We said hello to Malaysia as we were crossing the road border and waved goodbye to Singapore. The process of exiting Singapore and entering Malaysia was easy and quick. It was close to 10pm when we crossed over – as we left Singapore at 645pm – so the lines were pretty empty.
We continued our journey in the darkness and got dropped off at Melaka bus station so late in the evening, the only option to reach Chinatown was by taxi. Chinatown is where the Old Melaka rests and where we wanted to stay. We paid 20 MYR (roughly USD $6.50) to get to our hotel, Sayang Heritage Residence & Guesthouse (80 MYR – > USD $20 – for a double room with shared bath) but due to our late arrival, and the inability to find the hotel, the hotel instructed the taxi driver to drop us off at Sayang Sayang Youth Hotel for the night. After driving around 20mins in the tiny (and adorable) streets of Chinatown, we were tired and just wanted a place to sleep. We paid the same price as we would have if we had stayed at Sayang Heritage Residence & Guesthouse. Sayang Sayang Youth Hostel was modern, clean, quiet and after waiting around for someone to get our keys to us, we rushed to bed to catch up on our sleep.
The next day, we visited the little town, the famous Jonker street and searched for cheaper accommodation, which we found at Chong Hoe Hotel for MYR 40 (USD $12) for a decent size room and shared bath. We also found a Laundromat for MYR 10 (USD $3) for washer and MYR 5 (USD $1.55) for dryer at the Monkey Inn, now renamed the Santo Inn – which was only a two-minute walk away from Chong Hoe – perfect for backpackers like us, who have been on the road for over 6 months and quite fed up with hand-washing (which, I am a pro at, if you were wondering).
Discovering the food of Melaka and Malaysia was such a treat, some of the dishes we tried were Laksa, the chicken and rice ball dish (succulent! a must-try!), ABC (Malaysian Shaved ice topped with grassjelly, red beans, ice cream, syrups and other goodness) and many other tasty dishes found here and there, especially during the week-end street food fair. You can spot a good restaurant by looking at the line during lunchtime, it never failed for us.
If you find yourself in town during the weekends, they have an amazing night market filled with delicious food vendors, souvenirs, clothes & other knick-knacks vendors all along Jonker street on Friday and Saturday nights.
There are a couple of temples and museums to visit while in Melaka. We toured the Baba Nyonya museum, which offers a guided tour of a traditional Baba Nyonya house for MYR 12 for 45 mins. The “Baba” term is used to define men while “Nyonya” is for women. Those terms appeared over 600 years ago when the Chinese settled in Malaysia – and you’ll definitely see those terms everywhere in Melaka.
There is also a river cruise of 30-45minutes, which you can do for MYR 15 (USD $15) per person.
Everything in Old Melaka can be reached by foot, days can be spent walking around the many streets of the charming little town, or you can do it by bicycle – but watch out for cars.
Melaka is the cutest little town and we ended up enjoying it for five full days before heading to Kuala Lumpur. The bus from Melaka leaves from Sentral, there are tons of different carriers and a bus about every hour to KL. The day we left, we headed to Sentral before lunchtime and bought our ticket less than an hour before departure. The bus can drop you off at two different stations in KL – either B’spamu or Puduraya (LRT station: Plaza Rakyat). Fare is MYR 12-13.50 (USD $4) per person, journey takes 2-2.5hrs. Puduraya was perfect for us as we were staying in Chinatown, by Petaling Street. We were five minutes away by foot from our hostel.
Have you been to Melaka? What did you do there, apart from indulging in good food? Share your travel stories with us and any travel recommendations you’d have for someone who has never been there!