Visiting A Traditional Malay House In Melaka, Malaysia


Last year around this time I was in Malaysia. I had two wonderful days in Melaka, the heritage town that has the origins of Malaysia in its folds, and visiting a traditional Malay house. It will always remain in my mind as the red town, as most of its buildings are in rust red.

Exteriors of a Traditional Malay House in Melaka
Exterior landscape view with garden, trees

Traditional Malay House – Sentosa Villa

On a small island formed at the turn of the river Melaka, I saw some beautiful houses in pistachio green with red slanted roofs. Our guide sensed our curiosity and took us to visit Sentosa Villa, a traditional Malay house.

Haji Fatima, the owner of a traditional Malay House in Melaka
Haji Fatima, the owner

Almost 100 years old and still managed by the lady of the house. Haji Fatima is a few years younger than the house that was built by her grandfather. She takes us around the house and points to various things around the house.

Courtyard with lots of wooden frames and tiled floor
Courtyard with lots of wooden frames and tiled floor

Traditional Designs & Interiors

House stands on a raised platform. You reach the entrance through a flight of steps passing through some usual and some not-so-usual plants. The entrance leads to a central courtyard much like traditional Indian houses with rooms all around them. The pictures of the family prominently adore the houses. It was amusing to see the portrait of the lady in her younger days. With the shyness of youth on her face vis-à-vis the wise and mature look that she carries now. There was a wall full of music records. Fatima told us that they are the music albums of her brother who was a musician. There were elaborate beds with traditional linen on them.

Bedroom with wooden cot and carpet on the floor
Well ventilated Bedroom with a wooden cot and carpet on the floor

Every part of the floor was covered with colorful carpets. Two chairs under a canopy looked special. And special they were as they were used during the marriage ceremonies to seat the bride and the groom. There were old machines like an almost rusted typewriter. With tons of crockery collected from various parts of the world, the family was sure a rich one. A lounge-like place was created for the visitors to go through the family albums.

Old gramophone records at a traditional Malay House in Melaka
Old gramophone records at a traditional Malay House in Melaka

Huge Gong

A most interesting piece in the house was a huge Gong that I believe was used for celebrations and announcements. Banging it three times is supposed to bring luck. And the lady makes sure she treats you to some luck in her house. Sentosa Villa has also received an award from Malaysia Tourism for being the best tourist attraction. It is proudly displayed in the house.

Gong at a traditional Malay House in Melaka
Gong at a traditional Malay House in Melaka

How I wish, we could convert some of our traditional Havelis and Deodis too here into such beautiful tourist attractions. That would help generate employment as well as preserve heritage.

Recommend you to read the following travel blogs on Things to do in Kuala Lumpur & Places to visit in Malaysia.

Malaysia’s favorite Petronas twin towers

Heritage walks around Kuala Lumpur

Walking through KL Bird Park

Batu caves with a giant Murugan

Malaysia’s tallest structure – KL Tower

Snorkeling in blue waters around Redang island

Food & more food in Malaysia



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