Melaka is a beautiful city with a rich history, only about two hours away from Kuala Lumpur. Although I didn’t know much about it before visiting, it surely stole my heart.
After spending almost one week in this beautiful city, I can say that I know all the hot spots in Melaka. Without further introduction, below are 22 things to see and do in Melaka. I must confess, my favorites are number 14 and 20.
1. Christ Church Melaka
Probably the most beautiful places to visit in Melaka and one of the city’s icons is the Christ Church. This beautiful red church cannot pass unnoticed and it will impress you with its beautiful architecture.
Located in the Red Square, the Christ Church Melaka was built in 18th century by the Dutch and it took 12 years to complete. The church was built in Dutch Colonial architecture, in commemoration of the centenary of the capture of Melaka from the Portuguese.
This church is also one of the most popular photography spots in Melaka, so don’t forget to bring your camera or selfie stick with you! For the best results, go as early in the morning as possible as the place gets pretty crowded during the day.
The Christ Church Melaka can be visited from Monday to Saturday – 8.30 AM to 5 PM.
2. Stadthuys Melaka
Right near the Christ Church is the Stadthuys Melaka. Dressed in the same vibrant red, the Stadthuys was built by the Dutch in 1650 and it served as the office for the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor.
Today, the building serves as the Museum of History and Ethnography Melaka. The museum portrays the life of the different minorities living in the city: the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians, the Portuguese and many others.
If you are looking for a walk through the history of Melaka, this is the place to go. The entrance costs RM 10 for adults and RM 4 for children. The museum is open daily, from 9 AM to 5.30 PM.
3. Jonker Street Night Market
You’ve never truly been to Southeast Asia if you haven’t experienced a night market and the Jonker Street Night Market is definitely one of the best I’ve seen so far.
A night market is basically a place where local people come and set up stalls and sell local food, souvenirs and pretty much anything. I love these markets because they are so diverse and vibrant. Don’t forget to taste the famous Quail Egg while on Jonker Street for just RM 4!
The Jonker Street Night Market is opened only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As soon as the sun sets, the Jonker Street is closed to cars and open to curious eyes in search for a local, authentic experiences. The entrance is free.
4. Hokkien Huay Kuan Temple
If you are taking a walk on Jonker Street, do not hesitate to stop for 5 minutes and admire the Hokkien Huay Kuan Temple. With intricate, colorful design this temple is a feast for the eyes.
The main entrance is framed by two pillars featuring beautiful carvings while the doors and walls have traditional Chinese motifs. Although small, this clan house is worth admiring if you are in the area.
5. Menara Taming Sari Tower
If you want to have a different perspective over Melaka, then you should definitely go to Menara Taming Sari. This ride offers an incredible panoramic view over the city from a height of 80 meters. For 7 minutes you can admire all the main attractions in Melaka from a bird’s eye view.
This attraction is opened daily from 10 AM until 11 PM and the admission fee is RM 22 for adults and RM 11 for children.
6. St Paul’s Church
Built in 1521, St Paul’s Church is considered the oldest church in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Today, it can be admired at the top of St Paul’s Hill Melaka. Although there are a few stairs to climb, this place is definitely a must see in Melaka. The view over the city from the top of the hill is one of the best you’ll get.
Right in front of St Paul’s Church you can also admire the statue of St Francis Xavier which was built later, in 1953. He was an active Catholic missionary in Southeast Asia and his body was buried for a brief period of time in St Paul’s Church.
The ruins of this church are very well preserved and today St Paul’s Church is one of the top attractions in Melaka. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you’ll find many tourists here. If you want to take photos or just enjoy the place for yourself, I would recommend waking up early.
The St Paul’s Church entrance fee is free.
7. Governor’s Museum
Right near St Paul’s Church you can visit the Governor’s Museum. This museum was opened to public in 2002 and it features personal belongings of Melaka’s governors.
Firstly, this building was the residence of the Duch Governor of Melaka. After the British came and colonized Melaka, the building served as the residence and office of the British Governor. After the independence of Melaka, the building was used by the Melaka governors until the offices were relocated.
The entrance fee for adults is RM 10 while for children it costs RM 4. The Governor’s Museum is opened daily from 9 AM until 5.30 PM.
One of the oldest European building in Asia which can still be admired today, A’famosa is a former Portuguese fortress. However, today we can still see only a small part of the former fortress which is called Porta de Santiago.
Originally build by Alfonso de Albuquerque who led the Portuguese invasion, A’famosa used to include hospitals, churches and towers. A’famosa was later conquered by the Dutch and then the British who ordered its destruction. However, Porta de Santiago was left untouched due to the intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles (founder of Singapore).
A’famosa is one of the must see places in Melaka and it’s close to other attractions such as St Paul’s Church and Governor’s Museum, as well as the Red Square. The entrance is free.
9. Visit Villa Sentosa
A short walk away from the city center will lead you to this beautiful traditional Malay house – Villa Sentosa – one of the must visit places in Melaka. If you want to learn more about the authentic Malay culture, this is the perfect place.
The owner, Mr. Ibrahim, will be more than happy to show you around the house and answer all your questions. After finishing the tour, do not forget to leave a donation! Also, don’t hesitate to take a walk in the Kampung Morten neighborhood and discover more traditional Malay houses.
Villa Sentosa is opened daily from 9.30 AM until 6 PM. There is no entrance fee but donations are welcomed.
10. Maritime Museum Melaka
The centerpiece of the Maritime Museum is the Flor de la Mar replica. The ship sunk when Alfonso de Albuquerque was returning home after conquering Melaka.
The museum highlights the economical importance of Melaka and why its control was so important for the maritime dominance of the region. Here you can find exhibits of textile and spices as well as a collection of ship models.
The entrance fee to the Maritime Museum is RM 10 for adults and RM 5 for children while the opening hours are as follows: Monday–Thursday 9 AM–5 PM, Friday–Sunday 9 AM–6.30 PM.
11. Melaka Straits Mosque
Built entirely on stilts, the Melaka Straits Mosque has a beautiful modern Islamic architecture. Non-Muslim visitors are allowed inside the mosque (outside of prayer times). The best time to visit the mosque is at sunset when you can see its beautiful reflection in the water and take some amazing photos.
A bit further away from the city center, a visit to Melaka Straits Mosque requires taking a taxi. The mosque is located on the reclaimed Pulau Melaka island and it was opened in 2006.
12. Take a Melaka river cruise
Perfect to end a day of sightseeing, the Melaka river cruise will take you along of the Malacca River. While you will sit back and relax, you will have the chance to admire the vibrant city. From painted murals to the Kampung Morten village, the river cruise is a nice way to discover Melaka.
Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and some water. Although the boats are covered, the sun rays will make their way to your skin.
My advice would be to take the boat from the terminal near the Maritime Museum, close to the city center. The river cruise will take about 45 minutes round trip. The price is RM 18 for adults and RM 10 for children.
13. Visit Baba Nyonya Museum
The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum Melaka features three restored houses and hosts an incredible collection of traditional furniture, lanterns and paintings. The houses were built in 1896 and the museum opened to public in 1985.
The museum’s name comes from Baba Nyonya which is a a community formed through the marriage of Chinese men with Malay women. The men are referred to as Baba while the women are referred to as Nyonya. The unique culture resulted through the mix of these two ethnic groups is beautifully portrayed by this museum.
The Baba Nyonya Museum is opened from 10 AM until 5 PM (last admission 4.15 PM) and the entrance fee is RM 15 for adults and RM 10 for children. If you want a guided tour, add RM 4 per person.
14. Take a ride in the Melaka Trishaws
No trip to Melaka is complete without a ride in a trishaw. These were definitely one of the highlights of my stay in Melaka. The local people decorate the trishaws with colorful lights, artificial flowers and toys. Moreover, each trishaw has its own music.
The drivers gather at the Red Square and offer different types of tour packages around the city. The price for a ride depends on the length of the tour. For a 15 minutes ride expect to pay somewhere around RM 25. The best time to take a trishaw ride is at night because this is when all the colorful lights will be on.
We loved our Hello Kitty trishaw and we had so much fun feeling like children again.
15. Sri Poyyatha Vinayaga Moorthy Temple
Sri Poyyatha Vinayaga Moorthy Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia. If you have visited other Hindu temples you are probably used to all the colorful details and carvings. This temple is a bit different.
It’s architecture is actually quite simple and the temple is painted almost entirely in blue. If you are lucky enough, you can get a glimpse inside the temple. I have visited it two times: one time it was open while the other time it was closed.
16. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
Probably one of the most beautiful Chinese temples I’ve seen in Asia, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is one of the things you have to see in Melaka. Built in 1673, its intricate carvings and designs are truly impressive.
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is considered the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia and it stands for the Three Doctrinal Systems of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. The temple still servers as a praying place for the Chinese community in Melaka.
The Cheg Hoon Teng Temple is opened daily from 9 AM until 7 PM and the entrance is free.
17. Have a drink at a traditional Chinese liquor store
A family business, Sin Hiap Hin is a great place to taste not only a traditional Chinese drink but also a bit of the Chinese culture. People come here, usually in the morning, and drink a glass of liquor before starting their day.
All the drinks are made with natural herbs and the lady running the place will be more than happy to show you all the flavors. A glass of liquor costs around RM 7. Even if it’s not one of mainstream Melaka attractions, Sin Hiap Hin is worth a visit.
18. Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum
The Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum was built in 1984 and it is a replica of the original sultanate palace. Before the arrival of the Portuguese, Dutch and British, Melaka was ruled by Sultan Mansur Shah during 1456-1477.
The museum displays a collection of paintings, clothes and artifact which portray the Malay life during the sultanate. Situated near A’famosa and St Paul’s Hill, a visit to the Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum give you a better idea about the history of Melaka.
The museum is opened from 9 AM until 5 PM and the entrance fee is RM 5 for adults and RM 2 for children.
19. Masjid Kampung Kling Mosque
Situated on the same street as Sri Poyyatha Vinayaga Moorthy Temple (Hindu temple) and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Chinese temple), the Masjid Kampung Kling Mosque is one of the must go places in Melaka.
Built in 1748, the tiles here are amazing but some of them have been replaced. To see which ones, look for a stamp on the tile. If you can find it, it means that particular tile has been replaced.
The entrance to Masjid Kampung Kling Mosque is free.
20. Admire the views from Pedestrian Bridge Kg Jawa
Also called the Kampung Jawa Bridge or the ‘Ghost Bridge’ Melaka, this is one of the best viewing points in the city. The ‘Ghost Bridge’ name comes from the Japanese Occupation when several people were killed and hung from the bridge. However, the bridge you can see today is not the original one – it has been replaced.
21. Church of St Francis Xavier
The Church of St Francis Xavier was built in 1856 on the banks of Malacca river. Its neo-gothic structure stands tall near the Melaka city center and it’s worth the 5 minute walk. The church serves as a Catholic one and it was named after the missionary Francis Xavier who was based in Melaka for a few years.
22. Admire the murals on the banks of Malacca River
Don’t be afraid to walk through the narrow streets to reach the Malacca River. The houses near the river are all painted with beautiful murals depicting scenes from Melaka’s rich history.
This is definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in Melaka.
Where to stay in Melaka
Situated in the heart of the city, the Rucksack Caratel is a great choice if you are looking for a good value for money place. We loved our stay here; the hotel is clean, close to all the main attractions and the staff is very friendly. For my full review of the Rucksack Caratel Garden Wing check out this article. If you want to book this place, click here.
May the travel bug bite you!
More about Malaysia:
- Villa Sentosa, an authentic attraction in Melaka – click here
- The perfect Kuala Lumpur one day itinerary – click here
- Penang 3 day itinerary – click here
- Explore Cameron Highlands – click here
- The most beautiful waterfall in Malaysia – click here
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