Singapore to Malaysia on a Budget

March, 2014

Want to travel from Singapore to Malaysia on a budget?

Stick with me and I’ll show you how…

Travel

Singapore, Malacca, MalaysiaThe comfortable Delima Express bus from Singapore to Malacca (Malaysia) takes 4 hours and will set you back around S$21.

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.

Historic Malacca

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.

Malaysia: Malacca Dutch Square
Dutch Square

Sights

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.

Dutch Square

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.

Malacca, bicycles
Bicycle tours at night

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.

Malaysia: Malacca Dutch Square
Mesmerising street performer – Dutch Square

Stadthuys

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).

Malaysia: Francis the Artist Malacca
Francis the Artist

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.

Accommodation

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.

Food

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.

Malacca, canal, boat, tours
Evening Canal boat tour

Markets

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.

Malacca: street food, Malaysia
Delicious street food – Oyster omelette

Preferr Boulangerie

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.

Nic-nacs

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.

Visit my Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts on Malaysia at Image Earth Travel.

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18 thoughts on “Singapore to Malaysia on a Budget

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  1. Love the artist, and I usually tempted to buy one from street artists. No too long bus journeys though do enjoy train trips. Have only ventured to Kuala Lumpur so can’t comment on Malaysia as a travelling destination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was such a character and I’m happy to have bought a small piece of his work – always good to support artists.

      I first travelled to Malaysia in 1989 and it has changed so much since then…this trip was for over 2 months and travelled all over so had some time to have a really good look.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Les and I were chatting about how travelling has changed over the years. We do believe that it is going to be much harder to do so in the future with many countries putting more obstacles in front of people who want to visit or live in their countries.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Yes, totally agree and think it will become harder. In the 1980s there were a lot more border controls, visas, and passport checks throughout Europe, but it didn’t feel as where we’re heading to now. The world is a very different place to then and I’m so glad I travelled during that decade.

      Also, it seems that when I was detained in Heathrow in 2016, one of the issues that the interview officer had was that I was out of Australia more over the last 2 years than in Australia. This really hit home to me as after the 6-hour ordeal, I felt like screaming to her, since when did long-term travel become illegal or should it be questioned!

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    4. I think if we had carried on being fulltime nomads we would’ve had a few more issues and questions thrown at us. Anyone who lives outside the norm needs to justify their actions. Everyone is going right why do you want to go left for? 😊 I had a very interesting conversation with a young couple in a group I showed around The Elms today about travel and how they too felt it was changing. He was from Switzerland and she was from America, I think they had become disillusioned with it all.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. This is something I’ve struggled with a lot, especially when living on the boat- not sure if I mentioned this story before…

      It was 1988 and we were on anchor as there was a 7-year wait for a mooring in Sydney Harbour. The Maritime Police were ‘cleaning’ up anchored boats so, whilst owners were away, police towed their boat to Goat Island in the harbour. Once there, anyone could basically strip a boat down.

      We were lucky we were on our boat when the police asked us to move on to a “paid” spot and even went as far as to say “we weren’t paying our way in society!” Basically, yachties in Oz are treated as low life and this is what I experienced during the 21 years of living on a boat. It’s disgusting that the police made such an assumption.
      It was only luck that we both had a day off. I worked 60+ hours a week and my then partner worked 100+ hours per week (no joke). After my work day, I dove back over the bridge and sat with him in the hoist on the building site until he finished at midnight or later, then return to the boat and up at 5am to start all over again – did this for 2 years. We were like zombies but able to pay our apartment’s loan off in 2 years and when interest rates were 18% then 19%.

      People are jealous of the perceived freedoms that others have or make for themselves during their life.

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  2. i’ve always wanted to go to Malaysia – i’ve always wanted to go to Singapore too! Your photos are gorgeous and there are some good tips here for doing it cheaply. I’m terrible at that. I really want to go Dutch Square now, I love historic buildings! What’s the weather like there? If you’re not great with the heat, what time of year would you recommend?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Melanie, many thanks for your great feedback and glad my post makes you want to visit Malaysia. I have one post on Singapore – it’s a great break from other countries in SE Asia.

      The weather is hot and humid like much of SE Asia, unless you’re in the hills.
      I would suggest visiting during the dry season as when it’s the wet season, it’s torrential wet! The dry season runs from April to early May, but also October is dry – it’s still warm at around 30C.

      I’ve tried to visit your blog but it’s displaying a not available message.

      Liked by 1 person

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