Melaka travel guide: the eight best things to do in Melaka, Malaysia!

Melaka, also known as Malacca or Malacca, is a city in southern Malaysia. A surprisingly nice city that we almost skipped. But Melaka is definitely worth it! Here you will find culture, good food and you can see the influence of the Netherlands on Malaysia. In this travel guide about Melaka, you will read about the eight best activities and sights and you will find a number of nice hotels in the centre of Melaka.Melaka Chee Acenstral Mansion built by Dutch Architect


Melaka travel guide: a place not to be missed during a trip through Malaysia!

Melaka is a nice city just a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. We initially did not plan to visit Melaka (or Malacca as it is often called). But we are so happy that we did! The city really surprised us with cool street art, nice shops and great food.

Melaka is a lot bigger than we expected, the city is quite extensive, although almost all the sights are in the centre. We also noticed how clean the city is. It sometimes reminded us of Japan!

Did you know that Melaka was called Malacca until 2017? The government decided to change the name in 2017 (it is not clear why exactly). Yet you still see the old name in many places.Malaysia Melaka Malacca River

How many days do you need for Melaka?

Melaka itself is quite a big city, but the activities are centrally and mostly within walking distance of each other. They can be done in one or two days. Only the Melaka Straits Mosque is further outside the centre. If you want to do all of the activities below, we recommend that you spend two days in Melaka.Malaysia Melaka Malacca River with view on church


The best activities in Melaka!

Melaka is a tourist spot at the weekend when many Malaysian tourists visit it for a day trip. However, during the week it is pretty quiet here. You can walk around freely on Jonker Walk (the central street where everything happens) and there are more than enough hotel rooms available. However, keep in mind that some restaurants and shops are closed. We stayed three nights on weekdays in Melaka and found the peace wonderful. Unfortunately, we had to miss the night markets, these only take place at the weekend.

Below the eight best activities in Melaka!

1. Visit Dutch Square, the old Stadthuys and Christ Church

Melaka has been a Dutch colony for 183 years. And that is clearly reflected by the architecture on Dutch Square. This is a square in the centre where the old post office, the old town hall and the old church are located. The buildings were initially white, but when the British conquered Melaka, they painted everything red. The entire square is now bright red. In addition to the Dutch architectural style, there is a replica windmill here and you will find some dutch cows on the square.Malaysia Melaka Dutch Square red housesMelaka Dutch Square Malaysia

2. Enjoy the Nyonya cuisine, the local food in Melaka.

Melaka is known for its delicious food, called Nyonya. This is a fusion between Chinese and Malaysian dishes that are quite spicy. Because of the location of Melaka, which used to be a trading city with many Chinese traders, China has had a major influence on Melaka and its cuisine. If you walk around Melaka, you’ll see restaurants offering “Nyonya food” everywhere. You have not really visited Melaka when you haven’t tasted their cuisine!  Scroll down to find the restaurants that we recommend.Malaysia Melaka local veggie dish

3. Wander around St. Paul’s Church and A Famosa Fort

Behind Dutch Square, there is a hill where there used to be a fortress. You can still find a number of historic buildings here. The most beautiful is St. Paul’s Church. This church was built by the Portuguese (who also ruled here for a while) and is full of Dutch gravestones.

Just behind St. Paul’s Church is the only remnant of the A Famosa Fort. This is a very old (and unfortunately poorly maintained) building that was part of the fort built by the Portuguese. The only thing left to see of this fort is the gate, which is also called Porta de Santiago.


Will you also be going to Kuala Lumpur? Here you will find our budget travel guide for Kuala Lumpur!


4. View the Melaka Straits Mosque

On the beach of Melaka, you will find a magnificent mosque, the Melaka Straits Mosque. The colours (white, blue and gold) in combination with the sea make this a beautiful place that you absolutely must-see. The best view here is during sunset.Melaka Strait Mosque Sunset Charlotte

5. Shop on Jonker Walk or visit the Night Market at the weekend

Jonker Walk is the main street of the tourist centre. You will find nice boutiques, restaurants and small museums here. The popular Jonker Walk Night Market takes place here at the weekend. Be sure to walk into one of the side streets, where you will find temples, mosques and many authentic houses. Melaka old colonial town Malaysia housesExtra tip: a new shopping district is currently under construction, just behind the Melaka Straits Mosque. The buildings are already there, just like a few shops and restaurants. The facades are built in Portuguese style and each store has a different (pastel) colour. Nice to see!Malaysia Melaka beach neighbourhood

6. Admire the Sultanate Palace

The Sultanate Palace is a wooden replica of the real palace of Sultan Mansur from the 15th century. It is made according to traditional building technology with associated material. Nowadays the palace houses a cultural museum called Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum.

This place is perfect for when the weather is bad (and the reason why we did not visit this museum ourselves, it was always nice weather when we were in Melaka).Sultanata Palace Melaka Malaysia


Are you travelling to the Cameron Highlands after Melaka? Click here for an extensive travel guide for the Cameron Highlands!


7. Take a cruise on the Malacca River or walk along the river in the evening!

The Malacca River goes right through the centre of Melaka. Although, the river itself is not very special (even a little dirty with the brown water), but the beautiful buildings, which are illuminated at night, bridges and street art, make a cruise (especially when travelling with children) fun. A cruise costs 30 MYR and takes 40 minutes.

We did not opt for a boat trip on the Malacca River but often walked the quays in the evenings. With the lights, there is a very nice atmosphere here. Sit down at one of the dozens of bars on the water or admire the beautiful bridges.

8. Admire the street art and graffiti

Melaka is full of beautiful street art. Entire buildings are painted or decorated with graffiti. You can find one of the most beautiful walls near Dutch Square, at the Kiehl’s office. Click here for the location. Along the water and on the side streets of Melaka you will find beautiful street art.Malaysia Melaka beautiful street art and graffiti


The nicest restaurants and coffee shops in Melaka

There is really an abundance of nice restaurants, coffee shops and street food in Melaka. Keep in mind that many restaurants have strange opening times. For example, many eateries are closed after 6 pm in the evening, or closed on any day of the week. So always check Google Maps to see if the cafe or restaurant is open.

The best breakfast, lunch, and coffee shops in Melaka

Backlane Coffee – good coffee
Are you looking for a quiet coffee shop? Then Backlane is a very good option. Internet is not always as fast (just as in all other places in Melaka), but the setting is nice, there are sockets and the coffee is nice. A good co-working place. Click here for the location on Google Maps.

Navy Cafe – good wifi and smoothie bowls
The friendly staff at Navy Cafe will make you feel welcome immediately. We were working here for a few hours with great WiFi and ate a nice smoothie bowl. Click here for the location on Google Maps.Melaka lunch at Navy Cafe

Heesan Kopi – fast wifi and tasty cakes
Looking for the best WiFi from Melaka? Then visit Heesan Kopi, perfect for digital nomads or as a co-working space. In addition, the cakes here are delicious, we went for the Rocky Road and it was the best! Prices are western. Click here for the location on Google Maps.Malaysia Melaka lemon cake

The Nyonya kitchen in Melaka

When you come to Melaka, you absolutely must have tried the Nyonya cuisine. Below several restaurants that prepare tasty dishes in this style.

The Melting Pot – dining among the locals
It might seem to be a bit of a tourist catch, but The Melting Pot isn’t! The food is very tasty and you will only find Malaysians inside. We went for the Nyonya Pancake (fried fish pancakes), Nasi Malak and mustard greens prepared locally. Click here for the location on Google Maps.

Heng Huat Coffee Shop – cheap lunch
No, Heng Huat Coffee Shop is not a place you go for coffee, but for delicious and very cheap food! We had lunch here (this place closes at 3 p.m.) with rice and noodles and paid less than € 3.50 together! You will only find local people here. Click here for the location on Google Maps.

Jonker88 – always full!
You can also try the Nyonya food at Jonker88. Here you can eat local noodle soup or a dessert of shredded coconut ice cream and durian. It is always very busy here, so be on time or be prepared to wait a while. Click here for the location on Google Maps.

At the weekend you also have two famous street markets where you can eat very well: Jonker Walk Street Market and Kee Ann Food Street. On these two markets, you can eat and shop from Friday evening to Sunday evening. Kee Ann Food Street is much less known to tourists and therefore less crowded.

Fine dining in Melaka

Many restaurants are closed in the evening, but the places below were open during our visit and very nice!

Makan Avenue – food hall
We discovered this food hall by accident when we walked along the Malacca River. You will only see locals who are sitting on the waterfront or in the hall enjoying the food. There is not much choice for vegetarians, but the fresh spring rolls were tasty. Ries took Malaysian satay, also a good choice! Click here for the location on Google Maps.

The Daily Fix Cafe – hip Asian and Western dishes
This restaurant is hidden behind a souvenir shop, but nevertheless it is always full here. Daily Fix Cafe serves dishes that are a mix of Asia and the West, very tasty but with accompanying Western prices. Click here for the location on Google Maps


The best accommodation in Melaka

Melaka is bursting with cool hip hotels and hostels. Below a selection of our favourite hotels in Melaka. Are you staying in Melaka at the weekend? Make sure you book your accommodation well on time before everything is full!

Ola Lavenderia €Ola Lavenderia Melaka

This cozy hostel has surprisingly large private rooms, clean showers and is attached to a cool café. You sleep here from 17 euros per night in a private room (with air conditioning).

Book now!

JonkeRED €€JonkeRED melaka

The beautiful rooms of JonkeRed come straight from a design magazine. With a location next to the Dutch Square, you can hardly be more central. For only 22 euros per night (two people).

Book now!

Rosa Malacca €€€Melaka Rosa Malacca

This hotel, housed in a red-brick building, is so cool! The interior is beautiful, with a courtyard garden and luxurious rooms. You sleep here from 75 euros per night including breakfast (two people).

Book now!


 Click here for our free hotel guide for Malaysia!


How do you reach Melaka from Kuala Lumpur?

Melaka is located in the south of Malaysia, just a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur.

Public transportation – MYR 10 / € 2.50 per person
Buses run to Melaka every half hour from the central bus station in Kuala Lumpur (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, TBS). You can reach Melaka Sentral by bus in just over two hours, from where it is another ten minutes to the centre by Grab/taxi (costs 8MYR or € 2).

By taxi – MYR 250-310 / € 55-70
You will be travelling by taxi from Kuala Lumpur for about an hour and a half. You pay a lot more for this, while the bus is probably as comfortable as the taxi.

Tip: buy your tickets at the station itself, or in advance via Easybook or Bus Online Ticket


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Travel Guide Melaka in Malaysia: All you need to know about Melaka, where to eat, where to sleep and what cool activities to do here!


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