Magical Malacca is one of Malaysia’s popular tourist destinations, but don’t let this stop you from exploring this unique and vibrant city…
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 frequently.
Conquered by the Portuguese in 1511, Malacca is famous for its unique history. Once an important and strategic trading port with traders from India, China, and Arabia anchored in Malacca.
Malacca offers a plethora of varied tourist attractions, which you won’t see in just one 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 Malacca’s wonderful history by strolling to many of colonial historic sites around the city.
Although hot and steamy in this part of the world, it’s mostly flat so walking is 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 bucket list.
Maybe do a little people watching to learn about the locals.
Wait-a-while at the Dutch Square to visit the vibrant-coloured Christ Church…
…and enjoy travelling buskers and mesmerising street performers display their craft.
Why not contribute?
Dodge the bicycle taxi tours decorated with abundant flowers…
…which transform at night to colourful neon lights, otherwise, you will be hunted and badgered to take a ride.
Waiting for the next customer…
This square is bulging with local tourists and Singaporeans on the weekends and holidays, so don’t think you’ll enjoy 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 wall facade and view from this church perched on the hill are impressive.
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 painstaking 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 over an hour speaking with Francis and ended up buying a piece of his art to mail home as it’s 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 around an hour’s walk. Take loads of water.
The Aldy Thoo (RM60 Sun-Thurs and RM80 Fri-Sat Dbl, AC, 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: Hotel prices are higher on a Friday and Saturday night, throughout Malaysia.
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.
Don’t bypass this bakery on the ground floor at Mahkota Parade for delectable pastries and great coffee.
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.
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.
As expected, market and street food still provides the cheapest way to eat, especially if you are on a budget.
Try some of the local restaurants for cheap yummy authentic food. There are a few great Chinese restaurants in the back street alleyways and not too hard to seek out.
Little India is also great for cheap delicious authentic food and wonderful candid photography.
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 great go-to shop.
The owner is open to bargaining and you’ll get a good price where everyone is happy with the deal.
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.
After an excellent time in Malacca, it’s time to take another bus but this time, head to the big smoke of Kuala Lumpur.