melaka malaysia

Melaka, an amazing heritage city in Malaysia

Melaka, an amazing heritage city in Malaysia 1024 543 Ali Mobin

Melaka is one of Malaysia’s most popular tourist destinations 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 accommodations 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 KLIA or BTS (the main bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur city). Melaka City is quite spread out and you will need to download and install the ridesharing app GRAB or use local taxis.

Driving by yourself is also a great idea to explore the most interesting places in the city.

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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 within walking distance from this location. 

The benefits of having your own vehicle are the flexibility in visiting other interesting 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 neighborhood from the 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.

jonker walk melaka
Jonker Walk Melaka

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 the Geographer cafe to enjoy Malaysian delights and some creative chilly drinks. At night time, live music performances by Chinese performers fill the air.

Geographer Cafe Jonker Walk

Most of the shophouses are turned into antique and souvenir shops. You can bargain with the local vendors selling an extensive 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 colorful mix of buildings along the waterfront that are renovated to give a fresher look for tourists. A number of new fast-food joints including Hard Rock Cafe and Gravy Baby are located at the beginning of the Jonker Walk. 

The Jonker Walk area is best to be explored on foot. The back alleys have a number of symmetrical shophouses with beautifully painted facades and designs. A number of houses are turned into boutique hotels. Baba Nyonya Museum is an interesting place to explore to learn more about the rich Peranakan History of the region.

Baba Nyonya Museum

Stadthuys & Fort Famosa – A bit of history

Stadthuys is the old part of the town and administrative center 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 the Dutch. The Fort has suffered destruction in many battles over the last 4 centuries. A partial restoration is underway since 2006 to preserve the original structure of the fort. 

Melaka River Cruise
Melaka River Cruise

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 daytime or nighttime. The rickshaws are running till midnight. 

Shopping in Melaka Dataran Pahlawan & Mahkota Parade

The Dataran Pahlawan Shopping Mall is located within walking distance of the Jonker Walk area. This is a modern shopping Mall 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. 

Kidzoonia, a kid’s play zone is located 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, cultural certificates, and a large number of locally manufactured products. 

Menara Taming Sari

This revolving tower is located right next to Pahlawan Dataran Shopping Mall 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. 

Melaka Straits Mosque Malacca
Melaka Straits 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 Malaysian families travel as large groups therefore, serviced apartments and resort-type accommodation are quite popular. I have stayed at a number of heritage hotels and family-styled resorts during my visits to Melaka from 2009 onwards. 

Shore Hotel and Residence Melaka
Shore Hotel and Residence, Melaka

During my recent visit to Melaka, I stayed at the Shores Hotel and ResidencesThis 48-story building is located adjacent to the Swiss Garden Hotel Melaka. The establishment is popular with families, as there are a number of attractions for kids including:

  • Indoor swimming pools and waterpark on 6 floor
  • Aquarium
  • An observation deck on the top floor – The Shore Sky Tower
  • Restaurants with 
  • Shore Oceanarium
  • Cafes, Bars, and Restaurants
  • Kids jumping castle on the ground floor

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