Exploring Melaka, Malaysia in One Day – A Quick Trip from KL

by Anna
A water fountain to the left of the red Christ Church Melaka in Melaka's Dutch Square, one of the top attractions to visit in Melaka, Malaysia

One thing you’ll love about Malaysia is its melting pot of culture and proximity to nearby towns and cities to do a quick one-day getaway! 

A recommendation is to travel south from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka (also spelled as Malacca) and spend at least a day exploring all the fun attractions here! 

Melaka is a well-known UNESCO World Heritage Site with Portuguese and Dutch influences from the 15th century. It’s also a unique foodie destination with rich flavors and culture. 

The city and the state are both named Melaka. But most people will understand that if you’re visiting Melaka, then you’re visiting the city center. 

In this post, I’ve written the ultimate Melaka one day trip guide. From exploring Baba and Nyonya culture and the city’s local attractions to eating authentic Nyonya cuisine, you’ll have a blast and will want to be back again!

Honestly, a day will go by quickly. However, extending your trip to 2-3 days is fine if you intend to visit places outside the city and try more delicacies.  

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Map

Below is a map of the places mentioned in this itinerary, so you can see where everything is located.

Map of places to visit and where to eat in Melaka, Malaysia for a day trip

Click on the image to see a detailed view of this map. Credit: Map data: Google


What To Do In Melaka in a Day

Snap Photos Around The Dutch Square

You have reached the city of Melaka when you come across red-painted buildings. These buildings are part of The Dutch Square where you’ll see many tourists snapping photos throughout the day.

Notable attractions around this area are Christ Church, Queen Victoria Fountain, and the Red Clock Tower, surrounded by vibrant flower bushes. 

A man and woman walk around the Queen Victoria water fountain at Dutch Square in Melaka, Malaysia

The Dutch Square is a fantastic starting point for your one day in Melaka. Photo credit: The Amateur Climber

As you walk towards the left, there are a few more attractions you can check out:

  • St. Paul’s Church: An old historic building that displays old Portuguese tombstones
  • A Famosa: The remains of a fortress used during the Dutch occupation in the 1500s 
  • Multiple museums: It’s hard to fit all of them within a day, but the Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum is worth checking out if you enjoy learning about the Melaka dynasty.

TIP: You can also get a nice view of the city from St Paul’s Hill if you don’t want to pay for the rotating view at Taming Sari Tower which is located nearby.


Savor Local Delicacies At Jonker Street

Melaka is a food paradise and there is no better place to discover its unique flavors than Jonker Street.

You can find a food store on every corner, from delicious desserts such as cendol to affordable satay stalls selling RM 1 ($0.20 USD) a stick

I’ll share my recommendations on what to eat in Melaka in the section below. 


Connect With Culture At The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum 

Go on a self-guided tour in this historic residence preserved for four generations taking you back to the late 19th century. You will be given a booklet to explore each section at your own pace. 

Baba and Nyonya refer to Straits-born Chinese males and females respectively, carrying a unique Peranakan culture that is commonly found in Melaka.

The same family still manages the museum and has kept it in pristine condition.

Click here for more information about the museum. 

Address: 48-50, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Melaka

Admission Cost: RM 18 ($3.80)


Tour The Historic City On A Melaka River Cruise 

Explore Melaka from a different angle by taking the scenic river cruise!  

It’s a great way to take a break from walking on this 45-minute ride viewing historic bridges, quaint shophouses, and ancient ruins. 

Do check out the evening cruise where you can see pretty lights decorating the town. You can purchase your tickets either at the Spice Garden Jetty or Melaka River Square Jetty. 

Address: Jalan Graha Maju Aras 8, Graha Maju Building, 75300 Melaka 

Admission Cost: RM 30 ($6.40)


Burn Calories At The Only Indoor Climbing Gym In Melaka 

If you are feeling slightly sluggish and need some adrenaline on your trip, PAMPA Rock Climbing is the place to be!

Located next to Swan Garden Resort Hotel, it’s a cozy semi-open-aired establishment with plenty of rock climbing routes at varying difficulty levels. 

You have the option to either climb the top rope or bouldering section (or both if you have the energy!) to burn those food calories from Jonker Street!

Note: All first-time climbers are required to take a one-time introductory course for RM 55 ($11.60)

Yellow and black climbing walls and colorful ropes for indoor climbing at PAMPA Rock Climbing in Melaka, Malaysia

Add a visit to PAMPA Rock Climbing to practice your climbing skills. Photo credit: The Amateur Climber

Address: 2, Jalan KSB 2, Taman Kota Syahbandar Kota Syahbandar, 75200 Malacca

Admission Cost: RM 30 ($6.40)


Where To Eat In Melaka

It’s impossible to not go on a food hopping tour at Melaka when it is home to many authentic Malaysian dishes. Below are my top recommended places to eat in Melaka. 

Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball

While there are many chicken rice ball stores lurking around Jonker Street, Ee Ji Ban has been a consistent favorite with the right texture and flavor. 

The roasted chicken and side vegetable dishes are also a great complement to the delicious rice balls. 

The queue moves pretty fast with plenty of street parking so you can save time to visit other attractions! 

A table with five plates of Malaysian food including two plates of green stir fried vegetables, two plates of chicken, and one plate of chicken rice balls at Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball in Melaka, Malaysia

Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball is a popular place to eat in Melaka. Photo credit: The Amateur Climber

Address: 275, Jalan Melaka Raya 3, Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia

More Information: Facebook Page


Jonker 88

Get a combination of fire and ice by ordering its popular assam laksa and cendol. 

Both are rich in flavor – the assam laksa with its rich spicy and sour soup and the Cendol drizzled with a fragrant gula Melaka (Melaka sugar) syrup. 

Be prepared for long queues under the hot sun as this is literally, the hottest dessert store in town!

Address: 88, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka

More Information: Instagram


Ban Lee Siang 

Here is another dish you don’t often see: the satay celup, a variety of meat and vegetable skewers dipped into a hot pot of boiling peanut sauce. 

You have the choice of dipping it into a shared pot (where the good flavor is at) or ordering a new hot pot of sauce to dip to your heart’s content. 

Address: 45-E, Jalan Ong Kim Wee, 75300 Malacca

More Information: Facebook Page


The Daily Fix Cafe

Get your cafe fix at The Daily Fix Cafe for some authentic pandan pancakes and refreshing coffee

It also provides a more comprehensive food selection compared to the other restaurants on this list with some hearty sandwiches such as the smoked duck sandwich and pastas

One of the highlights of this cafe is that it retains its historic architecture where you can snap lots of photos around the shop. 

Address: 55, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka

More Information: Facebook Page | Instagram


Christina EE Pineapple Tarts & Nyonya Cendol

If there is one food souvenir you must take home after your day trip to Melaka, it’s these homemade pineapple tarts that are to die for!

This place is also less touristy than the other spots whether it’s for the tarts or cendol. Give the durian cendol a shot!

A woman stands in front of the Christina EE Pineapple Tarts and Nyonya Cendol store entrance in Melaka, Malaysia

Photo credit: The Amateur Climber

Address: 29, Jalan Hang Lekir, 75200 Melaka

For More Information: Website | Facebook Page


How To Get To Melaka from Kuala Lumpur

You can either take a long-distance bus to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur or a car ride to Melaka, and do the same route when returning to KL. 

By Bus

Board the bus from Kuala Lumpur’s Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) to Melaka Sentral. 

Buses can depart as early as 2:50 am and as late as 11 pm, with 30-minute intervals. A return ticket costs RM 20 to RM 40 ($4 to $8), so it’s affordable for those on a budget.  

If you’re arriving directly to KL by flight, You can also ride a bus directly from KL Airport (KLIA and KLIA 2) to Melaka Sentral. Head to the Bus Terminal on the 1st floor of each terminal to buy tickets. 

The last bus to catch from Melaka is around 10 pm. 


By Car

Most locals head to Melaka by car as it’s an easy drive with plenty of public and private parking spots around the city center. You’ll want to be there as early as 7 am to get the best spots. 

To make payment for your public parking spot, you will need to download the SVP Melaka parking app.

Download the app for Android | Download the app for iOS

Public parking is free on Mondays, Tuesdays, and public holidays. Private parking spots range are more expensive and range from RM 2 to RM 10 ($0.50 to $2) per entry.


By Taxi/e-Hailing

Malaysia is blessed with multiple e-hailing services including Grab, AirAsia Ride, and Maxim. Just download the app and you can book your ride right away. 

Read a related post on other travel apps to use in Malaysia here

This is the most expensive option and can be inconvenient as most drivers may not want to do a long-distance travel out of Kuala Lumpur. 


By Private Transfer

If you have a large travel group, consider a private transfer on a minibus. It’s a direct way to get from KL to Melaka. 

While this route is considered an expensive option, there are comfortable seats and a chance to chat with others in your group easily. 

Click here for more details and to reserve one.


By Train

If you want to take a train, there is one heading to Tampin, a town in Melaka state. 

But it’s not recommended as it’s located 39 kilometers (24 miles) from Melaka city center. Afterward, you must take a bus from the train station to get to the city.


How To Travel Around Melaka

As Melaka is a compact city, traveling around the city is easy and convenient. Here are the numerous modes of transportation you have available:

  • Cycling/E-Scooter: Melaka is rather flat and it is pretty easy to get around with a Beam e-scooter or renting a bike. There are no cycling lanes, so ride at your own risk.
  • Walking: Jonker Street is pedestrian-friendly with wide pavements. This is the best mode to get around the city if you’re only planning to visit the main attractions of the town. 
  • Trishaw: What was once a common mode of transport before taxis, these trishaws have been revamped with decorative designs and popping music to accompany your ride. Like the Thailand tuk-tuk, it’s a fun experience to move around town!
  • Car: Cars are now the most common transport to travel around Melaka. However, parking spaces are limited. Most drivers arrive as early as 7 am to find a strategic street parking spot. 

Final Thoughts

A one-day trip in Melaka is just right for a quick getaway from KL as you get to tour the best local attractions, eat some delicious tarts, and go on a river cruise.

While it can get pretty warm and sunny here, there is so much to do around this compact city that heat is just secondary.

Make Melaka your next travel destination when you are here in Malaysia!

Follow my adventures at The Amateur Climber.

Like this post? Save it to your Malaysia Travel Pinterest Board.

Tourists and trishaws parked in front of the red Christ Church Melaka, one of the attractions to visit in Melaka on a day trip

Featured photo & pin #1 photo credit: frenta via Depositphotos.com

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