The fascinating fusion of European, Chinese, and Malay cultures, rich history, and lip-smacking cuisine make Malacca (or Melaka) a must-visit destination. Now, if you’re asking yourself, “What should I do in Malacca?” – I’ve got you covered. In this guide, I share the best things to do in Malacca, and tips to make the most of your trip.
1. See the Dutch Square
The iconic Red Square is probably the first image that pops up when you search for Malacca. It offers a pleasant mix of old and new.
Start your visit at the Stadthuys. Did you know it’s considered the oldest Dutch building in the East?
Taking a leisurely walk here feels like flipping through the pages of a living history book.
The nearby Queen Victoria Fountain is a serene spot I’d recommend for a breather.
And if you want to get a true feel of Malacca, the colorful trishaws around the square are a must-try. They bring a fun and lively vibe to the historical backdrop.
- Day Trip: If you have a short time, consider taking a day trip from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca historical city!
- Accommodation: We loved our stay at Liu Men Melaka and Baba House Melaka. Both offer comfortable rooms, great locations, and excellent services. If you travel on a budget, check out Hostel YOTE 28.
- Transport: Buses from KL to Malacca take about 2 hours. Make sure to book in advance during peak seasons or weekends!
- Travel with kids: A’Famosa Water Park and Zoo Melaka are great things to do in Malacca with kids.
2. Stroll Jonker Street Night Market
Every weekend, the heart of Malacca’s Chinatown transforms into a vibrant night market.
Think of Jonker Street as a delightful blend of culture, shopping, and gastronomic adventures.
Stroll through the busy lanes, and you’ll find everything from antique collectibles to quirky souvenirs.
Don’t miss the chance to sample local delicacies like Cendol and chicken rice balls.
We sampled lots of food here – our favorites include grilled skewers and seafood.
- Prices: Shopping and food prices vary, but budget-friendly options abound.
- Opening Hours: Every Friday to Sunday, 6 pm – midnight.
- Getting There: Easily accessible from Dutch Christ Church. Just follow the crowd and sounds!
3. Explore Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, or the Peranakan Museum, is one of the best museums in Malacca.
The Peranakans, also known as Straits Chinese, are descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to Malacca and married local Malays.
This museum is a testament to the rich culture of the Peranakan community in Malacca.
As you step into Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, it’s like traveling back in time to the 19th century.
The beautifully preserved home provides a captivating insight into a wealthy Peranakan family’s lifestyle, customs, and traditions.
From intricate woodwork to colorful tiles, every corner tells a tale. And let me tell you, the antique collection is absolutely impressive!
- Entrance fee: RM25 for adults and RM15 for children
- Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
- Time: We spent about 1.5 hours here and explored every room.
- Getting There: Situated near the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, you can combine both visits!
4. Pose with street art
You’ve heard about the rich tapestry of cultures in Malacca, but have I mentioned its vibrant street art scene?
If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Malacca, this is it. Walking the streets and art-spotting won’t dent your wallet – it’s free!
We find the best time is during daylight hours for optimal photo ops. You can find street art mainly around Jonker Street and Riverwalk.
5. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
As Malaysia’s oldest functioning temple, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is a vibrant blend of history, spirituality, and architecture.
Beyond its religious significance, the temple is an architectural marvel with detailed woodwork and carvings.
We spent about 1 hour here, enjoying the serene ambiance and peaceful setting.
- Price Range: Free
- Opening Hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Getting There: Located just off Jonker Street, it’s a quick walk from the Peranakan Museum.
6. Climb St. Paul’s Hill
For breathtaking panoramic views of Malacca, St. Paul’s Hill never disappoints.
Atop this modest hill are the ruins of St. Paul’s Church, a silent witness to the changing hands of colonial powers over the centuries.
- Fee: There’s no entry fee, but remember to wear comfy shoes!
- Opening Hours: Best visited during daylight hours. Sunrise or sunset, the vista will leave you spellbound.
- Getting There: Right in the middle of Malacca, a short climb from the Sultanate Palace.
7. Visit St. Paul’s church
Built in 1521 by the Portuguese as a chapel, it’s seen its fair share of history.
Notably, after the Dutch conquest in the 17th century, it was transformed into a burial ground and has tombstones inscribed in Dutch.
As you stroll, observe the tombstones that whisper legends of maritime explorers.
Don’t miss the statue of St. Francis Xavier; legend has it he blessed this place. In fact, this iconic Malacca site once temporarily housed his remains
- Entrance fee: RM25 for adults and RM15 for children
- Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
8. A’Famosa Ruins
A few minutes’ walk from St. Paul Hill will lead you to the remnants of the A’Famosa fortress. It’s a portal to the 16th century, and arguably Malacca’s most iconic landmarks.
Walking around A’Famosa, you’re treading the same ground as Portuguese soldiers once did over 500 years ago.
While only the entrance, named Porta de Santiago, remains of this ancient fortress, the A’Famosa Fortress is a powerful reminder of Malacca’s colonial past.
- Price Range: Free
- Opening Hours: 24/7, but best visited during daylight hours.
- Getting There: Located right in the heart of Malacca, it’s a short walk from the main square. Close to St. Paul’s Hill.
9. Have fun at the museums
For culture buffs and curious souls, the museums in Malacca are an absolute treat.
Tucked within this historic city’s alleyways and bustling streets are pockets of wonder that showcase a refreshing blend of tradition, art, and a touch of the paranormal.
- Upside Down House Gallery: This topsy-turvy world turns your perspective, quite literally, upside down. Perfect for those fun, quirky Insta snaps!
- Illusion 3D Art Museum: Get ready for a visual feast where art leaps out of the frames!
- Magic Art Museum: Magic, they say, is all about perception. Here, art takes that literally!
- Malaysia Heritage Studios: This gem dives deep into Malaysia’s rich tapestry of history and culture.
- Ghost Museum Melaka: Not for the faint-hearted, this museum merges history with the supernatural, giving you a dose of both intrigue and goosebumps.
10. Cruise Melaka River
After a long day of exploring, nothing beats relaxing on a river cruise.
The Melaka River Cruise offers just that – a serene journey past historical buildings, old warehouses, and vibrant murals.
I recommend visiting during sunset; the warm hues of the sky casting a golden glow over the city are beautiful.
The night cruises are also lovely, offering a different, illuminated perspective of the city.
A tip from me: the right side of the boat often offers the best views, so try getting a seat there!
- Price Range: RM30 for adults and RM20 for kids
- Opening Hours: Cruises run from 9:00 am – 11:30 pm
- Getting There: The main jetty is near Dutch Square. Conveniently, it’s a brief stroll from Dutch Christ Church.
11. Dine and wine along the Melaka River
The Melaka River is a sparkling jewel come nighttime. The riverside, illuminated by lights, offers the perfect setting for a relaxed evening.
Reserve a table by the river, it’s worth it. Post-dinner, a chilled drink at one of the bars is a must. I recommend trying a cocktail infused with local flavors.
- Price ranges: Dinner can range anywhere from RM 30 to RM 100, depending on the place.
- Opening hours: Most restaurants open by 6 pm for the dinner crowd.
12. Ascend Taming Sari Tower
Ever thought about how Malacca would look from the skies? Taming Sari Tower is where you need to be.
Standing tall at 110 meters, it’s the only gyro tower in Malaysia and offers a panoramic 360° view of Malacca City.
As the tower gracefully revolves, you’ll get panoramic views of the entire city, from the coastlines to the historic cityscape.
We loved spotting iconic landmarks and tracing the winding Malacca River. And the view at sunset is pure magic.
- Ticket prices: RM23 for adults and RM15 for children.
- Opening hours: The tower operates from 10 am to 11 pm daily.
13. Unwind at cafes
Between historical excursions, Malacca’s vibrant café scene invites you to unwind.
The city’s blend of cultures is mirrored in its coffee shops, from heritage-rich settings to modern chic hangouts.
These cozy spots are sprinkled throughout the city, with a significant concentration around Jonker Street and Heeren Street. Our favorite spots are Locahouz, Calanthe Art Cafe, and The Daily Fix Cafe.
Whether you’re looking for a caffeine hit, a sweet treat, or a place to pen down your Malacca memories, these cafes have got you covered.
- Prices: Prices are reasonable, with most coffees and snacks ranging between RM10 to RM20.
- Opening Hours: Most cafes open around 9:00 am and close by 11:00 pm
- Getting There: Jonker Street and its surroundings are packed with delightful cafes.
14. Sample Nyonya Cuisine
If there’s one thing in Malacca that’ll leave your taste buds dancing, it’s the famous Nyonya cuisine.
Born from a mix of Chinese and Malay influences, it’s the kind of food that tells a story of centuries of cultural fusion.
You’ll find Nyonya restaurants around Jonker Street and throughout the city, catering to various budgets. My advice? Be adventurous and try as many dishes as you can.
Don’t miss the Laksa Lemak – creamy, spicy, and oh-so-flavorful. For dessert? How about some Cendol – a cold, sweet treat that’s just perfect for the Malaccan heat?
- Price Range: MYR 10-50 per dish, depending on the restaurant
- Opening Hours: Most eateries open by 11:00 am and close around 10:00 pm
- Getting There: Head to Jonker Street or Jalan Tengkera; both are known for their Nyonya delicacies.
15. Board a ship
The Maritime Museum, resembling a huge replica of the ‘Flora de la Mar’ ship, stands as a proud beacon of Malacca’s illustrious maritime history.
Once inside, you’ll embark on a voyage that sails through Malacca’s past as a major port in the East.
The exhibits wonderfully detail ancient shipwrecks, trade routes, and the great naval battles of yore.
The adjoining Naval Museum is another treat, with naval artifacts and detailed dioramas.
- Prices: RM10.
- Opening hours: Open from 9 am to 5:30 pm on weekdays and till 9 pm on weekends.
- Getting there: It’s a brief 10-minute walk from Dutch Square, following the riverside.
16. Hop onto a Malacca Trishaw
Are you ready for some nostalgic charm? The decorated Malacca Trishaws are the city’s mobile fiestas!
Most routes cover the historic town’s main attractions but feel free to customize your tour. Oh, and don’t be shy about requesting a song.
Trishaw rides usually start from around RM 40 for a 30-minute tour.
They operate primarily during daylight hours but can be found as late as 9 pm near popular spots like Dutch Square.
17. Wander around the Sultanate Palace
If you’re interested in Malaccan history, The Sultanate Palace is a notable stop.
This wooden beauty is a replica of Sultan Mansur Shah’s 15th-century palace, painting a vivid picture of Malacca’s royal heritage.
Inside, the Cultural Museum showcases dioramas that give glimpses into the past of Malacca. It’s worth taking your time at each display.
- Price Range: MYR 5 for adults
- Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
18. Admire Straits Mosque
The Straits Mosque isn’t just a place of worship – it’s an architectural marvel, seemingly floating at the Malacca Island’s edge.
The first time I visited, I was captivated by its golden dome and azure blue pillars reflecting the Malacca Strait’s serene waters.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, but check prayer times
- Getting There: The mosque is slightly away from the bustling city center, so a taxi or Grab might be your best bet.
- Tips: If you’re into sunset views, this spot is a hidden gem!
19. Go shopping
Malacca might be dripping with history, but it doesn’t lag behind when it comes to retail therapy.
From antique shops to contemporary fashion boutiques, it’s a shopper’s delight.
Begin with Jonker Street, especially if you’re a fan of antiques, trinkets, and souvenirs.
- Price Range: Varies
- Opening Hours: Typically 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, but can differ from shop to shop.
- Getting There: Start at Jonker Street and let your curiosity guide you.
20. Indulge in Malay Spa
After wandering through the city’s streets, there’s nothing more rewarding than a relaxing Malay spa experience.
Feel the traditional herbs and oils work wonders on your body as skilled masseurs knead away your fatigue.
Many reputable spas dot the city, with prices ranging widely based on the treatments. From affordable foot massages to luxury full-body treatments, there’s something for everyone.
- Price Range: MYR 100-500, depending on the treatment
- Opening Hours: Most spas open at 10:00 am and welcome guests until 10:00 pm
FAQs about Things to do in Malacca:
When is the best time of year to visit Malacca?
Malacca is a year-round destination. However, if you prefer a cooler climate and fewer tourists, consider visiting between November and January.
Is Malacca suitable for a weekend trip?
Absolutely! A weekend in Malacca gives you a good taste of its history, culture, and cuisine. Though, if you can extend your stay, there’s always more to explore. Malacca is also perfect as a day trip from Kuala Lumpur.
Is Malacca family-friendly?
Absolutely. With its mix of educational sites, fun activities, and a safe environment, Malacca is perfect for family getaways.
How accessible are historical sites in Malacca?
Most historical sites, especially around Red Square, are within walking distance of each other. If walking isn’t your thing, hop on a colorful trishaw to get around.
That’s a wrap on our guide to the Best things to do in Malacca. Whether it’s the iconic landmarks or the peaceful river cruises, there’s something for everyone here. I hope this list helps you find some great spots and activities in Malacca.