Rich in history, cultural sites, and entertainment options, Malacca (Malay: Melaka) should be on your bucket list if you plan to go to Malaysia. Located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca, this charming city was crowned a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 and has been a significant part of Malaysia’s great history.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Melaka is two hours away from the city center, and the best way to reach the place is to ride a bus.
If you’re coming from KLIA Airport or KL Sentral station, go to KLIA Transit and buy a train ticket to Bandar Tasik Selatan (BTS) station. The Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) is on the other side of the BTS station, and from there, you can buy a ticket and ride a bus to Melaka Sentral.
To avoid the long queue, I highly recommend booking in advance via Easybook, especially during weekends and peak season. Please remember that buses are not running all night.
For your reference, I attached the bus schedule and fare.
WHAT TO VISIT IN MELAKA?
1. RED SQUARE & CHRIST CHURCH MELAKA
As you pass by the signage of “Welcome to Jonker Walk,” the first thing you’ve noticed is the Red Square which is the epicenter of the attraction in the town of Melaka, and the trip starts from here. Red Square is also known as Dutch Square because it is said to be a Dutch-inspired red-painted building.
Christ Church Melaka can be found in Red Square. It is the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia and was built by Dutch in 1753, formerly called Dutch Reformed Church. When the British took over Melaka in 1838, they changed it to Anglican Church. Sad to say that the church was closed when we went there, but it was worth seeing the architecture outside.
2. THE RUINS & ST.PAUL CHURCH
A few steps from Red Square, you will see a stair up to St. Paul’s Hill’s summit, where the ruins were located. The Ruins of St.Paul’s Church is the oldest Catholic church in Southeast Asia. This church was used as an ammunition depot for strikes against Java during British rule between 1810 and 1811.
If you climb up, you will see the terrific marble statue of St.Francis Xavier. There are also a lot of Dutch tombstones, plaques, and information posted on the walls. If you are inquisitive about the history of Melaka’s colonial past, then don’t forget to visit this place.
3. A FAMOSA FORT
A Famosa is one of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. The fort was built by the Portuguese and destroyed by the British colonial. Nevertheless, only the Porta de Santiago and surrounding houses were spared. There isn’t much to see in A Famosa Fort, but this plays an important role in Malaysia’s History.
4. AMAZING STREET ART
Melaka has the best collection of colorful street art murals, and this would be the perfect backdrop for your Instagram feed. It was scattered everywhere, and there are some restaurants painted their walls with a mural depicting the harmonious relationship between Indian, Chinese, and Malaysian.
5. RIDING IN TRISHAWS
Exploring around Melaka could be exhausting, but thanks to pedicabs (locally known as trishaws) for making the tour hassle-free. Designed with cartoon characters and blinking lights turned on at night, no doubt that it has been attractive to tourists. It costs RM 25 per tourist, and the tour can last up to 1 hour.
6. MELAKA RIVER CRUISE
Another way to see Melaka at a leisurely pace is to join the Melaka River Cruise. The cruise takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, and there will be a tour guide presenting the various heritage spots along the river. It is much better to do it at night to enjoy seeing the vivid lights reflecting in the river.
For foreigners, the price rate is RM 30.00 for adults (12 years and above) and RM 25.00 for children (2-12 years old).
7. NIGHTLIFE AT JONKER STREET
Your trip to Melaka is not complete without experiencing the nightlife at Jonker. It is a bustling street, and there are a lot of market stalls selling delectable street foods, souvenirs, trinkets, and many more. Most likely, the booths opened at six, and the road was closed at 7 pm, so no cars could enter the area.
If you want to drink and unwind, there are small pubs along Lorong Hang Jebat in Jonker Street. Ram Gallery Cafe is one of the pubs that offer alfresco dining. The charisma of the place is fascinating, and of course, you’ll get a chance to witness the beauty of the Malacca River at night.
RECOMMENDED FOODS TO TRY
We’ve listed some of the foodstuffs we tasted during our Melaka trip. Restaurant and stalls have their unique dishes to present, it might be Malaysian, Chinese, or Indian foods, but all are worth trying!
1. Old Shop Cream Puff
2. Authentic Sausages & Oyster Shell
3. Pineapple Cake & Buttermilk Pie (For Pasalubong)
4. Peranakan Place (Lunch or Dinner)
5. Coconut Shake
Have you been to Melaka? How’s your experience? Please feel free to ask or share something in the comment box below. We’d love to hear that!