Top 11 Reasons Why You Should Visit Melaka, Malaysia

by Jackie
A red brick colored wall with a Welcome to Melaka World Heritage City sign and murals of two Malaysian woman and one Malaysian man

Malaysia’s Melaka (Malacca) may be on your travel bucket list, but is it worth the visit? Yes, it is! 

We originally didn’t know much about Melaka except that it’s a UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Site with many preserved historical buildings and old ruins. 

Yet, the small city surprised us as we visited for a weekend trip. It was very walkable, had delicious and affordable food options, and a fun nighttime vibe around the Dutch Square. 

If that sounds intriguing, here are 11 reasons to visit Melaka on your next Malaysia trip. 

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1. Melaka is only 2 to 2.5 hours away from Kuala Lumpur so you can visit as a day trip or a longer weekend trip.

The distance between Melaka and KL is 135 kilometers (84 miles). It’s not too far of a distance to escape KL’s large city atmosphere and go to a smaller town and experience Melaka for a day

As you know, we live in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, so we did a weekend trip to Melaka. We flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Kuala Lumpur and then took the bus to Melaka. 

Although we had two nights, it was enough for us to get a taste of Melaka City and to have fun. 

2. It’s easy to get to Melaka by bus. 

Unfortunately, Melaka City does not have a train station or an airport, yet it’s super convenient and affordable to get there by bus. 

We took the bus from Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA 2) to Melaka Sentral Bus Station. It was straightforward as we bought the bus tickets after we arrived at KL Airport. 

You can also get to Melaka Sentral from other bus stops in Kuala Lumpur such as KL Sentral. 

A pink and red Starmart Bus parked at Melaka Sentral Station and waiting for people to board and load their luggage in the undercarriage

TIP: We recommend checking out the Red Bus Malaysia site for pricing and bus schedules. We paid around $7.40 USD per way. 

What about the reserve direction? You can get from Melaka Sentral to the KL Airport, Kuala Lumpur, or any other destination in Malaysia by bus easily. 

3. Melaka City is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Melaka applied with Penang’s Georgetown as historical cities of the Straits of Malacca (former spelling of Melaka) for the prestigious UNESCO recognition. 

They were awarded as a World Heritage Site in 2011. Learn more here. 

Melaka had influences from Dutch and Portuguese, while Penang had British influences. 

When visiting both cities, you still see the preserved or ancient ruins of architecture, main squares, government buildings, and attractions with these European influences. 

In Melaka, there is a huge UNESCO signage with street art when entering the Dutch Square area (where the buildings are a red brick color). 

4. The main Melaka UNESCO area is small and very walkable.

As you know, we love walking around and exploring cities by foot and Melaka’s UNESCO area is doable to do by foot. 

While cars and some motorbikes pass through the narrow streets, it’s best to walk around and explore the local attractions. Many attractions are at Dutch Square, Jonker Street Night Market, and within a 10 to 15 minute walking radius. 

If you decide to explore the outer UNESCO area, you can still walk or hire a Grab driver (ride-hailing car). 

But beware of crossing the street as there may not be a designated crosswalk. We noticed that there aren’t any crosswalks at many of the intersections. So, you would need to watch for vehicles and cross across the street when cars are going parallel to the crosswalk.

5. Melaka’s trishaws are incredibly fun to see and ride!

If the weather is too hot and humid and you don’t want to walk to the attractions, consider taking one of the colorful and decorated-themed trishaws, such as Pikachu, Spiderman, Hello Kitty, Doremon, Princess, and other characters. 

The trishaws hang out in the Dutch Square so you can easily hire one at any time of the day. The drivers pedal from Dutch Square to A Formosa Fort area. 

At night, the trishaws are vibrant and super fun as they have the brightest string of lights hanging inside and outside. They also blast local music from their stereo during the pedaling session. 

It’s quite a sight to see them glowing brightly in the Dutch Square at nighttime. 

At night, Melaka's Dutch Square has lit trishaws waiting for customers

You can ride these fun trishaws at night

Note: If you take a photo with the trishaw, please consider taking the trishaw as payment. We saw a woman getting yelled at by one of the trishaw owners. Or take the photo from afar.

6. It’s easy to use the Grab app for cheap transportation around town.

Grab is one of the most popular travel apps to use for ride-hailing when you’re in Southeast Asia and Malaysia.

The app is similar to the Uber interface, so you can input your starting and ending location, see the pricing depending on the vehicle, and pay for the ride via credit card. Cash is available as payment but you’ll need exact change. 

The rides are very affordable, especially if the distance is less than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) one-way. The ride can be $2.00 to $4.00 USD. 

7. It can be a budget-friendly destination.

We like to travel on a budget, and Melaka checks the boxes with the accommodation, transportation, food, and attractions. 

We stayed at Ibis Melaka Hotel and our 2 night stay cost $60 USD per night. The hotel is located in Little India, a 5-minute walk to the main UNESCO area. The hotel amenities are minimal yet the bed was comfortable and we had a private bathroom. 

Click here to check out pricing on 

Click here to check pricing on Agoda. 

Transportation is mostly done by foot in Melaka City. But, you can hire a Grab car to travel around the city. 

Food costs are very reasonable. We ate mostly street food and local restaurants. A bowl of noodles cost between $2.00 to $3.00 USD. We also ate durian cendol which is on the pricier side (according to local standards) for $5.30 USD.  

As with the attractions, there are many free places to visit such as St. Paul’s Hill (Bukit Melaka), A Formosa, Dutch Square, street art, temples, and more. There are also museums with a small admission cost. 

8. The beautiful and quirky street art.

For those who love seeing street art and murals, Melaka has a few artworks to see.

Check out our Melaka Street Art post for our favorite spots and exact locations. 

The most popular spot is My Kiehls Heritage Mural, located near Jonker Street and by the riverside. The colorful, geometric shapes wall is fun and will brighten your day. Kiehl has a dedicated doorstep, so many stop by here for photos. 

Jackie Szeto, Life Of Doing, sits on the steps in front of the colorful My Kiehl's Heritage doorway and wall art in Melaka, Malaysia

This Kiehl’s doorway is a popular spot to take photos of the vibrant murals

9. Eat your way through Melaka City.

Melaka has many places to eat depending on your interest. There are food halls, similar to Singapore hawker stalls, sit down restaurants, Western food, and much more. All the places have different pricing so you can choose what you’d like. 

If you’re a foodie, read our Melaka restaurant post for ideas on affordable places to eat.  

One of the most memorable and unique meals we’ve had in Melaka was eating the cheesy mee hoon noodles at Restoran Tong Sheng. This restaurant invented the dish, and due to its popularity, there are a lot of copycat versions around town. 

It’s a rice vermicelli with a cheesy broth and topped with large prawns. You’ll either love it or dislike the cheese as it’s different and usually not paired with rice vermicelli. But don’t doubt the cheese and we recommend trying it. 

A plate of cheesy prawn mee hoon noodles and a plate of green beans on a burgundy colored table cloth at Restoran Tong Sheng in Melaka, Malaysia

Here is the cheesy prawn mee hoon and green beans

10. Melaka’s weekend night market rivals those in Taiwan.

One of the highlights of our trips is visiting the night market. 

Taiwan is known for the long rows of food vendors and shopping at the night market. We’ve been to a few night markets such as Raohe Street and Shilin in Taipei and Fengchia in Taichung. 

Yet, Melaka’s Night Market on Jonker Street is a great alternative and just as vibrant. It’s only open from Fridays to Sundays

The night market stretches for many blocks and side streets, so you can find a local snack, drink, or have a BBQ dinner. There is plenty of shopping for clothes, anime figurines, cute keychains, and more. 

A dragon's body and head in front of the Jonker Street Night Market entrance in Melaka, Malaysia

Visiting the Jonker Street Night Market is one of the reasons to visit Melaka!

Note: Due to the narrow road, it gets crowded so you’ll need to shuffle your way through the waves of people. Walking on the sidewalk is another option for fewer crowds. 

11. The peaceful riverwalk.

Melaka isn’t a large area so it can seem crowded with tourists. Walking along the river is a relaxing way to clear your mind, go at your own speed, and observe the area. 

We loved seeing the street art and watching one of the river cruise boats pass by. There are cafes and restaurants along the water for a food break. 

Taking the river cruise is another option to enjoy the Melaka river and it’s ideal for those with mobility issues. There are river cruise kiosks near Jonker Street Night Market where you can buy tickets. 

A Visit Melaka 2024 sign over the Melaka River

Melaka welcomes visitors!

Final Thoughts

After reading this post, we hope you’re inspired to visit Melaka on your next Malaysia trip. 

It’s a small, cute town to explore for a short weekend to grab some good eats, walk around, see historical sights, and much more. We can’t wait to return to explore the outer areas. 

What are you most excited about visiting Melaka? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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A red brick colored wall with a Welcome to Melaka World Heritage City sign and murals of a Malaysian man and woman

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