Must-do things in Malacca
Image adapted from: @tianchad
Night markets. Chicken rice balls. Home of the Mamee monster. Welcome one and all to the historic city of Malacca (or Melaka): the sleepy little sister of KL, and a great mini-vacation spot that’s just a 3-hour drive from Singapore.
If you haven’t already visited Malacca - *le gasp* - or need a refresher course on things to do, here are 10 must-try eateries and activities you can check off over a weekend trip. Most of these activities are under RM15 (~S$5) too, so get your bags and roaming ready!
Read till the end to snag the most affordable data roaming plan for Malaysia in the market that’s just $5/GB - Singtel ReadyRoam Malaysia. No need to wait for free hotel Wi-Fi to update your IG! ;)
- PLACES TO EAT -
1. Grab zhng-ed Malaysian dishes and quirky coffees at Calanthe Art Cafe
Image credit: @mangzx
Here's the deal with cafes these days: pics or it didn't happen. Thankfully, the millennials of Malacca have given this nook the IG stamp of approval. Along the alleys of Jonker Walk is Calanthe Art Cafe, an eclectic coffee house that’ll settle all your breakfast plans.
Image credit: @foodholic.sg
If growing up in a Malaysian household has taught me anything, it’s this: Ain’t no brekkie better than a damn sedap plate of nasi lemak. Calanthe doesn’t disappoint with its signature Golden Rice with Rendang Chicken (RM16.50, ~S$5.50) - the cafe’s rendition of Malaysia’s national dish that comes with a hearty chicken drumstick a la rendang.
Another spruced up classic would be the Claypot E-Mee Laksa (RM14.80, ~S$5); fried noodles in rich laksa gravy served with tons of liao like fried beancurd skin, mini fish balls, and prawns.
Note: Golden Rice with Chicken Rendang is only available through Friday-Sunday & PH.
Not an empty spot on the walls here - you’ll find kooky decor in every cranny.
Image credit: @lemmruko
Calanthe is also known for its range of coffees from all 13 states of Malaysia, like:
- Melaka: with salt, sugar, and margarine
- Pulau Pinang: roasted with Robusta beans for those who prefer a more ‘gao’, bitter taste
- Terengganu: coffee mixed with ginseng
Adventurous drinkers can head straight for their quirky concoctions instead. Try their Green Tea Coffee (yes, that’s a thing - RM5.55, ~S$1.90) or Love Potion No. 9 (RM8.95, ~S$3), a mix of coffee, raspberry syrup, and chocolate sauce.
Address: 11, Jalan Hang Kasturi, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Sun-Wed: 9AM-11PM | Fri-Sat: 9AM-12AM (Closed on Thursday)
Telephone: +60 6-292 2960
2. Visit the quaint The Woods Second-Hand Bookstore & Cafe for a midday break
A 15-minute walk away from the hubbub of Jonker Street is The Woods, a rustic second-hand bookstore-cum-cafe. It’s also right by the quaint Peranakan community of Kampung Chetti, making it the perfect spot for a midday break.
Image credit: h-paper
You’ll be able to spot usual cafe fare like dessert and light bites, but we say order the hand-dripped coffees that are brewed by the owner with a good dose of TLC. This hole-in-the-wall also happens to look like a bookstore straight out of the 1970s, which adds to its cosy atmosphere. Visitors can grab books to read while having their meals, from contemporary and romance novels to old-school comic books.
Address: 35, Jalan Gajah Berang, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 11AM-8PM
Bookmark our guide to cafes in Malacca for later!
3. Feast on satay-style lok lok steamboat that’s open till 1AM at Restoran Capitol Satay
Image credit: @joliehwee
Lok lok, or as I like to say; steamboat on a stick.
What else comes on a stick, you ask? Satay.
Somehow, the good folks at Restoran Capitol Satay managed to but 2 and 2 together, blessing the streets of Malacca with their OG satay-steamboat concept lok lok stall.
Don’t let the queues trick you into turning to plan B for dinner, ‘cuz the 20-30 minute wait is worth it. Plus, the restaurant is open all the way till 1am (12am on Sundays), so head over for supper later in the night, or as soon as they open at 4pm if you’re afraid of dealing with the dinner-time frenzy.
BRB, in lok lok heaven
Image credit: midas400.blogspot.com
There’s a huge assortment of skewers available, with prices starting at just RM1.10+ (~S$0.30) for normal sticks, RM2.20+ (~S$0.80) for premium seafood like abalone and scallops, and RM4-10+ (~S$1.30-3.30) for prawns.
All you gotta do is pick your skewers and dip them into the boiling pot of satay broth, which has a more peppery taste as compared to the sweeter kind we’re used to in Singapore.
Address: 41, Lorong Bukit Cina, Bandar Hilir, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Tues-Sat: 4PM-1AM | Sun: 5PM-12AM (Closed on Mondays)
Telephone: +60 6-283 5508
4. Have authentic chicken rice balls at Hoe Kee Chicken Rice
Image credit: @arroltiw
Because chicken rice balls are so quintessentially Malaccan, leaving them out of your itinerary is just...plain wrong. Hoe Kee Chicken Rice has been dishing out these babies since 1962, with prices starting from RM0.30 per ball. That’s just 10 cents!
Chicken rice balls are cooked in fragrant chicken broth and are slightly more on the mushy side to ensure they don’t crumble all over when picked up. If you aren’t a fan of soft rice, you can still opt for a normal plate of rice (RM1.50, ~S$0.50) to go with your meal.
And readers, I ain’t a maths genius to be calculating the ball-to-rice ratio, but Hoe Kee’s staff will definitely help with all the agaration for your serving size.
Aside from Steamed Chicken (from RM4.50+, ~S$1.50+), the restaurant also cooks up a mean Nyonya-style Asam Fish, which you can eat with your rice balls for a spicy, tangy kick.
Address: 468, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 9AM-4PM
Telephone: +60 6-283 4751
5. Try Aunty Koh’s homemade cendol that’s always sold out by noon
Image credit: @fifthstorey
In a nondescript tin-roofed shed along Jalan Batang Tiga is where you’ll find Aunty Koh, the woman behind what is quite possibly the best cendol in town. And the proof is in the pudding (well, cendol): trust the snaking queues and the fact that her cendol (RM4, ~S$1.30) runs out within an hour all the time.
Aunty Koh’s Cendol: A Lemak Paradise
Image credit: @espressodream
Aunty Koh’s formula is simple. No fancy ingredients. No heaping bowls. Just creamy hand-squeezed coconut milk, cendol ‘noodles’ flavoured from her very own pandan grove, and a drizzle of mild gula melaka to bring the dish together.
The no-frills approach is what makes her stand out from the bajillion other cendol stores in town, bringing pools of regulars coming back for more every weekend. Customers also wash their own bowls once they’re done, making a trip here feel just like a visit to grandma’s.
Address: 5113, Jalan Batang Tiga, Kampung Bukit Rambai, 75250, Melaka
Opening Hours: Sat-Sun: 12PM-1PM
- THINGS TO DO -
1. Stargaze at Malacca’s hidden desert at Padang Pasir Klebang
Image credit: @tianchad
Boasting a landscape of powdery white sand dunes, a snap at Padang Pasir Klebang might fool others into thinking you’ve flung yourself to the deserts of Dubai. Heck, why not have a surprise IG live session to trick your friends in real time while you’re at it!
Malacca’s hidden ‘desert’ is really an area of reclaimed land that’s right by the ocean. Explorers who are really looking for an adventure can pop by in the early morning from 5am-6am to go stargazing!
Getting here: The dunes are just a 15-minute drive from the city centre, so a taxi is the way to go. If you’re planning on heading here by yourselves, make sure to have your data roaming ready and log ‘Pantai Klebang’ into your GPS system.
More detailed instructions here.
While you’re in the Klebang area, make a pitstop at Klebang Original Coconut Shake for a quick pick-me-up. This coconut milkshake (RM2.70, ~S$0.90) comes with blended coconut flesh and juice and is topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an extra creamy kick.
Worth. The. Calories.
Klebang Original Coconut Shake
Address: 5, Klebang Besar, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Sat-Thurs: 11AM-6.30PM | Fri: 2.15PM-6.30PM
Telephone: +601 3-399 4061
2. Get discounts on over 70 international brands at Freeport A’Famosa Outlet Village
The outlet village’s uber pretty Dutch inspired facade
Image credit: Freeport A’Famosa
If your vacay isn’t complete without a shopping spree, plonk yourself at Freeport A’Famosa Outlet Village. You won’t find upscale brands like Gucci or Chanel here, but expect discounts on well-liked brands such as Cotton On, Esprit, and even a Nike Factory Store with discounts of up to 70% off retail prices.
You can even prep for your visit by signing up on their website here to get dibs on exclusive deals.
Address: Freeport A’Famosa Outlet, Jalan Kemus, Simpang Empat, 78000 Alor Gajah
Opening Hours: 10AM-10PM Daily
Telephone: +60 6-552 8961
3. Visit the Mamee monster’s home at Mamee Jonker House
I wasn't kidding when I said Malacca was home to the Mamee Noodle monster. We've seen this furry fella on Mamee's iconic noodle snacks growing up, and you can now enter his humble abode; the Mamee Jonker House.
Mamee merch is available here too
The brand's first concept store houses a cafe that serves up a variety of Malaysian dishes, most of which use their signature noodles as a base ingredient. Explore the space more and you'll find yourself in the mother lode: the Noodle Doodle corner.
Image credit: @mameejonkerhouse
Think of it as Malaysia's Cup Noodle museum. Visitors can customise their very own Mamee Chef Noodle Cup to take home - from the seasoning and condiments to the noodle cup. Little ones can also take part in the Lil Monster Kitchen, where they'll be able to see firsthand how the noodle snack is made.
Image credit: @shamieraosment
And of course, you can't leave without snapping a pic with the Mamee monster himself - a mascot will be walking around so cash him ousside if you spot him!
Note: Prior booking required for Lil Monster Kitchen
Address: 46/48 Jalan Hang Jebat (Jonker Street), 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Mon -Thurs: 10AM - 5PM | Fri - Sat: 10AM - 7PM (Closed on Tuesdays)
Telephone: +60 6-286 7666
4. Shop for knick-knacks and street food at Jonker Street’s markets
Image credit: Less Traveled World
Meet the distant cousin of our late Sungei Road market: the Grand Old Flea Market. This flea market pops up every Sunday morning at Jonker Street and is a treasure trove of antiques and doodads to buy as souvenirs back home. There are about 15-20 stores manned by old-timers here and are visited by both locals and tourists alike.
Come night time, the street transforms itself into a bustling pasar malam with yummy grub that’ll have any foodie salivating - along with everyone you’ll be updating on IG just because. Find out what you can munch on at Jonker Street Night Market here.
Address: Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Malacca, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Sundays: 7AM-3PM (Melaka’s Grand Old Flea Market) | Fri-Sun: 6PM till late (Jonker Street Night Market)
5. Snap a selfie with interactive street art and murals
Image credit: @andreastj
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as you hop from location to location, as there’s bound to be quirky street art and murals plastered along the alleyways and shophouses here. Have your phones ready too, as some of the graffiti here have been made to look like you’re part of the painting yourself.
Popular places you can spot murals are Jonker Walk, along Malacca River, and Dutch Square.
Image credit: GoWhere
If you’re like to go one step up a notch, visit the Magic Art Museum. This spot has over 80 3D murals spanning 2 whole levels for you and the fam to go crazy with!
Admission: Adults: RM25 (~S$8.70) | Children & Seniors: RM20 (~S$6.70)
Address: G13, G15 & G16, Bayou Square, Jalan Wakaf Utama, 75450 Bukit Katil, Melaka, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 10AM-7PM | Sat-Sun: 9AM-9PM
Telephone: +60 6-231 1604
Where to stay in Malacca
Rosa Malacca - NYC-chic boutique hotel in the city centre
Image credit: Rosa Malacca
With so many things to do in the heart of the city, there’s no place better to stay than in the centre of it all. Rosa Malacca is 4-star boutique hotel located in the city centre, and is just 10 minutes away from the major shopping malls and main attractions in Malacca.
Our favourite part has got to be the industrial chic decor that gives us some major NYC loft vibes. Take a look at the exterior:
Now tell me this doesn’t look like a block outta New York City!
Image credit: @akmalmasduki
Rosa Malacca’s rooms come in 4 sizes, ranging from the Deluxe Twin (from RM200, ~S$67) room for 2, to the Family Suite (from RM390, ~S$130) that has plenty of room for a squad of 4.
The Family Suite
Image credit: Rosa Malacca
Every room comes with the essentials like complimentary Wi-Fi, a pillow menu, and free gym access. Oh yeah, you heard me: a PILLOW MENU. That’ll make sure you’re well rested after a long day of exploring for sure.
The hotel even offers an Uber Around Melaka package for its guests to redeem free rides to get around the city.
Malacca in 48 hours
Being just a 3-hour drive away from Singapore, there’s no better place for a weekend trip than Malacca; a cultural hot-pot where life is just a little more...relak.
The city can also be conveniently reached via coach, with several services like KKKL Travel & Tours and WTS Travel offering daily rides from pick-up points all over Singapore such as Tampines, Kovan, and Jurong.
Stay connected with Singtel ReadyRoam Malaysia at just $5
Whether you’re a first-timer or a Jonker Walk pundit who takes every weekend as an opportunity for a getaway, it’s important to stay connected without having to rack up your phone bills. And with Singtel’s ReadyRoam Malaysia, there’s no need to lug around Wi-Fi eggs or switch to a local SIM card.
At just $5/GB, ReadyRoam Malaysia is valid for 30 days, which is especially great for those who make frequent trips to anywhere in Malaysia as you’ll be able to use it multiple times within the 30-day period.
No worries if you need more data, additional GBs are stackable at the same price, i.e. $5/GB for add-ons.
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