Malacca Bucket List: What is Melaka (Malacca) famous for?
The state of Melaka or Malacca in Malaysia is the cradle of the once-famous Melaka Sultanate and now a famed UNESCO Heritage town. Melaka’s historical city has dealt with so many wars and was colonized by at least three different western powers. These events’ influence can still be felt in modern times, as many remnants of the past still exist today.
Melaka allows you to see how a city can thrive by mixing traditional cultures and modern society, as a melodic harmony. Deeply rooted in its history, Malacca puts their heritage proudly on display, preserving cultural heritage, colonial structures, and their tantalizing traditional, century-infused delicacies.
Due to its widespread popularity, crowds of tourists flock to this city to glimpse the richness in history and culture that this city has to offer. While many become magnets to the center of town, there is still quite a number who prefer a short escape.
Whether you’re a first time tourist or a long-time resident, Melaka will always charm you with its eclectic blend of traditional and modern urban society. Here are the 15 best things to do when in Melaka. Read along!
Go cafe-hopping around town
Like a great cup of a smooth and aromatic blend of coffee, Melaka’s cafes assimilate Malaysia’s modern cafe culture with its heritage roots in perfect symbiosis.
Melaka’s cafes are quirky and inviting, decorated with historical memorabilia with a touch of contemporary accents. While exploring Melaka’s heritage sites, squeeze a cafe or two in between your itinerary!
Discover Melaka’s vibrant local art scene
Relatively underrated and undiscovered, the city’s walls are painted with inspired murals by artists from all walks of life.
Take a stroll through Malacca’s alleyways, stumble upon a labyrinth of lively murals painted on facades of shop lots, rusty garage doors in back alleys, and trendy cafes.
To get the best view of the colorful Melaka landscape, take a 45-minute river cruise through the two parts of towns, that’ll bring you amazing views of historic buildings, old warehouses, highly decorative Chinese temples, churches, and traditional villages. Bring your camera, because there is so much to be discovered here!
Admire Melaka’s rich history through its heritage architectures
Melaka’s heritage architecture is nothing short of magnificent. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, be amazed by Melaka’s ability to sustain centuries-old architectural wonders.
Walkthrough Melaka’s streets where you can admire some elegantly decorated Winged Chinese Temples, magnificent Churches, majestic Mosques, and aesthetically beautiful, worn-down colonial buildings, among others; you’ll feel like you’re walking through another century!
There are many historical sites you should visit. Still, a high starting point would be the Ruins of St. Paul’s Hill or bright terracotta red 18th Century Christ’s Church, both being walking distance to other historic attractions, you’ll find it easy to branch your way out from there!
Wanderlust through Melaka on wheels
With all the major attractions close to each other, with specialized internal road or track systems, you would find ease biking to and from these places, breaking a minimal sweat.
If you aren’t into cycling and don’t mind getting a little sweaty during your tour, you could also take an hour’s ride through the town on one of their famous, festively decorated rickshaws!
After going through all the main attractions, go off the beaten path, cycling through rural areas of lush paddy feels and rubber tapping estates. Experience the everyday ‘kampung’ life, while locals show you some genuine Melakan hospitality!
Go antique shopping at Jonker Street.
A treasure trove of historical memorabilia, why don’t you skip the commercialized souvenir shops and buy decorative antiques down at Jonker Street as a sentiment for your visit?
Having immigrants from China & India and colonial ruling by the Dutch, British, and Portuguese through the centuries, there’s no telling what historical artifacts you would stumble upon there!
On Weekend Nights, explore Jonker Street under a different light at its famous Jonker Street Night Market.
Having a family-friendly chilled atmosphere, hang with locals, eating finger-licking street food while surveying a range of stores, selling multitudes of trinkets, and souvenirs!
Have a heart-pumping adventure in the jungle canopy
Especially for all the thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies, the Skytrex Adventure Course will send you soaring through Melaka’s lush canopies.
Being the best way to burn all those calories from food adventures and cafe hopping, you will have no regrets and no extra weight added when you end your holiday in Melaka!
Learn how to make authentic Melakan dishes
What is traveling to a different country without gaining some new knowledge? If you enjoyed the exotic flavors of the Peranakan cuisines on your food trail, head on to Nancy’s Kitchen Cooking Class to learn and add some authentic recipes to your cooking arsenal!
Your newfound skill and flavors will surely impress your family and friends back home!
Discover a taste and discover local exotic fruits
Fun for the whole family, it’s also recommended to have some informative learning experience with the kids at Melaka’s Tropical Fruit Farm.
Offering plenty of activities such as tropical fruit picking and tasting, kayaking, while also having a petting zoo, have a field day with your family in Mekala’s 65-acre agricultural land!
Help revive the endangered Hawksbill Turtle population.
One of the last strongholds in Malaysia, Melaka plays a vital role in reviving the Hawksbill Turtle population.
Participate with the local communities to safeguard turtle hatching, where 400 – 450 nestlings are annually recorded.
Lend a helping hand to the local community to revive the population of this endangered species, as Hawksbill Turtle plays a vital role in maintaining the health of coral reefs and the marine ecosystem in Melaka.
A visit to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur
The hip and urban city of Kuala Lumpur is only about a 2-hour drive away from Melaka. There are so many things to do in Kuala Lumpur ranging from visiting the tallest twin towers in the world – the Petronas Towers – to climb up 272 flights of stairs nearby at Batu Caves.
A visit to Pulau Upeh, Malacca
Pulau Upeh is a small island located just off the coast of Malacca. The island is a sanctuary and haven for the critically endangered Hawksbills turtle.
They will come ashore between March and June to lay their eggs and visitors can catch a glimpse of them nesting on the beach. It is also a short escape from the busy city.
Day trip to Gunung Ledang, Johor
Located about 2 hours away from Melaka, the famous mountain is situated inside the Gunung Ledang Nature Park, and a popular destination for trekkers. You can also reach the summit within 6 – 8 hours.
Once you reach the end of the trail, the view on the summit is a marvel to behold. If hiking is not your thing, you can head straight and take a swim at its pristine waterfall.
The waterfall cascades down from the top of the mountain, giving it a refreshingly cooling temperature, ideal for those who want instant relief from the tropical heat.
A trip to Putrajaya, Wilayah Persekutuan
Putrajaya is a vast city that is only a couple of hours away from the heart of Melaka. The famous attractions here include the Putra Mosque, Istana Melawati, and many more.
A visit to Ayer Keroh Lake
Ayer Keroh Lake is situated about 30 minutes out of Melaka town. This place is a pleasant weekend respite away from the tourists.
There are lots of water activities that you can enjoy, such as canoeing, boat riding, and sailing. For those who prefer a peaceful time, they can even go fishing on the lake and reap the serenity of the place.
A visit to Ayer Keroh Lake is ideal for families who are looking for a place to have a nice picnic or spend a night away from the city.
Swim with your family at Wet World Air Panas Pedas Resort
Just a short 1-hour drive away from Melaka, the Wet World Air Panas Pedas Resort is a hot spring water park and one of the first of its kind in Malaysia. The water park is jam-packed with fun activities such as water slides, a reflexology walk, a lazy river and many more.
The waterpark park includes the natural hot spring, which is the main attraction here. A day trip with your family here promises you a fun-filled time with your loved ones.
Visiting the city of Malacca is unlike visiting any other holiday destinations, on every turn you’ll find yourself being immersed by the city’s culture through architecture, food, and culture.
Whether you’re a fan of history, craving for some good food or an avid protector of mother nature, Melaka can cure all forms of wanderlust. It’s no wonder Melaka’s historical state attracts returning guests locally and internationally!
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