We have the feeling Melaka is a bit like Georgetown from the mainland of Malaysia. You feel a lot the mixture between the three Malaysian cultures (Indian, Chinese and Malay) everywhere: from the street, the food and the temples. There’s even one street, on purpose called the harmony street, which has a Chinese temple, a mosque and an Indian temple on the same street!
The center of Melaka is also a world heritage site and the history of Melaka is also very interesting, having been first under the Portuguese in 1511, then under the Dutch and finally under the British empire. The Japanese also tried to invade Malaysia during the second world war. Malaysia got its independence (Merdekan) from a party that was lead by a Malay but was a union of a Malay, an Indian and a Chinese government in 1957. You can learn all this in the museum of independence for free.
Itinerary for 2 days in Melaka: a world heritage city in Malaysia
Day 1: Arrive in Melaka, relax at your hotel and visit the floating mosque
The best way to arrive in Melaka is by bus. For the moment, it has no airport or train station nearby. And even the nearest train station is about 30 to 45 minutes by car away, so you would need to pay at least 50 RM to go to Melaka.
That’s why the best way is to take a bus from wherever you are. We took a bus from Cameron Highlands (Tanah Rata) to Kuala Lumpur and then from KL to Melaka. It was only 7.5 RM per person to go from KL to Melaka! The bus was only 30 minutes delayed because of traffic and everything on the ride went very smoothly.
When we arrived at our hotel, we went for a swim at the hotel swimming pool with nice views to the sea. We would actually recommend staying at our hotel since it’s a beautiful apartment with air conditioning, plenty of space, a small kitchen, a dining table, nice views to the ocean, and even a washing machine for 30€ per night (It’s the Bali Residences in Melaka).
If you arrive early in the day, you can also opt for checking out the floating mosque. It’s important to know that from the 1st of February 2024, you will need to rent clothes for 5 RM per person to visit if you’re not appropriately dressed according to the Muslim religion, which means long sleeves everywhere for women and on the pants for men as well as covering the hair and neck for women.
However, after being inside we actually feel that the mosque is not very special inside… the most beautiful view is actually from the street nearby, from which you can see the sea water and the mosque “floating”. This is a private property, so there is a woman saying that you need to buy water for 3 RM per person to enter. But we would say that it’s worth it since you get a bottle of water and enjoy the nice views.
Day 2: Visit the center, walk along the river and taste the delicious cuisine
Take a walk through the beautiful red Stadthuys: The name is in Dutch and the streets and houses there have been preserved as they were when they were built by the Dutch empire. They’re not allowed to change the facades of the building and every couple of years the walls are repainted red.
Visit the ruins of the Saint Paul church at the top of the hill: The small hill of Melaka is just a couple of meters high but it allows you to have a nice view of the ocean, the skyline of Melaka as well as the ruins of the church themselves.
Walk over Chinatown and taste the Nyonya food. The center of Melaka city has a lot of influence from China. Similarly to Penang, there was a big mixture of Malay and Chinese culture and cuisine, which created the Nyonya culture and Nyonya cuisine. We went to a Nyonya restaurant (the Peranakan Place Signature) that had a very tasty and quite spicy Nyonya Laksa, and a very nice Nasi Pandan with a crispy skin as well as a very nice appetizer Pai Te
Also in the middle of Chinatown you can see the harmony street where the three temples are really close to each other.
Take a walk by the river, enjoying the street art from Melaka, the breeze of the river, the shadows from the mangroves and also you get a really high chance of spotting huge monitor lizards in the mangroves forests, but also on the street. The first one we saw walking there got us a little bit scared since it was so big and so close to us.
Take the chance of the walk to visit the Kampung Morten, which is a traditional Malay village in Melaka, where you can see the traditional houses.
Visit the museum of independence: it is free and you will learn quite a lot about the history of Malaysia, when they achieved their independence from the British empire in 1957 and how the government at that day was a mixture of the three main cultures in Malaysia.
Melaka is a nice city for one or two days. It has some interesting history and the center is quite nice, with a clear mixture of the three main cultures in Malaysia. We would recommend visiting the city, since it’s only a 2h bus ride from KL. But sometimes it feels a little bit artificial because of the bicycles made for tourists that have very weird decorations of the hello kitty, doraemon, etc.
We hope you liked the post! The next two days we will be back in KL to enjoy the city a bit and do some shopping before heading to our last destination, New Zealand.
The blog focused on our trips in Asia, and we would like to enjoy some time in New Zealand without updating the blog to enjoy the most of our time in the country where we met 5 years ago ^^. Therefore, we will not continue the blog. We might update some drone videos from New Zealand in our Youtube channel.
Thanks a lot for the ride with us, for having followed our posts. We will still make two more posts before heading to New Zealand: one about the summary of Malaysia with our good and not so good feelings and one about a short summary of our experiences, feelings and learnings from the 6 months trip!