Being only a three hours coach ride away from Singapore, Malacca serves as a wonderful weekend getaway for Singaporeans looking to unwind, relax in a more laid-back city and of course, to eat. Jonker Walk, the Chinatown of Malacca is a popular area for both locals and tourists alike. Still retaining its historical imprints from the Dutch colony and the Peranakan settlement, Jonker walk has become a vibrant little area filled with colonial architecture, Peranakan culture, vintage goods and of course… the food!
Upon reaching Jonker Walk, visitors will be greeted with colorful shophouses that fill up the streets with quaint shops all around. You can expect to find a lot of shops ranging from touristy stores selling random gifts and souvenirs, vintage stores, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and so much more.
Architecture & History
Due to the rich and mixed history of the western ruling and eventual eastern settlement, the area around Jonker Walk has kept some of its historical architecture that dates all the way back to the 17th century. With that, a walk down Jonker Walk and its close vicinity mean you’ll witness some Chinese-styled architecture, Peranakan-inspired decor and of course, colonial buildings (such as the famous Dutch colonial Christ Church).
There are also several museums and temples around the streets if you’d like to learn more about the history and culture of Malacca.
The Peranakan culture is widely visible in Malacca since a lot of Peranakans have been living in Malacca for generations. Therefore, you’ll find a lot of places with Peranakan-designed goods. There’s even a Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum in the area if you’d like to learn more about the Peranakan culture and people.
One simply does not visit Jonker Street and not indulge in the insane variety (and even uniquely Malacca) of food. There’s just too much to eat and taste. Chicken Rice Ball, Durian Chendol, Gula Melaka Cendol (and basically Gula Melaka everything) are just a few of the popular food around Jonker Walk. Of course, there’s also the Peranakan/Nonya cuisine which includes popular dishes such as the Nyonya Laksa and Assam Fish Curry.
Jonker walk is also popular for its night market where the roads are cordoned off for street stalls to open up their businesses. A street full of street stalls only means that there’s more food to eat (which is awesome)! However, it could get really warm when the crowd starts to gather, so remember to dress in cooling clothes and bring a paper (or powered) fan if you must!
It should be noted that the night market that lights up Jonker Walk only happens on every Friday, Saturday & Sunday so it’s probably the best times to visit Jonker Walk during the weekend.
Pimp My Rickshaws
Something else that really adds color to the already vibrant Jonker Walk has got to be these lavishly decorated cycle rickshaws. Their decorations have no boundaries and most of them even pay homage to popular themes and cartoon characters such as Hello Kitty and Frozen the movie.
Of course, it’s no surprise that some of them are even loaded with speakers with music blasting and when night falls, these rickshaws up their game by lighting up their rides with colorful LED lightings.