iron castings outside the windows add to the extravaganza of the place. The museum holds numerous stories and the antiques show how well the immigrants adopted the traditions.

This heritage museum takes you back in time and makes up for one of the best attractions in Malacca. If the place eagers you then consider creating a customised itinerary with Locaguide. The local tour expert will walk you around and give the details of the museum. He may also help you interact with the family that lives there, and give you the chance to hear stories from them about their ancestors.

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Locale

A’Famosa Fort – A slice of Colonial History in Malacca

FortA'Fomosa Fort, Malacca

The Rich History of A’Famosa Fort

Built more than 500 years ago, the name A’Famosa Fort actually translates to The Famous Fort. Constructed by the Portuguese at the foot of St Paul’s Hill only a tiny part of the fort is still left standing. It is in the form of a small Gate House named Porta de Santiago making it a must visit attraction.

Canons, markings and graves show that the fort lived as a part of all the three colonies that ruled Malaysia. With every colonial rule, the Fort remained altered as per their likings to leave proof of the respective reigns. Also, changing the purpose of the fort. Built at the foot of St. Paul’s hill, the fort is located between the city of Malacca and the sea. Meanwhile, the neighbourhood has a village vibe and the fort extends the grandeur and royalty of the Portuguese era.

A Photography retreat

The fort is a perfect spot for photography and the ruins of the fort lend an almost tragic stricken feeling. Take your time to explore and learn about the fort on your walk around capturing history in your photos. Moreover, it goes without saying that the A’Famosa Fort has a lot of history associated with it. This comes to light if you have the patience to dig deep. 

Ruins of A'Famosa Fort
Ruins of A’Famosa Fort

With so much to see and learn here, make sure to include the A’Famosa Fort in your itinerary. Build a personalised itinerary with Locaguide and plan a trip to this historic site. Upon exploring the fort you can take a leisurely walk around the neighbourhood. Shop for souvenirs or savour at the food stalls set up across the street. As the sunset nears trek uphill for a view of the mesmerizing city of Malacca. Thus, the visuals of the sun setting over the sea brings a perfect end to the tour.

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Locale

The Malay-style Melaka Sultanate Palace

Melaka Sultanate Palace 1

The Sultanate Palace built at the base of St Paul’s Hill in Malacca forms an identical replica of the original 15th-century palace. It is a cultural museum, home to the Malay side of Malacca’s history and a prominent cultural icon in this part of Malaysia.

Exploring the Sultanate Palace

As you walk in, the sultanate palace requires you to remove your footwear outside and enter the building bare feet. Moreover, the palace gives you a glimpse into the rich past of the region. Relive the curiosity the locals felt upon seeing the immigrants and traders in their costumes. Along your way, you will the mannequins dressed as traders from across the seas.

The sultanate palace
The sultanate palace

The museum also displays the local tools used for daily activities and recreational purposes. As you walk through the palace note if you can spot any nails used for building the palace. You won’t find because the whole place employs the traditional method of ingeniously carved wood that fits together! Furthermore, you can check out the grand throne room and learn about the life of the Malay heroes. Once outside the palace building, you can cherish the gorgeous gardens built around it. Known as the “forbidden garden”, the Sultan built the museum for his harem.

A Guided Experience

Not sure how to make sense of all this history? Opt for a guided tour with a local travel guide from Locaguide. He/She will share the tales associated with the kings, royals and the palace. Moreover, the artefacts and architecture on display at the palace allow you to sense the grand lives of the royals. Also, shows how they spent their time all those years back.

At the end of this tour find yourself witnessing and reliving all the grandeur and royalty of Malacca Sultanate Palace. Unwind and shop for souvenirs or gorge on some local food at the end of your city tour.

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Locale

The Iconic St. Paul’s Church of Malacca

St. Paul's Church 2

St. Paul’s Church makes up for one of the most interesting attractions because of its ruins. So, make sure that you do not miss it on your tour to Malacca. Built some 500 years ago it sits peacefully on top of the St. Paul’s Hill. The St. Paul’s Church church ranks as one of the first churches built in Malaysia because its past remains deeply rooted in history.

Ruins of St. Paul's church
Ruins of the St. Paul’s church

Discovering the St. Paul’s Church

With locals setting up food and souvenir stalls on the way uphill may seem a bit crowded. The St. Paul’s Church’s sight forms a popular spot for photography, gorging on some mouth-watering street food and buying souvenirs. Walk past the crowd so that you can relish the grandeur of the church and learn more about its history.

St. Paul's Church in the back and St Francis Xavier Statue in the front
St. Paul’s Church in the back and St Francis Xavier Statue in the front

Take your time to explore and absorb the vibe of the spiritual antiquity of the place. Despite being in ruins, the St. Paul’s Church still holds the majestic vibe of the Dutch era. Discover the Church’s history right from the Dutch to the British period to the Sultanate’s gain and loss of power. Walk around the church and look for signs which give you the proof of stories from the past. The sight of St Francis Xavier statue and it’s lost arm adds to the ancient history of the place. Not only does the stained glass enhance the mystic appeal of the church but also shows the recent additions to the place.

Given the rich and extensive history of the church, hiring a local travel guide would seem a good idea. Build a customised itinerary and find a local guide from Locaguide to show you around the St. Paul’s Church. While the church takes you back in time, the view from St. Paul’s Hill shows the modern beauty of the city. So, your extra walk uphill does not go in vain because the view that it offers is worth it!

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Culture

Discover Traditional Batik Art of Indonesia

A woman working on Batik painting

Practised for over 2,000 years in Indonesia, Batik Art forms a traditional art style. No one returns without buying Batik paintings, be it either in the form of art or clothes from Indonesia.

Batik painting originated in the Java island of Indonesia. It essentially makes use of a manual dyeing technique used to create patterns and designs on fabric. This also involves a lot of skill, patience and practice.

Indonesian Batik art
Indonesian Batik art

The process involved in Batik Art

The first step in the complicated dyeing process involves stretching a piece of fabric onto a frame. Then stamping the desired design using a mixture of beeswax and resin over it. Contemporary Batik art pieces often hold more intricate designs hand-drawn on the fabric. Using a pen-like instrument called “canting”, artists draw the hot wax onto the fabric. A copper tip and a wooden holder forms a canting. This to make sure the smooth flow of wax and so that the hot wax does not burn the hand.

Then comes the actual dyeing part where the slathering of colours on the fabric takes place. Once dried, the dye is locked through soaking the fabric in a tub of fixative. This process is repeated to add more colours to the fabric. 

A woman working on Batik
A woman working on Batik

If this kind of artform intrigues you, ask your travel guide from Locaguide to help. He/Shefind and register you for a hands-on Batik painting workshop. The workshop provides you with the chance to create your own Batik masterpiece. Learn this skilled artform and then sit back and listen to local stories as your Batik fabric gets ready.

Take help from your guide if you want to purchase a Batik painting souvenir. Your guide will show you how to identify weather or not it is a batik piece or just a one-sided screen painting. This unique local art makes sure to add another dimension to your Indonesia trip.

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CultureEvents

Bali’s iconic Kecak dance

Post 11 Bali's iconic Kecak dance Img1

Imagine dozens of men in traditional Balinese costumes, loudly chanting and dancing in rhythm in a large circle, while immaculately dressed actors enact stories from the Ramayana around fire torches. That’s what the iconic Kecak dance of Bali looks like. Based on the Hindu mythology of Ramayana, the actors and dancers enact how Ram and his brother Lakshman rescued the former’s wife, Sita, from the evil Ravana.

The Kecak dance has been recognized internationally as a unique Balinese art form that is performed every evening at the Uluwatu Temple and the Tanah Lot Temple.

Bucket List Item in Bali

The performance draws a massive crowd and is regarded as one of the top 10 activities to do in Bali. You can ask your local travel guide to take you to either one of the two locations and club this activity with a visit to the respective temples for a perfect way to end the day.

Kecak dance
Kecak dance performance

This dance form is quite dramatic in more ways than one and gives the audience a glimpse of rich Balinese culture and traditions in a beautiful setting. With the sun setting in the background, the stage is set for a dramatic performance by the actors, while the fire torches at the centre stage add to the ambience. The presence of fire is of much significance in this dance in order to portray how Ram’s loyal aide Hanuman burnt Ravana’s territory in their attempt to rescue Sita. There are no musical instruments used in this act, but the synchronised chanting of the dancers provide a wonderful backdrop for the entire performance.

Kecak dance
Kecak dance fire performance

If you are looking to have a truly authentic cultural experience in Bali beyond the usual tourist attractions, watching the Kecak dance is a must! These days there are also slight variations of the original performance enacted in certain places in Bali using a different storyline from the Ramayana. So if you’d like to watch something different, ask your guide from Locaguide to take you to the right places. A magical setting, coupled with gripping performances by the dancers, makes this one of the top things to do in Bali!2