Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary in Malacca

Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary is a tourist attraction in Ayer Keroh, about 15km northeast of Malacca town. Also known as Taman Rama Rama, it is home to a collection of animals ranging from beautiful butterflies to snakes, lizards, crocodiles, koi fish and even a pair of gorgeous golden leopards.

Spread across an 11ha jungle area, the complex is part secondary jungle and part landscaped park. The well-maintained sanctuary was opened in 1991 and is divided into five sections: the Koi River Valley, Butterfly Garden, Reptile Aviary, Wild Photo Lane and Nature’s Art Centre.

Butterfly Garden

First up is the walk-through Butterfly Garden, the Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary’s premier attraction. It is a place where hundreds of butterflies, simply bursting with colours, fly freely.

The garden has more than 20 different species of butterflies, including the Black and White Helen, Malayan Birdwing, and the Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing (Malaysia’s National Butterfly, named after Sir James Brooke, the ‘Raja’ (King) of Sarawak).

Koi River Valley

The Koi River Valley is undoubtedly the most serene section of the park. Here hundreds of colourful carp swim around in the beautifully landscaped ponds, complete with miniature waterfalls and surrounded by tropical plants. Check out the 250m-long canopy walk: the sights here make for great souvenir photos.

Opened in October 2008, Wild Photo Lane is another great place for souvenir photos with the animals of Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary: here you can take up-close-and-personal shots with the Burmese python, red-tailed boa, giant green iguana and more.

Reptile Aviary

Also be sure to visit the Reptile Aviary where snakes such as boas, pythons, vipers and cobras can be found at the Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary. Check out the giant Burmese python and the 20ft reticulated python; non-snake lovers had better watch out for the long-nose whip snakes (with their slender twig-like bodies and green scales) camouflaged in the leaves of trees in this aviary.

Just past the lizards exhibit you can see a small closed-off section of the park where crocodiles live: they look pretty lazy and it seems like the only movements you see are when they move their heads. Also in this section is a cage with a pair of golden leopards. They are a gorgeous duo and feeding time is obviously a sight to see.

Did You Know

Ayer Keroh is filled with tourist attractions, including the Taman Mini Malaysia & ASEAN, Melaka Zoo and more; however the Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary remains one of its most popular attractions. The complex is set opposite Melaka Zoo, the second largest zoo in the country, and nearby the Ayer Keroh Recreational Forest.

The park also has a forestry museum and paved jungle trails and a picnic area. Reptiles are placed within cages to ensure visitors’ safety. From Malacca town, you can get to Ayer Keroh either by bus or taxi

Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary

  • Opening Hours: 08:30 – 17:30 everyday
  • Address: Lebuh Ayer Keroh, 75450.
  • Tel: +606 232 0033

Christ Church Melaka

Christ Church  built by the Dutch when they took possession of Malacca from the Portuguese, it’s one of Malacca’s most defining structures. Situated along Jalan Gereja (also known as Church Street) it is an instantly recognizable brick-red building with a huge white cross at the top. Sitting opposite the Stadhuys, Christ Church was built in 1753 to celebrate a century of Dutch occupation. The interior of the cathedral has 200 year-old handmade pews, decorative fanlights and plaques that honour Dutch soldiers and locals.

Christ Church Information

Christ Church is located near to Malacca’s Chinatown centre. Across the bridge from the Jonker Street, it is one of the most popular sightseeing attractions in the Stadthuys area. A lot of colourful trishaws (You can pay to ride it) and directly opposite is the Historical Museum and Ethnographical Museum.

The area is stepped in Baba Nyonya culture with opulent ‘Baba merchants’ houses and elegantly-conserved Nyonya restaurants that line the constricted roads. Christ Church is small – once inside, right beside the front doors there is a long table with brochures and religious paraphernalia for sale set up. There are about ten rows of pews before the main altar and the whole place has old light fixtures and plenty of worn-but-well-kept tiles.

Dutch occupation

Besides its commemorative purpose, Christ Church was constructed due to the fact that when the Dutch first conquered Malacca, they had no place of worship other than St. Paul’s Church, a small chapel built on St. Paul Hill.

Later on, when the British took over Malacca they added a weathercock and bell to Christ Church and transformed it from a Protestant church into an Anglican one. Entrance into the basilica is free; it is not a big building and the interior is dark yet cosy, with dark polished wooden pews that face the altar and large timber crucifixes that hang on the walls. Meanwhile, outside the church is a beautiful collection of potted plants and a colourful group of trishaws lined up for tourists.

Christ Church Melaka

  • Address: Jalan Kota Melaka, Melaka

Jonker Street in Malacca

Jonker Street – the centre street of Chinatown – was once renowned for its antique shops. However over the years it has turned to clothing and crafts outlets as well as restaurants. The best part of Jonker Street is the night market on Fridays and Saturdays that sells everything from tasty treats to cheap keepsakes.

A’Famosa in Melaka

A’Famosa is more than just quick photo stop opportunity for tourists. Built in 1511, the settlement used to sprawl across a whole hillside but now only a lone gate (Porta de Santiago) remains. One of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia; it is set beside the Istana ke Sultanan on Jalan Kota.

A’Famosa is perhaps Malacca’s best known sightseeing spot. Originally constructed by Alfonso de Albuquerque (who led the Portuguese invasion on the Malacca Sultanate), the remains of the fort is now a crumbling whitewashed gatehouse and is located downhill from St. Paul’s Church.

Structure of A’Famosa

In the 16th century A’Famosa housed the entire Portuguese administration, including its hospitals, five churches, elongated stockades and four key towers. One tower was a four-storey keep; the others were an ammunition storage room, captain’s residence and an officer’s quarters. The rest of the bastion comprised of townhouses clustered inside the fortress walls. The fort was expanded in 1586 to accommodate Malacca’s growing population.

Portuguese History

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese were establishing outposts in Macau, China and India in order to create a string of friendly ports for their ships plying the routes between China and Portugal. Malacca’s growing popularity meant that it was fast becoming an important link for Portugal to the Spice Route in China. In 1511 the Portuguese fleet, under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque arrived and launched an attack on the armies of the Malacca Sultanate and defeated them.

Albuquerque moved swiftly to consolidate his gains by building a fortress around a hill near the sea. He used 1,500 slaves to construct A’Famosa as a stronghold to defend against foreign invasion.

Dutch History

In 1641 the Dutch wrested control of A’Famosa from the Portuguese and drove them out of the city. What remains is largely the Dutch reconstruction as they carried out renovation works in 1670, following the siege. To this day you can see a small inscription (ANNO 1670) on the fort’s arch as well as the coat-of-arms of the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

A’Famosa changed hands again when Malacca fell into British hands during expansionist Napoleonic times. Initially under the impression that the VOC was to act as a caretaker administration until a time when the Dutch were able to fully resume control, they had no idea the fort would soon be lost to them forever.

British History

Due to the fact that they offered too little and asked for too much, the Dutch forces soon lost the respect of their Malay subjects and in the early 19th century Malacca was fully conquered by the British. Wary of maintaining the fort, should it fall into enemy hands, the English ordered its destruction in 1806.

Fortunately, Sir Stamford Raffles (founder of Singapore) who was visiting Malacca in 1810 arrived in the nick of time. Due to his love of history he stepped in before the complete destruction of the old fortress. It was a close call though and the crumbling remains of Porta de Santiago, a small gate house, were all that could be salvaged from total destruction.

When work was undertaken on the Menara Taming Sari revolving tower in 2006, another part of the A’Famosa was discovered. As a result the revolving tower was relocated further inland and A’Famosa’s newly-discovered fortress walls were reconstructed.

A’Famosa Melaka

  • Location: Jalan Kota, Malacca

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum in Malacca

At the beginning of the 16th century, merchants and entrepreneurs were lured to Malacca’s shores due to stories of the city’s burgeoning success and wealth. In particular the city saw an influx of Chinese traders who arrived in droves in an effort to escape Manchu rule. These entrepreneurs went on to marry local Malay women – descendents of these marriages were known as Peranakan or ‘Straits-born Chinese’.

Their relative success resulted in these expatriate merchants becoming the principal wealth catalysts of the thriving city. The ‘Babas’ (male Sino-Malays) flaunted their affluence by purchasing Dutch townhouses and transforming them into out-and-out palaces. The interiors of these homes were opulent and stuffed to the tee with Dutch-influenced fixtures including hand-painted tiles and Victorian lamps.

Makanan Peranakan

Yet Peranakan culture as a whole is largely defined by its cuisine – makanan (food) Nyonya. Malaysians laud it as one their major food heritages and Malacca’s culture is irrevocable defined by it. An amalgamation of Malay and Chinese traditions, Nyonya cuisine comprises dishes with out-of-the-ordinary vegetables, curries thickened by coconut milk and sauces that are delightfully pungent. Noteworthy though is the social etiquette of eating – locals use their fingers, not chopsticks, to eat – a fact that belies their Chinese ancestral roots and establishes Nyonya culture as one of Malaysia’s veritable legacies.

Heritage House

Located at No. 48-50 along Jalan Tun Cheng Lock in Malacca, the Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum is actually a collection of three beautifully restored houses arranged to look like a typical 19th-cenutry Baba-Nyonya residence. Excellent examples of Chinese-Palladian style, these townhouses, built in 1896, were transformed into a traditional Peranakan museum in later years; connected by a common covered footway, the museum features hand-painted tiles, elaborately carved teakwood outer swing doors and a sturdier internal door which provides extra security. Framed by Greco-Roman columns, two red lanterns, one bearing a household name and the other messages of good luck, hang on either side of the entrance.

The upper level of the house has a short canopy of Chinese tiles above the portico which frames the almost-Venetian shuttered windows. Boasting distinctively east-meets-west allure, the glass windows feature wrought-iron grilles and the eaves and fascias are covered with painted, floral designs. Inside the house there’s a collection of gold-leaf fixtures, Chinese- and Dutch-design black wood furniture inlaid with mother of pearl as well as skilfully carved lacquer screens and Victorian chandeliers.

The best parts of this tour are the guides who regal guests with Baba Nyonya tales of yore with noticeable Peranakan wit during the informative 45-minute tours.

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 – 12:30 & 14:00 – 16:30 Monday – Saturdays
  • Address: 48-50 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200.
  • Tel: +606 283 1273