The West Coast of Malaysia

MELAKA

Global Mark : 14.55    Top 5 : No3

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
5 2 2 5 3 3 5 4 14.50

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
20 90% (18) 65% (13) 95% (19) 7 to 20 14.60


Description : The cultural capital of Malaysia, a former Portuguese, Dutch and British settlement

Comments : This is arguably the most culturally interesting place to visit in Malaysia and most people fall for its charm.

What to do ? Visit the Tourist Office (2836538) for maps & info (open 8:45 to 17 except Frid from 12:15 to 14:45) / Follow the Heritage Trail from one historical sight to the other / Wander around the lovely garden of the beautiful Cultural Museum then get in for a colorful & very rewarding cultural experience / Climb the top of an hill to the ruins of a church protecting impressive Dutch tombstones / Spot the remains of an old fort protected by canons / At the foot of the hill, negotiate watercolor paintings or other souvenirs / Climb again at sunset / Join the locals into football or rugby / When reestablished, experience the history of the city with an improved sound-and-light show / Get a bit of propaganda at the People's Museum (also called "Museum of Enduring Beauty). Extracts from the front of the gate : "Right of government : to rule & to govern. Duty of citizens : to obey elected governments" / Spot an old plane, an old train or an old limo / Exhaust yourself at the sport complex / Ride richly decorated tuk-tuk / Taste your taste at paintings galleries / Spend a fortune on antiques / Cool off in the dipping pool of a GH / Get an indigestion of Chinese temples / See the oldest mosque in Malaysia (Kampong Hulu) / 

What you may not like ? The narrow streets full of speedy vehicles / The lack of street names at some intersections (especially after coming from Singapore) / The over developed panorama from St Paul's Hill / 

How long ? Allow at least a full day


Where to stay ? There is no shortage of GH in town and most are really backpackers' friendly. 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online & save money ! >> Hostels

- In the north of town : less choice and less travelers but a short walk (10mn) from the bus station

  • A few cheap hotels in the area, including Melaka Hotel (opp. the Bus Station, just cross the bridge, from $28), Hong Kong Hotel (walk west on Jalan Munshi Abdullah and turn left on Jalan Bunga Raya, from $20 without shower) and Ng Fook (just north of the above, Sgl 23, Dbl w. shower 32). There should be no reason to stay here if the GH of the area aren't full. 
  • Bunga Raya Travelers Hotel or New Chin Nam (06 2824962), 151 Jalan Bunga Raya (turn right from Jalan Munshi Abdullah, see above) / Small bed room 15(1) or 20(2), w AC 20(1) or 25(2), big bed room w. or without shower 25, w. AC 30 / Go there for the proximity to the bus station, the clean rooms and the cheapest AC or shower room / What you may not like : the basic rooms without window and the lack of backpackers' atmosphere
  • Eastern Heritage GH (06 2833026), 8 Jalan Bukit China, walk Jalan Munshi Abdullah for 600m then turn right, 10mn from bus station / Dorm (11) 8, Sgl 20, Dbl 24 (inside window), 26-30, Suite w. balcony & sun chair 32 / Go there for the charming Melaka building built in 1918 (worth a look even if you do not stay), the dipping pool (great after a day in the sun), the relaxed atmosphere, the spotless rooms and the cheap dorm w. ceiling fan / What you may not like : the bad noise isolation from the road and the other rooms, the limited furniture, the rather poor toilet & shower and the lack of kitchen.
  • Tony's GH, formerly Apple GH (012 6880119, cobia@hotmail.com), 24 Lorong Banda Kaba, off Lorong Bukit China, south of the above / Sgl 12, Dbl 15(1) or 20(2), Trpl 27 / Go there for the best quality price ratio in town as the rooms are clean, bright & well equipped and it is backpacker's friendly (kitchen, billboard, etc) / Internet R4 per hour / What you may not like : there is only one Sgl and no dorm

- In the South of town, around Jalan Taman Melaka Raya : green & white Bus No 17 (R0.4) from the local bus station (2mn north of the express bus station) to the stop after the Mahkota Parada Shopping Centre (front of Equatorial Hotel) or 20-30mn walk. Except when indicated, all the below GH are backpackers' friendly (kitchen, info board, etc)

  • Anna's Homestay (012 6381749), 202 Jalan Melaka Raya 1 / Dorm (3) 9, Sgl 15-18 (balcony), Dbl 16-25 (balcony) / HW shower / VCD movies & good equipment / Bike R6 per day / Go there for the relaxed atmosphere or to watch a movie from the big catalogue / What you may not like : the small (but high ceiling) & basic rooms 
  • Robin's Net (06 2829142), No 205 / Same family as the above / Dorm (3) 9, Sgl 16, Dbl 19-21, Trpl 24-27 / Big TV / Go there to check the room in this GH with a clean & homely atmosphere 
  • Shira's GH (06 2861041), No 207 / Dbl 15(1) or 20(2), Nice Dbl w. AC & shower 40 / Good TV but no movies / Bike 10 per day / Go there for the bright lobby and if you are found of Pakistani's culture / What you may not like : the basic cheapest rooms and the lack of other backpacker's
  • Travelers' Lodge (06 2275708), No 214 / Dorm (3) 9, Sgl 15-16, w. AC 30, w. HW shower 40-45, Dbl 18-24, w. AC 32, w. HW shower 40-50 / Go there for the fresh & clean rooms, the homely atmosphere in a typical modern Malaysian home and the no-movie choice so that people can meet each other / What you may not like : the rather intimate size 
  • Asrama Belia Youth Hostel (06 2827915), 314 Jalan Melaka Raya 3 / Dorm (8) 10, w. AC 14 / Not so nice dorm (bunk beds) and no atmosphere but a separation between boys & girls. 
  • Sunny's Inn (06 2275446, sunnysinn@hotmail.com), No270, north of the above / Dorm (4) 9, Sgl 15, Dbl 18-25, w. shower 35, Trpl 30 / Add R10 for AC / Bike 5 per day / One movie a day but more you have to pay ! / Active promotion by the bus station / Small & basic rooms (tiny Sgl) but family atmosphere
  • Melacca Town Holiday Lodge (06 2848830), No148 Taman Melaka Raya, the main road, east from the above / Sgl 15 or 18, Dbl 18 or 20 (balcony), Trpl 27 or 30 / Movies / Go there for the big lobby and the cheapest Dbl (correct room w. two beds) / What you may not like : the somehow lack of freshness and the small kitchen & TV
  • Hinly Hotel (06 2836554), 150 Jalan Parameswara, the road north of Jalan Taman Melaka Raya, 5mn walk toward east from the above / Bus No17 / A tiny white structure off the noisy road / Sgl w. AC, HW shower & local TV 35, Dbl 40 / More expensive during local peak seasons / Comfort at very reasonable prices but, obviously, no backpacker's touch
  • Kancil GH (06 2814044, www.machinta.com.sg/kancil), 3mn further east / Dorm (4) 12, Dbl 25, 28 or 30, Trpl 38, Quad 48 / Internet / Bike 10 per day / Go there for the nicely decorated house, the superb & spotless wooden rooms (size & deco go up with the price) and the relaxing garden / What you may not like : the traffic on the road (avoid the rooms by it), the dorm in the entrance and the lack of Sgl prices. 

- In Chinatown area :

  • Chong Hoe Hotel (06 2826102), 26 Jalan Tukang Emas (Goldsmith St), the heart of Chinatown, opp. the Mosque / Dbl 20, w. AC 24 or 30 (up to 3 people), w. AC, shower & TV 36 or 46 (up to 4 people) / Go there for the great location, the acceptable cleanliness and the cheap prices if two / What you may not like : it is often full (could not see the cheapest rooms) and a bit grotty.
  • Malacca Town Holiday Lodge 2 (06 2846905), No52 Kampong Empat, 700m South-West of the bus station / Sgl 15, w. shower 25, w. AC 36, Dbl 20, w. shower 35, w. AC 50, also Trpl / Go there to check the place / What you may not like : being actually a bit out from Chinatown

Where to eat ? A few Malay food stalls just north of the Jalan Taman Melaka Raya roundabout plus plenty of restaurants in the area. For a cozy & relaxed atmosphere by the river, head to Iguana (15 Jalan Laksamana) : special fried rice (R4), chicken curry rice (R2.5), pancake (R3.8) and lots of beer... For a touch of luxury, Heeren House's Cafe (1, Jalan Tun Tan Chang Lock in Chinatown) has a set dinner for R16 or good dishes at R7-10. 

Internet or tel ? The cheapest place in town by the hour is Undernet (open 10:30 to 18, until 15 on Sat, closed on Sund) at 131 Jalan Parameswara (on the way to Kancil GH) : R2.5 per hour with R2 min. charge. For less than an hour and more convenience, head to Cempaka Techno (open 10 to 22:30 daily except 15 to 22:30 Sund) at 155 Taman Melaka Raya : R3 per hour but min. charge R0.4 (5mn). They also offer the cheapest international calls in town at R1.1 per mn for UK or R1.2 for France (for example)

Going to Sumatra ? At least two companies have boats to Dumai : R80 one way, R150 return, 2.5 hours. Departure from the river wharf just after the Maritime Museum at 9, 9:30 and 14:30. It is recommended to book one day in advance. Indomal Exp (2816107) & Madai Shipping (2840671)

A Countryside Bike Tour ? Most GH can book a tour with friendly Alias for a 4-5 hours tour around villages. It cost R30 and only mineral water is provided. On WE, it might be possible to participate to a wedding, certainly a very interesting experience... 

 << Discover a few sights


Bus Schedules ? 

To  Price Class Duration Time Nb Freq.
Johor Bharu 10 ac 3.5 8 to 18 a few hour
Singapore 13.75 ac 4.5 8 to 18 a lot hour
Seremban 3.8 ac 1.5 7 to 19:30 a lot 30-60mn
KL 7 ac 2 7 to 19 a lot 30mn
Ipoh 17 ac 5 9:30,21 2 na
Butterworth 24 svip 7 9,11,23 a few na
Kluang 8.5 ac 3 8 to 20:30 a few hour
Kuantan 14 ac ? 8:30, 14 2 na
K. Terengganu 22 ac ? 20 1 na

Notes :  To Ipoh,  also to Lumut (R21, 7 hrs) / Also to Penang (R26 at 9,14,21:30) /To Kluang, then to Mersing (2 hrs) /To Kuantan via Segamat / Also to Kota Bahru (R27, 10pm)


Backpacker's Tips : Ivana  (June 04)
There is a new bus terminal quite far from the city centre. Express buses arrives there and local terminal is in the same building. To get to the historical town, you have to take bus #17 (it costs 0,5 RM, takes about 15 minutes). Bus tickets were about 10% more expensive than the prices on your web.


The trip to Seremban : SSS / L / R5 / 1.15 hrs / SVIP 25 seats
Absolutely, a bit of luxury this time ! Showing up at the station three minutes before the departure time, I accepted the first ticket on offer. For R5, I got myself a space in a super deluxe ultra comfortable luxury coach : 25 seats only (two on the right plus one on the left) and what a seat ! You actually wish the ride would last longer...
I was a bit annoyed to learn that the guy behind me had paid only R4 for the same ride but he obviously had connections I did not have (he was Malay). The bus was heading toward Penang and it left at 9:15, a bit late but still with quite a few seats unoccupied. 
The trip was very relaxing (would be better with a welcome cocktail and a massage service though) and the scenery very pleasant in part with huge palm tree plantations spotted on the left. The right side was hidden by the curtains as the sun was trying to get in.

See also the trip from Johor Bahru