You are currently viewing 10 things to do in Melaka (Malacca), Malaysia

Welcome to Melaka (often called Malacca), the capital of the state of the same name in Malaysia, an absolutely amazing (and very affordable) country. As it’s only about a 2-hour ride from Kuala Lumpur, it’s an ideal destination for a day trip from the Malaysian capital, but you can easily spend a few days here too.

I was lucky enough to visit this city on the west coast of the peninsular part of the country and it quickly became one of my favorite destinations in Malaysia, one of the best countries in one of the best regions!

If you’re planning a visit to Melaka, here’s a handy guide to help you find out a little more about this part of the country, as well as discover a host of exciting activities to do to make the most of this colorful place.


Overview of Melaka (Malacca)

I loved Melaka, and it’s well worth the trip. The city is famous for its rich colonial heritage, delicious cuisine, and unique multicultural atmosphere.

It is home to some of the oldest colonial buildings in Southeast Asia. Founded around 1400, Melaka is also Malaysia’s oldest port.

Melaka, Malaysia (photo credit: Aleksandra Khoroshykh)


“Melaka” is the Malay name for the city, while “Malacca” is its equivalent in English. Both terms are widely used when referring to this great destination.

Melaka’s population, mainly Malay, Chinese, and Indian, is close to 600,000 (a bit less than Winnipeg). Malay is the dominant language, followed by Mandarin, Tamil, and English.

The city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you don’t want to miss it! You can easily get around the center on foot or by trishaw (see below).

Melaka River, Malaysia (photo credit: Fred Rivett)


In the past, Melaka played a major role as a maritime trading center, attracting merchants from all over the world, and creating a rich and diverse cultural mix. It’s a unique place where Portuguese and Dutch colonial architecture blends with Chinese traditions. Street art and the beautiful Melaka River add to its charm.

Getting to Melaka is easy and affordable. From Kuala Lumpur, the bus costs $4 and takes 3 hours, and a rental car costs $37 for the 2-hour drive. It’s also accessible by bus for $27 from Singapore, which is 6 hours away.

Here are 10 must-see attractions for your trip.


1. Jonker Street

jonker street
Jonker Street Night Market, Malaysia (photo credit: Muhammad Zaman)


The iconic Jonker Street is renowned for its antique stores, art galleries, numerous boutiques, typical restaurants, and street food stalls.

I found a multitude of souvenirs there, as well as some beautiful silver jewelry that I still wear every day.

Travelers can find a wide variety of local products, traditional handicrafts, and clothing, not to mention delicious Malaysian and Chinese dishes.

From Friday to Sunday, the street comes alive and transforms into a lively night market, so plan your visit over the weekend so you don’t miss out!


2. Trishaws

Decorated Trishaws, Malaysia (photo credit: Oluwakamiye Adelemoni)


In Melaka, you have the opportunity to ride one of the kitschiest vehicles of your life! These eccentric, flashy trishaws are bicycles with passenger seats in the back. They’re the perfect way to get from the old town to the main historic sites.

It’s a tradition for locals to decorate their bike cabs with plush cartoon characters, colored lights, and artificial flowers. The result is quite surprising!

In fact, I took one featuring the Hello Kitty character on a tour of the city with my father, and it’s my fondest memory of Melaka!


3. A Famosa Fortress

A Famosa, Malaysia (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


A testimony to the Portuguese occupation in the 14th century, the ancient A Famosa Fortress is one of Melaka’s main attractions.

The entrance gate, known as “Santiago Gate”, is almost all that remains of the building.

You can visit on your own, but I booked a guided tour to better understand the fascinating history of this historic site. It was very interesting.


4. Stadthuys Square (Dutch Square or Red Square)

Stadthuys Square, Malaysia (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


Just opposite A Famosa is the famous Stadthuys Square, where the old Dutch town hall stood in the 17th century. This square is also nicknamed the “Red Square” because of the dominant color on this must-see spot.

Today, it’s home to Christ Church and the Melaka Museum of History and Ethnography (inside the old town hall).

You can stroll around, sample local dishes, shop, and pose in front of the famous “I LOVE MELAKA” sign. The place was packed when I was there, so you’ll need to be patient.


5. Pool day at the Courtyard by Marriott Melaka

Pool at the Courtyard by Marriott Melaka (photo credit: Marriott)


If you end up staying more than a single day in Melaka, this superb brand-new 5-star hotel is one of the best places for savvy travelers who have Marriott points.

The Courtyard by Marriott Melaka is a luxurious and modern property with a rooftop infinity pool, elegant rooms, a fully equipped gym, and several restaurants.

It costs just 5,200 points per night (26,000 points for 5 nights). That’s just 2,600 points per person per night with a companion! An incredible deal!

The current increased welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card gives you 71,000 points (or 142,000 points if your companion takes advantage of it too). It ends on May 6.

Price of Courtyard by Marriott Melaka (image credit: Marriott)


After a busy day exploring this city (or the enormous Kuala Lumpur), you can take it easy in the stunning rooftop infinity pool. It’s definitely one of the hotel’s highlights.

There are plenty of options for Marriott hotels that cost very few points in Malaysia, it’s definitely one of the best countries in the world for this. The hotels are in almost all the country’s top destinations!


6. Saint Paul Hill

St Paul’s Church, Malaysia (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)


Don’t miss this spot if you want to take photos with a panoramic view of the city and the Strait of Malacca.

Take your time when climbing the stone staircase, often called the “Staircase of the Stages of Faith”. Your efforts will be rewarded!

At the top, you’ll discover the ruins of St. Paul’s Church and its cemetery.


7. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Cheng Hoon Teng temple (photo credit: Job Savelsberg)


Melaka is home to the country’s oldest Chinese temple, built in the 17th century.

The architecture of the Cheng Hoon Teng temple blends Chinese, Malay, and European elements.

It’s an important place of worship that you can visit on your own or with a guide to learn more.


8. Local cuisine

Jonker Street Night Market, Malaysia (photo credit: Deva Darshan)


During your visit, feel free to explore the street markets, small local restaurants, and street food stalls to sample Melaka’s delicious cuisine, which effortlessly blends Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan influences.

Popular dishes to try include chicken and rice balls, laksa nyonya (spicy soup with toppings), cendol (a dessert made with coconut milk and rice noodles), and satay celup (skewers of meat and seafood in a satay broth).


9. Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum

Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum, Malaysia (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


The amazing Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum is a reconstruction of the original palace of the Sultan of Melaka, built on the same site.

It’s a great opportunity to get a glimpse of daily life during the sultanate era (15th-16th centuries).


10. Cruise on the Melaka River

Melaka River, Malaysia (photo credit: SR)


A cruise on the Melaka River is a different experience that perfectly complements your visit on foot or by trishaw.

This is the best way to relax while watching Melaka’s urban landscape unfold before your eyes.

From the water, you can admire many impressive historical sites, colonial buildings, and pretty temples.


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The charming city of Melaka in Malaysia is full of surprises. These 10 exciting activities will make you fall in love with this beautiful city that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.


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Featured image: Malacca, Malaysia (crédit photo: Phearak Chamrien)

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