Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic city of Malacca (or Melaka, its local name) is one of Malaysia’s most important tourist destinations. Its long history has seen the rise and fall of the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British as they conquered the place, leaving long-standing structures and cultural influences that are still alive and visible, creating a melting pot of cultures that is truly one of a kind. Although this city is rapidly developing into an urban hub, at its core is a heritage area divided into two parts by the Melaka River. On the river’s eastern bank lies the Chinatown and on its western bank, the center of the European settlement during their rule.

How to Get to Malacca

Malacca has an international airport that was opened a few years ago. Unfortunately, there are NO direct flights to Malacca from Manila. The best way to go about it is to choose between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Plenty of flights ply the Manila-Kuala Lumpur and there are daily flights to Singapore from Manila and Cebu. While Singapore is five hours away from Malacca, Kuala Lumpur offers the faster route as Malacca is only a two-hour drive from the Malaysian capital.

From Kuala Lumpur. Buses going to Malacca are parked at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, near the LRT station and KTM Komuter station Bandar Tasik Selatan. Fare is RM13. But if you want to skip Kuala Lumpur altogether and go straight to Malacca from the airport, here are the schedules.

kuala lumpur airport to malacca bus lcct to malacca bus

From Singapore. Malacca is four to five hours away from Singapore and it entails crossing the border (which means going through another set of Immigration processes and getting another stamp on your passport). Buses are the most common way to get there. There are several aggregator websites that offer this service. I tried one — Easibook.com — but we didn’t like the experience.

I wish I could recommend this site but we encountered a major glitch along the way. Our booking did not reflect in the bus company’s system. Poor me, indeed. We ended up taking another bus and tried to catch the right bus at the border.  Read this post for my explanation.

The lesson here is: you might want to call the bus liner directly even if you booked via a third party site to confirm that the seats were truly reserved. Transnasional and Malacca-Singapore Express ply this route for around SGD 20 per head.

Reader Insight: A more affordable approach is to travel by bus to Johor Bahru, and then another bus to Melaka.

Preparing Travel Documents

Malaysia does NOT require Filipino citizens an entry visa. All you need to prepare is a valid passport. If you still do not have a passport, it is wise to apply as soon as you can for it takes time for our government to process it. For more information on how to get a Philippine passport, check out my application guide here.

Don’t forget to print out your flight itinerary (including the return trip details) before your trip. You might need it when passing through the Immigration. It will also help if you print out your hotel reservations just in case the Immigration Officers doubt your intentions.

Finding a Cheap Hostel/Hotel in Malacca

Check Rates Here

While there are dozens of hotels throughout the city, the biggest concentration of budget accommodations are in Chinatown, at the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Is that cool or what?)

When looking for affordable accommodations, I usually just log on to Traveloka, a website compiling information on hostels in many cities around the world; read reviews; and book.

Our HostelWorld reservation

So far, I have only tried Oriental Riverside Residence. You can read my full review here.

Places to Visit in Malacca

Here’s a gallery of the places that I have visited in Malacca. Most of these are clustered together and they are all within walking distance of each other. Click on the photo for more information about that attraction.

Melaka River Cruise
Melaka River Cruise>

Dutch Square
Dutch Square

St. Paul Church
St. Paul Church

A Famosa Fortress
A Famosa Fortress

Youth Museum and Art Gallery
Youth Museum and Art Gallery

The Stadthuys
The Stadthuys

Christ Church Melaka
Christ Church Melaka

Dutch Graveyard
Dutch Graveyard

Jonker Street
Jonker Street

Harmony Street
Harmony Street

Kampung Kling Mosque
Kampung Kling Mosque

Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple
Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple

Xiang Lin Si Buddhist Temple
Xiang Lin Si Buddhist Temple

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Melaka Quayside Square
Melaka Quayside Square

Melaka Maritime Museum
Melaka Maritime Museum

I will be adding more to the above list in the future.

Where to Eat in Malacca

While the map of Malacca is dotted by countless restaurants and eateries, you’ll be surprised to find mile-long queues in front of them during lunch and dinner. Well, not really mile-long but you get the picture. One trick is to not brave the crowd and just have your meals too early or too late. Or better yet, just beat the crowd and fall in line early. Here are some food and restaurants I have tried.

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Balls
Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Balls

Jonker Street food
Jonker Street food

Lao San Cafe drinks
Lao San Cafe drinks

Jonker Gallery 60s Iced Tea
Jonker Gallery 60s Iced Tea

Sample Malacca Weekend Itinerary

Building a trip itinerary may be fun but it is also the most painstaking part of planning a trip. You need to research and learn about the destinations (and you really should) and take into consideration the wants and needs of everyone you’re traveling with. Yes, it’s hard but if you’re the one responsible for the itinerary and your trip becomes a success, I bet you will feel the most fulfilled and happy out of everyone in the group.

Lovely orange and red flowers surrounding the trees at the Dutch Square
Lovely orange and red flowers surrounding the trees at the Dutch Square

If your Malacca visit is just a side trip or is part of a bigger tour, you can simply insert the itinerary below and make the needed adjustments. For this one, let’s suppose you’re coming from Singapore.

Day 1: MALACCA – DUTCH SQUARE AND RIVER CRUISE
07:00 am – Wake up
08:45 am – ETD: Keypoint Terminal, Singapore
01:45 pm – ETA: Melaka Central Terminal, Malacca
02:30 pm – Check in to Oriental Riverside Residence, Malacca
03:30 pm – Dutch Square and Museums, Malacca
07:00 pm – Melaka River Cruise
08:30 pm – Jonker Street Night Walk
11:00 pm – Sleep

Day 2: MALACCA CHINATOWN WALK, BACK TO SINGAPORE
07:00 am – Chinatown Heritage Walk
11:00 am – Jonker Street Morning Walk and Lunch
01:00 pm – Check out: Oriental Riverside Residence
04:00 pm – ETD: Melaka Sentral (Malacca Central Terminal)
09:00 pm – ETA: Singapore
10:00 pm – Mustafa (Shopping)
12:00 mn – Sleep

Sample Travel Budget

Here’s the breakdown of my expenses for this trip. Note that how you spend during this trip might be different from how I did but I’m publishing this just so you could have a ballpark figure. Again, let’s assume that you’re coming from Singapore.

Not much was spent on transportation around Malacca for it’s a small city and the places of interest are within walking distance of one another. Pasalubong is not yet included in the breakdown, either. Figures are in Philippine pesos.

  • P1,620 – Travel Tax
  • P750 – Terminal Fee
  • P400 – Oriental Residence Guesthouse – Malacca (P800/2 pax)
  • P810 – Bus Singapore to Malacca (via EasiBook)
  • P337 – Bus Malacca to Singapore
  • P440 – EZ Link Card (for MRT Singapore)
  • P500 – Total food expenses
  • P200 – Other transpo expenses
  • P135 – Melaka River Cruise
  • P150 – Other entrance fees (Malacca)

Note that we were a group of three and it helped reduce the expenses as we chipped in for most things. Also, we did not pay anything for our Singapore accommodations, thanks to our friend Mimi.

That’s it! If you’re planning on doing the same trip and you have questions, just let me know.


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Yoshke Dimen

Yoshke Dimen

Storyteller at Yoshke.com
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.
Yoshke Dimen

Comments

  1. Too bad I just discovered your blog. This could’ve helped me to plan my trip. My family recently went to Singapore and I can say that we weren’t able to maximize our stay there. Anyway, this is a great post. Keep it up!

  2. noel says:

    you are right.accommodations in SG is expensive. fortunately, we won a 2 night stay in orchard hotel. however, since we will be staying 3 nights in SG, we will still have to spend 1 night, tsk tsk.

    however, instead of returning to SG after visting melaka, we plan to proceed to KL where we will take our flight back to manila. sana sinama mo na ung KL para kumpleto na ung itinerary namin, he he he

    we’ve also booked the same hostel in Melaka as you did.

    btw, we were able to buy our return trip for the 3 of us for P7,500. i just hope that we won’t experience the horror stories of other travellers with cebupac, ha ha ha

    • The Poor Traveler says:

      Haha, unfortunately we visited KL on another trip! Anyway, enjoy your trip Noel! :)

  3. Carm Novilla says:

    taking bus or train direct from SG is not advisable. cheaper option is to cross the causeway by bus then take the train/bus from Johor. Some hostels offer free bike tours. Its a great way to explore the city with a local as a guide. Instead of dining out, go to a pasar malam or night market. Delicious nyonya food at a cheaper price :)

  4. Norie Gozo says:

    Who’s peter kwong you are talking darelle? I just saw the site what if its travellers budget is there something wrong on that.? Money doesn’t grow on trees and you know that. At least I was able to go there rather stuck in the cold mountains of colorado. Hahaha
    .

  5. Jeff says:

    Hi you guys should try out Malacca’s famous baba and nyonya laksa next time! Served in Jonker 88 along Jonker Street. Baba Nyonya is one of the unique local race and culture and hence they have pretty unique dishes such as the laksa.
    You can also visit the Baba and Nyonya museum too nearby Jonker Street. I’m sure it’d be something new to tourists.

  6. Jeff says:

    Oh! And also, try out the cendol from the same shop! Plus, even if you aren’t a fan of durian, try out the durian tart just a few shops away coz it’s simply yummyyyy!!!

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