8 x Things To Do in Malacca
Malacca, formally written as Melaka, has something for everyone, so plan to spend one or two full days exploring this city.
1. Discover Malacca’s riverside street art
One of Malacca’s biggest surprises is its vibrant street art scene. Everywhere you look buildings are decorated in the brightest colors, with large murals covering the walls. By strolling a few hours along the river, or taking a river cruise, you will find many older houses that have been renewed by street art in this area.
Tip: The river is not the only place you can find street art! There is much more tucked away in Malacca’s narrow back streets.
2. Murals and Orangutan House
Two huge murals that stand out among the rest: a fun thing to do in Malacca. Situated just away from the river is Kiehl’s heritage mural. Made up out of primary colors, in a lively color block design.
The brand collaborated with UNESCO to create a heritage site trail to six sites in Malaysia. The mural is one of them and is a great place to take some photos that will truly represent the energetic feeling of Malacca. The Orangutan mural, created by artist Charles Cham, is located just around the corner.
3. Cheng Hoong Teng Chinese Temple
Cheng Hoong Teng Chinese temple is the oldest operating temple in Malaysia and is quite different from the other buildings in Malacca because of the Chinese architectural influences. Ornate gates, gold leafing, and ruby red Chinese lanterns are just some of the features that make this a top thing to see in Malacca.
4. Stadthuys and Christchurch
The red square is the epicenter of Malacca, featured on many postcards. The iconic red (pink-ish) buildings were built using bricks shipped over from the Netherlands during the period of the Dutch rule.
Both buildings are in the trademark Dutch style which provides a unique European-Asian fusion of architecture. The central town hall named Stadthuys is even believed to be the oldest surviving Dutch building in the east!
We do recommend visiting this in the early morning as it will be busy with visitors after 8 AM.
5. Malacca Straits Mosque
This majestic white building is a highlight of the things to do in Malacca. The mosque is located on the edge of the city, situated on a jetty emerging from the water. This means that when the water level is high, it gives the impression the mosque is floating. See the building’s stained glass and gold details by day or when it’s lit up by many different colored lights by night.
6. Jonker walk
The Jonker Street night market is a long stretch of street vendors selling products like jewelry and unusual foods. The market is held on Friday and Saturday nights with live street music on every corner. If you’re unable to visit over the weekend, Jonker Walk is still an enjoyable place to visit in Malacca, as it’s in the center of Chinatown where the majority of the historical monuments and good restaurants are located.
7. St. Paul’s Church
St Paul’s is the oldest church building in Malaysia and South East Asia! It was originally built by the Portuguese in 1521 but was taken over by various other European powers over time. Now the church is in ruins but it’s still a beautiful and impressive place to see. Interesting fact: The stones featured inside have old-dutch texts on it.
Finally, it is an excellent place to enjoy a panoramic view of Malacca due to its position on a hill.
8. Maritime Museum
A replica of the ancient Portuguese ship ‘Flora de La Mar’ stands high above the buildings as a Museum. After having stolen goods, the original ship famously sank off the coast of Malacca.
Situated just a short walk from the Dutch square, the museum is a great place to learn a bit about Malacca’s importance as a maritime trading center.
Getting to & getting around Malacca
Malacca is easy to get to, with numerous travel options on offer. There is an international airport, and many flights leaving for Kuala Lumpur daily.
Kuala Lumpur to Malacca
However, if you are flying into Kuala Lumpur, the journey by road is very easy and takes only 2-3 hours. Buses leave from Kuala Lumpur airport and city center at various times throughout the day.
Singapore to Malacca
Another good option is to travel from Singapore to Malacca. A bus takes 3-4 hours.
‘Joyzride’ chauffeur service, is a hassle-free way of getting around Malaysia. They offer private services, from airport transfers to personalized day tours. A great and easy way to see more of Malaysia by land!
How to get around Malacca
Once you arrive in Malacca, almost everything can be done on foot as all the main landmarks are within walking distance of each other. For those sights that are further away (such as Malacca Straits Mosque), jump on a trishaw for an authentic Malay experience, cycle by bike or take a Grab taxi.
Restaurants in Malacca
Malacca is an established foodie paradise. The melting pot of different cultures in Malacca makes for a variety of tasty foods from all over the world. These were our favorite restaurants and cafes:
- The Daily Fix Cafe
- Mori Vegetarian Tea House
- Geographer Cafe
Where to stay in Malacca
It’s best to situate yourself centrally, so as to be within walking distance from all the attractions. There is a nice atmosphere by the river and plenty of hostels and guesthouses are situated here. Guesthouses in Malacca are very reasonably priced and of good quality, however, there are more upmarket hotel options that sit a little further out of the center.