Culture

CultureLocale

Immerse in the history of Pinang Peranakan Mansion

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If you are a history buff then on your tour to Penang, a visit to Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a must. While here, you can uncover the mysterious past of the Peranakans — descendants of Chinese immigrants. Over the years, the mansion gained popularity because of a drama series called “The Little Nyonya”.

About the Pinang Peranakan Mansion

A UNESCO heritage site, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion forms a living cultural museum. It came about from the marriage of the local Malay and the Chinese immigrants. But mainly restored and maintained to remind the world of the rich Peranakan heritage of Penang. The exterior and interiors of the mansion highlight the various cultures that influenced its architecture. The Pinang Peranakan Mansion still remains a masterpiece. It features the British tilework, Scottish iron weldings, European furniture and Chinese carved wood panels.

The Pinang Peranakan mansion
The Peranakan Mansion

Restored to showcase the living of the Chinese merchants of the 1890s, the mansion holds numerous stories to tell. A walk through the mansion is enough to lose yourself into a century-old lifestyle. The awe-worthy interiors will make you realise how elaborate and opulent the past lifestyle and traditions were. Inside the mansion, you can view everything; from jewellery to wedding attires to items of daily use.

Interiors of the Pinang Peranakan Mansion
How to visitA peek inside the mansion

How to visit?

The Pinang Peranakan Mansion conducts guided tours twice every day. So, we highly recommend you to take your own local tour guide along. Connect with a local travel expert on Locaguide and ask him to show you around the mansion. Without a helping hand, it is almost impossible to cover it entirely. He will show you the pieces that were used by the Peranakan families and explain the history behind them. Given the vastness of the mansion, visit the place early before the crowd starts pouring in. Thus, making yourself some time to indulge and soak in the glamour and grandeur of the mansion.

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CultureLocale

Discover Penang’s history at the Clan Jetties

Clan JettiesSeries of Clan Jetties

Forming an important part of Penang’s rich heritage, the clan jetties are more than a picture-perfect tourist speciality. Originally giving the local Chinese immigrants a place to call home, each jetty came to be distinctively known for the clan it housed. Starting with seven such clans, this Chinese settlement did not have a smooth start, until the local government body officially gave them an identity.

History of the Clan Jetties

Out of the original seven, six jetties have houses that were built over a century ago. And if you know exactly where to look you’ll still be able to see some of the original stilts. The slits those used by the Chinese when they first immigrated to Penang. Named after the Chinese clan who first lived on the jetties, each jetty is a village in itself. It reflects the traditions and beliefs of the clan. Each village has its own temple, and its own stories to tell. Take a guided tour of this place with your local travel expert from Locaguide. The guide will help you with the difference in the temples and tell you the tales of the clans.

When to visit the Clan Jetties?

Probably the best time of the day to visit the clan jetties is late afternoon. This will allow you to round up your visit by watching a glorious sunset at the jetty. The setting sun brings with it a change in the neighbourhood and a tinge of excitement in the air. Hence, everyone makes sure to pause by and witness the gorgeous sight. 

A view of clan jetty at dusk
A view of clan jetty at dusk

The iconic long wooden planks make for gorgeous walks be it solo or with your loved ones. If there is one place to see in Penang that you shouldn’t miss then this is it. With ample souvenirs to purchase and local restaurants, the jetties are the perfect place to spend an evening.

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CultureLocale

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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Food

3 famous Nyonya dishes you must try in Malacca

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The best way to explore Malaysia and its culture flows through the various cuisines available in the country. Over the years, each cuisine has adapted to the changing times and preferences. With a perfect blend of Malaysian and Chinese cuisines, Nyonya dishes remain a mouthwatering mix of zing, spice and fragrance. Thus, if you mean to visit Malacca then do try out some of these authentic dishes.

Laksa Nyonya

Laksa Nyonga
Laksa Nyonga

This makes for a tantalising dish consisting of soupy coconut curry served with noodles or vermicelli. As you tour the city of Malacca you will notice multiple variations of Laksa Nyonya. From the prefered meat to ingredients used to the ever-changing garnishes, the dish just keeps evolving. Its hint of sweetness and heavily spiced coconut gravy, the dish serves as a perfect meal to end your day. Hence, Laksa Nyonya truly signifies a food for the soul.

Ayam Pongteh

Ayam Pongteh
Ayam Pongteh

For a more wholesome meal try Ayam Pongteh, a traditional Peranakan dish. It will help you walk throughout the day and thus lets you explore the tourist spots around Malacca. Usually, its preparations start a day prior so as to help enhance its rich taste.

Ayam Pongteh forms for a satisfying stew of chicken and potato in a thick gravy base served with rice. Undoubtedly, a perfect dish to explore the food culture of Malacca.

Nyonya Cendol

Nyonya Cendol
Nyonya Cendol

No one can end their Malaysian holiday without trying the shaved ice, a dessert favourite among the locals. It contains green jelly-like rice noodles, creamy coconut milk and palm sugar syrup topped with red beans. The dish has a subtle smoky aftertaste and does not powerfully tastes sweet. This shaved ice dessert makes the weather of Malacca bearable and gives the perfect excuse to walk around. Thus, allowing you to explore more of the city as you devour on this delicious thirst quenching dessert.

The best way to get a taste of the local food in Malacca is to take a walk with a trusted local guide. With Locaguide’s travel expert you get a chance to hog around the city. The guide will take you to the best places and help you find those hidden eateries. So, on your trip to Malacca make sure not to miss the Nyonya food tour.

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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

An evening at Jonker Street Night Market

Jonker Street Night Market 1

The perfect end to a day-long city tour of Malacca is shopping and dinner at Jonker Street. With the setting sun, the street starts bustling with life. The square lights up filling the air with mouthwatering smells as hawkers start shouting to sell their wares. It goes from being a quiet street in the day to resembling a party at night. 

Things to do at Jonker Street

The night market at Jonker Street on the weekend proves to be the perfect setting for the locals and tourists to mingle. So, enough varieties in the food will help you eat like a local. Sample and nibble at the multiple hawker stalls and restaurants around.

The night market at Jonker Street
The night market

The quirky presentation and aromatic smell of the food will make you want to taste everything that catches the eye. The entire street turns into a stage with live performances and music events set up. The setting seems magical and will truly make you feel like a local.

Among locals, Chicken rice balls, Satay Celup, Nyonya Laksa and Gula Melaka cendol stay on the top of the list.

Shop till you drop

On your walk along the street ensure to keep an eye out on the merchandise available for sale. You can buy anything and everything during the night market. The street is lined with antique shops, shops selling handicrafts, local art pieces, jewellery and a lot more. The night market offers a whole variety of street shopping so haggle for the best prices.

Opt for a local travel guide if the chaos and the bargaining overwhelm you. Connect with a local tour guide from Locaguide before planning a trip to Malacca. Make sure to take suggestions and tips from your guide while purchasing stuff on the Jonker street. An evening at Jonker Street takes you on a completely different note because of its infectious energy.

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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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CultureLocale

Get acquainted with local culture at Mari Mari Cultural Village

Mari Mari Cultural Village 4

A short trip from Kota Kinabalu, Mari Mari constitutes a village where the ethnic culture of the Borneo tribes is kept alive. The village houses five of the indigenous Borneo tribes, who continue to live in their old ways. Every tribe’s lifestyle, culture and history tell a different yet fascinating story.

The tribes of Borneo in their traditional costumes
The tribes of Borneo

You get a first-hand view of their way of life, work, customs, traditions and their clothing. Also, know what sets them apart from each other. Everyone who visits the village learns about the tribe’s rich past and ancient customs of the tribes. You can partake in each of the custom and activity to experience them personally. Every tribe showcases their hunting and survival skills to the tourists. Thus, altogether making it a fun excursion.

Things to do at Mari Mari Cultural Village

You can taste their traditional food, see how the dish is prepared and perhaps even try your hand at it. Moreover, while dining, each tribe will share with you how their tribe name came about and what it stands for. The experience of eating in an antiquated village will stay with you forever.

A traditional Rungus house
Traditional Rungus house

Spending half a day at the cultural village lets you explore activities each belonging to one of the five tribes. You can also sit back and enjoy the cultural performances or take part in them alongside the locals. The village surrounding remains a natural habitat of rainforest trees thus keeping you away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

A group of tourists observing traditional cooking
Group of tourists observing traditional cooking

Gain hands-on experience in traditional bamboo cooking, fire starting or play a game of Congkak(Malay game).

Furthermore, the experience of visiting the Mari Mari Cultural Village gets even better with a local travel guide accompanying you. Someone who can help you translate and understand the stories of the tribes and help you grasp the true essence. Find yourself a suitable local guide from Locaguide and plan a personalized itinerary with their help. Visit this cultural village with your guide and get a glimpse of tribal life in the Borneo islands.

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Locale

Explore Royal History at The Taman Sari Water Palace

Taman Sari Water Palace

The Taman Sari Water Palace is the site of the royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It dates back to the mid 18th century. Once used as a place to rest, work, meditate, hide and defend the Sultanate and his family from the yesteryears. Most of the buildings now serve as accommodation or commercial space for the local residents. Visit this royal palace during your trip to Yogyakarta to discover tales of the past from the locals. Tales as old as the days when Taman Sari belonged to the royalties of Yogyakarta.

How to get to The Taman Sari Water Palace

Undoubtedly one of the most popular places, you can reach the Taman Sari by cab or a short walk. Opt for a local travel guide from the Locaguide portal. Your guide will help you on the short walk to the palace from Kraton. Upon reaching walk around to explore the grounds and your guide will take you through the historical journey of the palace.

Taman Sari Water Castle

Taman Sari Water Castle

The water castle shows a unique infusion of eastern and western concepts of architecture. The unique garden of the Royals holds a mosque, a fort, a meditation space, and a man-made lake. A series of underground tunnels connect the structures on the islands in the lake. Each feature of the Taman Sari Water Palace comprehended a particular ritual and its use during the Sultanates rule. Learn the local names of each area, their use and stories surrounding them from the guide.

If history and architecture excite you, then make sure to soak in Indonesia’s royal past at the Taman Sari Royal Palace. Include a day-long trip to the perfumed gardens of the palace during your Yogyakarta tour for an exciting exploration. The place is also a spectacle for all the photography enthusiasts.

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Culture

Visit a Malaysian “Open House”

Open HouseHari Raya Open House in Kota Kinabalu

The two things you should keep in mind while planning a holiday in Malaysia are the food and the festivals. These two things truly define Malaysian culture in the best way possible. A melting pot of different religions and cultures, the Malaysians hold a lot of festivals to celebrate all year round. Irrespective of which festival, the interaction among the local Malaysians makes way for a special brew of culture. Also, along with the hospitable warmth that the country remains known for, giving birth to the concept of “open house”.

Aidilfitri Open House
Aidilfitri Open House

What is an “Open House”?

If you happen to stay in Malaysia during any festival, make sure to attend an “open house” or Rumah Terbuka(as locals call it). Common during Eid, Diwali, Chinese New Year and Christmas, it forms a perfect example of unity in diversity. This also goes to show how the diverse communities in Malaysia intermingle. Open house means that the host’s house is open to receive all well-wishers and guests. Everyone is invited to attend, regardless of their cultural or religious background. A practice unique to Malaysia, it is more than just a welcome to someone’s house. It is a way of life here where every race is mutually accepted and respected by all.

Hari Raya Open House
Hari Raya Open House

True to their hospitable self during “open house”, Malaysians welcome even tourist inside their homes. They give them a sneak peek along with giving them a chance to be a part of the festivities. Seen as the perfect practice to foster goodwill and renew social ties, the government too follows it. During major festivals, the government houses are open to the public for food and drinks. A local guide from Locaguide can help you experience the festivities. The guide will suggest the best open house options and share the dos and don’ts you need to keep in mind. You can also mingle and interact with the locals and other guests with the guide’s help.

Get a chance to sample the most authentic local homemade delicacies. Meanwhile, watch performances and cultural dances by the local artists and orchestras in a unique setting. At the Rumah Terbuka get yourself to experience a completely new culture.

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