How to Spend 48 Hours in Melaka (Malacca) Malaysia

Yen from the travel blog Swing Abroad is guest author with this article about solo travel to Melaka Malaysia. Learn about this historic city and find the best things to do when traveling alone to Melaka. I visited Malacca Malaysia in 1993 when I enjoyed my first round of vagabond life, solo backpacking around Southeast Asia for a few months. In those days everyone relied on the Lonely Planet travel guides, and my copy of Southeast Asia on a Shoestring served me well. Today we can plan a trip entirely on the internet. A smart phone becomes the tourist guide.

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2 Days in Melaka Malaysia sightseeing including street art murals and the historic sites

 


How to spend 2 days in Melaka Malaysia

Once a major port connecting the Western and Oriental worlds, Melaka had its golden era back in the 1500’s. Packed full of history, Melaka is a place you shouldn’t miss if you’re into learning the culture and history of a country while traveling. There are lots of interesting things to do in Melaka but today, we’re only going to talk about how to maximize your 48 hours in Melaka.

Are you ready to craft your 2-days itinerary in Melaka? Let’s dive in!

 

Where Exactly is Melaka

Melaka is located 2 hours drive (145 km/90 miles) south of the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. It’s a seaport city, located on the west coast of West Malaysia.

Most of the attractions in Melaka are located near the port where you’ll also find many hotels and hostels. So, if you’re staying near the port, you’ll get easier access to all the interesting places in Melaka. We’ll talk about that in a moment.

 

 

Getting Around in Melaka

The best way to get around in Melaka is on foot. Attractions are located close to each other, so you can basically walk from one place to the next.

If you don’t feel like walking, GrabCar is the best alternative. Public transportation in Melaka is not particularly reliable. You have only 2 days in this city, don’t waste time waiting endlessly at bus stations.

For those who never heard of GrabCar, it basically works the same way as Uber, the only difference is that the fare is fixed, instead of metered. This way, you know what you’re paying in advance with no worries on overcharges.

Have a look and download the app here. You can use it nationwide, also in Singapore, Vietnam and several other Southeast Asian countries.

 

Things to do in Melaka

Now we’re entering the most exciting topic, what to do in Melaka? So I assume that you’ll be staying near the port, as most of the travelers will. Let’s get started.

Visit historical Kota A’Famosa

Kota A’Famosa was built more than 500 years ago by the Portuguese army, aiming to defend the port from the Dutch and other forces.

Kota means ‘fort’ in the Malay language. And yes, it was a huge fort with walls surrounding the coast and city, but all that’s left is the main gate. The authorities had done well preserving it for tourism.

Just in case you’re wondering, the fort was destroyed by the Dutch in 1641.

Address: Jalan Parameswara, Bandar Hilir, 78000 Alor Gajah

 

Kota A'Famosa Fort Melaka Malaysia

Kota A’Famosa Fort Melaka Malaysia

 

Visit Jonker Walk Street

Jonker Walk Street is the most happening street in Melaka. On every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there will be a night market all along the street. There, you’ll find all sorts of street foods, gifts, souvenirs, and many other street vendors.

During the day, it’s much quieter on Jonker Walk Street because of the blazing heat. You’ll still be able to find some decent restaurants during the day, like Daily Fix Café and Jonker 88 Café.

Best way to end your busy day of sightseeing in Melaka.

 

Hop On Melaka River Cruise

Fun fact: Melaka River was once a highly polluted river. But since the authorities invested millions of Ringgit Malaysia into the project, the whole river reawakened. Clean water started flowing and the tourism blossomed.

The river cruises in Melaka are not big cruise ships they’re actually… I would call them tour boats.

For foreigner adults, the ticket will cost MYR18 (around $4.50 USD) for a 45-minute tour along Melaka River. You’ll pass through several cafes by the river, and notice the gap of development between both sides of the river.

The side near the sea was preserved as a UNESCO Heritage Site, while the other side is not. Therefore you’ll see huge buildings on one side and old, traditional Malay-style buildings on another side. Pretty interesting, huh?

 

Melaka River Cruise is a fun and relaxing tourist attraction

Melaka River Cruise is a fun and relaxing tourist attraction

 

Kampung Morten UNESCO site

A village you’ll pass by during your cruise tour on the Melaka River, Kampung Morten is an underrated gem of Melaka city. Due to its location outside of the UNESCO Heritage Site, they hadn’t received funding from the government to preserve their buildings.

The head of the village decided to do things on his own, decorating his own house with antiques, cultural stuff, and information boards to showcase the Malay culture.

Things hit off and tourists started visiting the village. Now the whole village is looking sharp and it’s pleasant to walk around.

If you’re planning to stay overnight in this village, there are plenty of homestays for you to choose from as well!

Be sure to visit the Villa Sentosa in Kampung Morten, the traditional Malay house is now a living-history museum.

 

Kampung Morten Villa Sentosa in Melaka Malaysia

Kampung Morten Villa Sentosa in Melaka Malaysia

 

Street Art in Melaka

Street art is also one of the highlights of Melaka city. Along Melaka River, you’ll find a handful of massive street art murals painted on the side of the building. The most noticeable one is the Nyonya Ladies mural near Jonker Street.

CLICK for more street art around the world

 

Melaka street art mural "Nyonya Ladies" along the Melaka River

Melaka street art mural “Nyonya Ladies” along the Melaka River

 

Visit Cheng Ho Cultural Museum

What if I tell you the first foreigner who set foot on Melaka was not from the West? Yep, 600 years ago, a fleet of business ships led by Cheng Ho, an admiral from the Ming Dynasty in China paid a visit to Melaka.

Over the years, Cheng Ho visited the port several times. He brought useful plantation techniques, skills and knowledge to share with the people in Melaka at no cost.

Some people even argue that Islamism was brought in by Cheng Ho during his visit, as Cheng Ho was a Muslim himself.

The entrance fee at Cheng Ho Museum is MYR 20 for adults and MYR 10 for kids.

READ now: Xian China Walled City – Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum

 

What to Eat in Melaka?

You’ll want to try some of the local cuisine in Melaka, here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Melaka Cendol

What’s special about the cendols in Melaka compared to the famous one in Penang, is that the Melaka Cendol was laced with Gula Melaka (Melaka Palm Sugar). The thick, flavorful aroma of the palm sugar is like icing on a cake.

You’ll find plenty of restaurants offering the dish but the best one is at The Wild Coriander Restaurant by Melaka River. Try it and you’ll never regret it!

 

Cendol at The Wild Coriander in Melaka

Cendol at The Wild Coriander in Melaka

 

Chicken Rice Ball

What’s the difference between chicken rice ball and chicken rice? You guessed it, the word ‘ball’!

Just kidding, but that’s right too. They’re just chicken rice pressed into spherical shapes. But why, you ask?

Centuries ago, when Chinese labors are still used widely by the British, they had no food containers to bring their lunch to the workplace. So what they did was press the chicken rice into spherical shapes, making them easier to carry.

And hence, chicken rice balls! Plenty of restaurants serve them in Jonker Street, give them a go.

 

Nyonya Baba Asam Laksa

Nyonya Baba, also known as Peranakan, are descendants of Chinese immigrants who moved into the Malay Archipelago between 15th and 17th centuries. They have unique cultures, combining the influence of both Chinese and Malay.

The best restaurant to try this dish would be Jonker 88 Restaurant on Jonker Street.

But there are more than just Asam Laksa. Nyonya foods are generally delicious and flavorful. Again, I recommend having them at The Wild Coriander Café.

 

Nyonya Baba Asam Laksa Jonker Street

Nyonya Baba Asam Laksa Jonker Street

 

Where to Stay in Melaka

Lodgings in Melaka range from hostels and homestays to luxury hotels.

Budget Option

Omni Hostel Malacca

One of the best-reviewed budget hostel in Melaka. It’s close to the city center, enabling easy access to all attractions nearby. It’s a bunk bed in a dormitory room and it’s a great value option – check availability now.

 

Mid-range Option

Ibis Melaka Hotel

Not exactly located in the UNESCO Heritage area but it’s close to it. With highly-rated reviews it’s always booked out many days in advance. So make sure to book early once you confirm your itinerary!

 

Luxury Option

The Majestic Malacca Hotel

One of the top luxury hotels in Melaka. It’s around $125 USD per night but sometimes they have specials so check for latest deals and prices. Located within 1 km (.6 mile) from the city center. A perfect choice especially when you have only a couple of day in Melaka.

 

So that’s probably everything I have to offer for your two days in Melaka. I hope I helped in planning your itinerary in Melaka, Malaysia. Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions. Happy traveling!

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48 Hours in Melaka itinerary and tourist guide

 

About the Author: Yen from Swing Abroad is a full-time university student who always takes full advantage of his holidays to travel for new experiences. He’s been to New Zealand for a Working Holiday and then a road trip, volunteered in Kathmandu, Nepal and exchanged in California along with several backpacking trips through Southeast Asia. Having spent months in foreign countries, he gives in-depth travel tips and guides on his travel blog, Swing Abroad.

 

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9 Replies

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  1. Good job Yen! That food looks amazing. So happy to be back in SE Asia; just arrived in Bangkok.

  2. Jo Harmon says:

    Nicely written, with lots of information. The foods sound tasty and the art work on the buildings are gorgeous

    • Thanks for you comment Jo! Yes I love the historical info on Melaka that Yen included in this post, and I really miss the food in Southeast Asia!

    • Yen says:

      The food is absolutely amazing, especially Melaka Cendol, which I’m still craving from time to time now. Give it a try when you’re there!

  3. Elena says:

    This is a great guide to visiting Melaka. As a self-appointed street art aficionado, I am glad that the impressive murals got a nod. Along with excellent street art of Penang and Ipoh, Melaka should not be missed by street art lovers. Cheers!

    • Hi Elena, thanks for your comment, glad you like Yen’s guide to Melaka! And nice to know another street art lover. Always makes my day when I find cool murals while I’m traveling. Cheers, Susan

    • Yen says:

      Yea that’s true, street arts are getting more popular in Penang, Ipoh and Melaka, they’re everywhere to be found in the tourism area. It’s a fun thing to do to explore them all. :D

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