The UNESCO has designated two cities as the World Heritage Sites in Malaysia. Both cities, quoted from their criteria, “exhibit an important interchange of human values”. Well, being located in the famous Straits of Malacca definitely help on that. So, after crossing Georgetown from our list, it seems only appropriate for us to visit Melaka next. Welcome, to our Melaka Travel Journal!
The Strait of Malacca was the main trading points in South East Asia back then. It is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. I grew up learning this as part of my history lesson to realize how big of a deal this Strait is. Kingdoms after kingdoms were trying to have the control over this place and then came the western empires. Which brought this place to the current state it is.
This is where the East meet the West.
A bit of the East on your left and then a bit of the West on your right. And also, everything in between.
The Trip from KLIA to Melaka
As per usual, we were quite efficient with our time when traveling. We knew we gonna head straight to Melaka, so we went and bought our bus ticket before hand. It’s really easy and pretty cheap also. You can click here if you want to book a bus to Melaka, just to make your life, even more, easier. 😉
Once we arrived, we went straight to the terminal as instructed in our bus tickets and waited. The bus didn’t delay for too long which was great. We hopped on in KLIA1 and then the bus also stopped in KLIA2 before finally headed to Melaka. The trip took around 2 hours.
There were only a little bunch of people on that bus. I reckoned less than 10 peoples on that entire bus. The bus itself was quite comfy and it was clean enough. We stopped 1 time for a toilet break and a nap later we have arrived in Melaka!
All the intercity buses will stop at the Melaka Sentral terminal. It’s a bit outside the city center, around 20 mins drive. But once we arrived there it’s not too hard to find our way to the city. We used the Panorama Melaka which is the public buses. Their website here is pretty informative and easy to navigate. You pay per ride and depending on the route it might cost differently but still very cheap.
Aerial View from The Shore
We were staying at the 7 Days Inn Melaka. You might ever hear about the 7 Days Inn group as a budget hotel chain because they are everywhere. But more about the hotel and the review in the upcoming post. It was not check-in time yet when we arrived there. So, we put our luggage on the reception then searching for lunch.
Luckily, the hotel was soo close with this mall named The Shore. Not wanting to search further, we went straight to the food court. Interestingly, there are 2 different food center inside. One is serving Halal food and one isn’t which serve majority Chinese food. We opted for the non-halal one as we eat almost everything a human possible can.
We choose one rice and one noodle, both served in clay pot. The rice tasted quite good but the noodle was kinda bland. The place itself was nice, especially the view from the huge windows. But we all know that ordering food with an empty stomach is never a good idea. We ended up buying another “snacks” which more than enough, as always. #sorrynotsorry
After lunch, we still have some spare time to kill before the check-in time so we just wandering around the mall. In turns out that this mall has quite a few of attractions to offer. They have this Oceanarium and the Sky Tower. We choose the Sky Tower. Not all the elevators there can go up to the tower, only specific ones. But the directions was all over the mall so it’s easy to follow.
I think I keep all the juicy details, the direction, price for the Sky Tower for another post. So, please anticipate that! But for I know, here are some pictures we took up there. Hidden gems indeed!
The (Bustling) Jonker Street
After many shutters later, the heat finally beat us. It was extremely hot, my gosh. We went back to the hotel, checked-in and have a short needed nap in a cool air-conditioned room. We knew that we want to visit the famous Jonker Street that night so the nap was necessary. Also charging all our batteries, yeah that too.
When we finally went out, it was sunset already. I need to address that for me the river was not quite as beautiful as I thought they might be. The water is brown, not clear blue like some picture I saw online. But at sunset time tho, the atmosphere changed. The golden pinkish sky, even with the muddy water still provided a beautiful scenery. 😍
Then come the Jonker Street, one of the most famous attractions here in Melaka. You shouldn’t miss this one for sure. The entire street is located in the center of Chinatown. Known for its antique shops but nowadays it’s more well known for its night market which only opens on Friday and Saturday.
You get the vibes of the night market. People selling snacks, foods, even down to the most random things. The one thing that set this place different is the whole atmosphere of the old building left and right created. But this place comes with a positive and negative side of it. Will talk about it soon, in the upcoming post. Pinky promise!
We ended up spending the rest of our night there. First just getting some snacks, then a bit more here and there. You know the drill. After reaching the end of the road which actually took quite a bit of a time, we went back to the hotel.
Exploring the West
If you are familiar with Melaka or ever seen the maps of it then you might know their river is somehow splitting the area into two part. The other side where the Red Church located and on the other side is where the Jonker Street and Chinatown located. For me, I like to call it the West side and the East side. And today was the day dedicated to exploring the west!
(i) Malaysia Youth Museum & Malacca Art Gallery
The first thing we visited that day was this museum dedicated to the youth of Malaysia and their contribution to the country. The building itself is a part of the Dutch Square. Or also known as the Red Square due to the famous red color of all the buildings. It’s easy to miss this one because everyone just went straight for the Red Church but I think this place was quite enjoyable.
On the top floor of this building was the Malacca Art Gallery which pretty self-explanatory. We quite liked the whole experience in both the museum and the gallery. Might be because there weren’t too many people inside. And also maybe because the AC was blasting inside which was a heaven compared to the Melaka’s heat outside. ☀️
(ii) Dutch Square a.k.a Red Square
Oh yes, you didn’t come to Melaka if you didn’t visit this super famous place. The red shade that made this city is known for, their landmark. It was called Dutch Square because all the buildings were used to be the Dutch Administration offices back in the colonialism periods. With that being said, there were a lot of people here almost at all time. Soo touristy indeed.
(iii) Dutch Graveyard
It’s a graveyard, yes it is. You might be questioning why we went there. Well, we didn’t actually intend to visit this place but we just bumped into this when trying to find our way to the St. Paul’s Hill. There are couples of ways to reach the top of the hills. The one that we followed was the one on the back. A tiny path walks on the back of the red building.
The path wasn’t hard to find to be honest, just because there was a signage there. And beside it was this graveyard so we might as well pay a visit here. But it turns out along the path up to the hill there were couple more of the grave just beside the road. But wasn’t scary or anything, it felt kinda peaceful tho.
(iv) St. Paul’s Hill
It’s basically a ruin of what used to be a church and a statue of St. Francis Xavier on top of the hill. There was a performing musician playing life music and artist selling their painting. Of course, souvenirs seller.
The view from the place was nice, especially the view of the city from above. But again, there were a lot of people there, such a touristy place. So, for me going here didn’t really aroused my inner traveler soul. More like satisfying my tourist side, along will hundreds of the people taking selfies there.
We were going down from the opposite side of the hill from where we went up. The stairs were definitely wider than the one on the back and there were lots more people coming from this way. It turns out that the stairs end up in this area full of museums where the entire road was closed for any other vehicles except the “tourist trishaws”. I am not sure if this area has any names but I am pretty sure it’s dedicated for tourist purpose.
As much as we want to explore all the museums there but going up the hill in the scorching heat was definitely enough to make us starving. So next on our list was to find lunch because of priority, people. We walk further out from the museums area towards the shopping district area. Passed the Dataran Pahlawan Mall until we found this Asam Pedas Restaurant.
The thing that caught our eyes was how packed this restaurant was. You know it’s a sign of a good restaurant, right. And I need to say that I was not disappointed by the food. The foods packed a punch and covered in all the grease. Of course, another culinary journal coming right up! Yum!
After we filled our stomach, we were ready to explore more so to the museum we back! To be honest, there were a lot of museum. Too much for a person to handle nor it’s necessary to visit them all. But somehow we thought it was a good idea to visit as many as we can. I don’t actually recommend all of them, only a few of them.
(v) Proclamation of Independence Memorial
We chose this one because the building looks different than the other. It looked like a mixed of Malay and British architecture. The inside was about the struggle of Malaysia to obtain their independence. I think this will be more interesting if you already knew about Malaysia history beforehand but if not then it might be a little bit too overwhelming. Like getting a sudden history lesson.
(vi) Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum
I found this place might be more suitable for general visitor. The museum itself was a replicate of a Sultan’s palace with all the garden surrounding it. They even called it the Forbidden Garden, how great is that. The inside was about the old folklore and how life going on back on the Sultan periods.
(vii) People’s Museum
This was one of the weirdest and disturbing museums we went to so far. They basically tell about the diversity of culture in the world. But somehow they manage to showcase all the weirdest one here. I wasn’t sure that I liked this one tho, not the culture, don’t get me wrong.
(viii) Maritime Museum
Definitely, one of the highlights of the trip. Who doesn’t want to see the sunken Portuguese ship back at 1511? Well, at least the replica of the ship. The museum itself is divided into 2 parts, the ship, and the exhibitions.
We can go inside the ship but there are also another building dedicated to the maritime exhibit. The view from the ship was great. But the view of the ship with the sunset was definitely something else. It’s like taking us back to the glory days of the ship.
The Maritime Museum was located along the side of the Melaka River, near the famous Casa del Rio. So at the sunset, the view was glorious. The sky and the reflection on the water. See for yourself. Even after the sunset, the night view of the river was still amazing tho.
After enjoying the sunset then we continue with the familiar place of Jonker Street. This time we were just focusing on finding food which we actually contemplating of having dinner on the Hard Rock Cafe Melaka. But the place was crowded and we were thinking that we might find something more “authentic” than general western food which we did at the end.
Then we were just walking back to our hotel and enjoying the night view. Well, what can I say, they did a great job creating the mood especially at night time. No wonder there were a bunch of people dating alongside the river, couldn’t blame them tho.
Most of the building on the Red Square now are being used as a museum. Except for the church which still being used as a fully functional church. Because it was Sunday so we did plan to have a Sunday service in this church. Like killing 2 birds with 1 stone, right?
One thing that we all should have when traveling was common sense but I still see lots of people seems missing this basic thing. Being a tourist doesn’t mean you can just barge inside with camera in hand while the service was still ongoing. They clearly put a sign to not enter when the ceremony was still ongoing. 🙄
The church itself is a small community, even the building isn’t that big. So at the end of the service, the pastor was going around and having small talks with all the people including us. It was a nice experience overall if I exclude all the rude tourists.
Exploring The East
Now it’s time for us to explore the East which is more concentrated in the Chinatown area. The whole Chinatown area was a lovely place to walk around. I really like the vibes here.
(i) Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum
The title of the museum might put someone off from coming. Who wants to see about jewelry? But trust me when I say it was more than that. It is a museum showcases the tradition of the Peranakan Culture.
Peranakan Chinese or Straits-born Chinese are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago including British Malaya and Dutch East Indies between the 15th and 17th centuries.
(ii) Malaqa House
I think this was more like a gallery of antiques instead of a museum. They also sell all the antiques here but they do let you come and look around even without buying anything.
(iii) Baba Nyonya Museum
Baba Nyonya is another word to called the Peranakan Chinese back then. This museum was actually a real Peranakan family home which they kindly dedicated as a museum for others to learn more about the rich culture of their peoples. With that being said, there are quite a bit of restriction here compare to other places. Will talk about it more in another post.
Gazillion Museums Later…
There aren’t many museums here in the Chinatown area compare to the hill’s side. So once we were done with all our list of place to visit here, we went back to the museum’s area. Like I said before, there were lots of museum around the area and it can get quite overwhelming to pick from the bunch. So, I have made a list of places that personally I think a must visit, check Top Attractions in Malacca to know more!
Stadthuys which is an old Dutch meaning city hall is the oldest Dutch historical building in the East. And also a part of the famous Red Square. The building now being use as a History and Ethnography Museum. The interior, even more, that the exhibition itself, is fascinating.
(i) History and Ethnography Museum
From this part, it will be a photo heavy section. I don’t think putting the history of each museum will be interesting and you guys can search it online anyway. But, one interesting thing is that this museum is connected with several museums. So, this place could take a while to go through but if you have time to spare, definitely visit this one. We just walk through and found our self in even more exhibition that we thought we would see.
(ii) Education Museum
From the side of the building, there is another smaller building which is this Education Museum. It’s a bit up in the hill so we can have a good look of the main building itself. The exhibition is pretty self-explanatory.
From the back building, there is a path walk up towards the hills. So, we just followed and along the walk up there are more exhibition and museums. But there were literally no one other than us going up. On top of the hills is the St. Paul’s Church but there is a fence so we couldn’t really go out from there.
(iii) Malacca Literature Museum
(iv) Governor’s Museum
This was the last museum located up on the top of the hill. From here we can see the St. Paul’s Church. But let me tell you, it was kind spooky going inside this museum. I was going inside alone as he didn’t want to come and there was literally no one which makes the exhibition somehow even more creepy. But no interesting story tho, I didn’t see anything. Fyuhh… 😅
(v) Cheng Ho Cultural Museum
That was a handful of museums in one go which I felt like an elementary school going on a school trip. After that, we went to have dinner and at night time, we went back to the Jonker Street. Bought some souvenirs and enjoying the street. And of course, the last view of the river at night time.
From Melaka to KL (with love)
Finally, it was our last day in Melaka. We felt like we have pretty much visited all the main tourist attraction inside the city center. Well, there are more attractions outside the city center but since we didn’t have our own vehicle here then we pretty much satisfied with all the places with manage to fit on our itinerary.
So after our last meal in Melaka, we ordered a taxi with the help from our hotel and went straight to the terminal. The uncle who drove us speak fluent English and was a cool guy. He had been to Jakarta before and we talked quite a bit about how Malaysia different from Indonesia and etc. It’s always a nice experience to be able to spoke to a local, isn’t it?
That’s pretty much it for our Melaka Travel Journal! I know it’s quite a long one but we visited soo many places that I am having a hard time compile everything into one post. But worry not, I will put all the “must visit” attractions on another post, coming real soon! Until then, do check our last Vietnam and Penang travel journal for more travel inspo. ❤️
Thanks for reading! Check these links below if you want to get some deals on your next trips, as well as we will get something in return to keep us on track. 😉
- Book your next flight to Malaysia!
- For you guys Indonesian, book your flight here with promo price.
- Check the price for 7 Days Inn Melaka, one of the cheapest on the market.
- Or try the legendary Casa del Rio which we defo have on our bucket list!
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- Stay connected when traveling in Malaysia and grab yourself a 4G Wifi when you land on KL.
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- If you plan to go by bus to Melaka, check out busonlineticket.com or easybook. They both are recommended bus and train booking site for Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand.
- Capturing your best travel moment with the best camera for you.
- Safety first people, get a travel insurance if you’re traveling.
- Check more on our resources page!
Below is our itinerary map in Malacca. There will be more stuff added (once I remember them LOL) so make sure to check this again!