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Visit These 7 Heritage Buildings That Used To Be the (Baba Nyonya) Peranakan House

21 Apr 2022
Image Credit: Visit These 7 Heritage Buildings That Used To Be the (Baba Nyonya) Peranakan House

Malacca

Image Credit: iStockPhoto
Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum
Image credit: @ asmaliana81 (IG)

Located in Melaka, a World UNESCO Site, this house is where four generations of the Chen Peranakan family used to live. Opened to the public as a museum in March 1985, it is currently still owned and managed by the descendants of the Chen family. The family owns 3 such townhouses, side by side in a row. 2 of them used to be the main homestay and 1 of them, the servants’ quarters.

Image credit: @ wanderchu (IG)

Treat your eyes to a string of antiques and other private collections, which have been passed down all the way to the 7th generation! Be awed by the Dutch, Portuguese, Malay and Colonial influenced decors like the 5-meter high silk embroidery, stairs made of solid Cengal wood with elaborate gold-leaf carvings (please don't bite to confirm the authenticity of gold🥇) adorning the back portion, blackwood furniture from China inlaid with mother of pearl and marble and many more.

Image credit: @ cempakasarikamarudin (IG)

Chinese and English tour guides are available but a self-guided tour is also possible with the help of handbooks that are available in 4 languages which are Chinese, English, Japanese and French. Group tour requires advanced booking for a more pleasant experience (cause we don’t want to end up like sardine packed in a can). Today, this privately owned museum is still used as an ancestral home where the descendants will perform prayers during festive days.

Image credit: The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum FB Page

P.s: This was used as one of the filming locations for the famous Singaporean drama “The Little Nyonya”

Entrance Fee
Adults: RM16
Children (5-12 years old): RM11
For guided tours, add RM4 per adult.

Courtyard @ Heeren Boutique Hotel
Image credit: mydiscoverjb FB Page

Within a minute’s walk from the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum, this hotel has 4 types of rooms and 3 types of suites which total up to 15 unique, stylish, and comfortable rooms with attractive rates. Get ready to be blown away by the intricate interior of a traditional Peranakan house with a touch of modern design.

Image credit: mydiscoverjb FB Page

There are rooms on the ground floor and upper floor, so it is pretty convenient for those with mobility challenges to stay at. Furnished with dark wood furniture, this hotel injects a rustic ambience into your stay. As you walk further in, you will discover a lovely courtyard with natural sunlight shining from above which also features a sealed well traditionally used in a Baba Nyonya household.

Image credit: @ veloorian (IG)
5 Heeren
Image credit: 5 Heeren Official Website

This place will transport you back in time to the golden era of the Peranakans. From the colourful tiles of Peranakan style flooring to the dim (oh so romantic💘) lights of the antique lamps, this gives a truly authentic glimpse into the life of an old Peranakan household. There are only 10 rooms here, each comes with either a river view, with courtyard view or city view.

Image credit: @yakawilly (IG)

Relieve the life of a rich and "atas" Baba or Nyonya when you check into this museum residence. Each room is beautifully embellished with ornate Peranakan furniture and antiques. All rooms are decorated in an Old World Peranakan theme with wooden furniture. If you pick a room like the Ornate Pearl or The Grand Heeren Suite, you will get to sleep on a wooden four-poster bed with intricate carvings and canopy just like how the Baba Nyonya used to sleep!

Image credit: 5 Heeren Official Website

The antiques and furniture are all part of the owner's personal antique collection. You can also book all 10 rooms for you and your family members and friends. This is definitely a 💎hidden gem in the heart of Malacca.

Image credit: 5 Heeren Official Website

P.s: This place is called 5 Heeren because of the residence unit number. Plus the street it’s on now was known as Heeren Street before being formally renamed as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.

The Baba House
Image credit: The Baba House FB Page

This house is located at a very strategic location and within walking distance to Jonker Street, so if you are planning to stay the night in Malacca, this is a good choice of accommodation (yes it’s a hotel!). The Baba House was once a home of a Straits Chinese elite family. Looks small from the outside but once you are in it, you will be surprised to see how long it is.

Image credit: The Baba House FB Page

Decked in the style of traditional Chinese Baroque and Chinese Palladian Style Houses with antique furniture, this hotel will make you experience how it feels like living in a Peranakan house.

Image credit: The Baba House FB Page

P:s: There is a parking space behind this hotel, Malaysians' no.1 headache solved!

Malacca

Image Credit: iStockPhoto
Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum
Image credit: @ asmaliana81 (IG)

Located in Melaka, a World UNESCO Site, this house is where four generations of the Chen Peranakan family used to live. Opened to the public as a museum in March 1985, it is currently still owned and managed by the descendants of the Chen family. The family owns 3 such townhouses, side by side in a row. 2 of them used to be the main homestay and 1 of them, the servants’ quarters.

Image credit: @ wanderchu (IG)

Treat your eyes to a string of antiques and other private collections, which have been passed down all the way to the 7th generation! Be awed by the Dutch, Portuguese, Malay and Colonial influenced decors like the 5-meter high silk embroidery, stairs made of solid Cengal wood with elaborate gold-leaf carvings (please don't bite to confirm the authenticity of gold🥇) adorning the back portion, blackwood furniture from China inlaid with mother of pearl and marble and many more.

Image credit: @ cempakasarikamarudin (IG)

Chinese and English tour guides are available but a self-guided tour is also possible with the help of handbooks that are available in 4 languages which are Chinese, English, Japanese and French. Group tour requires advanced booking for a more pleasant experience (cause we don’t want to end up like sardine packed in a can). Today, this privately owned museum is still used as an ancestral home where the descendants will perform prayers during festive days.

Image credit: The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum FB Page

P.s: This was used as one of the filming locations for the famous Singaporean drama “The Little Nyonya”

Entrance Fee
Adults: RM16
Children (5-12 years old): RM11
For guided tours, add RM4 per adult.

Courtyard @ Heeren Boutique Hotel
Image credit: mydiscoverjb FB Page

Within a minute’s walk from the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum, this hotel has 4 types of rooms and 3 types of suites which total up to 15 unique, stylish, and comfortable rooms with attractive rates. Get ready to be blown away by the intricate interior of a traditional Peranakan house with a touch of modern design.

Image credit: mydiscoverjb FB Page

There are rooms on the ground floor and upper floor, so it is pretty convenient for those with mobility challenges to stay at. Furnished with dark wood furniture, this hotel injects a rustic ambience into your stay. As you walk further in, you will discover a lovely courtyard with natural sunlight shining from above which also features a sealed well traditionally used in a Baba Nyonya household.

Image credit: @ veloorian (IG)
5 Heeren
Image credit: 5 Heeren Official Website

This place will transport you back in time to the golden era of the Peranakans. From the colourful tiles of Peranakan style flooring to the dim (oh so romantic💘) lights of the antique lamps, this gives a truly authentic glimpse into the life of an old Peranakan household. There are only 10 rooms here, each comes with either a river view, with courtyard view or city view.

Image credit: @yakawilly (IG)

Relieve the life of a rich and "atas" Baba or Nyonya when you check into this museum residence. Each room is beautifully embellished with ornate Peranakan furniture and antiques. All rooms are decorated in an Old World Peranakan theme with wooden furniture. If you pick a room like the Ornate Pearl or The Grand Heeren Suite, you will get to sleep on a wooden four-poster bed with intricate carvings and canopy just like how the Baba Nyonya used to sleep!

Image credit: 5 Heeren Official Website

The antiques and furniture are all part of the owner's personal antique collection. You can also book all 10 rooms for you and your family members and friends. This is definitely a 💎hidden gem in the heart of Malacca.

Image credit: 5 Heeren Official Website

P.s: This place is called 5 Heeren because of the residence unit number. Plus the street it’s on now was known as Heeren Street before being formally renamed as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.

The Baba House
Image credit: The Baba House FB Page

This house is located at a very strategic location and within walking distance to Jonker Street, so if you are planning to stay the night in Malacca, this is a good choice of accommodation (yes it’s a hotel!). The Baba House was once a home of a Straits Chinese elite family. Looks small from the outside but once you are in it, you will be surprised to see how long it is.

Image credit: The Baba House FB Page

Decked in the style of traditional Chinese Baroque and Chinese Palladian Style Houses with antique furniture, this hotel will make you experience how it feels like living in a Peranakan house.

Image credit: The Baba House FB Page

P:s: There is a parking space behind this hotel, Malaysians' no.1 headache solved!

Penang

Image Credit: iStockPhoto
Pinang Peranakan Mansion
Image credit: Penang Peranakan Mansion FB Page

This mansion once served as the residence and office of a 19th-century Chinese tycoon and Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Quee (remember we got read in Sejarah textbook about him😁). He commissioned the construction of this impressive mansion in the 1890s, which means that this building is more than 100 years old 😱. Built-in a Straits Eclectic-style which incorporated both European and Chinese designs, it was originally painted white. This building was eventually passed down to his descendants upon his passing. However, it soon became neglected until a property developer bought it in 1990. It was then painted green and turned into a museum that houses over 1000 Baba Nyonya antiques.

Image credit: livingnomads.com

If you are wondering why this building looks so familiar, that is because it has been used as a filming location for a couple of movies and dramas including The Little Nyonya and Crazy Rich Asians. Be awed by the impressive collections such as the main staircase’s handrail, which is made with balusters of cast iron from Scotland, European-styled teak furniture, Victorian glass epergnes, Peranakan ceramics, Kebaya Nyonya and many more.

Image credit: @ oldhouseface (IG)

A tour guide is included in your ticket and multiple entries per day are allowed! This Mansion and its grounds are also available for private gatherings, events and even wedding photoshoots, you just have to contact them in advance.

Image credit: @ oldhouseface (IG)

P.s: This was used as one of the filming locations for the famous Singaporean drama “The Little Nyonya”

Entrance Fee
Adults: RM20.00
Children (below 6): Free
Discounts are available for school bookings and other large groups.

Penang

Image Credit: iStockPhoto
Pinang Peranakan Mansion
Image credit: Penang Peranakan Mansion FB Page

This mansion once served as the residence and office of a 19th-century Chinese tycoon and Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Quee (remember we got read in Sejarah textbook about him😁). He commissioned the construction of this impressive mansion in the 1890s, which means that this building is more than 100 years old 😱. Built-in a Straits Eclectic-style which incorporated both European and Chinese designs, it was originally painted white. This building was eventually passed down to his descendants upon his passing. However, it soon became neglected until a property developer bought it in 1990. It was then painted green and turned into a museum that houses over 1000 Baba Nyonya antiques.

Image credit: livingnomads.com

If you are wondering why this building looks so familiar, that is because it has been used as a filming location for a couple of movies and dramas including The Little Nyonya and Crazy Rich Asians. Be awed by the impressive collections such as the main staircase’s handrail, which is made with balusters of cast iron from Scotland, European-styled teak furniture, Victorian glass epergnes, Peranakan ceramics, Kebaya Nyonya and many more.

Image credit: @ oldhouseface (IG)

A tour guide is included in your ticket and multiple entries per day are allowed! This Mansion and its grounds are also available for private gatherings, events and even wedding photoshoots, you just have to contact them in advance.

Image credit: @ oldhouseface (IG)

P.s: This was used as one of the filming locations for the famous Singaporean drama “The Little Nyonya”

Entrance Fee
Adults: RM20.00
Children (below 6): Free
Discounts are available for school bookings and other large groups.

Singapore

Image Credit: iStockPhoto
NUS Baba House, Singapore
Image credit: NUS Baba House FB Page

This striking building painted in blue was once the ancestral home of a Peranakan Chinese family, the Wee family. In 2006, this property was acquired by the National University of Singapore (NUS) with funds donated by Ms Agnes Tan. In 2007, the restoration of the NUS Baba House, formerly known as 157 Neil Road began. It reopened in September 2008 to the public as a museum.

Image credit: NUS Baba House FB Page

Visitors are able to catch a very good glimpse into the life of Peranakan families in the early 20th century. Collections from the Wee family, like furniture, portraits and household objects are displayed in their original context. Some of the interesting features of this house include hidden compartments in the bed for the women to hide their jewellery (oh these women😏), weird placement of mirrors confuse evil spirits, secret openings in the floor to spy😎 from the second floor, etc.

Image credit: NUS Baba House FB Page

Visitors are allowed to take photos only of the outside of the museum. A guided tour is also available if you want to learn more about the domestic life of Baba Nyonya. The conservation team has put in a great effort here in their job of conservation and restoration of the worn-down parts of the building.

Image credit: NUS Baba House FB Page

Entrance Fee

Free entry for all visitors who are:

  • Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents
  • NUS Staff, Students and Alumni
  • Students holding valid passes
  • ICOM and Museum Roundtable members

A $10 fee is applicable for all other visitors.

Katong Antique House
Image credit: @ martinsager (IG)

Situated in Katong and edged between several other colourful Peranakan houses, this is a great place to experience how the Straits Chinese used to live. This antique house which acts as a museum is founded by the late Peter Wee, who is a 4th generation Baba himself. All the collections in this house are antiques handed down by his ancestors and other Baba Nyonya with some of them dating back to the 1800s.

Image credit: @ stb_sg (IG)

Adorning the walls are the old portraits of the Baba and Nyonya in their traditional attire as well as traditional weddings photos. All over the house, you can see ornate chairs and cabinets which are packed with antiques. The staircase leading up to the 2nd floor is lined with brightly painted chamber pots (don't worry, they are empty ok😅).

Image credit: @novreica (IG)

If you look up, you will notice the colourful trays with floral motifs hanging from the kitchen ceiling as well as a variety of tiffins (olden-day moms' Tupperwear) placed high enough to touch the ceiling. This place is currently managed by Eric Ang, Peter Wee’s former assistant and Angeline Kong, a good friend of Peter’s and a Nyonya herself.

Image credit: @lebonrach (IG)

Entrance Fee
$15 per person

What makes these heritage buildings of the Peranakan (Baba Nyonya) so special is that they are unique and only found in Southeast Asia (especially Malaysia & Singapore). Their intricate and eclectic designs with Western, Malay and Chinese influences are a feast to the eyes. Do check them out when you visit Malacca, Penang and Singapore!

Singapore

Image Credit: iStockPhoto
NUS Baba House, Singapore
Image credit: NUS Baba House FB Page

This striking building painted in blue was once the ancestral home of a Peranakan Chinese family, the Wee family. In 2006, this property was acquired by the National University of Singapore (NUS) with funds donated by Ms Agnes Tan. In 2007, the restoration of the NUS Baba House, formerly known as 157 Neil Road began. It reopened in September 2008 to the public as a museum.

Image credit: NUS Baba House FB Page

Visitors are able to catch a very good glimpse into the life of Peranakan families in the early 20th century. Collections from the Wee family, like furniture, portraits and household objects are displayed in their original context. Some of the interesting features of this house include hidden compartments in the bed for the women to hide their jewellery (oh these women😏), weird placement of mirrors confuse evil spirits, secret openings in the floor to spy😎 from the second floor, etc.

Image credit: NUS Baba House FB Page

Visitors are allowed to take photos only of the outside of the museum. A guided tour is also available if you want to learn more about the domestic life of Baba Nyonya. The conservation team has put in a great effort here in their job of conservation and restoration of the worn-down parts of the building.

Image credit: NUS Baba House FB Page

Entrance Fee

Free entry for all visitors who are:

  • Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents
  • NUS Staff, Students and Alumni
  • Students holding valid passes
  • ICOM and Museum Roundtable members

A $10 fee is applicable for all other visitors.

Katong Antique House
Image credit: @ martinsager (IG)

Situated in Katong and edged between several other colourful Peranakan houses, this is a great place to experience how the Straits Chinese used to live. This antique house which acts as a museum is founded by the late Peter Wee, who is a 4th generation Baba himself. All the collections in this house are antiques handed down by his ancestors and other Baba Nyonya with some of them dating back to the 1800s.

Image credit: @ stb_sg (IG)

Adorning the walls are the old portraits of the Baba and Nyonya in their traditional attire as well as traditional weddings photos. All over the house, you can see ornate chairs and cabinets which are packed with antiques. The staircase leading up to the 2nd floor is lined with brightly painted chamber pots (don't worry, they are empty ok😅).

Image credit: @novreica (IG)

If you look up, you will notice the colourful trays with floral motifs hanging from the kitchen ceiling as well as a variety of tiffins (olden-day moms' Tupperwear) placed high enough to touch the ceiling. This place is currently managed by Eric Ang, Peter Wee’s former assistant and Angeline Kong, a good friend of Peter’s and a Nyonya herself.

Image credit: @lebonrach (IG)

Entrance Fee
$15 per person

What makes these heritage buildings of the Peranakan (Baba Nyonya) so special is that they are unique and only found in Southeast Asia (especially Malaysia & Singapore). Their intricate and eclectic designs with Western, Malay and Chinese influences are a feast to the eyes. Do check them out when you visit Malacca, Penang and Singapore!


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