Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Massive Post on our Day Trip to Malacca - Day 4 in Malaysia

We really didn't have anything planned for our fourth day. We turned to our host and she said "Why not go to Malacca?" I have heard of the place from a friend but didn't really look it up on the internet, not until the day before we were supposed to go. We didn't have an itinerary for Malacca, but just some notes on the must-eat food and must-see museums. Nevertheless, we were excited and took the 2-hour bus ride from B'spadu Selatan Station Terminal in KL to Malacca.

malacca river
relaxing view of the Melaka River

Malacca is a historical city included in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in Malaysia alongside Georgetown, Penang. It's Malay name is Melaka and is located on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula. The city center showcases unique history and culture gained from previous colonizations of Europeans such as Portuguese, Dutch and British.

The "Red District"

I want to give a very important note to travelers going on a day trip before I proceed, please BUY your return trip ticket as soon as you arrive. We did the exact opposite and on our way back to KL, all buses had their seats all sold out, since we came on a weekend and it was also a holiday. We had to do a re-route. Anyway, in the same bus station, you'd also be able to find the bus that will take you to Melaka Sentral.

After about half an hour, we alighted when we were already able to see the small city center with all the red painted buildings. We started taking pictures right away without actually knowing what we were seeing and what we were to do next as we didn't really had a plan at all. We went on a Sunday as we were planning to attend a mass, I read somewhere that most of the establishments are closed during Tuesdays so avoid going there on this day.

The Queen Victoria Fountain that can be seen at the Dutch Square

These very cool trishaws reminded me of Manila. They are almost just like our pedicabs but minus the paper mache decorations of flowers and all that stuff which some people might dig (but I don't). What I loved about them though were the hip funky music blasting on their stereos! It's almost like a party is happening... in mid daylight! We didn't ride them though as we still had enough energy to explore the place with our own feet but might have been an interesting ride especially for Westerners. They offer to tour you around for around 40-50 RM and these bad*ss rides are so cool to see during night as they are lighted and plays louder music!

the uber colorful and radiant trishaws of Melaka

The Dutch Square, or the "Red District" as how I would like to call it, is where you could see red buildings in Malacca. Ironically though, I later learned that the square did not have any Dutch influenced designs. It is said that the buildings used to be painted white during the Dutch regime but was changed to red during the British colonial rule as per the orders of the British governor that time.

This is the best point to start off our journey to the city as it enables us to see attractions like The Christ Church, Stadthuys, Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain, Tan Beng See Clock Tower in one go! There were also some stalls that sell food and some guys offering a chance to wear Baba-Nyonya or Peranakan clothing for 5 RM that we wanted to try though we eventually forgot to do.

malacca christ church
Christ Church, Melaka

One of the major structures that will grab your attention when you go to Dutch Square is the Christ Church. It is said to be the oldest protestant in Malaysia and was constructed during 1753. We wanted to go inside but unfortunately, they were closed for the afternoon.

On the opposite side is the Red Clock Tower that was erected in 1886 in honor of a generous Chinese tycoon named Tan Beng Swee. It is also called the Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower.

The Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower

We had nothing at all, maps, names of tourist spots, nada. We just decided to follow where most of the tourists where heading, which lead us to the Tourist Information Center. Unfortunately, they were under renovations that time and was closed. Thanks to it though we noticed the Malacca Fort built during 15th century.   

It was my first time to visit a former Dutch colony and was really ecstatic to have seen a Dutch-style windmill and a huge water wheel. Both were probably just replicas but I was unfazed. It was as close I could get to see structural icons closely associated with the Netherlands.

Malacca Fort
Melaka Watermill
malacca travel
a nice wall around Melaka

We decided to head off to Jonker Street to look for good eateries as we haven't had any good meal yet at that time. We decided to eat on a small, not-so-crowded restaurant to sample our host's recommended food, which was the chicken rice ball. Jonker Street is mostly residential and also features lots of good cafes and restaurants.

jonker street malacca
Jonker Street!

We somehow ended up going to Cheng Ho Cultural Museum. There were some displays that catched our attention so we decided to go inside. There were displays of antique Chinese items such as furnitures and vases that were up for sale, I think. They have a separate display that one can enter for 20 RM.

display at the entrance to Cheng Ho Cultural Museum

It came to a point where we got tired of wandering aimlessly and consulted the notes our host gave us. She recommended the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum and The Baboon House so we set off to find where it was located by asking locals. 

reminds me of China's Terracotta warriors
a map (which I didn't find to be useful though)

I wasn't really in the mood to see a museum since I'm not the museum-type kind of person but my friend insisted that we do. I thought the entrance fee of 12 RM was not bad though I was a bit disappointed to know that it was prohibited to take pictures. We came just in time for the last guided tour and we happily joined the rest of the group to see why this spot is one of the most recommended places when touring Malacca.

malacca museum
exteriors of the Baba and Nyonya Peranakan Heritage Museum

The Baba and Nyonya Peranakan Heritage Museum displays the local history of the Baba-Nyonyas. The Baba-Nyonyas are Chinese settlers who have migrated to Malaysia and have since then lived a unique and interesting combination of Chinese and Malay culture. This particular museum gave us a peek to Peranakan culture and showcased different aspects of the Baba Nyonya way of living. This used to be a house which was later on converted as a museum so it's like entering a friend's home and the mother touring you around. Be sure to go with the tour group as the hostess that conducts the tour is so knowledgeable about the house and Baba/Nyonya culture.

picture courtesy of The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum
picture courtesy of The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum

We decided to go straight and see more of Malaccan houses. We saw this interesting building called the Malaqa House that also serves as an art shop. The residential heart of Malacca still breathes that old soul. There were plethora of traditional houses with Malaysian and Chinese inspirations and even mansions of European designs that must have been erected during the Westeners' colonial rule.

malaqa house malacca
Malaqa House

malacca blog
full of colors!

Chinese Temple
malacca malaysia
a beautiful mansion that seems to be unattended
would have love to restore this old neglected house
the unique Melakan brown sugar

It was almost past 5 when we opted to go back to that big ship we saw on our walking tour. We forgot the directions on where we came from so we hailed a cab to take us there. On our way, we passed by "Harmony Street" that is called so because of the temples from different religions such as Buddhism - Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Muslim and Hinduism - Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple. I was only able to notice Kamplung Kling Mosque though, a reminder of the Kling Indians who once lived in Melaka.  The pagoda-like form of the mosque was quite peculiar as it was my first time to see something of this form.

malacca kampung kling
Kampung Kling Mosque

Malaccan roads and buildings

We asked to be dropped off first at the opposite side of the "big ship" and we discovered that it was a market called Medan Samudera. Inside we were able to find tons of souvenir items, local handicrafts and even small eateries.

Medan Samudera and some trishaws
you can also buy your standard pasalubong items here!

We started to proceed to that big ship that one will not fail to notice while moving around the city. It was surprising to know that this is actually a museum. Muzium Samudera or Maritime Museum is actually housed in a replica of the former Portuguese ship called "Flor De La Mar" that was used centuries ago to carry vast amount of treasure from Melaka to Portugal. We decided to see what's inside and the 3 RM entrance fee made it irresistable for us to say no. The museum was also just situated near the Melaka river that gave us nice views during sunset.

Malacca Tower
malacca maritime museum
Malacca Maritime Museum
diorama of Malaysian traders during Portugues Galleon Trade

The museum does not just focus on ship-related trivias but more of Melaka's history. We were able to know about how Melaka came to be a colonized by the Europeans. The paintings and life-sized statues made it easier for us to digest everything in. There were also tons of interesting displays of ship models and coins and many other more artifacts that kids will surely enjoy.

old coin displays
cool ship models!

It was already 8 PM and the sun was just setting down! We wanted to see the night scene in Malacca as I have heard it is absolutely pretty especially the views from the Malacca River. We ended up taking pictures of ourselves just to kill time. Yes, we all have those vanity moments, don't we? The loud music from the trishaws weren't helping either. They got local Malay music to Backstreet Boys to Ne-yo. That sure was one weird playlist.

malacca malaysia
the museum overlooking Melaka River, time for photo shoot! haha

To see the Melaka River during the night was the last point that completed our one day itinerary to Malacca. It really brings out a different vibe into the place, how I wished I still had enough money to take the cruise. It would have been lovely to do during this time of the day.

The cruise at Melaka river during night surely sounds like a good idea!
Melaka river
Melaka River
Melaka river
looks romantic, doesn't it?!

The night views of the Red District was also lovely. The whole place was lit up (like Christmas in the Philippines) and I was reminded of the night scene at Merdeka Square. We felt famished by the end of this tour that we decided to grab a last bite before we head back for KL.

malacca night
The Dutch Square during night
a small windmill that I saw up close

I guess we really came on the right time as there was a night weekend market happening in Jonker Street that weekend. After dinner, we checked out the stalls around the area hoping to score some bargains. After a couple of minutes, it started to rain that also signaled the shop owners to close down (or maybe it was really closing time already?) We immediately looked for a cab that would take us to the Bus Terminal station. I felt like I've seen what I came to see at Melaka but I wanted to do more.

jonker night
the night scene at Jonker Street
jonker street malacca
the night crowd at Jonker street market
jonker street malaysia
people busy looking at different phone cases and other cute souvenirs

On another note, I really felt bad for the taxi drivers because we were negotiating the taxi fare for only 15 RM (which they agreed upon last minutes of haggling), but we ended up paying more of what was expected, I think we gave him 20-25 RM because the distance from Melacca to the terminal was really far. As I have mentioned earlier, we didn't book a return trip ticket for KL and we ended up missing the last bus to KL Sentral. And so I thought up of this plan of just buying a bus ticket to the airport (that costs twice as much) and from there taking a bus to KL Sentral because we didn't want to sleep at the bus station. Nevertheless, it was one hell of an experience and I have mustered up new skills on negotiating with bus operators and drivers. ;)

the only thing I bought at Jonker street night market

Malacca was a whole different experience for us and it was like being in Malaysia, but not really in Malaysia (haha I confuse myself sometimes). I felt like I was in Europe, but still seeing a lot of Malaysia and Asia around me. I extremely adored the Melakan food (that I will share on another post) and also the relaxed vibe of the place. It was absolutely a new adventure for us and I would love to come back here again with my family! I really recommend Malacca for people looking for a tour outside of Kuala Lumpur that is surely worth their time. It certainly deserves a day or two of your visit to Malaysia!

malaysia travel blog
Christmasy lights at Melaka River

Day 1: Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Towers

Day 2: Kuala Lumpur
Batu Caves

Merdeka Square

Day 3: Putrajaya / Shah Alam
Pink and Blue Mosque

City Tour

Day 4: Malacca/Melaka
City Tour

Food Tour

Day 5: Kuala Lumpur

Day 6: Penang
Kek Lok Si Temple

Day 7: Penang
George Town

Street Art

Day 8: Penang

Malaysia Travel Report
Itinerary and Tips


  1. Gooondo ng mga pictures~! *_*

    Grabe inggit much naman sa The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum huhu hamo next time sana mapuntahan ko na yan hehe

    - Kaiye

    1. Yup super recommended, saka nakakaalis yung nagtotour! :)

  2. wow that a really massive photo blog about malacca day tour I ever seen.

    Nice photo

    1. Thanks for the compliments and for the visit, Anuar!

  3. Hi! Im going to KL this December and I came across your blog while researching and let me justs ay you just totally convinced me to go to Malacca! Anyway.. Dyou have any tips for me on taking the bus to Malacca from KL and back? I'd like to see it during nighttime but I'm afraid I won't be able to stay there for the night and the bus schedules online tell me that the last bus going back to KL leaves by 7pm? Is that true? Cause from your photos it looks like you left later than 7pm...

    1. Hi I remember there was a 9PM bus to KL from Nice bus company. ( You may check the schedule here http://www.journeymalaysia.com/ptamelaka.htm#8 )

  4. Hi! we will be going to Malaysia for our honeymoon. I am choosing between Malacca and Colmare Tropicale. After reading your trip report, I am now convinced that it's better to go to Malacca because there are more activities and attractions. May I know if transportation is easy? I read that all we have to use are buses 17&18 to get around the place. thanks! jackie

    1. Transpo from KL is easy, one tip though is make sure you know the bus schedules when going in and out of Malacca. when going around, I suggest you walk :) places are quite near from each other

  5. Hi Mariane! We'll be in Malacca this weekend. Where can we find that nice wall? And, where's the nicest place for a sunset shot? Hope to hear from you soonest.

    1. hmmm actually i can't remember where exactly though I think you'll not miss this, i think it's just nearby the river

  6. Great write up!!! I'm adding Malacca in my Malaysia tour pocket in next month!!! Keep rocking!!

    1. Thanks for visiting Ah! Enjoy your trip to Malaysia!

  7. Thank you for this very informative and useful post! I'll be going to Malaysia next month. I plan to take the last bus trip from KL-Malacca at 9:30PM. Would it be advisable for a female traveler to go to Malacca at night? Thank you!!!!! :)

    1. Just plan some buffer time for the bus trip, because we missed ours so just double check sched and buy round trip tickets because they also get sold out especially during holidays!
      I think Malacca is safe during night, the area is still very crowded and Malaysia is generally a safe country and we didn't have any bad experience when we were there. Since you're traveling solo just keep an eye on your belongings :)

  8. Hi! Good thing I was able to chance upon your blog. We are planning to go to Malaysia this April. Can I get the name of your tour operator for this Melaka trip? Thanks a lot! Btw, nice pictures! Made me more exciting about our trip :)

    1. we did a DIY tour, no need to take a tour package BTW melaka is a very small place so you can do the tour on your own


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