Melaka: Our tips for Malaysia's pretty colonial city

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Just two hours south of Kuala Lumpur is one of the most beautiful cities in Malaysia: Melaka. The colonial town of Melaka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely one of the highlights of a trip through Malaysia.

The fact that Malaysia is a multi-ethnic state becomes clear in Melaka really aware: European, Chinese and Malay architectural styles mix here. The culture mix is also noticeable in the restaurant scene: In Melaka you can dine really well.

We’ll show you everything that awaits you in Melaka in this blog article. We’ll take you to the most beautiful sights and of course share our personal tips for your trip.

1. What awaits you in Melaka: First information & things worth knowing Together with George Town, Melaka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia . And of course there is a reason for that: The colonial past has given the town a very special flair. Melaka was successively ruled by Portugal, Holland and Great Britain – the city’s architecture still reminds of this today. Not all buildings are spruced up. The plaster is crumbling in many corners, but that’s kind of what makes it so appealing.

What you should know: Melaka is rather touristy. Before Especially among travelers from Asia (Malaysia and Singapore) Melaka is a very popular destination for a weekend break. They also ensure that the conspicuously decorated bicycle rickshaws enjoy great popularity in Melaka. A city tour in a colorful rickshaw with blaring music – if you like it.

The tourist center is located around the Red Square (more on that in a moment) . However, our favorite corner of Melaka is the river bank. It’s much more tranquil here – and fortunately there aren’t any of the many souvenir shops to be seen here.

By the way – in case you were wondering about the different spellings: Melaka is the Malay spelling. In German, the city is often also called Malacca, in English Malacca.

Getting there: How do I get to Melaka?

Melaka is located on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula (= West Malaysia), about a two-hour drive south of the capital Kuala Lumpur. Melaka is therefore easily accessible by land. There is an airport in Melaka, but due to its proximity to the major airports in Kuala Lumpur, it is of little importance.

From Kuala Lumpur (Central) you can easily reach Melaka by bus. The buses start in Kuala Lumpur at the main bus station (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan = TBS). There is a bus here about every half hour. The drive to Melaka takes about two hours and costs just about 11 until 14 RM, so not even three euros.

From Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA 1 or KLIA2) we recommend that you only drive if you land here and want to continue straight to Melaka. From here there are fewer buses and these are also a bit more expensive. We took a taxi ourselves to get from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur Airport as we wanted to be sure about the departure time. Our private taxi took us 150 RM (approximately 30 Euros ) cost.

Once arrived at Melaka bus station, it is best to take a taxi to your hotel. (Don’t forget to negotiate the fare in advance!) Grab may also be an alternative. For more information on Taxis and Grab, see this article: Malaysia Travel Tips.

How many days should I allow for Melaka? We recommend you to stay about two nights in Melaka. The old town of Melaka is rather small and manageable, so this period is sufficient to visit the main sights. We stayed three nights ourselves and found it very comfortable.

Some people also visit Melaka only as a day trip from Kuala Lumpur, but that would be us personally too stressful. However, it is possible. Because Melaka is mainly visited by Asian tourists, we would recommend you to avoid the weekends if possible!

2. Sights and our tips for Melaka The most important sights in Melaka are all within walking distance of each other . In our opinion, in Melaka it is not so much one tourist highlight after the other, but rather the flair of the city that makes Melaka attractive and special.

Walk along the waterfront Melaka is located on a river, more precisely on the Melaka River. One of our favorite places in Melaka is the waterfront, also known as the Riverside Walk (or River Walk). You walk along the river here and you can already take a look at one or the other sight of Melaka.

We personally were very impressed by the cozy atmosphere. Street art meets colonial buildings – a really exciting mix. We find it particularly beautiful here in the late afternoon. You can also explore the Melaka River as part of a boat tour, but we preferred the footpath.

By the way, it’s not surprising that the river looks so dirty in our photos – that’s not always the case ! Unfortunately we just had some bad luck.

Red Square (Dutch Square) In the heart of the colonial old town from Melaka is the Red Square. It’s pretty obvious why it got its name: the buildings here, which by the way date back to the Dutch colonial era, are all rust-red in colour.

On the Red Square is the distinctive Stadthuys settled by Melaka. It is the former town hall and in fact the oldest surviving Dutch building in Asia. Today it houses two museums. Also on the square are the Christ Church and the Clock Tower.

Auf dem Red Square is usually really busy – it is one of the tourist hotspots in Melaka. The square is not only a popular photo motif, but also many excursion buses stop here.

St . Paul’s Hill Right in the old town of Melaka, just a few steps from Red Square, rises a small hill, St. Paul’s Hill . You can reach the top of the hill via a set of stairs in just a few minutes.

When you get to the top, a beautiful view over Melaka awaits you. And you can look forward to something else: the ruins of St. Paul’s Church are enthroned on St. Paul’s Hill – a very cool photo opportunity!

If you now go down the other side of St. Paul’s Hill, you will come to the former Portuguese fortress A Famosa, of which not much remains today.

Chinatown: Jonker Street & Night Market Jonker Street (on called Jalan Hang Jebat in Malay) is probably the most famous street in Melaka. It is located in the heart of Chinatown on the west bank of the Malaka River – ie on the opposite side of the river from Red Square.

In On Jonker Street you will find a few shops and restaurants – so you are in the “tourist mile”, so to speak. It only gets really exciting here during the night market,, which always takes place from Friday to Sunday. From about 11 hours Jonker Street gets really crowded then. You can try a wide variety of regional specialties at the many food stalls and also buy one or two souvenirs.

By the way, there is another alley worthwhile running parallel to Jonker Street: the Street of Harmony , in Malay Jalan Tukang Emas called. Here it becomes clear what the coexistence of different religions means in Melaka. In a very small space you will find a mosque (Kampung Kling Mosque), a Hindu temple (Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple) and a Chinese temple (Cheng Hoon Teng Temple).

3. Restaurant Tips for Melaka Pak Putra Tandoori & Naan Restaurant: Our absolute favorite restaurant in Melaka! If you like Indian food, you will love it here. We’ve ordered up and down the menu several times and have always had excellent food here. You sit here quite authentically on simple plastic chairs. The restaurant is only open in the evenings and is always busy – it’s best not to be too late!

The Baboon House: An extremely cool, hip one restaurant or cafe. It is a bit reminiscent of a combination of a gallery and a green oasis, because there are plants everywhere. The restaurant is best known for its burgers (vegetarian burgers are also available). Closed in the evenings, but definitely worth a visit during the day!

Blacklane Coffee: Nice, very spacious and pleasantly air-conditioned café, which is ideal for a break from sightseeing. The selection of cakes and tarts surprised us. It also tasted good!

4. Hotel tip for Melaka There are some very nice hotels in Melaka – we can particularly recommend The Nest House . This fairly new boutique hotel is not only furnished with great attention to detail, but is also strategically located in a great way to explore Melaka .

The rooms are very comfortable, big enough and the beds really comfortable. The puristic and yet very cozy design is exactly our taste – you really feel very comfortable here. Sustainability is also valued – for example, ecological aspects were taken into account in the architecture of the house.

Another nice thing: free snacks are available around the clock in the lobby. The roof terrace is also really nice – perfect for a cozy beer in the evening.

The location of the hotel is central, but still quiet. You can reach the Red Square in about 11 minutes walk. Of course there are more centrally located hotels, but you will stay in a quiet area with many restaurants. Our conclusion: Great value for money and highly recommended!

You can book the hotel here: The Nest House

Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever been to Melaka? How did you like it? Do you have any other tips or experiences you would like to share with us? We look forward to your comment!