Georgetown and Melaka just became Unesco world heritage sites
The core areas encompass the historical sites of George Town, including the Lebuh Acheh historical enclave and sites such as the Lebuh Acheh Malay Mosque, Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Kling Mosque, the Goddess of Mercy Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, Khoo Kongsi, St George's Church, Assumption Church, St Xavier's Institution, Convent Light Street, Little India, the museum and court building, the commercial area of Beach Street, Fort Cornwallis, Esplanade, City Hall, the clan jetties and the port areas.
In Malacca, the historical sites near the St Paul???s Hill, the 17th century Dutch Stadhuys buildings, Jonker Street with its Dutch-era buildings, Jalan Tukang Besi, Kampung Morten and Malacca River have been recognised as part of the world heritage sites.
Quote from the UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Centre:
Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca (Malaysia) have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. With its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka demonstrates the early stages of this history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century. The two towns constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.
The Red Square with Clock Tower (built in 1886, not by the Dutch), Christ Church (built between 1741 and 1753 by the Dutch), Stadthuys (completed 1610 by the Dutch):
St.Pauls Church (built in 1521 by the Portuguese)
part of Melaka River that has been cleaned up and renovated in 2007
>> more about Melaka
Old City Hall, Colonial District (built by the British in late 18th century)
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (built in late 19th century), UNESCO Most Excellent Heritage Conservation Award in 2000
>> more about Georgetown
English is widely spoken so it’s very easy to get by. Though a few words of malay (Bahasa Malaysia) are always handy and will impress people. Malay is the official language but due to the multiracial character of the country you’ll find many languages spoken like Chinese (mandarin, cantonese, hokkien,...), Tamil among the Indians and several more languages on Borneo.
Philip Bowring of the “International Herald Tribune” reflects about the country on it’s 50th (or 44th, read the article) anniversary, it’s rapid growth from rural to modern industrialized country. The peaceful situation but also the political and racial problems Malaysia is facing today.