Melaka is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia for family holidays. If you are travelling from Pakistan to Kuala Lumpur, Melaka can be an ideal location for a day trip or a weekend break. Melaka is a UNESCO heritage declared city with a rich cultural history of Dutch and Portuguese settlers which is evident in a well-preserved building in the historical quarters of the city. Melaka offers a wide range of accommodation at very economical rates as compared to Kuala Lumpur or other places in Malaysia. With fun-packed theme parks for children, resort styled hotels and amazing shopping Malls, Melaka must be on your list for your next trip to Malaysia.
How do I travel to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur city?
If you are planning a day tour from Kuala Lumpur city, the best option is to book your own transport for a day excursion. A premier taxi costs around RM 400 a day for a round trip to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur City.
Alternatively, you can travel by bus to from KLIA or BTS ( main bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur city). The Melaka City is quite spread out and you will need to downloads and install ridesharing app GRAB, or use local taxis.
Driving by yourself is also a great idea to explore the most interesting places in the city.
If you plan to stay for a weekend, it is advisable to rent a hotel near Jonker Walk, as most of the places of interest in Melaka are walking distance from this location.
The benefits of having your own vehicle are the flexibility in visiting other interest places like A'Famosa Resort, Malacca Straits Mosque or even Port Dickson at your own leisure.
What are some of the most interesting things to do in Melaka?
Melaka has a lot to offer for travellers who are interested in exploring the cultural history of Malaysia. Here are some must-do activities while you are in Melaka:
Jonker Walk - late-night street market and cultural events
Jonker Walk area is a well-preserved neighbourhood from colonial-era with beautifully decorated shophouses. The street has a number of nice cafes and bars. In the evening the entire street transforms into roadside stalls, selling local delights, gifts and souvenirs. Walking through the congested street with vendors selling bbq food and local delights is quite an experience. There are a number of modern cafes offering local and continental food.
On a hot summer day, slip into Geographer cafe to enjoy Malaysian delights and some creative chilly drinks. At night time, live music performances by Chinese performers fill the air.
Most of the shophouses are turned into antique and souvenirs shops. You can strike a bargain with the local vendors selling a large collection of antiques dating back to the last few centuries. Melaka has a history of Duch and Portuguese settlers in the last 500 years which has left a deep impression on the architecture and cultural history of this region.
Some of the resorts along the Melaka River are designed in the style of Spanish-Moorish designs adding to the colourful mix of buildings along the waterfront that are renovated to give a fresher look for tourist. A number of new fast-food joints including Hard Rock Cafe located at the beginning of the Jonker Walk.
More information about the local attractions, tours and places of interest can be obtained from the Information Center located near the main roundabout at the junction of Studhueys. Here are some pictures from my most recent visit to this part of the town.
Stadthuys & Fort Famosa - A bit of history
Stadthuys is the old part of the town and administrative centre during Dutch Colonial rule. The building is painted red and is a well-preserved piece of Dutch architecture. A museum adjacent to the building has a number of historical artifacts, pictures, maps and documents. Visit Stadthuys is a must to learn about the interesting history of Melaka during colonial occupation.
Walking up the hill behind Stadthuys is a historical remnant of Fort Famosa which was built in 1512 by Ductch. The Fort has suffered destruction in many battles through the last 4 centuries. A partial restoration is underway since 2006 to preserve the original structure of the fort.
Melaka Rickshaw and Buggy Ride - more Touristy things
Catch a richly decorated rickshaw from the entrance of Dataran Palawan Shopping Mall to the entrance of Jonker Walk and Tourist information centre. The rickshaw driver will play your favourite tunes and jingles while you enjoy the scenic ride through the interesting quarters of the city. The ride lasts 15 minutes and coast around RM 15. This is definitely a must-do activity in the day time or night time. The rickshaws are running till midnight.
Dataran Pahlawan & Mahkota Parade - Shopping in Melaka
The Dataran Pahlawan Shopping Mall is located within walking distance from the Jonker Walk area. This is a modern shopping Malls with plenty of international outlets as well as local brands. Mahkota Parade is another mid-range shopping mall located opposite Dataran Palawan. Enjoy the local food at the food court, buy a local brand of products, clothing and other souvenirs etc.
There is a Kidz zone on the first floor where children can enjoy indoor sports and learning activities. Shopping in Melaka is relatively cheap and you can find great deals at hundreds of stores in these two shopping Malls.
A walkway connecting Hatten Place to Dataran Pahlawan has local markets called "Heritage Walk" selling Melaka handicrafts, clothing and cultural certificates and a large number of locally manufactured products.
Menara Taming Sari
This revolving tower is located right next to Pahlawan Dataran Shopping Malls and commands a 360-degree view of Melaka City. The ticket is RM 15 per person. Once the tower reaches the top, you will be able to see the original layout of the city along the banks of Melaka River, the linear structure of shophouses with red roods which are lined symmetrically.
Visit Melaka Straits Mosque
Melaka Straits Mosque is located on the Melaka waterfronts commanding great views of the ocean. From a distance, it seems that the mosque is floating on the water. Like many other interesting beautiful mosques in Malaysia, Melaka Straits Mosques, Malaysians fascination with Muslim history, motifs and designs are evident in the eye-catching architecture of the structure of the mosque.
Where to stay in Melaka for a family holiday?
Melaka is popular for resort-style accommodation as the city is popular for family travel. Most Malaysia families travel as large groups therefore, serviced apartments and resort type accommodation is quite popular. I have stayed at a number of heritage hotels and family-styled resorts during my visits to Melaka from 2009 onwards.
During my recent visit to Melaka, I stayed at the Shores Hotel and Residences . This 48 story building is located adjacent to Swiss Garden Hotel Melaka. The establishment is popular with families, as there are a number of attractions for kids including:
1. Indoor swimming pools and waterpark on 6 floor
3. Observation deck on the top floor - The Shore Sky Tower
4. Restaurants with
5. Shore Oceanarium
6. Cafes, Bars and Restaurants
7. Kids jumping castle on the ground floor