Malacca is a definite addition to any trip to Malaysia and is a place no stranger to many travelers coming to Malaysia. It is highly recommended to spend the next 2 nights here if you are passing through Kuala Lumpur or heading to Penang.
This city is filled with history and culture dated back to the 15th century as it served as a major port for foreign traders around the world to trade mainly for golds, silks, ceramics and spices. It has been colonized for more that 400 years by the Spanish, Portuguese and British Empire before Malaysia declared its independence on 31 August 1957. This city has been granted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 7 July 2008.
Getting There and Around
Malacca is about 150 km south of Kuala Lumpur. Traveling to Malacca by bus is the most popular mode of transportation. The journey from Bersepadu Selatan Terminal in Kuala Lumpur takes approximately 2.5 hours to Malacca Sentral. You can get to the bus terminal by KLIA Transit from KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur city center or KL International Airport (KUL).
Also, if you are coming from Penang, the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, public buses will depart from Penang Sentral or Sungai Nibong (Penang’s mainland) or Komtar Terminal (Penang Island). The journey takes about 7 hours to Melacca.
Once arrived at Melaka Sentral, you can take bus 70, Grab car or MyCar to the town or Jonker Street, where the historic sites are all within close walking distance near Melacca River. You can either go on foot or rent a bicycle to explore the town.
Day 1: Begin a half-day Melacca exploration
1. Kampung Kling Mosque
Kampung Kling Mosque is one of the traditional mosques in Melacca, which still retains its original design. Its original structure was built with wood in 1748 and later reconstructed with brick in 1872. The mosque remains central to the Malay community life.
The mosque’s architecture is a Sumatran style with strong Hindu and other influences. An unusual blend of English and Portuguese glazed tiles, Corinthian columns with symmetrical arches in the main prayer hall, a Victorian chandelier, a wooden pulpit with Hindu and Chinese-style carvings and a Moorish cast iron lamp post in the pre-prayer cleansing area was evident in its mixture.
Location: Jalan Tukang Emas
2. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
Situated close to Jalan Tukang Emas with its proximity to Kampung Kling Mosque and Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple (Hindu temple), Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is a the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia and practices the Three Doctrinal Systems of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.
This temple is known as “Green Clouds Temple”, was founded since the era of Dutch Melacca in 1645. It was dedicated to the goddess of mercy (Guan Yin), gods of wealth, longevity and propagation.
Location: 25, Jalan Tokong
3. Jonker Street
Wander around the historical houses that dating back to the 17th century. These houses were once lived by the Dutch servants during their occupancy and the rich Peranakans family also settled and do business here.
Jonker Street is well-known for having many art galleries, antique shops, goldsmith, watch repairs, clog makers and beaded shoemakers. Many houses had been converted to food and dessert stalls. There is a night market here every Friday and weekends from 6 pm until midnight. You can try all sorts of delicious local delicacies and desserts and shop for antiques, second-hand books, clothings and souvenirs in the market.
4. Taste of Baba Nyonya dishes
For your dinner, try out some of Baba Nyonya dishes at Baba Freds Nyonya Restaurant such as egg omelette and beef rendang served with white rice. You can also add on other food like the smelly tofu (who’s is up for the challenge?).
Day 2: Stroll through the old city
5. Chicken Rice Ball
Start the day with breakfast at Chop Chung Wah Hainese Chicken Rice. Located next to Hard Rock Cafe, this coffee shop served their popular chicken rice unlike any others in Malaysia. The rice comes in a ball-shaped like and is usually very filling.
Tips: Always be there as early as you can or take your breakfast here because the queue and waiting time in this restaurant after 11 am will be very long.
6. Melacca Tree
This Malacca tree sstood near the Tan Kim Seng Bridge and close to Christ Church and the Stadthuys. Only some of these trees are left to be found in Malacca.
According to the popular legend, Parameswaara (last king of Singapura) was resting under this tree during his hunting. When one of his dogs cornered a mouse deer, the mouse deer defended itself and pushed the dog into the river. Impressed by the deer’s courage, he decided there and then to found an empire here and named the town after the tree.
7. Christ Church
The Christ Church Melaka is the oldest Protestant church in Malaysia which was built by the Dutch in 1753. It took 12 years to complete and the handmade pews were originated back in the old days.
Location: Jalan Gereja
8. The Stadthuys
The town hall was built between 1641 and 1656 by the Dutch after taking over from the Portuguese. It is the oldest “still existing VOC building” in Asia and was used as the Governor’s residence. At the present, the Stadthuys had been converted into a museum to exhibit old artifacts, weaponry, arts and traditional costumes throughout Malacca’s history.
Location: Jalan Gereja
9. Ruins of the St Paul’s Church
Taking the slope behind the Stadthuys will lead to an old Catholic church that was built by Portuguese sea captain, Duato Coelho. The chapel was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was named “Nosa Senhora- Our Lady of the Hill”.
10. A’ Famosa
A’ Famosa also known as Porta de Santiago is a former Portuguese fortress built in 1511 under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque after the conquest of the Portuguese. It is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains of the fortress’ small gate.
Back then, the fortress was built around the hill near the sea and established as an outpost and used as an ammunition storage room, the captain’s residence and an officers’ quarters.
Location: Jalan Parameswara
11. Melaka Sultanate’s Palace Museum
This beautiful Sultanate’s Palace Museum was built as a replica of the palace during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah (1456- 1477). The palace walls are decorated with a beautiful carving of floral and faunas motifs. You can learn about the history of Melacca by viewing the dioramas of the Balairong Seri, the Roal Bedchamber, the battle between Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat and other exhibition materials.
Opening Time: Daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm except Tuesdays
Location: Jalan Kota
12. Proclamation of Independence Memorial
The Proclamation of Malaya’s independence was made by Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman in Padang Pahlawan. Take a self-guided tour inside the museum to see the invaluable exhibits related to the struggle of the country to gain its independence. Those exhibits include relics, manuscripts, videotapes, films and slides.
Location: Jalan Kota
13. Maritime Museum
Visit the Maritime Museum, a replica of the Flor de la Mar’s Portuguese ship believed to have been carrying loot plundered from Melacca when it sank off the coast of Melacca on its way back to Portugal.
This museum displays artifacts and documents from the Melacca Sultanate, Portuguese, Dutch and British era to reveal the importance of political control over maritime dominance of the region.
Opening Time: Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5.30 pm and Saturday to Sunday from 9 am to 9 pm.
Location: Jalan Merdeka
14. Dutch Graveyard
The Dutch Graveyard is a Dutch mausoleum at St Paul’s Hill. It was firstly used between 1670 and 1682 and later between 1818 and 1838. It became the resting place for 5 Dutch and 33 British naval personnel and wives of those army officers.
Location: Jalan Kota (There is no shortcut from Malacca Sultanate Palace. You will need to walk through the back of Christ Church, turn right and walk around 200m)
15. Hang Li Poh’s Well
This well was built under Sultan Mansor Shah’s order in 1459 for Hang Li Poh, the wife of the Sultan. The well was never dry up and become the only source of water supply during the dry season. The Dutch surrounded it with stout walls in 1677 to maintain its ultimate into a wishing well. It is said that those who throw coins into it will return here time and again.
Location: Jalan Puteri Hang Li Poh, Kampung Bukit Cina (next to Poh San Teng Temple and this place is quite a distance from Jonker Street. The fastest way to get here is by Grab car or MyCar)
16. Villa Sentosa
Experience the atmosphere of Villa Sentosa, a Malay Living Museum built in 1920 by Tuan Haji Hashim bin Dato’ Demang Haji Abdul Ghani, a pioneer of Kampung Morten. You will be happily welcomed by the resident of the kampung house with open arms. The owner who is the descendent of the family will guide you through his personal family history, mementos and traditional Malakan way of life.
Admission to the museum is free, however donations are welcomed as the owner used them to maintain this museum.
Opening Times: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm
Location: Kampung Morten (This place is quite a distance from Jonker Street. It is faster to take Grab car or MyCar to Villa Sentosa)
17. Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple
Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia. It was dedicated to Lord Vinayagar (Ganesha), the deity revered for his wisdom and ability to remove challenges so one could accomplish their desire or goal. The Dutch had made influence toward the architecture of the temple and is noticeable by the look of the entrance, walls, columns, vaulted domes and roof tiling.
Location: Jalan Tukang Emas
Day 3: Roam Free and Easy
18. Hang Jebat Mausoleum
Hang Jebat Mausoleum is a burial ground to dedicate to the legendary warrior Hang Jebat. This Acehnese-style tomb predates the 1512 Portugese occupation, but the actual date of the construction remained unknown.
Hang Jebat was the second most skillful among the five warriors in his village. One day, he ran amok and was killed after suffering a fatal injury from a dagger of his friend, Hang Tuah. He has been given a warrior’s burial despite his murderous rampage at the palace.
Location: Jalan Hang Jebat
19. Street Art
Walk down the small alley near the Hang Jebat Mausoleum to admire the beauty of Melacca’s street art painted by the locals.
20. The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
Discover this unique heritage museum that has been preserved by the family of Babas and Nyonyas of Melaka. A guide will walk you through and explain about their fascinating artifacts and mixed lifestyle, culture and food.
Note: This museum and tour group only operate at certain hour of the day and is advisable to arrive early. Photography and videography are not allowed inside the premise (Click here for more details)
Location: 48 & 50 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock