February 7, 2023

Tracing the Hang Li Poh Remains

Artist Impression of the Princess

There are 2 main historical remains when Princess Hang Li Po was sent to be a bride for Sultan Mansur Shah off Melaka Sultanate (1456-1477). The big Bukit Cina and a legendary well.

 step to hill2
Step to the Hill from Poh San Teng Temple

view from bukit cina top
View of Melaka Town from top of the hill, you can see Munshi Abdullah Street

 Bukit China in english we can call it Chinese Hill, located in the fringe of Melaka City. The largest and the oldest traditional chinese cemetery outside mainland China with 12500 graves. Chinese Kapitans, early immigrants and chinese traders were buried here. Sultan Mansur Shah bequeathed this 42 hectare and 148metre high hill to Chinese after he married Princess Hang Liu (Hang Li Poh). According to the Malay History Books, The Malay Annals, Hang Li Po bore Sultan a son before going back to the China. But was it the real princess from China? All this remains mystery as none records exist in China to prove it. But back here in Melaka Hang Li Poh is well remembered. After the Sultan gave the Princess and her 500 followers a hill, they dug a well at the foot hill for their own used. Also known as Rajah’s well, it was important source of freshwater back there then. Now the well is called Hang Li Poh well and it’s sure is a 600 years old.

 grave at the top
Old Grave with old Chinese Carving

When the fall of Melaka Sultanate by Portuguese, the well was poison by Johor warrior and many of the Portuguese died. In 1606, Dutch Army also tried to poison the well and after that the Acehnese also tried to poison it (1628-1629) all with same goal – to kill their enemy secretly. The Dutch sealed the well with high wall and posted sentries to guard it. The wall put in 1677 with gun holes and pipes hole to pump out the water. As for the hill after Portuguese conquest Melaka in 1511, a monastery and chapel build dedicated to Mother of Goa (Madre de Deus) was built at the hill top. The monastery was destroyed by the Dutch and never been rebuild. The hill was not a burial ground for Chinese after 17th century when a Chinese Kapitan Lee Wei King bought the hill from the Dutch and he bequeathed it to the Chinese community as a burial ground. Poh San Teng Temple build in 1795 to upkeep the graves as many of which do not have descendants to care it.

 View from the Hill top,grave scattered
Top of the hill, you can see grave all over and a route can use for joggers

Today , both hill and the well are most popular stops for tourist. They say that the well never dried up even drought times. Visitors came to the well for wishing and pray at the Poh San Teng Temple. The hill, Bukit Cina is now a recreation place where you can go up there enjoy the tranquil sceneries and go sight seeing at the many interesting old grave some dated at 1622.

Rajah Well
Hang Li Poh Well

tourist at the well
Tourist Came for wishing, as you can see the well wall still intact.

You can buy this wooden slipper on the way back home


Hi, I'am Asmaliana, I work at Tourism Melaka. I love my state, Melaka, the world heritage city by UNESCO.

View all posts by asmaliana →

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