In a nutshell
What gained Melaka importance in the past was its strategic location. What we liked about Melaka the most was its strategic location. Just two hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, Melaka is a gorgeous town packed with history and love.
We can’t decide what we loved the most about Melaka: the crimson Dutch Square, the delicious and healthy variety of food, that beer by the river side watching the tourists go by on their river cruise, those colourful trishaws ruling the streets, the warmth of the locals, the christmas festivities at the Portuguese settlement, the religious harmony of the town or the serenity of the Straits Mosque. The answer my friend is: All of the above and more.
How to get there?
We took a direct Air Asia flight from New Delhi to Kuala Lumpur as it was the cheapest.
Air Asia being the cheapest airline doesn’t provide check-in baggage or meals. We recommend that you pre book these as they are way more expensive to book at the airport.
There are buses available from the KL Airport at an interval of 30 minutes for just 48 MYR for two. You can also take a taxi for 260MYR.
Where to stay
We stayed at The Sterling Boutique hotel. While the hotel is strategically located, has a beautiful facade and spacious rooms; it lacks basic amenities expected from a 4 star. We found the staff to be cold and non accommodating. You can get Hattens Hotel in a similar price range.
There are a number of guest houses and hostels on Jonker Street that you can stay in at an inexpensive fare. If you really want to splurge, Hotel Casa del Rio Melaka is at a great location and is absolutely gorgeous.
What to pack
Pack comfortable cotton t shirts, cotton pants, shorts and shoes. You will end up walking around in the humid heat and you will want to change and shower thrice a day. Rain is uncertain and common so you might want to consider carrying an umbrella.
For visits to temples and mosques, carry a scarf to cover your head and a full sleeves top.
Food in Melaka
Let’s come to the main part of this article. Melaka has delicious Nyoya cuisine and dim-sum breakfast at surprisingly reasonable prices.
a. Oyster and prawn omelettes: Oyster omelette served with their chilli tomato sauce is a delicacy in Melaka and it costs nearly nothing!
Have this at: Pin Pin Hiong.
b. Dimsum breakfast: You will forgot your fancy Delhi dimsum buffets when you go to their chinese ‘dhabas’ for a 6 am breakfast or midnight munchies. They come with a big platter and you point at take what you want. The chicken glutenous rice is still making our mouths water.
Have this at: Low Yong Moh (6am to noon) or Restoran Dim Sum How Her Siang (6pm to 2am)
d. Loh bak: Deep fried and crispy Nyoya pork roll.
Have this eat: Far East Cafe
e. Salted egg prawns: A Portuguese specialty. You can take crabs in the same preparation too.
Have this at: Monterios
f. Portuguese fried chicken: This is delicious and comes with their chilli sauce. One tip though: When you order one piece, it really means two here. Beware of the generous portion sizes.
Have this at: Monterios.
g. Char kway teow: Fried noodles comes in a lot of variety in Melaka. The soupy one has a nice burnt garlic taste.
Have this at: Melting Pot.
h. Dosa: Though their dosas are more like pancakes (super soft), what we liked was the fish sauce it is served with.
Have this at: Selvam
i: White cheesecake: Melaka has some really cute cafes. Make a stop at one to have some coffee with a slice of cake.
Have this at: Ola Lavanderia Cafe
We missed a Laksa Bowl from Jonker 88, Hot peanut sauce skewers from Capitol and chicken with rice balls from Famosa. If you have a sweet tooth, please also try Chendol.
Pubs in Melaka
Melaka really comes alive in the evening. Even though drinking in Malaysia is fairly expensive, we found some great bars with happy hours and good music.
a. Me and Mrs Jones Cafe: Mr Jones is a true rockstar playing rock and roll by himself while Mrs. Jones will bring you drinks and have a good conversation with you. They helped us plan the whole trip. We highly recommend stopping here for a drink.
b. Sid’s Pub: Reasonably priced in happy hours, Sid’s Pub has a cool ambience and a nice river side seating.
c. Idler’s Corner: By the river, this was out first stop. A bottle of Anchor Beer is just for 15 Ringgits.
d. Boon Chu: A homestay with a river view and cheap beer.
e. Geographer Cafe: Good location with good prices on beer pitchers.
Other things to do in Melaka
- Stroll around the Dutch Sqaure. Checkout the ruined cannons by the Dutch.
- Spot the artist by the river and buy a painting from him. He is one chatty fellow.
- Go to Straits Mosque in the evening: The view of this floating mosque is breathtaking.
- Visit a Chinese temple
- Climb a million steps to the ruines St. Pauls Church to see the best arial view of the town.
- Visit the Portuguese settlement during Christmas to see it lit up and festive.
- Walk to Bukit Cina to see the chinese cemetery
- Visit the Jonker Street on the weekend to buy food and memorabilia at their night bazaar.
- Feel like a tourist riding the colourful trishaws or taking a river cruise.
We also spent 1.5 days in KL. Stay tuned for what we did there.
Cost for 2:
Flight tickets: Rs. 34,488
Extra baggage (20kgs): Rs. 4,500
Stay at Sterling Hotel (2 nights): Rs. 5,872
Tourism tax at hotel on arrival: Rs. 220
Bus from KL to Melaka and back: Rs. 1,285
Malaysian SIM from the airport: Rs. 750
Food, drinks, cabs and shopping in Melaka: Rs. 12,000
Total: Rs. 59,115
Total spent in KL: 21,000 (including entries, hotel, food, drinks and travel)
Total: Rs. 80,115