The awarding of Unesco World Heritage status to Melaka's historic core in 2008 put it firmly on Southeast Asia's tourist map. Since then, scores of heritage buildings have benefitted from makeovers, blossoming into boutique hotels,

restaurants and galleries.

Recently the focus has shifted to the Melaka River; boat rides along this meandering waterway are popular and soon water taxis will connect Melaka Sentral bus station with downtown. Check out the waterfront gallery space Zheng He Duo Yun Zuan, split between two converted warehouses, or rummage for souvenirs at the Trash & Treasure flea market, held riverside every weekend. Then head to the Shore Shopping Gallery, a new upscale mall where the rooftop Sky Tower provides panoramic views across this alluring metropolis.