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One day in Melaka

Whether you’re thinking of making a Melaka trip for the food, buildings or night market, there is plenty to do to make it worthwhile. Sitting at just a few hours from Kuala Lumpur, this UNESCO World Heritage site should not be missed when in Malaysia. Here’s what to do, see and taste with even just one day in Melaka.

To make things easy for you, everywhere mentioned in this post is ALREADY PINNED in the embedded Google Map below!

One day in Melaka trip guide

Visiting Melaka in a day

Melaka (previously spelled Malacca) shares the title of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Georgetown, Penang. Located two hours south of Kuala Lumpur, Melaka is a popular place to come for a day trip if you’ve seen everything there. While most people will mention the architecture and history surrounding the city from it’s previous Portuguese, Dutch and British rulers, there is a variety of things to do for everyone looking for a great day trip with Jonker Street at the center of it all.

melaka river front street art
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

Getting into Melaka

You’ll most likely be arriving to Melaka from Georgetown as it’s only a two-hour bus ride away. There are buses leaving every 20-30 minutes from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) bus station that cost 8-12 RM each way. The bus takes about two hours and drops you at Melaka Sentral. To get from Melaka Sentral to Jonker Street you can get a Grab or take the public bus number 17 from Gate 17 that leaves every 20-30 minutes and costs 1.50 RM.

art in melaka
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

What to do in Melaka

Once you’re off the bus, head to one of the cool cafes on or near to Jonker Street to fuel up for the day. During the day Jonker Street is nothing special despite being at the heart of the city. Beyond a walk down the street (15 minutes) and taking a photo with the Mr. Melaka statues it’s time to start exploring Melaka. Thankfully most of the things you’ll see in Melaka are within walking distance, but you can always take a Hello Kitty trishaw (you see them everywhere).

melaka rickshaw malacca day trip
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

To make things easy for you, everywhere mentioned in this post is ALREADY PINNED in the embedded Google Map below!

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Old temples in Melaka

This was something I found interesting. After your walk along Jonker Street, head to the parallel Jalan Tokong (nicknamed Harmony Street) and pop your nose into:

  • Cheng Hoon Teng: The oldest functioning temple in Malaysia
  • Sri Poyatha Moorthi: Malaysia’s oldest Hindu Temple
Cheng Hoon Teng temple melaka malacca
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

Melaka River Walk

The Melaka River is a gorgeous stretch to walk along. From the Jonker Street Bridge head north on either side of the river and you’ll find cafes, restaurants, street art, and locals hanging out.

Keep walking until you reach Villa Sentosa, a real-life museum of sorts. It’s a traditional house that a couple still live in and for a small donation you can wander about there home and have a chat about life in Melaka both past and present. If you’d rather not walk back, you can take the Melaka River Cruise.

If you decide not to head to Bukit Cina for sunset, the riverside is a nice place to be during sunset.

Melaka river walk day trip malacca
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

The Museums of Melaka

There are lots of museums in the heritage area of Melaka. Depending on your interests, choose one or two to visit. A few of the more popular museums are:

  • Maritime Museum
  • Kite Museum
  • Malay and Islamic World Museum

In the area, you can also visit St. Paul’s Church and the ruins of A’famosa.

dutch square melaka malaysia unesco
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

Melaka Straits Mosque

This is outside of the downtown area and takes around 50 minutes to walk too from Jonker Street (or a 6 RM Grab). It’s a beautiful mosque built over the water and a great place for photos. If you’re finding the noise in Melaka overwhelming (weekends), it doubles as a good place for a respite. There’s nothing else to see nearby, so if you’re pressed for time, you can skip it.

Melaka straits mosque melaka day trip
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

Bukit Cina

One thing Melaka is lacking in the Heritage Area is green space. If you love a good park, Bukit Cina is for you. It’s actually a very old Chinese Graveyard but has trails around it where you can get a dose of nature with various trails running through the park. I’d recommend going here for sunset!

bukit china melaka day trip
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

Jonker Street Night Market

If you’re visiting Melaka on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, to finish the day you’ll want to head to Jonker Street anytime after 6 pm. It’s a thriving night market with lots of domestic tourism flooding into the city for the weekend making sure there is no shortage of people. As usual, you’ll find a variety of crafts, souvenirs, snacks, and a couple of pop up food courts in the market. It gets really crowded so aim to get there early or later in the evening (they finish at midnight) if you don’t like crowds.

If it’s Monday through Thursday when you visit and you’re still going strong head to the river for a drink in the evening where there are a several places serving alcohol. I only went for drinks once and it was a nice way to finish a day in Melaka.

colonial houses melaka malaysia

What to eat in Melaka

As a vegan traveler, Melaka had lots of great options in the city. If you are really interested in learning about food in Melaka, check out this in-home food lesson.

My favorite place for lunch is Shui Xian Su Shi Yuan. A vegetarian restaurant with a set menu (and a few special options that change each day) with many of them made to look like normal traditional dishes but with soy replacements. By the way, Malaysia has the best meat replacements in the world in my opinion! Most of the dishes are 5-7 RM with one more than enough for most. They close at 2.30 pm most days and often run out of ingredients so get in early.

For dinner, I enjoyed Vege Good two times. The staff are super nice and they have an extensive Chinese based menu. I can’t recall what I ate here, but given its slightly out of the way location all I know it was good because I returned.

Note: for vegans, you’ll need to check what products they use for most dishes.

For the carnivorous eaters, there is a lot of fish (a change up from chicken) along with the regular rice and noodle-based dishes you find everywhere in Malaysia. I’ll refer you to Wikitravel for specific dishes that talk more in-depth about the food you can find in Melaka.

malaysian cuisine melaka day trip
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

Where to stay in Melaka

When you’re looking for places to stay in Melaka, they all mention there distance relative to Jonker Street. As mentioned above, other than the night market there’s no need to spend time on Jonker Street beside a quick walk along.

I stayed in the Casa Blanca Guest House dorms and had a comfortable stay. It’s nothing fancy but a good location and away from the traffic. The other benefits were the great wifi, kitchen, nice large comfortable common area, and a place to hang your washing. They also have private rooms available.

Other options to stay in Melaka:

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Guides and tours for a Melaka trip

If you prefer to do any of the above with guides, or book in advance, here are some great options.

  • Viator offers Melaka tours including cooking experiences and day tours.
  • GetYourGuide has a few Melaka tour options, leaving from Kuala Lumpur.
  • Local experiences are also available on Airbnb, though still sparse on the options.
mr melaka statue visiting malacca
image credit Tiki Touring Kiwi

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Melaka is one of Malaysia's world heritage sites and famous for its food. Here's what you need to do, see and eat on a short Melaka trip.

Melaka is one of Malaysia's world heritage sites and famous for its food. Here's what you need to do, see and eat on a short Melaka trip.     Melaka is one of Malaysia's world heritage sites and famous for its food. Here's what you need to do, see and eat on a short Melaka trip.

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jub bryant how dare she
Jub Bryant

On the road, Jub has been traveling more or less full time since 2013. Not one to move too fast, he seems to get himself into some awfully random situations and that’s totally fine. You can follow his blog at Tiki Touring Kiwi and on Instagram @tikitouringkiwi.

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