When I first told my friends that I will be spending 3 days in Melaka, they told me it’s too much. I was deciding whether to change my plan or stick to it. I chose the latter in the end. But guess what, I ended up staying 5 days in Melaka. There’s just a lot of things to do in Melaka, despite me spending a lot of time chilling.
Melaka (or Malacca) is located near two hours drive south of Kuala Lumpur. Once an important port in the world, Melaka has centuries-long of glorious history. It is also the place where Islamism first came into the lands of Malaysia.
Also, for this post, the activities are focused on the UNESCO World Heritage Site and its nearby. You’ll not find any activity near Ayer Keroh region here. If you’re visiting from Kuala Lumpur or other cities in Malaysia, check out 12Go and book your ticket at the best price!
So here we go, the best things to do in Melaka to help you plan a perfect trip.
- 1 Indulge in Melaka Cendol
- 2 Rewind Histories in Kota A’Famosa
- 3 Walk the Jonker Street
- 4 Visit the Underrated Morten Village
- 5 Enjoy the Nyonya Baba Asam Laksa
- 6 Take the Melaka River Cruise
- 7 Popping Chicken Rice Balls
- 8 Learn History in Cheng Ho Cultural Museum
- 9 Visit Malacca Sultanate Palace
- 10 The Leaning Church in Melaka?
- 11 Sip on Gula Melaka Latte
- 12 Tour in Nyonya Baba Heritage Museum
- 13 Hike Up to St. Paul’s Church
- 14 Pay Tribute in Cheng Hoon Teng
- 15 Visit Maritime Museum
- 16 Enjoy the Street Arts
- 17 Take a Photo in Christ Church
Indulge in Melaka Cendol
The secret recipe that makes Melaka Cendol perfect is the Gula Melaka (Malacca Sugar). Made of coconut, the authentic aroma and flavor of Gula Melaka, mixed with the shaved ice make the dish unique like nowhere else in the world.
It’s kinda hard to find a good Cendol in Melaka as almost every restaurant are selling them. The best one I had is served at The Wild Coriander Restaurant at RM6.00. Be sure to check them out.
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Check out this 2 days Melaka itinerary and plan your trip!
Rewind Histories in Kota A’Famosa
The landmark of Malacca city was built under the order of Portuguese admiral, Alfonso d’ Albuquerque in 1511. More than 500 years ago!
However, after the invasion of the Dutch army in 1641, most parts of the fort was destroyed. Today, all we see is the main fortress gate and some remains of the bricks.
Editor’s Note: Planning a visit to Penang? Then you should read this post – What to do in Penang in 3 Days!
Walk the Jonker Street
Jonker Street is undoubtedly the busiest street in Melaka city. Crowded with tourists all day long, this street is home to various traditional restaurants like Nyonya Baba restaurants and chicken rice ball restaurants. Souvenir shops selling local products like Gula Melaka and local biscuits can also be found here along with several museums.
The best part happens during the weekends from Friday to Sunday. At weekend nights, the street was sealed and the whole street transformed into a night market. Street food junkies should never miss the show here.
It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Melaka. A great place to spend your holiday getaway from Kuala Lumpur as well!
Visit the Underrated Morten Village
Morten Village, or known locally as Kampung Morten is the most underrated gem of Melaka city. Located just outside the heritage designation area, Kampung Morten had not received any funds from the government to preserve the village.
Here are the interesting things they did.
The Ketua Kampung (Head of Village) decorated his own house, now known as Villa Sentosa to depict the traditions and cultures of Malay villagers, and opened his house for public visits.
That’s such a wonderful thing to do, right?
Since then, the village has been attracting visitors, mostly foreigners. Homestays have been popping up in the area by the local villagers and funds have been granted for them to preserve the area. The visit to Villa Sentosa is free of charge and accepts donations.
I have an article solely on Kampung Morten, check it out here!
Enjoy the Nyonya Baba Asam Laksa
Nyonya Baba or Peranakan Chinese are descendants of Chinese immigrants who moved into the Malay archipelago between 15th and 17th centuries. They’re best known for their unique traditions, cultures, and food.
Nyonya Baba’s traditional cuisine is a must-try in Melaka, not only Asam Laksa. Not sure where to find them? Head over to Jonker Street and try out Baba Freds Nyonya Restaurant or Jonker 88 Restaurant.
Take the Melaka River Cruise
Melaka River Cruise is one of the most popular things to do in Melaka. The cruise trip lasts around 45 minutes for a return trip.
Along the river, get flowing between the gaps of urban development, where there are huge modern buildings on a side, facing the untouched heritage areas on the opposite. Kampung Morten is one of the latter.
Note that the queue can be surprisingly long during the peak hours. Be sure to check out the changes of operation hours if you visit during Ramadan Month.
The price starts at RM6.50 for children, RM13 for adults with MyKad and RM18 for foreign adults. There will be an increase of RM5 on weekends for adults. Check out here for more information.
Popping Chicken Rice Balls
Chicken Rice Balls are kind of a traditional meal in Melaka. In the old days when food containers are not as common, labor workers squeezed the chicken rice into small spherical shapes. This came in handy when it’s time for a meal.
Somehow this leads to an invention of something new. Chicken Rice Balls! But really, it’s nothing special other than chicken rice being squeezed into ball shapes.
And these spherical cuties are so popular that it’s hard to find a delicious one.
A little advice here, don’t go for the huge franchise in Jonker Street which has numerous branches. Really, they taste bad, in my opinion. You’ll know when you got there.
Learn History in Cheng Ho Cultural Museum
Do you know that Portuguese is not the first foreigners to set their footprints in Melaka? Yes, 600 years ago in 1405, Cheng Ho, the Ming Dynasty Admiral brought a fleet of business ships to Melaka.
Over the course of a few years, Cheng Ho revisited Melaka several times and brought numerous techniques, skills, and knowledge to share with the people in Melaka.
Some arguments even appealed that he brought Islamism to Melaka during those times.
The price can be a little costly but definitely worth the cash. The entire museum takes you more than an hour to read and learn with interesting infographics, decorations, and models.
The entrance fee is RM20 for adults and RM10 for children or students. More information can be found here. The opening hours are from 9 am to 6 pm every day.
Visit Malacca Sultanate Palace
The palace is actually a replica of the Sultan’s palace centuries ago. It was said to be destroyed by a huge fire caused by lightning under Allah’s will.
As the name suggests, the palace depicts mostly the histories and cultures of Malacca Sultanate during its golden ages. In the 1400s, the strategic location of Melaka made it one of the greatest port in the world, connecting the trades of the western and eastern world.
Legends and myths are also shown in interesting infographics in the palace so be sure to pay a visit.
Check out these luxury accommodations in Kuala Lumpur to make your Malaysia trip perfect!
The Leaning Church in Melaka?
It’s surprising that we have never heard of anybody talking about the tilting of St Francis Xavier’s Church. It’s in fact very obvious and noticeable from far away.
The church was built in 1856 on the site of an old Portuguese church. The softer ground on one side causes the tilt of the building. Though not as popular as the one in Italy, it’s still worth a quick visit.
Sip on Gula Melaka Latte
Latte + Gula Melaka? That’s one of the best beverages in Malaysia that I’ve had. The unique aroma and sweetness of Gula Melaka bring the beverage to a whole new level. A sip of Gula Melaka Latte will make your day.
Not sure where to find it? Here’s my recommendation in Jonker Street.
Tour in Nyonya Baba Heritage Museum
Nyonya Baba Heritage Museum is worth the time of those who appreciate traditions and cultures. The museum was once the house of a rich Nyonya Baba family. Having refurbished and decorated, the house is now open for public visits with some entrance fees.
The museum is full of artworks, most notably the needlework arts and wood carvings. Touring in the house will definitely leave you questioning, “How rich was this family?”.
Check out here for more information about the museum. The entrance fee is currently RM15.
Hike Up to St. Paul’s Church
St. Paul’s Church is located just up A’ Famosa Fort. At the back of A’ Famosa Fort, there an alley leading up to the church, and it’s easy to find.
This oldest European-built church in Southeast Asia was built in 1521. It’s renowned as the place where the body of Francis Xavier, a pioneering Catholic missionary in Southeast Asia was laid to rest for 8 months after this death in 1553.
Editor’s Note: Discover the hidden Western side of Penang Island – Everything You Need To Visit Balik Pulau Penang!
Pay Tribute in Cheng Hoon Teng
Cheng Hoon Teng, founded in the 1600s by Chinese Kapitan Tay Kie Ki alias Tay Hong Yong. Kapitans were appointed chiefs of various ethnic communities during the Portuguese and Dutch eras.
In its early years, the temple also played a role as the official administrative center and a court of justice for the Kapitans.
Visit the website here for more information about the temple.
Visit Maritime Museum
Maritime Museum showcases the maritime histories of Melaka and the golden ages of Malacca Sultanate. You can learn about the different eras that Melaka went through starting from the golden age to the Portuguese era, the Dutch era and finally the British era.
Even if you’re not going inside, it’s still worth to be impressed by the Flora de la Mar replica. The huge ship is a replica of Portuguese Nau of 400 tons. She sank near the coast of Melaka in November 1511.
Enjoy the Street Arts
Like Penang, Melaka is also home to street arts. Along Melaka River, you will stumble upon a variety of street arts, most of them with human figures.
It’s a lot of fun exploring around the city looking for street arts. The most noticeable street art is the Nyonya paintings in the picture below.
Take a Photo in Christ Church
Melaka’s Christ Church was built by the Dutch in 1753. Taking 12 years to build, Christ Church is now one of the landmarks of Melaka. The 8 feet long ceiling beams were cut in one-piece and constructed without joints.
The bright red color of Christ Church makes it a popular spot for photos. Tourists and vendors are concentrated in the area, contributing to the huge crowd.
Wrapping It Up
Melaka is more than just a travel destination for photos. It has centuries-long of history in it which is worth learning and discovering. I would say you shouldn’t miss it, especially you’re into histories and human civilizations. Been to Melaka? Feel free to comment below!
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