Day Trip to Melaka from KL – Best Things To Do in Melaka

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Jonker Street in Melaka

Longing for a day trip from Kuala Lumpur? We get it as we ourselves also enjoy exploring beyond Kuala Lumpur. In this blog, we share the best things to do in Melaka, including our experience of our first time visit to Melaka.

One of our first trips outside of Kuala Lumpur by car was to Melaka. Although we stayed for a couple of nights, we do believe that this destination is very suitable for a day trip Kuala Lumpur. 

Welcome to the vibrant and culturally rich city of Melaka, Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site for Culture! Nestled along the scenic west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Melaka is a historical gem that attracts travelers with its unique blend of traditions, delectable cuisine, and a wealth of captivating experiences.

In this guide, we’ll explore the best things to do in Melaka, savor must-eat foods that will tantalize your taste buds, and uncover what makes this enchanting city so famous. Let’s embark on this journey together and discover the cultural wonders of Melaka!

River Cruise on the Melaka River
River Cruise on the Melaka River

Is it ‘Melaka’ or ‘Malacca’?

To ease your confusion, ‘Malacca’ is the English spelling, and ‘Melaka’ is the spelling in the Malay language. And yes, they refer to the same place. Malacca was used during the colonial period when the city was under British rule. But in 2017, the Malaysian state government declared that it would be officially referred to as Melaka in writing or when mentioned in any publication.

So, for this blog, we will be using Melaka moving forward.

Where is Melaka?

This historic town of Melaka is located on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, directly facing the strait of Melaka. How far is Melaka from Kuala Lumpur? The distance of Melaka from Kuala Lumpur is about 150 km. So, if you’re planning a day trip to Melaka from KL, the total travel time to get there is one a half to two hours.

Why Visit Melaka?

If you’re staying in KL and have seen all the attractions in the city centre, then a one-day trip to Melaka from KL is definitely worth doing. Why?

Not only will you experience a change in scenery, but you’ll also experience this UNESCO World Heritage city and all its interesting places! Aside from being a great chance of pace and scenery compared to KL, the heritage buildings and remarkable colonial structures are also why you should visit Melaka.

It’s a nice and quaint town known for its rich and diverse history and culture. And this is greatly shown through its architecture with Malay, Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences.

Oh, and of course, the delicious food! Melaka is also widely known for its outstanding food scene. The fusion of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines is one of the most sought-after reasons why many locals and tourists recommend visiting Melaka.

Rickshaw on Jonker Street Melaka

How to Get To Melaka From Kl?

The distance between Melaka and Kuala Lumpur is 93 miles (150 km), which is a 1,5 to 2-hour long drive. And you have a few transportation options to get from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur:

  • Hire a private driver – If you don’t want to stress yourself worrying about your mode of transportation, hiring a private driver is the most convenient option. Many companies offer this service online, including one of our favorites, Klook. You must input your departure date and time, how many of you will travel, and your preferred pick-up location.

Click here to book your private transfer online.

  • Join a guided tour – Another fun option is a tour like Klook’s Melaka Day Tour with Attraction Tickets from Kuala Lumpur. The tour will include visiting the best attractions in Melaka, like the Christ Church, Stadthuys, and St. Paul’s Hill. You’ll also enjoy a relaxing cruise along Melaka River and climb The Shore Sky Tower for a 360-degree panoramic views of the city! The best thing about such a tour is that the local tour guide will be able to take you to all the must-see places in Melaka, so you don’t have to worry about navigating from one site to another. 

Click here to buy your tickets for a Melaka Day Tour online.

  • Take a bus – Taking a bus to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur will take longer but will cost less. To travel by bus, catch the KLIA Express train from KL Sentral and alight at Bandar Tasik Selatan. Buy your tickets at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS), then board the bus to Melaka. Travel time can take up to 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Note that how long it takes from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur depends on the traffic. When we traveled to Melaka we didn’t face any traffic and we arrived at Melaka Zoo in and hour and a half. Reaching the historic city center took another 20 to 30 minutes; the traffic was fine, but the traffic lights took quite some time. 

Day Trips to Melaka From Kuala Lumpur

Best Time to Visit Melaka

The best time to visit Melaka is during the dry season, from late March to May and October. Around this time, the average temperature is 30 degrees with high humidity. But think twice about visiting Melaka in May because it is considered the city’s hottest month.

If you want to avoid crowds there, the best time to visit is from March to April and September to October. These are the months with the lowest number of tourists visiting Melaka.

TIP: Click here to find out what’s the best time to visit Malaysia.

Things to Do in Melaka

Start your adventure in this vibrant city filled with rich culture and traditions and explore the top things to do in Melaka!

What to do in Melaka in one day

Your day trip in Melaka wouldn’t be complete without seeing the best attractions in the city. Here’s a list of things you can do to get the best of your one-day trip in Melaka:

Wander around Dutch square (Red Square)

Red Square in Melaka

Dutch Square, also known as Red Square, is the city’s center. It’s also called Red Square because you’ll only see red buildings in the area inspired by Dutch architecture. The square is also home to several iconic landmarks such as the Stadthuys – the oldest Dutch building in the East, Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower, and Christ Church. There are plenty of opportunities to take great pictures at Dutch Square, so bring a camera!

Strike a pose with the Dutch cows at the Windmill

Strike a pose with a Dutch cow in Melaka

While in Red Square, don’t miss the chance to pose and take a picture with the colorful Dutch cow statues. You can find them at the front of the Windmill. They’re painted in beautiful floral patterns, which makes for a fantastic photo op.

Take a ride at a Spider-man-themed rickshaw

Rickshaw in front of the Stadthuys in Melaka

If you’re tired of walking, no problem! These fun-themed and colorful rickshaw rides can take you for a quick tour. They can be found everywhere around the square, day and night. And they come in various themes like Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Pikachu, Spider-man, and more! It’s a fun ride, especially for families with kids.

Cruise the peaceful waters of Melaka River

Enjoying a river cruise in Melaka

Enjoy a riverboat cruise at Melaka River, the perfect activity for any time of the day. But, it’s even more relaxing at night because they turn on the lights at the buildings and around town, which creates a beautiful reflection in the river. It’s a unique and great way to enjoy the sights and buildings of the city.

Explore the rich history of St. Paul’s Church and A Famosa Fort

St Paul's Church in Melaka

Located at St. Paul’s Hill, St. Paul’s Church, and A Famosa Fort is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. St. Paul’s Church ruins are one of the most popular attractions in Melaka. It was built by Duarte Coelho in 1521, making it one of the oldest historic church buildings in the country and Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, within walking distance of St. Paul’s Church is an old gatehouse called Porta de Santiago. It’s the only remaining structure of A Famosa Fort, becoming the oldest European architecture in Southeast Asia.

Discover the vibrant charm of famous Jonker Street

Jonker Walk Melaka

Jonker Street is the life of the party in all of Melaka, especially at night! The streets are lined with colorful shophouses, market stalls, and vendors offering everything from antiques to mouth watering street food. This is the place to be if you want to explore the rich cultural scene of Melaka, taste local food, and hunt for souvenirs. 

Combining art and food at Mamee Jonker House

Mamee Jonker House takes its customers on a unique journey of eating delicious instant noodles. Customers of Mamee Jonker House can customize their noodle cups and take them home as a souvenir. They’ll also get to choose their own seasoning and condiments. To top it all off, you can watch how they package your customized instant noodles at their in-store Mamee factory!

Get a bird’s-eye view of Melaka’s cityscape at Menara Taming Sari

View from St Paul's Hill in Melaka
View of Menara Taming Sari from St Paul’s Hill in Melaka

See Melaka from a new perspective at 262 feet (80 meters) above at Menara Taming Sari. The Taming Sari is a 361-foot (110-meter) gyro tower. It’s also Malaysia’s first and tallest gyro tower with a rotating observation deck where you can get a 360-degree bird’s eye view of Melaka. Try to spot some of the city’s most popular attractions, like the clock tower, St. Paul’s Church, and more.

Appreciate the cool street art scene in Melaka

Melaka street art

The street art in Melaka is one of the greatest gems in the city and part of what makes Melaka charming. You can find plenty of street art gems on Jonker Street and on the walls around the river. They can be fun to hunt and make a pretty good backdrop for your pictures.

What to do in Melaka for 2 days

Can’t get enough of Melaka? Stay the night and explore all the other best attractions in Melaka.

Explore land and water attractions on a Melaka Duck Tour

Embark on a unique adventure and experience Melaka from land and water on a Melaka Duck Tour! The tour takes 45 minutes, including visiting historical landmarks in the city before cruising the Strait of Melaka for an impressive sunset and coastal view.

Get a glimpse of day in the life of the old village people at Villa Sentosa

Villa Sentosa in Melaka

Villa Sentosa, the Malay Living Museum, is one of the oldest, well-preserved traditional Malay village houses. It’s located at Kampung Morten near the bank of the Melaka River. Inside, you can see the original furniture and decorative items that came with the house when it was first built in 1921.

Dive into the past at Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum

Learn the ways of life of the Peranakan people at the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum. The museum welcomes you to a historical discovery of how the Baba-Nyonya (ethnic Chinese-Malay people) lived during their day. Step inside and see the beautifully preserved items that have long lived in a Peranakan home, including wooden furniture, authentic decor items, and porcelain crafts.

Experience the lively scene at Jonker Walk Night Market

Jonker Street Night Market is one of the most recommended places to visit in Melaka. It runs every weekend, from Monday to Sunday. It’s very accessible as it’s near the city center. Shop for clothes or jewelry, try the delectable street food, and buy yourself a nice souvenir!

Reach for the skies when you climb The Shore Sky Tower

The Shore Sky Tower is a 43-story, 535-foot (163-meter) tall tower in Melaka that gives you stunning panoramic city views. It’s considered Melaka’s tallest building. If you have a fear of heights, The Shore Sky Tower will surely challenge you with its glass floor skywalk and barriers. Get a 360-degree view of Melaka from the top, and try your best not to look down!

Click here to buy your tickets online.

Visit the captivating Melaka Straits Floating Mosque

Just a few minutes drive from the city center and easily accessible via Grab is the Melaka Straits Floating Mosque. The Floating Mosque provides a refreshing experience to its visitors. Aside from its amazing architecture and scenic ocean views, the nighttime view of the mosque is even more beautiful. If you want to see inside, make sure to dress appropriately. On-site rentals for shawls are available.

Try the best outdoor adventures at Skytrex Adventure Melaka

Looking for a taste of adrenaline? Skytrex Adventure Melaka has some thrilling activities for you! Go through obstacle courses that you need to climb, crawl, and swing to as you pass through the forest. The courses have various difficulties, with one suitable for kids. Experience the ultimate high at courses like Bungee Swing, Flying Fox, and Skybike.

Click here to buy your tickets online.

Prepare for an extreme water adventure at Bayou Lagoon Water Park

Located within Bayou Lagoon Park Resort, Bayou Lagoon Water Park offers a refreshing break from all the exploration. The whole family will have a blast in this water theme park with exciting water slides, splash zones, and a kiddie play area!

Click here to buy your tickets online.

Take some mind-bending photos at the Upside Down House Gallery Melaka

The Upside Down House in Melaka is one of the best places for picture-taking photos. The house’s interior is filled with furniture and things, except everything is, you guessed it–upside down! This is a must-visit tourist attraction for families with kids or friend groups looking for a fun photo time together.

Buy must-have local food at Tan Kim Hock Product Centre

Before you bid Melaka goodbye, visit Tan Kim Hock Product Centre first! The shop has more than 100 local food selections, so it’s very famous among the locals and tourists. You can get your supply of local food here, including the popular durian cendol. So stop by and buy all the treats you want to take home from your Melaka trip.

Have family adventures at A’Famosa Safari Wonderland & A’Famosa Water Park

Embark on another family-friendly adventure at A’Famosa Safari Wonderland and A’Famosa Water Park. Meet animals like macaws, flamingos, and various species of exotic monkeys like lemurs, tamarinds, and gibbons. You can also go on a safari ride and see tigers, lions, giraffes, and zebras. Meanwhile, the A’Famosa Water Park has over 12 attractions families can enjoy! The attractions include a Wave Pool, a Big Ice Cream with water tube slides, and a Kids’ Adventure Pool.

Click here to buy your tickets online.

All aboard the replica ship at the Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum houses the replica of Flor de la Mar, a once massive Portuguese ship that used to sail the waters of the Melaka River. You can also take an educational trip to the museum about how Melaka served as a trading port for the Portuguese, Dutch, and British.

Visit the second largest zoo in Malaysia, Zoo Melaka

Dinosaur Park at Melaka Zoo

Zoo Melaka is another pleasant treat for animal lovers visiting Melaka. You can feed animals like elephants, deer, giraffes, or rabbits for free! Their Dinosaur Encounter Park has over 150 replicas of life-sized dinosaurs scattered around the zoo. There’s a high chance you’ll spot your favorite dinosaur here, with more than 100 species of dinosaurs available!

Click here to buy your tickets online.

Elephant says hi at Zoo Melaka

Pantai Klebang

A 15-minute drive from Dutch Square, Pantai Klebang or Klebang Beach is a known hotspot to unwind and relax. It’s known for its scenic sand dunes that make it look like a desert. Enjoy the cool sea breeze, have a family picnic, fly kites, and take pictures!

Best Foods to Try in Melaka

The diverse food scene in Melaka, with its fusion of Nyonya, Malay, and Chinese flavors, is so fantastic that you’ll want to give it a chef’s kiss. Melaka’s specialties include Chicken Rice Balls, Cendol, ayam pong teh, Satay celup, etc.

There are plenty of places to try Melaka’s local cuisine, from the Malaysian or Peranakan restaurants around Jonker Street to the food stalls and food street vendors.

Try Peranakan Place at Jonker Street; it’s a nice place for families to dine in with its decor and a fabulous selection of Peranakan dishes. They have everything from noodles, fish, chicken, prawns, and more. Their most recommended dish is the Asam Laksa, and their Durian cendol is a must-try for dessert!

Geographer Cafe is a popular restaurant among locals and tourists. Their Asian fusion menu stands out, including their signature dish nasi lemak. They also offer seafood, poultry, and vegetarian options, which are great for foodies to explore.

Where to Stay in Melaka (for Families)

We highly recommend Holiday Inn Melaka for families with kids staying in Melaka. That is where we stayed during our trip to Melaka; it had everything we needed. The Family Room was superb, with a kiddie bunk bed and a kiddie play area, including a tent and a table with chairs for kids and coloring supplies. There are also children’s toys like building blocks, jenga, and musical instruments to keep our daughter entertained. She also enjoyed a swim at the Kids Swimming Pool and in the infinity pool.

Family Room at Holiday Inn Melaka

For the food, they have an exquisite selection of breakfast food items with Western, Chinese, Japanese, and local dishes available and, when we stayed, they provided coloring supplies for kids. 

The location is very accessible, a 5-minute drive away from the square. You can even get an ocean view if you’re lucky.

Click here to check rates and availability online.

Holiday Inn Melaka Family Room with Bunk Beds

Is Melaka Worth Visiting?

Is Melaka worth a visit? Yes. Melaka is undoubtedly a must-visit destination for families. With plenty of enjoyable activities for adults and kids alike, Melaka promises a memorable experience.

While it’s perfectly doable to visit Melaka during a day trip Kuala Lumpur, we highly recommend considering an overnight stay to savor all this charming city offers without feeling rushed. Remember that family-friendly attractions like the A’Famosa Water Park and Zoo Melaka are outside the “old town,” so plan your itinerary accordingly. We visited the zoo on our departure day, so we didn’t have to head back to the city center after our visit. 

Whether you want to visit historic sites, savor the local cuisine, or make memories with your family, Melaka has something special for everyone.

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Art, Culture, and More in Melaka! 🖼️ Day Trip Delights
About Marlieke Kemp-Janssen:

Marlieke is the mom of a four-year-old girl and, together with daddy, they love living in and exploring Kuala Lumpur. As well as being the founder of Kuala Lumpur with Kids, Marlieke is a digital marketing consultant who has helped small businesses grow through her company Aureum Hospitality Advisers.

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