Melaka Day Trip: Easy & Affordable Itinerary (2022)
If you’re from Malaysia (or visiting Malaysia) you have to go on a Melaka day trip.
Melaka (also known as Malacca) is one of the two historic cities along the Straits of Melaka.
Melaka was listed as a UNESCO world heritage city in 2008 because it is historic and rich in culture from being colonised by the Portugues, British and Dutch.
Besides beautiful architecture, historical shop houses and remnants of war, there are many delicious foods that fill your soul and aesthetic street arts to explore.
My friends and I visited Melaka for a short getaway. We explored most historical sites and the very famous – Jonker Walk in a couple of days.
However, if you only have one day in Melaka or wish to make a day trip to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur (KL), this guide should be good enough to explore historical sites and grab some good local food.
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More on Melaka: 10 Best Cafes In Melaka (Instagrammable & Delicious)
How Many Days To Visit Melaka?
1-2 days would be good enough.
If you have 2 days in Melaka – do the morning and afternoon activities in this guide on the first day and the rest of the evening activities on the second day so you can give more time and attention to all activities respectively.
But if you only have 1 day in Melaka, this guide will be perfect for you. You’ll get to explore historical sites, culture and eat some delicious local food.
Melaka Day Trip From KL: How To Get There
Many locals and tourists like travelling to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur. Locals do it for a change of scene and to get away from the busy city.
Meanwhile, tourists opt to explore Melaka because it is only two hours away from Kuala Lumpur by bus or car.
Buses from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka are very affordable. They range from RM8-RM14 (). These buses are stationed at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS).
There are buses as early as 4AM! Booking a bus that’s around 6-7AM would get you in Melaka by 9AM+ and you can start your day exploring the city early.
If you’re planning a one day trip to Melaka from KL and don’t want any hassle planning your trip, I suggest you checkout this super affordable guided tour where they pick you up from your accommodation and also send you back!
How Do You Travel Around Melaka?
If you have your own car you might want to find a whole day parking pass to station your car or leave your car at the hotel so you can get around my foot, grab or trishaw (beca in Malay language).
This is because most of the sights are situated closely to each other, around Dutch Square and Jonker Street/Walk (parking is definitely an issue although you can try Jonker Walk Parking. It would be best to avoid driving your own car)
Most easiest way to get around Melaka:
- Grab (E-hailing) – we took a grab from our home stay, they cost anywhere from RM8-RM15 depending on peak hours.
- Walking – we walked to every single cafe, historical site, street art and of course we walked along Jonker Street.
- Trishaw (Beca)
Best Places To Stay In Melaka (Malacca)
Personally, I would recommend a hotel/hostel near Dutch Square or somewhere on Jonker Walk.
This is because most of the sights are in this area and you won’t need to spend any money on e-hailing/taxis/trishaws. All you’ll have to do is walk!
10 Best Things To Do In Melaka With Family Or Friends
Here’s a quick list of fun things to do in Melaka – however, most of these things are included in the Melaka Day Trip Guide in detail (so, don’t worry!)
- Visit Dutch Square (Red Square) to take photos and checkout museums.
- Take photos at Christ Church Melaka
- Climb St. Paul’s Hill
- Explore A’Famosa Fort
- Cafe Hopping in Melaka
- Have Street Food At Jonker Street
- Go On Melaka River Cruise
- Checkout The Beautiful Floating Mosque
- Look At Melaka City From High Up (Menara Taming Sari)
- Explore Nightlife At Melaka River
Melaka Day Trip (One Day Melaka Itinerary)
Sightseeing spots mostly situated in Dutch/Red Square (Christ Church, Victoria Tower, Bukit St. Paul and A’Famosa Fort).
Great to explore during the morning before the sun heats up the town.
You should start off your day with the famous Christ Church Melaka located at Dutch Square, also known as Red Square.
The Dutch Square consists of many sights and museums but since you only have one day in Melaka, it’s best to be picky with the places you visit.
Hence, you’ll not be visiting the famous Stadthuys as that takes more time and energy to explore.
You can take some photos in front of the Church and around the square as there are many other historical monuments in the square.
If you’re here on a Sunday, the Church is open for prayers. For the rest of the days – it’s open to the public from 9AM-4.30PM.
Fun fact: Red Square or Dutch Square was not painted Red by the Dutch during their rule of 183 years in Melaka. It was originally white and was painted Red by the British.
While the church was built by the Dutch, Queen Victoria Fountain was built by the British during their rule in 1901.
The fountain is right opposite the church, just a few steps away – something you cannot miss in sight. This is the only colonial fountain in Malaysia that’s still functioning.
This is the oldest Church not only in Malaysia but also Southeast Asia.
You can choose to climb the hill and visit the ruins of St. Paul’s Church and then proceed to A’Famosa Fort.
Or you can skip the climb and just walk a little bit further to A’Famosa Fort itself. It’s up to you, how much time and energy do you have on your hands.
Once you climb up the hill and arrive at the church ruins, you’ll find souvenir shops and drink stalls to purchase a drink or some trinkets.
The reason why I’m recommending all these historical sites during the morning is because it’s not too hot and you’ll be able to climb the hill or walk from Christ Church Melaka (first stop on this itinerary) all the way to A’Famosa Fort.
I finally got to see the famous Kota A’Famosa out of the school history textbooks!
I was so excited because this iconic fort has been in our school syllabus for years and I can’t believe I’ve never seen it with my own eyes before.
I expected it to be larger, but it wasn’t tiny either – it has been ruined over the years as the fort was ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
A’Famosa Fort was built in 1511 by the Portugues, under the command of Alfonso de Alberqueque.
It was built to fend off the attack from Sultan Mahmud of the Melaka Sultanate Era and the continuous attack from Acheh and Johor empires.
Afternoons are probably great to visit museums, especially after lunch time when the sun is scorching hot – you want to find a shaded area but also still explore Melaka (museums are probably your best choice as there are many in the area).
However, there’s just so many museums in Melaka that it can be intimidating.
You want to make the most out of your one day trip! Hence, I recommend these two museums to learn more about Melaka’s ancient history and when it was first colonised by the Portuguese.
In case you didn’t know why the Portuguese came to Melaka in the first place, it was because Melaka was a strategic location for trade.
This museum is built in a big ship which is the exact replica of the Portuguese ship that sank in the coast of Melaka on the way to Portugal.
Admission into the museum is RM3 per adult and RM1 per child. It is open daily from 9AM -5.30PM.
If you want to learn more about the Maritime history in Melaka, trade routes, ships and the Melaka Sultanate era – this is the perfect museum to visit!
A sight I regret not going to and will make sure I visit the next time in Melaka – the Sultanate Palace Melaka.
The Sultanate Palace is a replica of the palace that once existed. This ancient Malay kingdom ruled Melaka before the Portuguese arrived.
At that time, the king was Sultan Mansur Shah who ruled Malacca in the 1400s.
Today, that replica is a museum that consists of photographs, paintings, weapons, musical instruments and more.
Admission into the museum is RM2 per adult and RM1 per child. It is open daily from 9AM -5.30PM.
Now that you’re done exploring most of the historical sites and museums, it’s time to indulge in Melaka street art, food and the night life!
- Street Art
Just like Penang and Ipoh, Melaka has quite a bit of street arts to explore. However, I recommend exploring the ones near or at Jonker Street itself.
One of the most popular photo taking spots would be Kiehl’s mural, located right at Melaka River. It’s vibrant and picture pretty!
While you’re there, you can also take pictures of not only the River but also the street arts across it.
Since you’re already in the area, might as well hop on the Melaka river cruise!
After taking photos at the scenic river, hop on a cruise!
The cruise is available daily from 9AM-11PM. It is RM30 per person. You can book it here.
The cruise at night looks super fun as the river and trees are lit by colourful lights and you’ll be riding the cruise under the moonlight. It was definitely a beautiful sight.
3. Jonker Street/Walk
This is the highlight of your evening itinerary – Jonker Walk. There’s so much to explore on this lengthy street, it can be overwhelming.
If you’ve been to Armenian Street in Penang, you’ll understand what i’m talking about.
However, Jonker Street has way more stalls and is way more crowded than Armenian Street.
Jonker Street comes to life from 6PM-11PM on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
This is why I highly recommend you plan your Melaka day trip on one of these days so you get to explore the night market.
At Jonker walk, there’s a lot of street food to try out. My personal favourites were – twister/spiral potato, curry fish balls and iced coconut lemon (super refreshing drink).
Don’t forget to purchase the very famous pineapple jam tarts (they’re all over Melaka).
Look out for shops where you can purchase some chinese biscuits with different stuffings (chicken, pork, red bean, and more).
Besides being a food haven, Jonker walk has a ton of souvenirs.
You can also buy essentials like sunglasses, hair clips/ties (mine BROKE while walking, thankfully there were many stalls selling hair accessories) and a rechargeable fan.
4. Nightlife At Melaka
If you’re on a Melaka day trip, you probably need to board your bus back.
However, if you are staying the night in the city – make your way back to Melaka river as there are many bars along the river for a night out.
Do not expect a clubbing scene, they’re mostly cosy and chill bars where you can have a beer or cocktail while looking out into the river.
Melaka Day Trip: Best Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Spots
For this article, I’ll be recommending all food spots that are nearby to best suit this Melaka day trip guide.
You can get to these food places by foot if you’re visiting any of the sites mentioned in this article.
Let’s look at some restaurants and cafes on Jonker Street/Walk itself:
The Stolen Cup
I recommend this place for breakfast because they’re known for their wide range of pastries and coffee.
Plus, it is located near the start of Jonker Walk and very near to Christ Church Melaka, Dutch Square.
So you can basically get a good breakfast here then head off to start your one day tour in Melaka.
If you do visit this cafe, be sure to try their popular Salted Egg Yolk Croissant and gula Melaka latte (might as well explore local flavours if you’re dining at a cafe in Melaka).
The Daily Fix Cafe
Probably my favourite cafe in Melaka (only because they roast their own coffee and I loved their latte).
This is your typical western cafe with great aesthetics. If you’re not in the mood for local food and want to grab brunch and a cup of coffee, I highly recommend The Daily Fix.
You can read more about my review on this cafe and other best cafes in Melaka here.
Calanthe Art cafe
Calanthe art cafe is one of the most instagrammable cafes in Melaka. It’s filled with artsy paintings and props. It also has super affordable local fusion food.
I had creamy butter chicken rice and tried Malacca’s iced local coffee. Both were (RM15/USD3.37)
This option is perfect for tea time or dinner.
Jonker Walk Street Food
Some Jonker street food to keep your eyes peeled for:
- Fish curry balls
- Iced coconut lemon drink
- Portuguese tarts
- Chinese biscuits with different fillings
- Twister/Spiral Potato
- Quail Egg Skewers
Books To Read Before Visiting Melaka
This one teaches us the history of Melaka – especially before it was colonised by Portuguese, Dutch and British.
A history of the Malay Peninsula and the islands of the Archipelago.
The Malay Annals (Malay: Sejarah Melayu), originally titled Sulalatus Salatin (Genealogy of Kings), is a literary work that gives a romanticised history of the origin, evolution and demise of the great Malay maritime empire, the Malacca Sultanate. The work which was composed sometime between 15th and 16th centuries, is considered one of the finest literary and historical works in the Malay language. In 2001, the Malay Annals were listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme International Register. The Annals cover the founding of Melaka and its rise to power; its relationship with neighbouring kingdoms and distant countries; the advent of Islam and its spread in Melaka and the region as a whole; the history of the royalty in the region including battles won or lost, marriage ties and diplomatic relationships; the administrative hierarchy that ruled Melaka; the greatness of its rulers and administrators, including the Bendahara Tun Perak and Laksamana, Hang Tuah.
Melaka Trip Budget
Melaka is one of the more affordable cities in Malaysia in my opinion. If you’re on a budget, Melaka is great for travel.
Below is an estimate on Melaka travel budget (one day trip):
One night hotel: RM120-RM180
Food and drinks: RM50
Overall, the estimated budget for a one day Melaka trip would be RM270-RM370 (USD60-USD83).
I definitely spent more than that because I bought lots of food and souvenirs for family.
It’s easy to overspend on food and purchasing souvenirs, especially at Jonker Walk. So if you’re on a budget, keep that in mind!
Melaka Day Trip: Reminders and Tips
Some important things to remember:
Carry a water bottle with you. It’s really hot and gets hotter in the afternoon.
There’s a lot of walking and you’ll get thirsty easily. Plus, the drinks and water bottles are slightly pricier in tourist areas.
Wear Walking Shoes
Although I decided to wear a dress to take some pictures, I decided not to go with my heels.
It would be ridiculous and painful.
Wear walking shoes even if it doesn’t go with your outfit, it’s the most sane thing to do.
Leave your luggage or bag at the hotel and opt to carry a tote bag.
Trust me, it’s convenient to store your water bottle, sunglasses, money, umbrella, street food (yes, we stuffed food in our bags) and also souvenirs.
If you’re only here for a day trip, make sure your backpack is as light as possible!
Buy A Fan
You can buy a traditional hand fan or rechargeable fan from the souvenir shops along Jonker Street.
Or you can buy them online to prepare for your trip.
Follow This Itinerary
As mentioned before, I recommend visiting historical sites in the morning, museums in the afternoon and street arts + Jonker Walk in the evening.
This is because the afternoon is super hot and you wanna use that time to avoid walking around the city too much – best to explore museums as they are shaded.
Is It Worth Visiting Melaka?
Final verdict – YES. I think it’s worth your time especially if you’re already in Malaysia (specifically in Kuala Lumpur). It is a short journey to and fro, inexpensive and there is a lot of culture, history and food to explore.
What more could you want from a holiday?
I hope this simple one day in Melaka guide was helpful for you. If you’re visiting Melaka for more than a day, you can split the activities accordingly.