There is one Chinatown in almost every major city in the world but none is more historic than the one in Melaka, Malaysia. Melaka or Malacca is chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historicity, and Chinatown has a lot to do with it. The Melaka Chinatown is the oldest one in Malaysia, and most probably one of the oldest in the world. A tour of Melaka is not complete without visiting Chinatown for the following reasons.
The first reason is Jonker Street, the most popular street in Chinatown for bargain shopping, cultural experience, and meeting tons of people. It is always crowded with tourists trying to get the best bargain. In fact, traffic is closed on weekends because of the overcrowding. Along the row of shops is a show called “Malaysia Boleh” that is run by a Chinese-Malaysian traditional doctor, Ho Eng Hui. He sells a special liquid that’s supposed to ease one’s pain and stimulate one’s muscles. To convince people to buy his potion, he puts up an amazing show of strength by breaking coconuts with just one finger or elbow. Anyone who’s been to Jonker Street has surely seen his show and many other interesting things. At the heart of Jonker is a row of old 17th-Century houses. During the Dutch occupation, these used to be the homes of local servants because their Dutch masters lived at the nearby Heeren Street. After the Dutch left, it became an important street for the rich. This street within Jonker Street is called Jonker Walk or Antique Street since there are several antique shops. [Read more…]