Want to travel from Singapore to Malaysia on a budget?
Stick with me and I’ll show you how…
The bus ticket includes checking out of and into both countries so it’s less hassle than doing this independently.
Purchase a ticket from busonline.com and collect the tickets from the Delima office (Geylang district), where the lady barks “bus leaves at 09:00 a.m. sharp!”
And sharp it is…
Just like military precision, the bus arrives on the dot and doesn’t hang around for passengers, not even for a few minutes.
Since Malacca’s listing under UNESCO in 2008, prices to purchase land, rent, and accommodation have soared. As have prices in general around the city, on which many locals comment.
As expected, market and street food still provides the cheapest way to eat, especially if you are on a budget.
Malacca has so many varied tourist attractions, which you won’t see in just a week.
Take your time to explore this quaint city.
With Dutch, British, and Portuguese influences throughout Malacca’s history, there’s no shortage of wonderful architecture to admire and photograph, much of which is either restored or well-maintained.
Soak up this city’s wonderful history by walking to many of these historic sites, in and around the city.
Although hot in this part of the world, it’s mostly flat walking and not too strenuous.
Take a break and stop by one of the many riverside cafes to absorb the city, instead of tearing around and checking everything off your list.
Maybe do a little people watching to learn about the locals.
Stop at the Dutch Square to see the Christ Church Melaka and enjoy travelling buskers and mesmerising street performers display their arts.
Dodge the bicycle taxi tours decorated with pretty flowers but tasteless neon colourful lights – otherwise, you will be hunted and badgered to take a ride.
This square is bulging with local tourists and Singaporeans on the weekends and holidays, so don’t think you’ll have everything to yourself. Keep this in mind if you plan on driving, as Malacca’s streets are very narrow and easily congested.
Reflecting Dutch architecture and constructed in 1650 as the residence of the Dutch Governor and his deputy, Stadthuys (old City Hall) is at the heart of the historic quarter.
You can’t help but notice this building because of its red exterior and close to the red clock tower.
Saint Paul’s Church
This ancient church is definitely worth a visit, even if it is quite a walk up a hill.
Originally built in 1521 and changing hands several times – depending on the country occupying Malacca at the time – the remaining stone walls and view from this church on a hill are great to photograph.
Meet the Artist under the trees: Francis (ex- Royal Artillery), whose been talking to tourists and painting in that same spot for over 30 years!
Buy an inexpensive unique piece of his insect art. Francis will chat with you for hours if you have the time, and has many great stories to share with anyone that will take the time to listen.
We spent an hour or so speaking with Francis and ended up buying a piece of his art to mail home (not practical to carry art in a backpack).
From the town, walk out to the sea by passing the Maritime Museum and onwards to the Marian Melaka, which is about an hours’ walk. Take loads of water.
In March of this year, the Aldy Thoo (RM60 Sun-Thurs and RM80 Fri-Sat Dbl, air-con, bathroom, hot/cold water) offers a good room at a cheap price (for Malaysia), coupled with friendly helpful staff.
The hotel is about a 10 to 15-minute walk to the UNESCO site, so not too far from the action but far enough to get a good night’s sleep as it can be a little noisy at night in Malacca.
Tip: Throughout Malaysia, hotel prices are higher on a Friday and Saturday night.
Malaysia hosts a plethora of delicious cuisines from centuries of varying influences.
Dutch Harbour Café
Stroll along 39 Jalan Laksamana to this cafe for a great Continental breakfast (RM7.9+6% service) if you feel like a change from the Malaysian cuisine. The cafe is situated on the canal, which bodes for a pleasant atmosphere.
Watch the numerous motor boats filled with mostly Malay tourists push up and down the canal, whilst enjoying your meal or a steaming cup of coffee.
Markets on Friday and Saturday of each week are held between 16:00-22:00 hrs. Offering scrumptious Malay food and especially fresh seafood at a reasonable price, these are much cheaper than the surrounding restaurants.
The vibrancy of the markets is a great way to experience local Malacca.
These markets are crammed with local and non-locals feasting on delicious delights, so don’t always expect somewhere to sit as you may be disappointed.
Try some of the local restaurants for cheap yummy authentic food. There are a few great Chinese restaurants in the back streets and not too hard to seek out.
Little India is also great for cheap delicious authentic food and photography.
Don’t bypass this bakery on the ground floor at Mahkota Parade, for delectable pastries (RM3+) and great coffee (RM3.30).
You will become addicted to the strong brewed Malay coffee and freshly baked cakes and pastries.
This little gem is about a 25-minute walk from the centre of Malacca but well worth the walk. As this Boulangerie is in a large mall, there are other food and juice shops plus all the usual clothes’ shops that occupy a mall.
Tiny stalls are dotted throughout Malacca. The Beyond Treasures House of Masks on 57 Jalan Hang Jebat, is a great stop for traditional souvenirs and locally made masks – a good go-to shop.
The owner is open to bargaining and you’ll get a good price where everyone is happy with the deal.
After an excellent time in Malacca, it is time to take the bus and head to the big smoke: Kuala Lumpur.