Two Days in Melaka
From a fishing village to a trading port and now a travel destination, Melaka (Malacca) is a historical city recognized and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. With its rich history and cultural background from previous Portuguese, British and Dutch rule, the people of Melaka has done a good job in preserving and presenting its diverse history.
Malacca City located southwest of Malaysia is a perfect weekend getaway. A sweet escape if you’re in the busy Kuala Lumpur and Penang or in Singapore because the city is a short drive and thriving on the weekend. An average of 2-3 hours travel time from Megacity Kuala Lumpur and 4 hours from Singapore, it’s the perfect two-day to take time off.
Two days might not be enough, but here are some great things I like in Melaka. Make the most of it!
Red Square (Dutch Square)
This was the first thing I saw when I arrived in the city, the surrounding building is splashed in red color. The Red Square gets its name from the reddish historical buildings and landmarks surrounding it. The oldest Dutch building erected in Southeast Asia is The Stadhuys or “City Hall” – it is the office of the Dutch Governor. Next to the Art Gallery building is another Dutch building called the Christ Church, the oldest Protestant church in Melaka.
Taking an early morning or late afternoon river walk is free and enjoyable (avoid midday – it’s hot). Spanning a total distance of 10 kilometers, be entertained with huge murals on both sides, cool cafes, food stalls, bars and explore different architectural styles of Malay houses as you walk along. Boats carrying tourist frequent the river and the trip at night is very pretty. Although the water is murky, the river is clean and keep an eye out on giant monitor lizard.
Also, the Melaka River Cruise is a great way to see the sights of Malacca at a relaxing pace in comfort. The cruise starts at 9:00 AM to 11:30 PM and the cityscape at night is worth-seeing. Click here for more tickets and information.
It’s the weekend and this is the place where everybody goes at night. It’s alive, it’s crowded and full of flavors. One of my favorites is the Chicken Rice Balls and teh tarik. There’s food and lots of food everywhere!
It’s the second day and it’s time for a morning walk in the neighborhood. While roaming around the city looking for a food trip, notice how unique and beautiful the colonial Peranakan architecture of Malacca is. They are built side by side in long rows and are mostly two to three floors high. Similar to the designs and structure in Penang, the front of the house are embellished with colorful ceramic tiles on the floor, large Gold Chinese characters on doors and wooden shutters.
Click Here for more of Street Art: Melaka.
Flora de la Mar Maritime Museum
This museum is the exact replica of the Portuguese ship called Flora de la Mar that sunk in the coast of Malacca. The museum is a 10 minutes walk from the Dutch Square. If you are not into ships and history, you’ll find this place very meh.
Melaka Maritime Museum: Jalan Merdeka, Bandar Hilir. Opening Hours: 9:00 – 5:00 PM; 9:00-7:00PM Fri, Sat & Sun
After sundown, the neon led light trishaw or beca rides are the kings of the road. Their flashing lights and supersonic sounds are blasting with pop music and heavy techno sounds. From Pikachu to Hello Kitty interiors, these tricycles are customized and has over-the-top designs. The tricycles are mostly stationed near the Dutch Square and they prey on tourists. The average rate is roughly 30 Ringgit for a 30 minute spin around the city.
The Baboon House at Jonker Street
It’s like a hidden forest jungle inside!
A cool and chill place to retreat from the heat and away from the busy street. Once you step inside the courtyard of this old shabby shophouse, you’ll be amazed by the interiors and the atmosphere it brings. Famous for its authentic gourmet burgers and freshly ground coffee, this cafe-cum-art gallery is definitely a must-try in Melaka.
The Baboon House: No.89, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. Cafe Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Another cafe house to not miss is the Heesan Kopi – just a walking distance from the Baboon House. A good airconditioned place to relax and drink coffee after a hot day walk in Jonker street.
The wall interior is painted with amazing murals by famous Malaysian street artist Kenji Chai. One is secretly hidden on the rooftop of the shop.
Heesan Kopi: 100 Jalan Hang Jebat. Operating Hours: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
How To Get Here
Travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka Sentral takes to about 2 to 2.5 hours. Direct bus from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are more convenient and have lots of time schedules.
From Kuala Lumpur to Malacca: Click Here
From Singapore to Malacca: Click Here