Malaysia is one of my favourite places in South East Asia. The amazing culture, food and scenery is not to be missed.
Getting there and where to stay.
Melaka is really easy to get to from Kuala Lumpur. I booked the tickets through 12go.com and collected them from the bus station just before our bus. The busses in Malaysia are very efficient; the bus set off exactly on time and arriving at Melaka Sentral station in little over 2 hours. From Melaka Sentral, you can take the number 17 bus which drops you off very close to Jonker street where the majority of accommodation is.
We stayed at Yote Flashpackers which was a fantastic dorm choice and included breakfast. I can honestly say that the staff in this hostel were some of the friendliest, helpful staff I’ve come across. They also offer private double and twin rooms if you would prefer this option. The hostel was definitely a budget option but still included a safe and comfortable room, a tasty breakfast and a lovely atmosphere.
Where to eat.
There are an abundance of cafes and restaurants in Melaka catering for every type of food you could wish for. However, the best place we ate in the city is called Straights Affair. The sell a small selection of authentic food at a reasonable price. Although there is not a great amount of choice on the menu there was still something to suit all tastes, I had a Malay style soup and Adam enjoyed a fried chicken and rice dish. But what got me most about this place was how passionate and informative the staff were. The owner and manager each took time to speak to us and answer any questions we had about local food and customs, creating a culinary museum as apposed to your conventional dining experience. Also, the dessert selection here is fabulous and the pancakes (pictured above) are a must. We also ate at a fantastic little café called Calan The Art Café; which has a very large selection of food and serves fantastic iced tea and coffee’s. There are quite a few cafés along the waterfront but in my opinion they are slightly more expensive and nowhere near as good quality as the places a street or two back.
How to spend your day.
Melaka has such a rich history and there are an abundance of museums that you can check out whilst in the city. I would recommend taking a wander through the Dutch Square when you first arrive in the city, and admire the buildings whilst getting your bearings and a feel for the area. Then you can take the steep walk up to St Pauls Church. I would recommend avoiding lunch time for this as it gets really, really hot. Not only is the church incredible to walk around, the view of the whole city from the top is incredible. On your way back down there is a fabulous museum at the bottom explaining the diverse history of Melaka through the years. Once through the history section of the museum, there is a literature and education section in separate buildings. You can easily spend a few hours here escaping from the midday sun.
I also really enjoyed the Baba Nyonya museum. This is slightly more expensive to get into but I found it interesting as it doesn’t have the structure of a normal museum. It’s actually 3 terraced houses that the Chan family acquired in 1861, and the architecture and decor really is something to behold. You can take a tour around the property or wander on your own with a guidebook. I also visited the maritime museum which is right on the waterfront. Unfortunately, I managed to time my visit along with hundreds of children under the age of 5 so the trip was a little frantic. However, I can imagine on a quieter day, the museum would be very interesting and informative.
What to do at night.
There seems to be 3 main and unique night time activities that are specific to Melaka. The first is to take a ride on one of the ludicrously decorated and absurdly loud Disney themed trishaws. When arriving in the UNESCO world heritage sight I couldn’t believe they let these things on the street. But hey ho, whatever floats your boat. The second option is to take a river cruise which I didn’t actually do but it did look to be a pretty cool way to see the city and is an opportunity to take some photos of the city from a unique viewpoint. Then obviously; you can’t come to Melaka without taking an evening walk down Jonker Street. Jonker street is probably the most condensed market I’ve ever been to, with people selling everything from ice cream to bracelets ornaments. It’s very loud and a little crazy but a must do if you’re in the city.
Melaka is everything you could wish for in a getaway. There’s sleepy, peaceful walks along the river. There’s incredible food and hipster coffee shops. There’s culture and history, with a dash of nightlife and shopping adding the cherry on top of the cake. What more could you wish for?