The Melaka River Night View The Melaka River or Sungai Malacca can be seen as the beginning of Malacca history, when it was called ‘Venice of the East’ by the Europeans who traveled to it. Its historical importance also lies in the fact that, during the 15th century, the Prince Parameswara of Sumatra created his Sultanate at the entrance to this river. It was on the east bank, at the bottom of Malaccan Hill (now known as St. Paul’s Hill), where he placed his palace. On its route to the sea, the Melaka River travels pass the town of Malacca; many old villages, along with present day buildings, line its banks. It is of no surprise that for these reasons the river passage was an important route for major trade and commerce.
The Melaka River Cruise
There is now a 45-minute cruise that goes along the Melaka River which visitors find exciting and informative. It is said to be a good bargain and the 10 kilometer Melake River Cruise takes off at the mouth of the river, at the Dutch Square, and it travels all the way to Kampung Morten. The Tan Boon Seng Bridge is seen along the way, and it is important to point out its immense historical importance. The Portuguese used this bridge to capture the state; they divided Melaka in half and cut off communications in between.
That’s not all as there are two more important bridges to go! The Chan Boon Cheng Bridge is seen further along. Constructed in 1908 and rebuilt in 1963, it is a steel bridge that links the older Chinatown (Kampung Pantai) with the new Chinatown (around the Jalan Bunga Raya). Later on there is the Ghostbridge of Malacca, for pedestrians, that links Kampung Hulu with Jalan Kee Ann and the old Central Market. This pedestrian bridge was originally used for fishing trade and there are many Chinese restaurants in the area for this reason. One of the restaurants is now famous because it was used in Entrapment, a movie produced by Hollywood.
Other highlights of the cruise are the old homes and warehouses that are built on both sides of the river. High tide is the only time in which it is available, so visitors should plan ahead to fit this into their schedule. The Central Market is nearby and visitors can also see the Jalan Hang Tuah Bridge that links Jalan Munshi Abdullah with Jalan Hang Tuah. There was a theatre called the Cathay Cinema, but it is now closed. To the left of it is the Express Bus Terminal for Jalan Kilang. Buses can be taken to any other part of Malaysia at a reasonable price and old shops line the street in a quiet manner.
The last destination on the cruise completes the trip wonderfully. It is Kampung Morten, a very old village. It is a national heritage site that is well taken care of and its beauty lies in the traditional Malay architecture, reflecting older lifestyles and culture. The Melaka River Cruise is a major tourist attraction and since it allows visitors to enjoy history in a much more entertaining way, it is a picture of the Melakan State at its best!
The Melaka River Cruise is centrally located and so it is easily accessible from anywhere in Melaka using just a taxi or a trishaw.