A month ago, I visited Melaka for the first time. At least it is the first time that I could recall (my mother tells me we visited Melaka more than a decade ago, but I have no recollection). Melaka, also known as Malacca, is a state in Malaysia most well known for its historic past and amazing food choices. Just four hours from Singapore by bus, it is an ideal place to check out for a day trip or weekend jaunt.
If, like me, you have heard a lot about Melaka but have never been to the historic state, don’t fret. There are so many things to do in this UNESCO World Heritage City, but we’re telling you that you’ll be able to accomplish a lot even in just 14 hours.
Don’t believe us? Read on to find out what you should try:
Melaka in 14 hours – 8 AM: Breakfast
Whether you’re in the mood for a fruit platter or a plate of warm, yummy chicken rice balls, Melaka’s got you covered for the best local breakfast dishes you can try.
For breakfast, we avoided the “famous” restaurants with a queue and popped by one of its quieter competitors across the road. It was a risk, but to be fair, most restaurants in the Jonker Street district are pretty decent, so you won’t go wrong with a few dishes of chicken and rice. Plus, by doing that, you effectively gain another 20 to 30 minutes in your itinerary. Yay to trying more food and exploring even more!
If you’re up for dessert, try Christina Ee’s Nyonya Cendol. While it may come in a small bowl, it is deceptively filling. It’s affordable at RM 3.80 per bowl and it hits the spot every time. Furthermore, with the shop hidden away in an alley on Jonker Street, you’ll definitely get a seat and good service.
However, if you want something healthier, try Melaka’s Tropical Fruit Farm for a morning of fruit plucking and eating. Only 20 minutes from Melaka Town via car, you will be able to enjoy fruits like durian, rambutan and others. What’s more, the entrance fee is extremely affordable at only RM 4 for adults and RM 2 for children!
Christina Ee Pineapple Tarts & Cendol
Address: 75200, 8, Jalan Hang Lekir, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-281 2023
Opening Hours: 10.30 AM – 7 PM except Thursdays
Melaka Tropical Fruit Farm
Address: Sungai Udang, Malacca, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-351 0130
Opening Hours: 24 hours daily except Saturdays
Also, read Comfort Food Always Wins! 7 Local Desserts That Steal Our Hearts
Melaka in 14 hours – 10 AM: Sightseeing
By 10 AM, you must be ready to hit the attractions. Having secured its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, Melaka has quite the heritage to boot. If you’re a history buff, you’ll find yourself enamored with old churches, and what is left of forts, museums and palaces.
A Famosa Fort
The image below is a photograph of the A Famosa Fort gate, which was built by the Portuguese after conquering Melaka.
Nonya and Baba museums
Plus, don’t miss out on the Nonya and Baba museums that will give you a better insight to Melaka in the late 1500s when the Chinese had migrated to the Malaysian city to trade and do business. Many interracial marriages, between the Chinese and local Malays, were formed in that period and resulted in what is now called ‘Peranakan’ culture. For the Baba Nonya Heritage Museum on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, there is an entrance fee of RM 16.
A Famosa Fort
Address: Jalan Parameswara, 78000 Alor Gajah, Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-552 0888
Baba Nonya Heritage Museum
Address: 48-50, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-283 1273
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 12.15 PM, 2 PM – 4 PM daily
Melaka in 14 hours – 12 PM: Lunch
It’s noontime! Are you hungry again? If your feet hurt, try sitting down at a restaurant like Nancy’s Kitchen. It boasts scrumptious Peranakan dishes. The owner and chef — Nancy, obviously, is a Peranakan lady who was born and raised in a small town called Batu Berendam in Melaka.
Growing up, she watched and helped her mother in the kitchen, and learnt to cook at a tender age. The restaurant is pretty popular with travellers, and everything is fresh, so do make reservations 24 hours in advance.
And if you are not a fan of sitting down, or prefer standing while you finish your lunch, try Jonker 88. If you’re lucky, you might just get a seat but going to an extremely popular restaurant might just mean you won’t be resting your legs any time soon. Our favourite is probably the Assam Laksa, which is just the right amount of spicy.
Address: 13, 13-1, 13-2, Jalan KL 3/8, Taman Kota Laksamana, Seksyen 3, 75200, Melaka, Malaysia.
Tel: +606-2836099 / +6013-6183608
Opening Hours: 11 AM – 5 PM Sundays to Thursdays, 11 AM – 9 PM Fridays and Saturdays, 11 AM – 9 PM Public Holidays, Closed on Tuesdays.
Address: 88, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 19-397 5665
Opening Hours: 9.30 AM – 5.30 PM Sundays to Thursdays, 9.30 AM – 8.30 PM Fridays to Saturdays
Also, read 8 Best Laksa In Singapore For Thick, Flavourful & Spicy Broth
Melaka in 14 hours – 2 PM: More sightseeing!
Check out a few more attractions like the Royal Malaysian Navy Museum, Christ Church Melaka or even the official Mamee Jonker House, a great place to relive your childhood days.
The Royal Malaysian Navy Museum is an indoor-and-outdoor facility that offers you an insight into the role of the Royal Malaysian Navy since it was established. You will be able to see actual uniforms worn by the navy officers, medals awarded, and the sort of communication devices used back in the day. If you’re feeling tactile, leave the indoor premises of the museum to visit the Sri Terengganu Warship, which looks like quite a wonder. Pity you won’t be able to sail it any time soon!
Originally painted in white, Christ Church Melaka is an Anglican church built in the 18th century. Today, it is still functioning as a church, and conducts three services within its premises every Sunday. Regardless of religion, many travellers are interested in the church for its Dutch Colonial architectural flair and its role in Melaka’s Dutch era.
Founded in Melaka, snack brand Mamee can be seen everywhere, especially in the city centre, plastered on walls and advertising billboards. So, while you’re in town, why not check out the Mamee Jonker House? See how the company makes its famous noodle snack and get a few souvenirs for friends back home who grew up eating this fantastic crunchy delight.
Royal Malaysian Navy Museum
Address: Muzium Tldm, Jalan Merdeka, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-283 0926
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 5.30 PM daily except 12.15 PM – 2.45 PM on Fridays
Christ Church Melaka
Address: Gereja Christ, Jalan Gereja, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 17-824 6391
Mamee Jonker House
Address: 46 & 48,, Jalan Hang Tuah 2 & Jalan Hang Tuah, Taman Bukit Terendak, 76300 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-286 7666
Opening Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM Mondays to Fridays (closed on Tuesdays), 10 AM – 7 PM Saturdays to Sundays
Melaka in 14 hours – 4 PM: Chill out
Take a break from visiting attractions and learning more about the historic nature of Melaka by sipping some coffee at a cafe. Melaka has many amazing cafes that you can sit back, relax and chill at. We have selected three for you to visit!
Backlane Coffee Shop is exactly what it sounds like – a cafe tucked away in the back alley of a street. Take a breather with a beverage and some refreshments. With glass windows that almost go from wall to floor, and high ceilings, the bistro is a breath of fresh air. It has quite a range of desserts and drinks to choose from. Plus, borrow one of their many board games to kill some time.
Calanthe Art Cafe and Restaurant is another brilliant choice if you’re looking to escape from Singapore’s hustle and bustle with some artsy respite. Plus, it boasts coffee offerings from all 13 states in Malaysia, making your coffee adventure a little more exciting than usual.
Truly Two Cafe is the sort of place you’ll want to visit if you have a particularly sweet tooth. Indulge in slightly over-the-top milkshakes and other desserts at this cafe — no regrets needed!
Backlane Coffee Shop
Address: 129, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-282 0542
Opening Hours: 11 AM – 11.30 PM Sundays to Thursdays, 11 AM – 12 AM Fridays to Saturdays
Calanthe Art Cafe and Restaurant
Address: Jalan Hang Kasturi, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-292 2960
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 11 PM Sundays to Wednesdays, closed on Thursdays, 9 AM – 12 AM Fridays to Saturdays
Truly Two Cafe
Address: No. 9, Jalan PNBB 2, Pusat Niaga Seksyen IV, Mukim Bukit Baru, Melaka, 75150 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 6-284 3488
Opening Hours: 12 PM – 9.30 PM daily except Thursdays
Melaka in 14 hours – 6 PM: Jonker Street
In the day, Jonker Street may look just like any other street in Melaka, but do not be fooled. At night, the street comes alive with hawkers selling all sorts of things, from malt candy to watermelons to radish cake to little knick knacks.
Go slightly earlier and take your time while walking down this street because chances are, if you see something you like, it’ll be pretty difficult to go back to that specific stall later on.
Melaka in 14 hours – 8 PM: River Cruise
For only RM 15 per adult, you will be able to enjoy an unmissable opportunity. Learn more about Melaka and enjoy scenic river view at night for 45 minutes on its signature River Cruise. It’s best to go on this cruise at night since it’ll be a lot breezier and well, your legs are probably tired from all that walking.
The ticket also comes with a complimentary gift pack, which includes a beverage and some snacks, in case you get hungry on the cruise! We would recommend buying your tickets about 30 minutes earlier.
As for us, we got on the cruise at around 8:30 PM. The commentary – in English – was easy to understand. Just try not to be distracted by rowdy selfie-takers!
Address: Jalan Laksamana, 75000 Malacca (next to Quayside Heritage Centre, close to the Maritime Museum)
Tel: +60 06-2814322
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 12 AM daily
Melaka in 14 hours – 10 PM: Supper time
It’s a little late for a traditional dinner, but that’s exactly why we’re suggesting you to skip ‘dinner’ and grab supper instead.
Using ‘great’ to describe the street food available in Melaka is probably an understatement; we’ll go ahead and say that it’s downright amazing and you shouldn’t miss it. Grab a few plates of everything and a table away from the hustle and bustle, and you’ll finally understand the definition of ‘chill’ with the breeze in your hair and fresh air aplenty.
Note: you’ll find a small street tucked away within Jonker Walk with all stalls set up selling everything from laksa to satay to the yummiest fried dishes!
Of course, there is a lot more to Melaka than a 14-hour itinerary, but if this is your maiden expedition to a food paradise/ historically alive state/ wonderful land of fresh air and places to chill, check out these suggestions!
As for us, we’ll just count down to the days we have till we visit Melaka again. To the most scrumptious Peranakan dishes, the graffiti on the walls, the beautiful cafes and river view…
(Header image credit: Hung Nguyen Leong/Shutterstock, words by editor)
Also, read True Thoughts – Singapore From The Eyes Of A Tourist