While this trip comprises both Singapore and the Malaysian city of Malacca, it was actually the latter that I was more excited about. I had been to Singapore a number of times but never Malacca. It had always been on my bucket list and I was thankful that I finally had the chance to set foot on this remarkable place. The Singapore leg of this trip, however, also proved to be extremely enjoyable even though it was a repeat of my previous SG trip.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
Planning a Singapore-Malacca Trip
The historic city of Malacca may be in the heart of Peninsular Malaysia but it is only 4-5 hours away from Singapore. This means that if you’re flying to Singapore, you may consider paying this magnificent destination a visit, too. Be it a day trip, an overnight stay, or a whole weekend, a stop in Malacca will surely be an enlightening and rewarding experience.
Finding a place to stay in Malacca was a piece of cake. Affordable hostels abound in Chinatown. Our personal choice was Oriental Riverside Guesthouse, a lovely hostel along the river, which we picked primarily because of its stellar reviews on HostelWorld. Asri, the owner, was more than encouraging, helpful, and friendly. It was one of the best accommodations I had tried to date. Check out my own review here.
On the other hand, finding a cheap hostel in Singapore is always a chore and this time was no different. It’s common knowledge that Singapore is a very expensive city and space is a scarce commodity in this city-state. Thankfully, my friend Mimi, who had been working there, offered her place and with no hesitation we grabbed the offer like we have never grabbed one before.
Building our itinerary was also a challenge. We really had to research and check the bus schedules to Malacca before finalizing our itinerary. And you know, in traveling, “finalize” is an empty word. Haha. Below is our initial itinerary:
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN SINGAPORE, RIVER WALK TOUR
04:30 pm – ETD: NAIA Terminal 3
08:30 pm – ETA: Changi Airport Terminal 2
09:30 pm – Drop luggage at our host’s place
10:00 pm – Singapore River Evening Walking Tour
(Sightseeing: Fullerton Hotel, Merlion Park, Esplanade, Makansutra, Boat Quay, Clark Quay, etc)
12:00 mn – Sleep
Day 2: 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 3: 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
Day 4: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
09:00 am – Breakfast at Food Republiq, Vivo City
10:00 am – Universal Studios
07:00 pm – Dinner
Day 5: SINGAPORE CHINATOWN WALK, ORCHARD ROAD, BUGIS MARKET, DEPARTURE
06:00 am – Chinatown Heritage Walking Tour and Breakfast
09:00 am – Orchard Road
12:00 nn – Bugis Market (Pasalubong Shopping)
04:20 pm – Pack up
08:50 pm – ETD: Changi Airport Terminal 2
12:15 am – ETA: NAIA Terminal 3
Read more about the planning stage of this trip here.
Day 1: Arrival in Singapore, Dinner
Since our flight was scheduled to land in the evening, our first-day itinerary was short and sweet: Drop our bags at our friend’s place, have dinner at Makansutra Gluttons’ Bay, and do a night walk along Singapore River. But no matter how simple something may be, it still means nothing to a tired soul. We ended up rescheduling the night walk and just have a long conversation with Mimi and catch up on what had gone on in our lives since the last time we saw each other.
Day 2: Malacca – Dutch Square and River Cruise
Our second day started pretty early. Our bus to Malacca was scheduled at 8:45am but we were already at the wrong side of the terminal at 7:30am. After 30 minutes, we realized there could have been a mistake and asked around until we found the right spot at around 8:35am. Still, when we arrived, the bus had already left. Apparently, our booking did not reflect on the bus agency’s system that they thought the passengers were complete. We had to take a bus to Kuala Lumpur and switch to the right bus at the border. It’s a long story but you might learn something from it, so please read about our experience here.
We arrived at the hostel at the heart of Chinatown at mid-day and we immediately went back out again to explore the city. As if by reflex, we trod to the Dutch Square (Red Square) as we felt like the red paint of the structures there were summoning us. We then headed back to Jonker Street and did the River Cruise afterwards. Here are the details of our experiences at each of our stops:
- The Dutch Square (Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower, Queen Victoria Fountain)
- Christ Church Melaka
- Melaka Youth Museum and Art Gallery
- The Stadthuys (Town Hall): Museum of History and Ethnography
- St. Paul Church
- The Dutch Graveyard
- Melaka River Quayside Walk (Maritime Museum, Malay Sultanate Water Mill)
- A Famosa Fortress (Middleburg Bastion, Fredrick-Hendrick Bastion)
- Melaka River Cruise
- Lao San Cafe
Our Day 2 started on a rather sour note but it wrapped up really well. The River Cruise, which is best done at night, was the “climax”. After a quick dinner at Lao San Cafe, we called it a night.
Day 3: Chinatown, Back to Singapore
We devoted the third day entirely to exploring the other side of the Melaka River — Chinatown. While we could not resist going back to Jonker Street, the highlight of this leg of the trip was the visit to Harmony Street,
- Jonker Street
- Hoe Kee Chicken Rice Balls
- Harmony Street
- Kampung Kling Mosque
- Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple
- Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
- Xiang Lin Si Temple
At 4pm, we were at the Melaka Sentral terminal for our trip back to Singapore. After dropping our bags at Mimi’s place, we decided to drop by Mustafa. By midnight, we were in our beds, taking as much rest as we could for the exciting day ahead.
Day 4 – Universal Studios Singapore, River Night Walk
A quick breakfast at Food Republic at Vivo City and we were fully energized for a day long affair at Universal Studios Singapore. We had a blast squeezing all possible rides that we could try in one day! Afterwards, we walked back to the main island via the Sentosa Boardwalk.
We ended the day after a walk along Singapore River. Click on the links below for a more detailed chronicling of that day.
Day 5 – Orchard Road, Bugis Market, Departure
Our original plan was to do the Chinatown Heritage Walk in the morning but the previous day drained us of all our energy that we woke up the next day too late. Oversleeping, why now?
Breakdown of Expenses
Here’s the breakdown of my expenses for this trip. Not much was spent on transportation around Malacca for it’s a small town and the places of interest are within walking distance of one another. In Singapore, we took the train 99% of the time.
- P3,122 – Roundtrip Manila-Singapore Airfare (via Airphil Express)
- P1,620 – Travel Tax
- P750 – Terminal Fee
- P447 – Oriental Residence Guesthouse – Malacca (P1300/3 pax)
- P810 – Bus Singapore to Malacca (via EasiBook)
- P337 – Bus Malacca to Singapore
- P440 – EZ Link Card (for MRT Singapore)
- P105 – Sentosa Monorail Ticket
- P2,292 – Universal Studios one-day pass
- P1,450 – Total food expenses
- P600 – Other transpo expenses
- P135 – Melaka River Cruise
- P150 – Other entrance fees (Malacca)
- P12,258 – TOTAL EXPENSES
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. We did not spend on our base fare as we used gift certificates from Airphil Express but we still had to shoulder the fuel surcharges and taxes ourselves. Pasalubong is not yet included in the breakdown, either.