This historical city in West Malaysia offers a plethora of exciting things to do!
If you’re hopping on a jet plane for Semenanjung and plan to visit Melaka (it’s a 1.5 hour drive away from KL), this culture-rich city has great options for any traveller. From places to go and foods to eat, this colonial city is the oldest settlement on the Straits of Malacca. Here are 5 interesting things you have to do if you head over.
1. Take a leisurely stroll through Jonker Walk
One of the city’s most popular spots! On Fridays and Saturdays, this street in the heart of Chinatown turns into a lively night market. Vendors sell everything from artsy trinkets to finger foods (local kuih, cookies straight from the oven, savoury treats on satay sticks) and fairy-light balloons. Cafes, local food stalls and pubs line the little alleyways around. Hop into a massage parlour for a good foot rub, then continue walking along the jetty with yoghurt ice-cream in hand.
2. Hit up museums and historical sites for a day
There are many historical sites and museums in Melaka City itself, each with its own personality and story. If you’re a history buff, here are some places to begin:
- The Stadthuys – believed to be the oldest-surviving Dutch building in the East. You can’t miss it; this 1650 building has a red exterior and a nearby clock tower that’s also red. It’s now a history museum.
- Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum – Discover the history and culture of a local Chinese-Malay community, known as the Baba Nyonya or Peranakan in Melaka
- Cheng Hoon Theng Temple – Built in 1645, it is the oldest functioning temple in Malaysia. Also known as the Temple of the Green Cloud, it offers the practice of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism.
- Kampung Kling Mosque – The original structure was made of wood by Indian traders in 1748. Rebuilt with brick in 1872, it is a traditional mosque with Sumatran, Chinese, Hindu and Malay design elements.
- St. Paul’s Hill – Make this short climb to get a good view and reach St. Paul’s Church, first built in 1521.
3. Indulge in local flavours (satay celup, anyone?)
From chicken rice balls to baked goods, Melaka is home to unique flavours celebrated by many Malaysians today. If you’re familiar with steamboat, imagine the soup being hot peanut sauce boiling away. Stick skewered meat and vegetables in for the boil, and that’s satay celup for you.
On hot days (and Melaka has many), don’t miss out local treats such as ais kacang and Klebang’s original coconut shake. These icy desserts will make you a happy adventurer! And don’t forget to grab a flaky baked biscuit with gooey wintermelon goodness (lou bo ping) before you leave.
4. Head out to open water for deep-sea fishing
If you are itching for an ocean adventure and the salty breeze, a day of deep-sea fishing may be what you need. Bring your own bait and rod, and head over to Pantai Siring’s family-owned kelongs for a fun adventure. Weekends tend to be slightly packed, by the way.
5. Eat, play and experience it all at a tropical fruit farm
For a rustic experience with all the tropical bits thrown in (sunshine and sweat), visit the Melaka Tropical Fruit Farm in Sungai Udang. Sprawled across 173 acres of land, there’s a lake for kayaking and fishing as well as a jogging track. You can also visit the mini zoo that’s home to animals such as ostriches and deer.
The highlight of this farm, however, is the array of tropical fruits you can find and eat. There’s durian, duku and you can even pick your own rambutan!
There you go, five things to do if you ever visit Melaka for a few days. But remember not to litter and to always leave any public place in a better state than you found it in — the state’s campaign ‘Don’t Mess with Melaka‘ is about cleanliness. They’re pretty serious about it, so we better be too.
Are you from Melaka or have you ever visited this historical city? Share your experience with us in the comments below!
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Featured Image Credit: Lonely Planet