From Halal Food & Travel
Malacca City (Malay: Bandaraya Melaka, and officially Melaka City) is a city and the capital of the state of Malacca, Malaysia.
Malacca Halal Explorer
Modern-day Malacca is a vibrant old city with a unique historical and cultural background from being the capital of a powerful Malay kingdom before the colonial era, as well as subsequent Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. The city centre was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in July 2008, along with Georgetown, Penang.
History of Malacca
Before the arrival of the first Sultan, Malacca was a simple fishing village inhabited by local Malays. The Malacca Sultanate was founded by Parameswara, also called Iskandar Shah or Sri Majara, the last Raja of Singapura (the Malay name of Singapore) following a Majapahit attack in 1377. Parameswara found his way to Malacca in 1400 where he found a port, accessible in all seasons and on the strategically located narrowest point of the Malacca Strait. This later became Malacca.
There are some interesting legends surrounding the foundation and naming of Malacca. According to the 16th century Malay Annals, the city was founded by Parameswara. Some believe it more likely that he was a Hindu prince and political fugitive from nearby Java. The legend goes that Parameswara was out on a hunt in the region and had stopped to refresh himself near what is now the Malacca River. Standing near a melaka (Indian gooseberry) tree he was surprised to witness one of his hunting dogs so startled by a mouse deer that it fell into the river. Parameswara took this as a propitious sign of the weak overcoming the powerful and decided to build the capital of his new kingdom where he stood, naming it for the tree under which he had been resting. Another account says Malacca is derived from the Arabic word Malakat, meaning market. Malacca had a navigable harbor sheltered by nearby Sumatra across the narrow straits. The location was supplied with an ample quantity of fresh water, enjoyed a prime location relative to the shifting monsoon winds, and had a central location in regional trade patterns, all of which soon made it a prosperous trading town. Its fortunes increased with its official adoption of Islam in the 14th century. The Sultans of Malacca were soon attracting Arab traders from far afield. However, Malacca continued to trade with merchants of all races and religions.
After the visit of the Chinese Muslim Admiral Cheng Ho in the mid-15th century, contact between China and Malacca intensified. In exchange for protection against Siam, Malacca became a vassal state to Ming China. To ensure Malacca's safety, a new and powerful kingdom was founded by the Sultan of Samudra-Pasai. The power of the Malays began to rise through the 15th century. In the Malay Annals, Sultan Mansur Shah was mentioned as having six wives, and the fifth was stated to be a daughter of the Ming Emperor. However, in the Chinese chronicles, no such event was recorded.
Things started to change with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1509. They were at first welcomed, but Indian traders soon turned the sultan against the Portuguese and they had to flee. In 1511 the Portuguese returned, and at their second attempt seized the city. This marked the start of the formation of a large Eurasian community. The Portuguese turned the city into a massive walled fortress complete with a tower bristling with cannon. It was believed that such fortifications could withstand the encroachments of other European powers eager for a slice of the Asian luxury goods trade.
An alliance between the Dutch and the Sultan of Johor saw the loss much of Malacca's power. In 1641 the Dutch navy put a blockade on Malacca and they seized the city after six months. During the siege much of the Portuguese city was destroyed.
Only after 150 years did the Dutch lose their hold on Malacca. In 1795 The Netherlands was conquered by the French, and the British were keen to take over the Dutch holdings in Malacca. By that time, Malacca had lost most of its former importance, although it remained an important part of Asian trade routes.
The A Famosa gate is all that remains of the old Portuguese and Dutch forts. As the Napoleonic Wars wound down the British knew Malacca would be returned to Dutch control. In order to make the city indefensible the city walls were blown down. A last minute intervention by a British officer, the young Sir Stamford Raffles (founder of British Singapore) saved the gate. Shortly after its return to Dutch rule, the Dutch and British governments swapped colonies - British Bencoolen in Sumatra for Dutch Malacca.
Malacca is a centre of Peranakan culture. When Chinese settlers originally came to Malacca as miners, traders and coolies, they took local brides (of Javanese, Batak, Achenese, etc. descent) and adopted many local customs. The result of this is an interesting fusion of local and Chinese cultures. The men are addressed as Babas and the women Nonyas by their servants meaning Master and Mistress.
A small group of Eurasians of Portuguese descent continue to speak their unique creole, known as Cristão or Kristang.
Travel as a Muslim to Malacca
Buy a Flight ticket to and from Malacca
- Malacca International Airport IATA Code: MKZ
Batang Bus (yellow, cream and red) from Melaka Sentral will go past the airport. Buses will stop by the main road about 200m from the airport building. Tuahbas No. 65 (blue and white) to Taman Merdeka also goes from Melaka Sentral past the airport via Bachang.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport KLIA, (IATA Code: KUL) is the closest airport and is about 1.5-2 hr away by car. Transnasional bus company runs 4 direct buses daily at 09:15, 11:45, 16:15 & 20:15 (RM22/16 adult/child), travelling time 2 hours 30min, but if you miss them, you'll have to detour via KL or take a taxi with travelling time about 1.5 hours (fixed "budget" fare RM159, 1 way, counter inside Domestic Arrivals, the guard will happily let you and your trolley of luggage back into this area from outside).
Malaysia Airlines does not fly to Malacca, but it maintains an office at Lot 1&2, Block A, Ground floor, Century Mahkota Hotel, J. Merdeka, Melaka. ☎+60 6 282 9597.
Travel on a Bus in Malacca
Many long-distance express buses connect Malacca with both Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Johor Bahru, Singapore and other parts of Peninsular Malaysia. All long-distance and local buses now operate from the Melaka Sentral bus terminal GPS 2.2208, 102.2501 , a good 4.5 km from the historic core of the city.
To reach the main historical district take bus number 17 which departs from the domestic bus terminal of Melaka Sentral at the bus bay '17'. This bus goes to Chinatown and Taming Sari. The closest stop to Chinatown is Dutch Square, which you will easily identify from the brick red Christ Church and Stadthuys. Price is RM2/person (July 2017). Note that bus 17 is a loop line, so when you need to go back to Melaka Sentral you can take it at the same place where you got off, but using bus 17 back to Melaka Sentral does take much longer than the inbound journey ( about 40min). A much faster (and affordableer) way is to walk to the end of Jonker Walk until Jalan Kabu. You will see a Tamil Methodist Church on your right and a bus stop (Perhentian Jalan Kabu) across the street (named Jalan Kabu). From there, the bus costs 1.5RM (July 2017) and takes 15 min to reach Melaka Sentral. Buses 17 run about every 20-40 min depending on the traffic.
From Sentral, if you wish to take a taxi to the center instead then head towards the rear of the building. There's an official taxi stand that will appoint a driver to you. These are typically dirty with rude and aggressive drivers out to cheat both locals and foreigners. They would refuse to use the meter and charge exorbitant prices for short distances (a ride from Melaka Sentral to the main tourist area at Jonker Street would be about RM 25 and above). Locals would typically refer to taxi drivers as "samseng" (Malay for gangsters) and recommend using ride-sharing/e-hailing options such as Uber or the local Malaysian company called Grab as cheaper and more professional alternatives. A ride to Jonker would be about RM 8 for a comfortable clean car and friendly local driver. If arriving by bus at Melaka Sentral, head to the main entrance to request a pick up. Do not go to the back entrance where the overpriced taxis wait. You would need to download the apps on your smart phone prior to arriving.
From Kuala Lumpur
Southbound buses now leave from new bus terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS), which is located just next to LRT station and KTM Komuter station Bandar Tasik Selatan. Easiest way to get there from Chinatown is walk to Kuala Lumpur old railway station (just opposite side of canal from LRT Pasar Seni station, use overpass) and take KTM Komuter train for RM1.10 or take LRT from Masjid Jamek station. Buses are leaving every half hour, price ticket to Melaka Sentral is between RM10 and RM15, and the ride takes 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Besides, there are also several daily buses from Kuala Lumpur Internation Airport (for details see couple of paragraphs above).
Many bus companies operate from Lavender St. bus terminal directly to Melaka Sentral. Bus schedules vary between companies but some operates have hourly buses. Best show up and buy tickets in advance if you want to travel on Saturday morning and return Sunday afternoon as many Singaporean tourists have the same idea. The fares can vary starting from around SGD14-50 one way depending on class of the bus.
Bus rides often take any time between 3.5–5 hours depending on how long it takes to cross the Singapore-Malaysia borders, which during peak periods can cause massive delay. You will have to get your passport stamped at each end of the border and you must bring all your luggage with you when you are making an entrance into each country. Generally, the bus will wait for you at the border but sometimes they will expect you to catch the next bus if you take too long going through custom. Make sure you remember what you bus looks like (the number plate is quite a handy thing to remember). The buses will also have a 20-30min rest stop along the way where you can purchase food and use the toilet facilities (whose cleanliness can be questionable). The Singapore customs area has decent toilet facilities, if required.
Some of the companies operating to/from Malacca are:
- Transnasional, is the largest long-distance bus operator in Malaysia. It links the state with a host of destinations in Peninsular Malaysia like Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Singapore and further afield. Transnasional buses depart from Malacca City (Melaka Sentral), Alor Gajah, A'Famosa Resort and Masjid Tanah.
- Malacca-Kuala Lumpur Express: Hourly buses between Malacca City and Kuala Lumpur from 05:30-19:00. Tickets cost RM12.50.
- Jebat Ekspres: Buses to Kuala Lumpur via Masjid Tanah and Alor Gajah.
- Malacca-Singapore Express: Hourly buses between Malacca City and Johor Bahru and Singapore 08:00-19:00. Tickets cost RM19.00 to/from Johor Baru, and RM22.00 to Singapore. The route from Singapore to Malacca is SGD20
- Delima Express: Buses from Singapore to Malacca/ Malacca to Singapore. Tickets cost $20.80/ RM22 (26RM in July 2017). The boarding location at Singapore is City Plaza @ Payar Lebar. Online bookings are available .
- Mayang Sari Express: Buses to/from Johor Baru. Tickets cost RM19.00.
- MCW Express: Frequent express services to Muar, Johor
- 707 Travel: Favourite bus company of Chinese-Singaporeans going to Malacca. Departs 4-5 times to/from Malacca (Melaka Sentral) and Singapore (Queen Street). Does not stop at Yong Peng, so the trip can be as short as 3.5 hours. SGD 25 from Singapore; RM25 from Malacca. In monsoon season around New Year's prices are SGD 20 from Singapore. There are horror stories coming out of this company but don't be put off. Their communication may be a bit poor but if you take too long to get through customs, you just need to show the next 707 bus your ticket and you will be on your way. However, it is not fun hanging out on the Malaysian border as there is no air conditioning.
Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in Malacca
Malacca Town is not served by any railway lines. The nearest railway station is at Pulau Sebang/Tampin, ☎+60 6 341 1034, in the Alor Gajah district about 30 km (18 mi) away. The station is on the main Kuala Lumpur-Johor Bahru line and served by all trains.
By bus:The "Tai Lye" bus goes from the Tampin townsite to Malacca. You'll be looking for bus #26. When you get off the train, walk down the road to the right about 400m until you reach the main road. You now have two options. 1) Cross the road and wait until bus 26 comes toward you, wave madly at it, and it will stop to pick you up. 2) When you reach the main road, turn left and walk about 600m into town. You'll come to an intersection that T's the main road, with a road branching left up a hill. Walk up that road about 200m and the bus station is on your left. This is a less risk but more walk option. If you've got lots of luggage, you can also take a taxi from the train station to the bus station. If you get lost walking, just ask locals for the "bus station". Few speak English here, but they'll understand where you want to get to. The bus fare is RM4.30, and you'll need actual Ringit currency to pay it with. The trip takes about an hour and a half.
"Salira" bus (light blue and yellow) also goes from Melaka Sentral to Tampin via Ayer Keroh and Durian Tunggal. Get off bus at same spot as Tai Lye.
By Taxi:There should be a taxi or two at the train station waiting for someone like you to come along. If there isn't, walk into town with the above directions. You'll see one soon enough. The cost will be somewhere around RM50, but you can try haggling a bit. Either way, get them to take you to your hotel, or if they can only take you to Malacca Sentral, get a cheaper fare (don't wait to discuss this in the taxi!). Honestly, if you have the cash, and more than just a briefcase, this is the easier option. The cars are air conditioned (another bargaining chip if they aren't), and have trunk space for your gear. Plus, you could share the cost with up to three other people. Or if you are alone, maybe there is a local who's also trying to get to Malacca and would appreciate a free ride? Remember to be safe though. Don't get into your taxi until the driver has, always pay at the destination, and watch your stuff! The trip by taxi takes about 40 minutes.
Malacca can be accessed from the North South Expressway. When coming from the south, drive along E2 and leave the expressway at the Ayer Keroh exit.Alternatively, one can leave the highway at the Simpang Empat exit and proceed through normal road to Malacca. This route will pass through the town of Alor Gajah and now with the new highway (ring road) completed, the trip from Simpang Empat to Malacca will take approximately 20-30 min by car.
Malacca city is on the Coastal Trunk Road (Federal Route 5), and can be accessed from the Main Trunk Road (Federal Route 1) by turning off at Simpang Kendong or Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. Malacca is 150 km (93 mi) from Kuala Lumpur, 216 km (134 mi) from Johor Bahru, and 90 km (56 mi) from Port Dickson.
Rent a car
For those who want an easy and direct way out from either Kuala Lumpur's LCCT or KLIA airport to Malacca, an easy way is to rent or hire a car or van. It will take you about 1-1.5 hr to get there. Prices range from RM150-RM400 depending upon the vehicle type and rental duration.
Best way to travel in Malacca by a Taxi
Chartered taxi services are available from the end of Jalan Kee Ann. They travel within Malacca state and outside Malacca such as to KLIA International Airport and Kuala Lumpur and carry up to 4 passengers at a time. Many taxis will use a set fare rather than a meter for such trips, so you should agree on a price before getting in. If you rather avoid the negotiations, most hotels are able to book these trips for you (although some may take a rather large commission, so check the fare), or you can book online through a range of companies. Typical fares to KLIA are around 150-200RM, depending also on the car model. Family-taxis are available from some companies.
Book a Halal Cruise or Boat Tour in Malacca
Daily ferries run to and from Bengkalis, Dumai and Pekanbaru in Sumatra, Indonesia. All ferries arrive and depart from the Harbour Master's jetty GPS 2.19029, 102.24489(Jeti Shahbandar) at Taman Melaka Raya near the Maritime Museum.
Getting there:: Malacca Town Bus No. 17 (Green) goes near the Harbour Master's jetty which is just down the road from the Red Square.
- Tunas Rupat Follow Me Express (Malacca ticketing booth at Jln PM10 Melaka Raya. ☎+60 6 281 6766, office ☎+60 6 283 2506, +60 6 283 2516; Dumai agent: Jl. Jend. Sudirman 4. ☎+62 7 653 1398) operates two ferries daily. They depart Malacca for Dumai at 9AM and 3PM. Journey time is just under 2 hr. Tickets cost RM110/170 1-way/return.
- Tunas Rupat Follow Me Express (Malacca ticketing booth at Jln PM10 Melaka Raya. Phone: +60 6-2816766, office ☎ +60 6 2832506, +60 6 2832516; Pekanbaru agent: Jl. Tanjung Datuk No 153, Pekanbaru. ☎+62 761 858777) has ferries from Pekanbaru to Malacca on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 09:00. From Malacca to Pekanbaru, they depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9:30AM. The journey takes about six and a half hours. Tickets cost RM120/210 1-way/return from Malacca to Pekanbaru.
- NNH Ferry Services Malacca ticketing booth G-15, Jln PM10, Plaza Mahkota Melaka Raya. ☎+60 6 288 1334 runs the Pelita Jaya ferry from Malacca to Pekanbaru on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9AM.
- Laksamana Group (Malacca ticketing office stalls on Jln PM10, Plaza Mahkota Melaka Raya) has ferries from Malacca to Bengkalis in Riau Province, Sumatra, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays departing at 1100. Ferries connect to Selat Panjang where there are onward ferries to Batam and the other Riau Islands. From Bengkalis, ferries depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30AM.
- Mulia Kencana (Malacca ticketing office Stall No. 5, Jln PM10, Plaza Mahkota Melaka Raya. Mobile ☎+60 13 373 3545, +60 16 682 6896, +60 12 339 8428) operates three ferries a week from Malacca to Bengkalis. Ferries connect to the town of Pakning. From Malacca, ferries depart on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 1PM. Tickets cost RM50/80 1-way/return. Tickets from Bengkalis to Pakning cost a further Rp 10,000.
Bengkalis are not listed as a visa-free or visa-on-arrival point of entry into Indonesia. However, those entitled to visa-free entry, or at least Malaysian passport holders, do not seem to face any problems.
How to get around in Malacca
Malacca is by no means a small city, but most of the main sites are within easy walking distance from each other and are best explored on foot. Be mindful not to hold up traffic while taking pictures of buildings. The locals have generally good driving sense and adhere to traffic laws.
A 1.6-km monorail system was opened in October 2010. It connects Taman Rempah Station to Hang Tuah Station. A monorail track exists along the river but as of December 2018 is out of business.
Streets in the older/historical part of the city are very narrow, so they quickly become clogged during peak hours. This is especially so during the weekends, when cars from other parts of Malaysia and from Singapore flood to the city. Finding a car park lot is also extremely difficult during weekends. Most of the roads are also one-way, so plan your route properly.
Best way to travel in Malacca by a Taxi
Avoid taxis if possible and use e-hailing Uber or Grab rides. Taxis are known to be rude and aggressive, and refuse to use meters and overcharge passengers. Chartered taxis would cost about RM20 to go anywhere in the city whereas an e-hailing ride may be lower than half the price for a much safer and cleaner car and driver.
Travel on a Bus in Malacca
- Malacca Town Bus No 17: Melaka Sentral Terminal to the historic core, Mahkota Parade, Melaka Raya and the Portuguese Settlement. The fare from Melaka Sentral to Makhota Parade is RM1.50 to 2.00 (August 2018). The last bus from Melaka Sentral leaves at 8:30PM, after which you would have to take a taxi which costs RM 25 to Mahkota Parade, or Uber/Grab for RM 8. To find bus No 17 at Melaka Sentral, either look for a blue sign saying "Domestic Buses" or ask someone where it is. The domestic bus area is located to the rear of the Sentral Terminal. The domestic terminal section is a semi-circle arrangement, with parking bays for buses numbered 1 to 18. For the No 17 buses to the historic core, you need to go the No 17 bus bay. Also just inside the doors where the public buses depart, is a small desk for information. Note that on the way back from Makhota Parade, bus 17 goes along the main road (Jalan Syed Abdul Aziz or Lebuhraya Coastal) to the south of the Makhota Parade shopping centre, across the big bridge over the harbour and then its turns north on the road with the same name and right again to Jalan Kubu before stopping next to the Tamil Church next to Jonkers Walk. From this stop, it takes just 10-15m back to the bus station rather than 1 hour if you take it going the other way. To get to Melaka Sentral from Jonker Street, walk to the north end of Jonkier St, to a bus-stop opposite the Tamil Methodist Church (Perhentian Julan Kubu) or outside the Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTM) City Campus on Jalan Hang Tuah and take Bus No 17 (RM1, 10 minutes).
- Malacca Town Bus No 8: Melaka Sentral to Town Square for RM1.
- Malacca Town Bus No 18: Melaka Sentral Terminal to Tengkera and onwards to Pokok Mangga
- Malacca Town Bus No 19: Melaka Sentral Terminal to Ayer Keroh (Melaka Zoo and Taman Asean/Malaysia). The fare from Melaka Sentral to Ayer Keroh (Melaka Zoo and Taman Asean/Malaysia) is around RM 3
- Malacca Town Bus No. 50: Melaka Sentral Terminal to the Mahkota Parade shopping centre and nearby seafood restaurants
- Kenderaan Aziz (red and white): Buses from Melaka Sentral to Muar via Padang Temu also go past the historic core, Mahkota Parade and Melaka Raya
Generally the bus system in Malacca is worse than chaotic: there doesn't seem to be a schedule (one can wait for more than an hour for a bus on the coast just north of Malacca), and information about where and what buses to catch at Sentral is non-existent (you may get lucky looking at the printed paper displays near the front of the busses).
- Trishaws, complete with blaring pop music and fake flowers are available as well for short trips between tourist spots or circular tours. The drivers are very cheerful and friendly. The going rate is RM 40 per hour, but settle any price in advance.
- Bicycle, hire a bicycle or join a cycling tour group, see the Do section for cycling hire and groups. Some of the hostels, homestays and hotels either provide loan or rental bicycles to their guests for local sightseeing. Major local attractions have an extensive internal road or track system often have bicycles available.
- River boat : Melaka River Cruise offers a 'hop-on hop-off' service (RM 30/day), but during busy times (esp. weekend evenings) don't expect to get a seat anywhere other than near the ticket office landing.
What to see in Malacca
The older part of the city proper has, in addition to the old palace and the large buildings left by the Europeans, many private houses and shops from nearly a century or more ago, put up by Chinese traders. Many of these have beautiful details such as moulded porcelain tiles and painted plaster reliefs on the front. Unfortunately, they tend to be not well preserved and the city government decided to paint all the buildings in the historical district a bright brick red some years ago, as the constant spitting by passers-by was proving a nuisance, which detracts from their aesthetic value.
Note that on Tuesdays, many museums, shops and restaurants are closed, especially in the Jonker Street area. If you have only one day to spend in Malacca, do not go on a Tuesday!
- Cheng Hoon Teng Temple - Oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia and has an inscription dating 1685 commemorating the deeds of by Kapitan China Li Wei King.
- Christ Church - This church was built between 1741 and 1753. It replaced a Portuguese church, which was shattered. Bricks were shipped from Zeeland in the Netherlands. On the floor of the church you will find Dutch tombstones. It is the oldest Protestant church in Malaysia. On the altar you will see sacramental silverware, still bearing the Dutch coat of arms. Photography is forbidden.
Dutch Square - Beautiful square around Christ Church and the Stadhuys. On this square you will find the Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower, it looks Dutch, but it is not. It was built in 1886.
- Jonker, Heeren and adjacent streets - This is the residential heart of Old Malacca just west of the Malacca River, with its narrow winding streets, beautifully decorated houses, tiny shops, temples and mosques. The whole area is undergoing a renaissance with new shops, restaurants and hotels catering to tourists mushrooming everywhere. However, the area still has a lot of atmosphere and is worth having a look around. One of the streets in this area is Harmony Street (officially Temple street or Jalan Tokong), so called because it contains the prayer houses of Malaysia's three main faiths — the Cheng Hoon Teng Chinese temple, the Sri Poyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Hindu Temple, and the Kampung Kling Mosque.
- Masjid Kampung Hulu - Built in 1728, it's one of the oldest functioning mosques in Melaka together with Masjid Kampung Kling and Masjid Tengkera (Tranquerah), Jln Tengkera see the mixed architecture of Chinese, Javanese and Arab on the minarets and the roofs.
- Porta de Santiago - A Famosa | The remains of the old Portuguese fort A Famosa, what you can see nowadays is a mostly Dutch reconstruction, bearing the VOC coat of arms.
- Saint Paul's Church - Gereja St. Paul | It was originally built in 1521, by the Portuguese. It became a fortress in 1567, until 1596. After the Dutch siege it became St Paul's, before it was known as Nossa Senhora da Annunciada (Our Lady of Annunciation). It has been used as a burial ground for the Dutch. You can still see the tombstones, along the walls of ruins of the church.
- Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum - Muzium Warisan Baba Nyonya - Step back in time with a visit to this museum which is an actual Peranakan heritage town house and is a great example of Peranakan culture. Mandatory guide-led tour. Photography is forbidden.
- Malay and Islamic World Museum - Muzium Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam | The ground floor hosts temporary exhibits, the first floor showcases Malay history (particularly before the sultanate), the second floor has exhibits on Indonesia. Only a few panels are translated in English.
- Maritime Museum - Muzium Samudera - The main historical exhibits are hosted inside a replica of the Flora de la Mar, a 16th-Century Portuguese ship. A building includes additional exhibits on modern maritime activity and sea life.
- Melaka Islamic Museum - Muzium Islam Melaka | A general introduction to Islam and the Islamic world, with a section on Islam in Malaysia and local scholars.
- Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum - Below the hill you will find this museum (Melaka Cultural Museum). It is a reconstruction of the istana of the sultan Mansur Shah. It was built in 1985.
- Stadthuys - Completed in 1660. It is a reproduction of the former Stadhuis (town hall) of the Frisian town of Hoorn in the Netherlands which existed from 1420 until 1796. Nowadays, it houses the Museums of History and Ethnography. This is one of the oldest Dutch buildings in the east.
- Melaka UMNO Museum - Muzium UMNO Melaka | Museum about the United Malays National Organisation
- Youth Museum/Melaka Art Gallery - The Youth Museum is on the ground floor, the Art Gallery on the second level. You can have a bird's eye view of Dutch Square from a window on the second level.
Other parts of the city
Bukit China is the one of the largest Chinese cemetery outside of mainland China. Graves can be found here that go back to the late Ming dynasty (mid 17th century). The earliest grave found so far dates to 1622, but unfortunately many graves were exhumed during the British occupation of Malaysia. Bukit China is a famous jogging spot for the locals and jogging tracks are available all over the hill. When you climb on top of the hill, you will have a nice view of the town.
Malacca Straits Mosque Masjid Selat | A newly-built mosque on the man-made island, Pulau Melaka, just off the coast the city. Spectacular at evening and night.
Poh San Teng Temple Sam Po Kong | This temple is located at the foot of Bukit China and next to the King's Well, was founded in 1795 by Kapitan China Chua Sunday Cheong as a graveyard temple. The main deity is Fu-te Zhen Shen. the temple was built to allow the descendants of those buried on Bukit China to conduct prayers to their ancestors away from the heavy rain and strong winds. Next to it, the King's Well. Legends have it that Hang Liu was a Chinese princess from the Ming dynasty who was sent to Malacca to wed Sultan Mansor Shah in the 15th century when the Malacca Sultanate was at its zenith. She had 500 followers who were all settled on Bukit China, which means Chinese Hill, and this well, at the foot of the hill, was where they got their water.
- Portuguese Settlement - Here is where the descendants of the Portuguese who conquered Malacca in 1511 live today. The settlement, just southeast of the city centre, consists of tidy rows of mostly wooden houses leading up to the Portuguese Square (Malay: Medan Portugis) and Hotel Lisboa (sorry, unlike its Macau namesake, there is no casino here) on the waterfront. The people here may look Malay, but if you peer into their houses, you'll see the characteristic altar with statues of Jesus and Mary perched high on their walls. Quite a few still speak Cristao (or Cristang), a Portuguese patois. There are also many restaurants for you to sample Portuguese fare. The most interesting times to visit are during Intrudu - usually in February - when the you'll get a Songkran-like drenching with buckets of water thrown at you; Festa San Pedro to commemorate the Feast of Saint Peter in June, when there are processions, cultural shows and general merry-making; and Christmas, when the whole settlement is decked in decorative lights.
- St John's Hill and Fort - Malacca's other fortress located on top of St John's Hill in Bandar Hilir, south of the city. Pretty views of the surroundings from the top. Malacca Town Bus (green) No. 17 passes by this fort.
Along the coastal line
- Sea-Turtle Sanctuary | Information center is located at the Padang Kemunting beach (28 km away from Melaka Sentral), where they have a few information boards and dozen of the hawksbill turtles living in an aquarium. For a more pristine experience one can opt to go to Upeh island turtle sanctuary GPS 2.193628,102.204046, this trip should be organised via the Upeh island's resort. Hatching season is from March to September. In order to get to the island one needs to book a ferry ride from the Shahbandar jetty, next the tourist information centre at Jalan Kota.
Top Muslim Travel Tips for Malacca
- Fly a kite - Go to Klebang Beach and buy a affordable kite (fighter-style, but nowhere near that well-constructed) with Japanese cartoon characters on it for RM1.50, or a styrofoam airplane for RM5 if you don't have the necessary kite-flying mad skills.
- Malacca Duck Tour - This is an old military amphibious vehicle that has been adapted for amphibious tourist trips around Melaka city and moving towards the sea and come back up. Very interesting, like a joyride.
- Melaka River Cruise - a 45-min cruise along Melaka river where once it was a main trade area of Malacca during its Golden Era. It takes passengers from the jetty beside the Maritime Museum to just beyond Kampung Morten and then back. The night cruise is more interesting, as you can see the lights on the riverbank's buildings, a water fountain show and bridges. You will pass through many boardwalk cafes along the way. Wave "hi" as you cruise along happily. The Honky Tonk Cafe is located along this river bank. Tickets: Adult RM30. Hourly cruise 10AM Monday - 11PM daily.
- Pirates of Melaka - located beside the Eye on Melaka, this consists of a pirate ship that you can ride on.
Taming Sari Tower Menara Taming Sari | The 110 m-tower seats 66 people at a time, taking them on a 7-min ride for a view of Malacca. The ascent takes 1 min, you have 5 min on the top and 1 min for the descent. Offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the historic city and the coastline. Do it after taking a stroll of the town, and it will give you a whole new perspective of Malacca. Admission fees for MyKad holders: RM10 for adults, RM5 for children below 12 years old, and RM7 for senior citizens above 55 years old.
Events and Festivals
- varies, but always in January (2012 was on the 1st) - Malaka Kite Festival: International festival of kites, affiliated with the local Chinese community and run by the Melaka Kite Flyers Association (Persatuan Rakan Layang-Layang Melaka / 马六甲风筝之友 / phone 06-281 5649), who since the 1990s have also run the now well-established Kite Museum.
- 13th-15th - Thai Pongal: Tamil (South Indian) harvest festival celebrated by the local Chitty (Tamil/Malay) community. The festival corresponds to the winter solstice, and is traditionally dedicated to the Sun God Surya. It marks the beginning of the northward journey of the Sun from its southernmost-limit, a movement traditionally referred to as uttarayana. The festival coincides with that known as Makara Sankranthi which is celebrated throughout all of India as the winter harvest. Celebrated at the Chitty Cultural Village, and organized by the Melaka Chitty Cultural Organization. The day preceding Pongal is known as Bhogi (often celebrated on the 14th), and is marked by discarding old things (sometimes in bonfires!), focusing on new belongings, and cleaning, painting or decorating houses. It is similar to Holika in northern India.
- Varies by lunar calendar - Chinese New Year: Local celebrations center on Melaka Chinatown and Jonker Street, and include a giant lion dance.
- Thaipusam: Hindu festival honouring Lord Muruga including a parade concluding at Sri Subramaniam Deasthanan Temple, Batu Berendam (Batu Caves). Festivities include trances and ritual piercing.
- Second week - Malacca’s Tourism Week: Various tourism-oriented promotions.
- Holy Week: Christian celebrations between Good Friday and Easter/Palm Sunday, mostly at St. Peter’s Church. Sunday celebrations include a procession starting early in the morning with palm fronds following a life-sized statue of Jesus. Maundy Thursday also features an evening mass where the priest symbolically washes 12 boys' feet with wine in commemoration of Jesus washing those of the 12 disciples.
- Tomb Sweeping Festival: Chinese traditional festival where the local Chinese community head to the cemetery at Bukit China or other burial grounds to tidy up burial plots, light candles, burn incense and make offerings of food to the deceased.
- Ramadan - Nuzul Quran: Islamic festival that commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Mohammad.
- Mid April - Gendang Nusantara: Malay traditional dancing and percussion.
- End of April - Hari Raya Puasa: The end of the Ramadan fast and includes prayers at the mosque followed by large family visitations.
- Vesak: Celebrating the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama, the historical Buddha.
- Last weekend of May - Sikh Commemoration of Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji: The sizeable amount of Sikhs residing in Malacca as well as Sikhs from abroad congregate in the gurdwara (Sikh temple) situated in Jalan Temenggong for three days to commemorate the death of its former priest, Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji, who was elevated to a saint upon passing away. Visitors are welcome but are advised to follow rules and common practices within the premises. Typical vegetarian Punjabi cuisine will be served to everyone visiting the gurdwara.
- 5th - King's Birthday: The birthday of Yang di Pertuan Agong, the King of Malaysia.
- 23rd - Feast of St. John the Baptist: Catholic festival featuring candles and banquets.
- 28th or 29th - Fiesta de San Pedro: Portuguese festival for St. Peter, the patron saint of fisherman featuring a boat decoration competition, a mass for blessing the vessels, Portuguese cooking and fishing competitions.
- mid July - Hari Raya Aidil Fitri: Islamic festival commemorating Mohammad's journey from Mecca to Medina. Discussions and lectures are held in local mosques.
- end of Ramadan - Awal Muharram: Islamic New Year celebrations featuring open hospitality and prayer.
- Malacca Carnival: this celebration lasts for a month and showcases traditional dances and a variety of expositions covering local tourism, industry and art.
- Theemithi: Hindu festival featuring walks over hot coals at Sri Subramaniam Temple, Jalan Gajah Berang.
- mid August - Governor's Birthday: A parade at Warrior’s Field.
- National Day and Malaka Sea Carnival: Celebrating independence day, the Sea Carnival takes place at Klebang Besar Beach and includes boating and windsurfing competitions.
- Malaysia Fest: Two weeks of promotions from local businesses.
- Feast of Santa Cruz: Catholic festival at which thousands of local Christians participate in the Feast of the Holy Cross at 7AM at Malim, followed by a procession and mass.
- Melaka Festival A free international arts and film festival held annually since 2009.
- varies by Lunar calendar - Mid-Autumn Festival: The Chinese community celebrates their victory over the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, ushering in the Ming Dynasty that would lead Chinese 15th century seafaring as far west as the east coast of Africa. This basically boils down to eating lots of moon cakes!
- Deepavali or The Hindu Festival of Lights: Hindu celebration of the triumph over good over evil.
- Sunday closest to 3 December - Feast of St Francis Xavier: Christian celebration in which the Church of Saint Paul honours Saint Francis Xavier with a mass.
- 25th - Christmas Day: Celebrations include street decorations and carols that center on the Portuguese Square, as well as a midnight mass.
Muslim Friendly Shopping in Malacca
Malacca is famed for its antiques, with many a beautiful shophouse interior now filled to the brim with artefacts from all around the Asia Pacific region. Your chances of finding a bargain here are minimal though; prices in many of the tourist-oriented places are absurdly high by any standard, and although many items are touted as being 'more than a hundred years old', most is brand new but 'aged' at the back of the shops.
Muslim Friendly Shopping in Malacca
- Beyond Treasures - Woodcrafts, including Asian masks, antiques and souvenirs.
- Jusco Store - Very popular during the weekend where even the Singaporeans come to shop.
Jonker Gallery - A lovely art gallery of contemporary art work by Titi Kwok, the work is beautiful and the prices even better.
- Raz Kashmir - Secrets of Kashmir - Specialises in Kashmiri, Indian and Nepali crafts. Handmade textiles where no two items are the same. Good quality items. Worth a visit just to say hello to the owner and have a cup of tea.
Markets and Street market
- Jonkers Walk - A night market held every weekend evening to late night from 6PM Monday - 12AM. Have a leisure stroll along the street, observing the locals' life, catching a free performance and shop for some for antiques and some local souvenirs, make sure you bargain with the vendors. Try some unique stuff to eat, like grapes-dipped in chocolate or caramel encrusted kiwis. Kaya(a spread made from coconut) filled waffles is a must-try. Cheap Chinese electronic playthings are available too if you have an appetite for them.
- Night Market / Pasar Malam - Night Market or more known as Pasar Malam is a market that is held from evening to around 9PM at night everyday (though at different locations. Tuesday in Kampung Lapan and Friday in Malim). This is a good way to observe the life of locals. Pasar Malam sells basically almost anything, from food to clothing, small electronics to medicine.
- Mahkota Parade - has over 200 shops and anchor tenants are Parkson Grand Departmental Store and Giant Supermarket. Shops include The Body Shop, World of Cartoons, Royal Selangor, FOS, Reject Shop, Nokia, MPH Bookstores, Sony Centre, SenQ Digital Station, Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut. The biggest food court in Melaka is also located here. Has several bureau de change including Maybank and CIMB Bank which are open 7 days a week.
- Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall - The latest landmarks in Melaka, it is also the largest mall in Southern Malaysia.
Food and Local Delicacies
For restaurants, cafes and dining see the Eat section below.
- Choc'zz Chocolate Boutique - A wide variety of fine quality locally manufactured chocolates and other products which are certified Halal.
Halal Restaurants in Malacca
Besides the usual Malaysian fare, you'll be able to sample some rather peculiar Malaccan food. On top of the list is of course Peranakan or Baba-Nyonya food, which until recently was totally uncommercialised and confined to the kitchens of old grandmothers.
- Asam Pedas ("sour hot"), the signature dish of the state. A very hot and mildly sour fish curry accompanied by white rice. Normally eaten during lunch and dinner. From RM4.50.
- Sambal Belacan, very spicy local chilli prawn paste.
- Cencaluk, can be found sold along the roads near Klebang Beach. Made of fermented krills. A bit weird tasting for those who are not used to it.
- Lemang, glutinous rice cooked in bamboo, sold on the side of the road to Teluk Mas.
- Ikan Bakar (baked fish), head to Umbai, Pernu or Serkam for a dinner of fresh caught grilled fish and crustaceans.
- Kuih Udang (shrimp cakes), you can find this popular tea time dish in Alor Gajah town. The sauce is nice too.
- Kuih-muih, traditional cakes and deserts like dodol, wajik, lempok, inang-inang, gula melaka and many more are sold in shopping malls at Bandar Hilir, Klebang Beach and kampung areas throughout the state.
Other local but not typically Malay food:
- Roti John, an invented omelette sandwich, very popular among the Malays. For a good one, look for the restaurant in Tanjung Kling.
- Local burger, the street stall vendors, generally local Malay men serve quite tasty and satisfying burgers and hotdogs and it's cheaper than ordinary fast food restaurants too.
The recent tourism boom has seen many new food and beverage outlets open in Malacca, and especially in the heritage area of Jonker and Heeren Street. However, competition is great and some outlets fail to survive. Places you discover on your first visit may not be around anymore on your second.
Satay celup (satay sauce 'steamboat')
- Capitol Satay Celup - You pay for what you eat and at the end of the meal, the skewers are counted.
- Tengkera Mee Soup - Many varieties of Noodles are served Chinese style by a Malay/Muslim vendor and are Halal.
- Pak Putra Tandoori - Very popular (touristic) north indian food restaurant. Food tastes very good. Famous for their naan and tandoori.
- Restoran Selvam - Popular for their vegetable banana leaf rice. Extra vegetable sauces and papadum are free. Service can be almost rude sometimes but the food tastes great.
Original Malay 'fusion' cooking blending Chinese ingredients and wok cooking techniques with spices used by the Malaysian community. The food is tangy, aromatic, spicy and herbal.
- The Seafarer Restaurant - Enjoy a variety of Peranakan, Chinese, Western and Seafood cuisines encompanied by gentle sea breeze ambience. Opens daily with nightly live music. Dance floor,big screen projector & bar with virtual golf simulation are available. Watersports activities such as waterski, jet skis, banana boat rides, kayak and sunset cruise are available upon bookings.
- Restoran Ole Sayang. 198, Jalan Melaka Raya. One of the original Peranakan restaurants in town.
- Restoran Makko. 123, Jalan Melaka Raya. A few doors down from Ole Sayang. Closed on Tuesdays.
- Restoran Peranakan. 107, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Heeren Street). Enjoy the experience of eating good Peranakan food in the airy courtyard of a huge Peranakan house. Standard dishes available. Count on about RM10-15 per person.
- Restoran Nancy's Kitchen. 7 Jalan Hang Lekir (off Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock). Closed on Tuesdays. Unpretentious, affordable Nonya food. Try specialties like sambal sotong petai (squid with a spicy tangy sauce with bitter beans) and their smooth-skinned popiah (spring roll) in an old Peranakan house. Counter doubles as a shop selling all sorts of kueh and kaya. (The restaurant is non-Halal)
- Riverine Coffeehouse - Opens daily from 11AM Monday - midnight offers river view dining in the evening. Home cooked style Peranakan dishes also offers Nyonya pastries and Colonial International food.
Muslim Friendly Hotels in Malacca
- Queenspark Lovita Hotel Melaka - Rooms with all facilities, Astro satellite channel, internet broadband access, air-con room, coffee/tea making facility, own hot/cold shower bathroom, near to shopping havel, food court and commercial and banking centre. RM88.00 nett for superior twin/double. Deluxe room RM118 nett, family room RM148 nett.
- De' Songket Hotel -Rooms are equipped air-con and Wi-Fi, ASTRO cable TV. attached bathroom.
- Hotel Equatorial Melaka - 5 star.
- Mahkota Hotel Melaka - Comprised of one main block and eight apartment blocks. It's adjacent to Melaka's two main shopping and entertainment complexes: Mahkota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan. Short walking distance to Melaka's City Business Hub - Melaka Raya, as well as various Heritage Historical sites and places of interests.
- Arenaa De Luxe Hotel - RM149-1080
- The City Bayview Hotel - 4 stars. Renovated in 2006. 192 rooms, internet access; deluxe rooms and studio suites have private Jacuzzis. Swimming pool, dance club, sports bar, 6 F&B venues, including Tourism Melaka Awards (2023) winner of the Best Chinese Restaurant in Melaka.
- INB Resort - Friendly, family-run resort style accommodation in Ayer Keroh town.
Stay safe as a Muslim in Malacca
Malacca is a very safe place with a low crime rate. However, do watch out for pickpockets in crowded areas and bags snatching on the roadside by motorbikes. Carry your identification papers (passport) with you always because there are random checks by the police for illegal immigrants.
Explore more Halal Friendly Destinations from Malacca
- Johor Bahru
- Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia's cosmopolitan capital and a shopper's paradise, about 2 hours away by car.
- Singapore - Another one of the Straits Settlements during the British colonial era, about 3 hours away by car.
- Gunung Ledang - Most climbed mountain in Malaysia with some nice waterfalls to go swimming. Can be reached by bus to Tangkak and from there with local bus towards Segamat. The bus will drop you off 1 km before the park entrance (RM 1). Depending how long you have to wait for the bus a trip takes about 2–3 hours.
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