An ultimate guide to Melaka for explorers- which places to visit in the historical center of Malaysia

An ultimate guide to Melaka for explorers- which places to visit in the historical center of Malaysia

Malaysia is a beautiful country, presenting various natural landscapes- tropical beaches, equatorial rainforests, highlands, and coral islands. There is also a rich variety of ethnic cultures and traditions. But this country has also some history to reveal, and this history is really fascinating. And one of the best places presenting the country’s history is the city of Melaka, known also as Malacca. Let’s make a journey to this unique and beautiful gem, and explore the places you should visit in Melaka!

Basic facts about Melaka

I don’t know about you, but for me, the name „Malacca” was one of the first names from this part of the world, when I studied geography as a kid. Probably it was because it is the name of one of the most important sea straits on the Earth- the Strait of Malacca. Even the sound of this name is somehow close to the name of the country- Malaysia, although it has a very different meaning.

Melaka (Malacca) is a city, located on the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, in the middle of this important sea strait with the same name. The name of the city comes from a tree, known as Melaka tree (Indian gooseberry), related to a story in which Parameshwara, the founder of Melaka was sitting under such a tree, watching a warrior’s hunting dogs kicked into the river by a mouse deer. Later the Europeans slightly changed the pronunciation of the name into Malacca, as it is known now in the West, but the original name Melaka remains its official name today.

A very important feature of the city is the Melaka River, and a small hill on its left bank. This is the core of Melaka and its birthplace, following its long history, and the reason for its nickname- „Venice of the East”. But let’s see how it has begun.

Melaka River
Melaka River

History of Melaka

Melaka is not an ancient city. You can’t find there any thousands of years old ruins. But it doesn’t make its history less interesting, because what happened there through the last centuries, remained significant traces in its modern image now. So, let’s start from the beginning…

Before 1396

A thick equatorial rainforest with rich wildlife. A slow-flowing river through the forest, with floating monitor lizards inside. And a small fishing village on the place where the river reaches the sea. There are no more than 7-8 houses, made of wood and straw, and their inhabitants are called Orang Laut, came to this place some 3000 years ago. They are hunters and fishermen, almost naked, wearing only a simple „jungle clothing”.

This is what Melaka looked like before 1396. Until one day, a rich prince from the neighboring Sumatra Island arrived in their village with his warriors. His name was Parameshwara and he was looking for a place to establish a new kingdom. Sitting under a Melaka tree, he found this place proper for his plans.

Parameshwara and Sultanate of Melaka (1396-1511)

Within only a few years, Parameshwara and his people quickly built a small new fortified city with a well-established port. In 1403, the first Chinese trade envoy, lead by Yin Qing and the famous Chinese sailor Zheng He, arrived in Melaka and made an important treaty with Parameshwara, by which the new kingdom would be a protectorate of the Chinese Ming Empire, against the threats from the neighboring Siam and Majapahit kingdoms.

Parameshwara soon converted to Islam and renamed himself into Sultan Iskandar Shah, and its kingdom became the Sultanate of Melaka. And its good relations with the Chinese Ming Empire provided great conditions for growth and prosperity. Many Chinese settled in Melaka and other places in today’s Peninsular Malaysia and married local Malay girls. Their descendants, of mixed origin, have called Baba & Nyonya, and they live in Malaysia until today.

Portuguese era (1511-1641)

Everything was great, but new guests arrived from much farther- the Portuguese. First, they came with peace, but the local Muslims convinced the Sultan to kill several of them. Then the Portuguese returned, this time as an army, led by Afonso de Albuquerque and captured the city, severally persecuting the Muslims. Thus the Portuguese era began, and this time the Chinese Ming Empire couldn’t help Melaka.

But the reign of the Portuguese was not peaceful. Two neighboring sultanates- Aceh and Johor entered a was with the Europeans, as well as between each other. At the beginning of the 17th century, the Dutch came too and tried to steal Melaka from the Portuguese. Finally, the Dutch succeeded with the help of Johor. All that was left of the Portuguese presence until now was the fortress A Famosa on the top of the central hill, and a mixed Creole population, called Kristang, living in today’s Portuguese Village.

Dutch era (1641-1826)

The Dutch ruled Melaka for about a century and a half, and during their era, Melaka lost its important position at the Strait, because they focused on Batavia (Jakarta in Indonesia). However, they expanded the city and built many new residential areas, while the population grew significantly.

During the Dutch rule, there was a peace most of the time, except for the war with Riau Sultanate. Also, due to the Napoleonic Wars, they gave the control of Melaka to the British temporary, from 1795 to 1818, and after that again retook the power. However, in 1826 a treaty between the Dutch and the British empire was signed, in which Java and most of today’s Indonesia remain under Dutch control, and the rest (current Malaysia, including Melaka)- under British control. Thus the Dutch era finished. The two main landmarks that remained from them now are the iconical Christ Church and Stadthuys (the City Hall) in the center of Melaka.

British era (1826-1942)

When the British started ruling Melaka and the whole of today’s Malaysia, their rule was different. They were not interested in political power, but more focused on economic control and benefit. So, they preserved many of the existing sultanates, making them vassal to the British crown. But there were some special territories, called Straits Settlement, which were direct British colonies, both politically and economically. And Melaka was one of them.

During British rule, the city flourished and expanded further. From the end of the 19th century, many Chinese and Indians moved to Melaka, most of them as workers. Thus they gradually changed the ethnic picture of the city. Many new buildings in the Chinese architectural style were raised, as well as some Chinese temples. And the Indians, as well as the Chetty (Chitty) community, also gradually formed their „Little India” too, as well as some Hindu temples. A church with an interesting architecture remained from that period too- the catholic Church of St.Francis Xavier.

Japanese occupation and the transition to independence (1942-1957)

The Japanese arrived in 1942 and took Melaka, as well as the rest of Peninsular Malaysia. They occupied the city for three years, bringing a lot of suffering and poverty, but without major battles or war atrocities. After their surrender, the British returned, but their colonial system was already not the same- the Straits Settlements were dissolved, and as a whole, a new course was started toward an independent Malaysia.

Malaysian contemporary era (1957 until now)

Eventually, in 1957 an independent Union of Malaya was established, and in 1963 this new state took its contemporary form as Malaysia. Melaka remained a part of it, and in 1989 the city was given a status „Historical city”, and was declared as UNESCO Heritage Site. The city continued to grow, both in territory and population, but its historical center remained the main attraction for thousands of tourists.

In the court of the Melaka Sultan
In the court of the Melaka Sultan

Our trip to Melaka

So, all of this, along with my knowledge of geography, was a strong reason to include Melaka in our Peninsular Malaysia itinerary. We chose six destinations, of which Melaka was the second one. And we arrived there from Kuala Lumpur by bus, to Melaka Central Bus Terminal, from where our journey to this beautiful city started.

But before that, I had to plan our route around the city, identifying the places of interest in Melaka that we wanted to visit, as well as our accommodation.

Places to visit in Melaka

I noticed that most of the places to visit in Melaka are located in its historical center. Another area of Melaka that I found interesting was located some much far from the center- a cluster of several sites near the main highway between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and an area called Ayer Keroh. And I found two other remote places of interest, one at the sea coast, and one in the southeastern end of the city- the Straits of Melaka Mosque and the Portuguese Village. So, I will divide these places into three groups.

The historical center of Melaka

This is the central part of Melaka, and it is divided into two parts by Melaka River. On the left of the river is the main central spot, called Dutch Square, St. Paul’s Hill, and the main museums presenting the city. And on the right is the main part of the „Old Town”- a residential area with old traditional architectural style, mainly with Chinese influence.

So, let’s start first from the Dutch Square and the area on the right of the river.

Dutch Square, Stadthuys and Christ Church

This can be your Melaka tour starting point. Dutch Square is located on the left side of the Melaka River and is connected to the right side by a bridge. It is called „Dutch Square”, because two of its main landmarks- Christ Church and Stadthuys, along with its clock tower, are located there. They are all painted in pink-reddish color (although first, they have been white, this color is painted later, in 1911), and are in the same architectural style. There is also a small windmill, as one of the symbols of Holland. This is the most iconic place to take photos of Melaka, and normally Christ Church and Stadthuys are the first places to visit in the city.

Christ Church is built in 1753, but its construction began in 1741, for the 100th anniversary of the Dutch rule in Melaka, by Abraham de Wind. It is an Anglican Church, and after transferring the political power from Holland to the British Empire, it adopted the British style of worship. Now it is the oldest Anglican church in Malaysia, which is still active. There is no entrance fee, you can enter inside freely and attend some of the services (there is a timetable on the gate, as well as additional historical information).

And Stadthuys is the neighboring building, which served as the „City Hall”, and this is the meaning of its name in Dutch. Now it is turned into a History and Ethnography Museum, part of the Museum complex. So, let’s enter the main museums of Melaka.

Places to visit in Melaka- Dutch Square and Christ Church
Dutch Square and Christ Church

The Museum complex

This is a cluster of several museums, of which the History and Ethnography Museum, located in the Stadthuys building is the main one. It is on three floors. Its historical section presents a lot of artifacts and stories from the whole history of Melaka. And the ethnographical section presents the culture, traditions, and artifacts from the various communities in the city. A small section on the third floor presents the early relations with the Ming Empire of China and the famous Chinese sailor Zheng He. And there is a monument of Zheng He behind the building. Entrance fee: 12 RM for adults, 6 RM for children.

There are three other museums in the complex, which are worth to visit too. They are the Literature Museum, Education Museum, Governor’s Museum, and Democratic Government Museum. These museums present a lot of additional information and artifacts, related to these topics. You can reach them from the backyard of the History and Ethnography Museum, using the same entrance ticket, which is valid for the whole museum complex.

St. Paul’s Hill and Church

This is a short, but important part of your Melaka journey, related to its most historical hill. The hill is called „St. Paul’s Hill”. It is very small and low, and you can reach it easily from the backyard of the History and Ethnography Museum. On its top are the ruins of the St.Paul’s Church, and the Melaka Light.

St.Paul’s Church is built in 1521 and is the first church built in the whole of Southeast Asia. It has been active until the 18th century when it was replaced by the newly built Christ Church by the Dutch. Since then, its building was abandoned or served as a part of the fortifications on the hill.

Then, in 1849, the British built a lighthouse on the top, which is not active now, but remained as a historic construction. Although the hill is low, you can enjoy a nice panoramic view of the city and the Strait of Melaka behind it. No entrance fee and you can reach it from other directions too.

Places to visit in Melaka- A Famosa
A Famosa

A Famosa

From the top of the St.Paul’s Hill, you can descend to the left. There you will see a small fortification construction. This is A Famosa. Built in 1511 with the arrival of the Portuguese, it was once a whole fortress with walls around the hill and several gates. The fortress has served for the Portuguese and the Dutch, but because the city grew in size much far beyond its walls, the British destroyed the wall in the first half of the 19th century. Only this construction remained, and it is one of its gates.

When you descend from the hill from the side of A Famosa, you will arrive at a square with many landmarks. Among them, you can see a wooden ship, called „Melaka Live”, several other museums with relatively minor significance, among which the Kite Museum, Malay and Islamic World Museum, and the Proclamation of Independence Memorial (turned into another museum with an exhibition, related to this topic).

But in my opinion, the most important place near the A Famosa that you should not skip is the Sultanate Palace.

Sultanate Palace

This is not the original palace of the Sultans of Melaka, but its modern replica. It is designed in its original Malay style so that you can see how its original has looked like in the 15th century. Now it is a museum, presenting artifacts and model scenes of the life in the Melaka Sultanate era, and this makes it of important significance of your Melaka exploration trip. There is a nice garden in front of the museum, which is well combined with the museum building itself. Entrance fee: 10 RM.

When you go out of the museum, ascend again to the top of the St.Paul’s Hill, but before the church ruins turn right on a narrow alley passing by a small graveyard. It is called Dutch Graveyard and is one of the Dutch era remnants. Then you back to the Dutch Square and turn right, to one of the most beautiful churches in Malaysia- St. Francis Xavier Church.

Places to visit in Melaka- Sultanate Palace
Sultanate Palace

St. Francis Xavier Church

This is a Catholic church, built by a French priest in 1856, during the British rule of Melaka. It follows the same architectural style as the St. Peter Cathedral in Montpellier, France- Neo-Gothic style. The church building is especially significant for its two towers with four horns on the angles of each one. It is still active today.

If you stay in front of the St.Francis Xavier Church, turn back and you will see a small site with ruins. This is Victoria Bastion. I mentioned above that the Melaka Fortress was destroyed by the British, and only A Famosa Gate has remained. But recently, four other remnants were unearthed from the fortress, and Victoria Bastion is one of them. Two others- Mauritius and Wilhelmus Bastions are discovered on the southern side of the St.Paul’s Hill, and the last one- Middleburgh Bastion is now reconstructed between the Dutch Square and the Melaka River. But before you back to Dutch Square, it is worth to visit Little India.

Little India

It is a small district on the left side of Melaka River, the main area of the Indian community in the city. Since Melaka is a multi-ethnic place, Little India is worth to visit, to touch and taste the culture of one of the city’s ethnic groups- the Indians. The area consists mainly of Indian shops and restaurants. There are no Hindu temples in Little India (there are several Hindu temples in Melaka, but they are located much farther from this place), however, most importantly, you can explore the daily life of its inhabitants. Then you can back to Dutch Square.

Southwest of Dutch Square

This is the last area of interest on the left side of Melaka River, in the historical center of Melaka. And it is worth to walk around and explore this part of the city. During your walk, you can see the replica of the Middleburgh Bastion, then the Maritime Museum, in construction like an old ship, presenting artifacts, related to the importance of Melaka as an international port in the history. Entrance fee: 3 RM.

Then, you can proceed to a nice neighborhood with several storey houses in the traditional Malay style. Among them, you can enjoy places for fun like the Upside Down House and the simulation house of Melaka Thousand Tales of Adventures (entrance ticket: 28 RM for adults, 23 RM for children).

Finally, you can back to the Melaka Historical Vehicle Park, where you can see more artifacts, mainly from the recent history of the city. But the main attraction there is the Menara Taming Sari– the tower with rotating observation deck, which descends and ascends to 80 m height (entrance ticket: 23 RM for adults, 15 RM for children). Then you can back to Dutch Square again, or to the pier for the Melaka River cruise.

Melaka River cruise
Melaka River cruise

Melaka River

Now, before we explore the right side of the Melaka Historical Center, let’s focus on the Melaka River because it is one of the most important landmarks of the city. Curving through the old houses, it creates picturesque views which became a reason Melaka to get the name „Venice of the East”.

You can join a Melaka River cruise, which connects the pier near the Maritime Museum and Taman Rempah Jetty, north of the Historical Center. The whole cruise is 45 mins long, and the tickets are 30 RM for adults, and 25 RM for children.

But another nice experience is just to walk on Melaka River’s banks. You can enjoy the curves of the river between the houses, some local riverside cafes and beautiful bridges. And don’t be surprised if you see giant lizards, slowly swimming on the water or hiding under the pedestrian path. They are water monitor lizards, they are not dangerous for people, anyway it is better just to watch them from distance. Finally, back to the Dutch Square again, cross the main bridge and enter the other picturesque part of the Historical Melaka Center.

Jonker Street

Although most of the streets on the right side of the Melaka River look quite similar, passing between beautiful old houses, Jonker Street is the central and the most attractive one. The area around this street is a typical touristy „old town” place. While walk on the street, you can enjoy its nice atmosphere and views, as well as a lot of cafes, souvenir shops, local food restaurants, and other attractions. It is especially exciting in the evening, when you can have a lot of fun in its Jonker Street Night Market. Although there are not any „special historical places” to visit on the street, the street itself is a must to explore attraction. And after you enjoy it enough, you can turn aside on the other, much quieter streets, and you will find more gems there.

Places to visit in Melaka- Jonker Street
Jonker Street

Baba & Nyonya Museum

One of these gems is the Baba & Nyonya Museum. It is a typical house of a rich house of a family, related to Baba & Nyonya (called also Peranakan) community. Inside the house, you can enjoy the beautifully decorated rooms, a lot of artifacts and the whole atmosphere of the community’s culture and life, as well as its history. But there is a little problem- you are not allowed to take photos inside the house, however, you can shot the facade outside, it’s beautiful. Entrance fee: 16 RM for adults and 11 RM for children.

Other places around the Old Town

You can wander around the old houses and streets of the Old Town, on the right side of the Melaka River and enjoy the whole atmosphere. And during your walk, you can visit, or just take a photo of some interesting places. Among them, I would mention the following:

  • Zheng He (Cheng Ho) Cultural House. One of the largest museums in Melaka, dedicated to the Chinese sailor Zheng He, on the proposed location of his warehouse, 600 years ago. Entrance fee: 20 RM for adults, 10 RM for children.
  • Melaka Street Art. When you walk aside from the main Jonker Street, you can find some hidden narrow alleys between the houses. On the walls of some of them, you can see some amazing street art murals.
  • Hang Jebat Mausoleum. A burial ground in Aceh style, hidden among the houses, where it is believed that the legendary warrior Hang Jebat, from the Sultanate of Melaka era, was buried.
  • Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum. Another Baba & Nyonya traditional house. Maybe not such attractive like Baba & Nyonya Museum, but at least you can take photos there. Entrance fee: 15 RM for adults, 10 RM for children.  
  • Cheng Hoon Teng Temple. The oldest functioning Chinese temple in Malaysia, dated from the beginning of the Dutch era.
  • Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple. The oldest functioning Hindu temple in Malaysia, again from the Dutch era, located on the same street with Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and Kampung Kling Mosque, called Harmony Street.
  • Kampung Hulu Mosque. The oldest functioning mosque (again from the Dutch era), with a building that combines several architectural styles.

Kampung Morten Village

Finally, I would mention Kampung Morten Village. Although it is just outside of the Historical Center of Melaka, it is an interesting local village inside the city. It is not an ordinary village, but because most of its houses are in traditional Malay style, it is declared as a National Heritage and turned into a tourist attraction.

Places to visit in Melaka- Kampung Morten Village
Kampung Morten Village

Other places to visit in Melaka

That was the most important that you can explore in the Historical Center of the city. But there are some other worth to visit places in Melaka, located farther from the center. Let’s see some of them.

Bukit Cina

Not far from the Historical Center is Bukit Cina- the largest Chinese cemetery outside of China. Its origin dated from the 15th century, when the first Chinese migrants settled in this area. Among the interesting landmarks of the area is the King’s Well- an important water supply source for the old Melaka, and Poh San Teng Temple.

Melaka Straits Mosque

This is a new construction, built on the man-made Melaka Island. It is one of the „floating mosques” in Malaysia. Not because they really float, but because they are built on pillars over the sea surface. And the building on the sea creates a beautiful view, especially in the morning or evening.

St. John’s Fort

This is a remnant of a small fortress, dated back to the Portuguese and the Dutch era. It is located east of the Historical Center of Melaka and all that remained of it is a part of the wall and several cannons (obviously modern replica).

Portuguese Village

The Portuguese Village (or Portuguese Settlement) is located in the southeast suburbs of Melaka. Its inhabitants are actually not original Portuguese, but Kristang people- a creole ethnic group of mixed Portuguese and Malay origin. Some of them have Jewish roots too. Their language is a local Portuguese, but with strong influence from Malay. And this village is arranged by the government in 1933. Since then, the conditions there are improved and it is turned into a tourist attraction. You can go to the main square of the village, located on the sea coast, with a statue of Jesus, and a sculpture of a ship. This is the main place for their festivals and other events.

Perigi Hang Tuah Well

This is Hang Tuah’s Well, located further than the Portuguese Village. Hang Tuah was a famous warrior in the court of the Sultan of Melaka and was born in this place. It is said that he has made this well by himself and its water remains pure until today.

Places to visit in Melaka- Malacca Straits Mosque
Malacca Straits Mosque

As I mentioned above, there is another area, relatively far from the Historical Center of Melaka, with a cluster of places to visit, which is worth to explore. This is Ayer Keroh, a suburb or town between Melaka proper and the main highway between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Let’s see what can you explore there.

Ayer Keroh

All the places of interest in Ayer Keroh are modern, and most of them are just for fun. But two of these places are also educational. They are Taman Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Park, and Orang Asli Museum.

Taman Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Park

It is a theme park, which presents original traditional houses from every state of Malaysia, as well as from every country in Southeast Asia. You can enter the houses and see the environment in which the local people used to live. There is also a stage for live folklore performances, as well as a nice lake, and an amusement park.

Unfortunately, now this place is in decay. I don’t know the reason (just can guess), but many of the houses were neglected. Rusted metal pillars, broken wood boards, and stairs, which was even worse in the houses of the other ASEAN countries. The house of Myanmar was almost destroyed, its roof was fallen. In dozens of other houses were impossible to enter. The amusement part was closed too (obviously, a long time ago) and also has begun to rust. Besides us, there were only a few other tourists. Even the live show that began at 11:00 am was very poor- only two girls danced on several songs, and that was all. No real-size wax dummies, no „Orang Asli village”, no traditional games (as I read in some other websites).

I know, it could be a very attractive place, full of tourists, but for some reason now it isn’t. Nevertheless, I would still recommend it, because, despite its current decay state (I hope only temporary), it is very interesting and educational. Entrance fee: 24 RM for adults, 15 RM for children.

Orang Asli Museum

This is another educational place really worth to visit. It is a small museum in the same area, dedicated to the oldest people of Peninsular Malaysia, called Orang Asli. The museum is established in a traditional Temuan tribe house. It has only one hall with some artifacts and small models of the people’s houses and tools, as well as information about some famous Orang Asli people. You can get a good initial knowledge who are Orang Asli, where and how they live. Entrance fee: 2 RM for adults, 1 RM for children.

Other attractions in Ayer Keroh

All the other attractions in this area are just for fun, or some related to nature education. Of course, you would enjoy to visit them, since you are already in the Ayer Keroh area, so let’s see which are they.

  • Melaka Zoo. This is the second-largest zoo in Malaysia with a rich collection of animals, including some endangered species like Malayan tiger and Sumatrans rhinoceros. Entrance fee: 35 RM for adults, 25 RM for children.
  • Crocodile Farm Park. This is an attractive park with about 100 crocodiles. Besides the crocs, there are some other attractions like a performance stage, amusement park, mini models of Malaysian landmarks and some other exotic animals. Entrance fee: 30 RM.
  • Bee Museum. It is a small gallery, dedicated to the bees and honey. You can try and buy various kinds of honey. No entrance fee.
  • Melaka Bird Park. This is a kind of a bird zoo, presenting a collection of many bird species. Entrance fee: 23,70 RM for adults, 17,80 for children.
  • Amusement parks- SKYTREX Adventure and Melaka Wonderland. SKYTREX is a place for adventures, such as biking on a rope, trekking in the air between the trees and many other challenges. The entrance fee depends on the level of difficulty you choose, between 60 and 90 RM. And Melaka Wonderland is just a playground, with many attractions, including water slides, etc. Entrance fee: 36-40,50 RM for adults, 29 to 34 RM for children, depending on the day of the week.
  • Planetarium Melaka. An attractive science center, related to the space theme. Entrance fee: 10 RM for adults, 5 RM for children.
Melaka house in Taman Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Park
Melaka house in Taman Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Park

The beaches of Melaka

Yes, after all, Melaka is a seacoast city. So, maybe you would expect some beaches to enjoy? Yes, there are beaches, although a bit far from the city itself- at least 15 km in the northwest direction. They are called Tanjung Kling, Pantai Kundur, and the farthest one- Tanjung Bidara. These beaches are not the greatest ones in Malaysia, you can find much better ones in places like Langkawi, Tioman or Perhentian, but are still a nice place to enjoy the sea.

The real islands of Melaka

Yes, I mean „the real”, because Melaka Island with its floating mosque is a man-made one. But there are other islands, which are natural and worth to visit. Pulau Upeh is a nice small park, where you can see Hawksbills turtles, and in the past, it was used as a pirate base. Another island is Pulau Besar, covered by equatorial rainforest and full of legends and mysteries. You can get there by speed boat from Umbai Jetty.

In general, that’s all of the important places to visit in Melaka. We visited most of them, although not all, for just a day and a half. But our travel style is relatively fast, due to our time limits. However, if you are not urgent, I would suggest at least 3-4 days to enjoy everything without a hurry. And to build your itinerary better, you need to arrange well your transportation and your accommodation. First, let’s see how is transportation in Melaka.

Transportation in Melaka

Melaka is well-connected to the rest of Malaysia, by air (to Melaka Airport), by bus (frequent buses at every 10-15 mins from Kuala Lumpur, to Melaka Central Terminal) and by roads, if you rent a car. There are also ferry services from Indonesia- Bengkalis, Dumai, and Pekanbaru. Once you arrive there, it is not difficult to move around Melaka, and its places to visit.

Check your transportation to Melaka!

As budget travelers, we always try to find the cheapest and at the same time, the fastest possible transport. If you see the map, you can notice that the Melaka Historical Center is a very small area, surrounded by a large normal contemporary network of suburbs, villages, and countryside.

Transport in the Historical Center of Melaka

The Historical Center of Melaka is small, its places to visit are very close to each other, so the best transportation around it is your own two legs. For your attraction, you can also hire a rickshaw- there is a rickshaw „terminal” in Dutch Square. And a 30 mins ride can cost you around 25 RM.

Another option is to rent a bicycle. There are many places to rent a bike from the Historical Center- many guesthouses offer it, as well as several bike shops (you can easily find JT Minimart and JFS Bike Rental in Google Maps). The prices are usually 20-25 RM for the whole day, 15 RM for half a day or 10 RM for an hour.

Transportation in the rest of Melaka

The rest of the city is different, with much longer distances. You can walk on foot, of course, but it would take hours to visit only 2-3 of the places in the farther areas of Melaka. Ayer Keroh is even farther, so, you would need a normal transport.

And the best option is Grab, and I highly recommend you download the app on your mobile. There are taxis, but Grab is cheaper, and the price is clear and fixed. For your reference, we paid 16 RM for the distance from Ayer Keroh to Dutch Square, which is 13 km, but depending on the time of the day, and on the traffic, it can be different.

There are also some public buses, but we didn’t see any of them. They should be cheaper, but obviously, very rare and slow, that’s why we even didn’t look for them. Another transportation is the new Monorail, but it is more like a local attraction, rather than a useful way of transportation because it has only one very short round route in the area near Kampong Morten Village. Anyway, you can try it from Monorail Station Tun Ali.

Melaka River in the night
Melaka River in the night

Accommodation in Melaka

It is another important thing that you have to arrange. There are all kinds of hotels, from splurge to budget, and you can easily find what you like in Booking and Agoda. But I would advise you to be strategic. First, choose a proper location. To do that, consider two things- how will you visit the places of interest in Melaka, and how will you leave Melaka.

For your route to the places of interest, the best area is the Historical Center of Melaka. It is the most convenient place to walk around the center and the best starting point for the farther places. The streets in the Historical Center are not pedestrian, so you can call a Grab to the gate of your accommodation. Besides, you can find nice hotels, hostels and guesthouses in this area, some of which quite cheap.

But if you have to leave Melaka by plane or bus early in the morning, you can think about a place closer to the International Airport or Melaka Central Bus Terminal, because it can be critical. About the price, there are many budget hotels, especially far from the Historical Center. A good budget hotel chain is OYO.

Check your Melaka accommodation in Booking!

Check your Melaka accommodation in Agoda!

After Melaka

We left Melaka at noon, after visiting the Melaka Straits Mosque and the Portuguese Village in the morning. Melaka was our second stop in Malaysia, and now we got the bus to Mersing, the starting point for Tioman, one of the most beautiful islands on the Earth. And we proceeded our Malaysia journey with a good impression of the country, to which Melaka contributed a lot. So, if you travel to Peninsular Malaysia, include in your itinerary Melaka, and after that, you would which to back there again!

Get more impressions from the video below!

Check some travel and history books about Melaka and Malaysia!

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An ultimate guide to Melaka (Malacca) for explorers- which places to visit in the historical center of Malaysia!  An ultimate guide to Melaka (Malacca) for explorers- which places to visit in the historical center of Malaysia!


Krasen and Ying Ying

a travel couple from Bulgaria and China. We love to explore our planet and we want to make it meaningful. Welcome to our travel blog!