Melaka, otherwise known as Malacca, is a quaint UNESCO Heritage City on the western coast of peninsular Malaysia. The town is very walkable and it’s small enough to see in a day if you want to rush around. If you’re a digital nomad Melaka isn’t going to be a spot for you to work—the WiFi is terrible in the historic town center. Here are some fun things to do in Melaka, Malaysia.
HOW TO GET TO MELAKA, MALAYSIA
I reached Melaka quite easily by taking a bus from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia has some of the most luxurious and affordable long-distance buses in the world! Check schedules and prices on Baolau which allows you to pay with a foreign credit card. The ride takes about 2-hours to get to Melaka Sentral.
WHERE TO STAY IN MELAKA, MALAYSIA
SPLURGE: DOUBLETREE BY HILTON MELAKA
If you’re looking for a fancy holiday location book yourself in at the gorgeous DoubleTree by Hilton Melaka. Although it is quite far from the city center they offer free shuttles throughout the day. You may find it hard to pull yourself away from all the luxurious amenities here—an infinity pool, sauna and steam room, an Italian restaurant with divine wine, and ultra-cozy guest rooms. To be honest, once I checked in, I didn’t leave the property!
I was invited to stay in a King Deluxe Room which was incredibly was spacious and equipped with a comfy bed and desk workspace. I was welcomed to the room with a beautiful fruit basket and a selection of wonderful Malaysian teas. There’s a rain shower with excellent water pressure and a gigantic bathtub but I avoid bathes in order to be more eco-friendly.
From my room on the 18th floor, I could peak down to the DoubleTree by Hilton Melaka infinity swimming pool on the 13th floor to scope out if it was empty enough to go relax in the sun for a bit.
For even better views, guests can head over to the Sky Desk at Hatten City in the Elements Mall next to the DoubleTree by Hilton Melaka. Hotel guests may show their room key for complimentary visits to the Sky Desk. The Sky Desk is on the 44th floor and boasts incredible 360-degree views of Melaka City and the Straits of Melaka. The mall itself is pretty junky with cheap unethical clothing but you can enjoy a cocktail or two at the terrace bar if you’re visiting with someone you enjoy spending time with!
I fueled up for workdays in my plush bed at the buffet-style breakfast each morning which had so many vegan-friendly options. I even got to indulge in fresh-pressed celery juice followed by soy lattes. I’m drooling just thinking about my colorful and healthy breakfast.
Browse available rooms make a reservation at DoubleTree by Hilton Melaka on Booking.com.
BUDGET: THE RUCKSACK
I stayed in the two Rucksack Melaka properties and had a lovely experience. Both are within walking distance of each other and the town center but offer a slightly different ambiance. Both have some of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept on—and I’ve been sleeping on hotel beds full-time for 4 years! Both have refillable toiletry containers.
The Rucksack Caratel Garden Wing outlet is a bit quirkier with some rooms made out of airstreams named after famous movie stars and singers. The communal space has an indoor tire swing and delicious lime infused water available 24/7 so that you can refill your water bottle on demand. The Rucksack Garden Wing has a small swimming pool for guests and outdoor hammocks and a surrounding lush garden making it a great place to chill out during the high heat of the day.
The Rucksack Jonker Wing sadly is permanently closed. There aren’t any facilities here and it was only slightly closer to town. It was located in one of the iconic red buildings of Melaka. You’ll be very happy staying at The Rucksack Caratel Garden Wing.
Browse available rooms make a reservation at The Rucksack Caratel Garden Wing on Booking.com.
ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE
Similar to the more popular tourist destination of Penang, there’s charming architecture to be found in town from Chinese religious sites to European colonization-era buildings. Traditional buildings in pastel colors with beautiful adornments were once private family homes but have since transformed into shops that sell tourist junk.
Portugal invaded Melaka in 1511 and then the Dutch took over and ruled Melaka for 150 years. The reminiscence of the colonization can still be seen today all over town. Head to the red-stone Melaka Square (GoogleMaps) to see the Christ Church and an original windmill. One of the most quirky things to do in Melaka can be found here too—take a ride in a tricycle decorated with stuffed animals. In 1826, the Brits took over and then Japan conquered the area during the WWII era. Malaysia didn’t gain independence until 1963. There are many museums around town that share the history of each of these occupations.
GO TEMPLE HOPPING
Melaka is just as multi-cultural as other major cities in Malaysia. There are houses of worship for Hindus, Taoists, Christians, and Muslims. Some of the buildings are quite ancient and still very well-preserved which helped Melaka gain UNESCO Heritage status.
Malaysia is a Muslim country so of course, there are also many beautiful mosques around. I found the coastal Melaka Straits Mosque (GoogleMaps) to be absolutely breathtaking as it appears to be floating on the sea.
Foreigners may enter Masjid Kampung Kling (GoogleMaps) but I always found myself nearby during prayer time which isn’t an appropriate time to enter if you’re non-muslim. The mosque’s minaret is one of the tallest points in all of Melaka. Harmony Way is a beautiful example of coexistence. Kampung Kling Mosque is located on Jalan Tukang Emas which commonly known as Harmony Street as it shares the passageway with the oldest Hindu temple in Malaysia, Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple (GoogleMaps) and one the oldest temple in the country, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (GoogleMaps).
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is quite unique as the temple is for several belief systems that usually aren’t housed together in one place of worship. The red lantern lined temple is Taoist, Confucianist, and Buddhist and serves as a sacred space for Chinese Malays. This is a serene thing to do in Melaka and a perfect place to escape the heat and enjoy the peace as incense drift through the air.
SPOT COLORFUL STREET ART
Also similar to Penang is the abundance of wall decorations in Melaka. There are gigantic wall-sized murals in geometric colorful forms but the most common street art to see around Melaka are depictions of local people and way of life. This makes checking out street art one of the best things to do in Melaka because you can get a glimpse into the daily lives of locals through the paintings. Many of the best murals can be spotted along the riverfront and the nearby side street alleyways.
GET CAFFEINATED MALAYSIA STYLE
Tea may be King in Malaysia but in Melaka, coffee rules. From local hole-in-the-wall spots to picturesque cafes, you can find a good brew around every corner in the historic old town. Some of the best coffees I had were at the most obscure places but the quirky coffee spots are very much so worth a visit too. Local coffee is very inexpensive but may not suit everyone’s taste as it can be a bit bitter and is often made with powder. Vegans should note that butter is sometimes added to Malaysian coffee so be sure to ask for your coffee black—if it’s oily you may not want to drink it. At plenty of the cafes, you can find all the usual Western coffee concoctions from almond milk lattes to flat whites. Drinking coffee is a fun thing to do in Melaka, Malaysia.
My favorite coffee spot in Melaka was Calanthe Art Cafe (GoogleMaps) where you’ll find a menu dedicated to local coffees from the 13 states of Malaysia. Each coffee is described on the menu with its flavor palette to help you select the brew you’re most likely to enjoy. For cute latte art head to Kaya Kaya Cafe (GoogleMaps) but note that they don’t have plant-based milk for my fellow vegan travelers. Mods Cafe (GoogleMaps) is a quirky spot with a VW van set up as the coffee bar.
If you have some work to get done Heesan Kopi (GoogleMaps) and Backlane Coffee (GoogleMaps) are owned by the same restauranteur and are a bit on the outskirts of town so have more reliable WiFi and of course, great Melaka style coffee.
Did you enjoy this article on fun things to do in Melaka, Malaysia? Pin it for later!
Have you been to Melaka, Malaysia? What were your favorite activities? Tell us in the comments so other travelers can add them to this list of things to do when planning their Malaysia adventure.
Thank you to DoubleTree by Hilton and Rucksack for hosting me. All opinions and photos are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.