Malaysia Road Trip Guide: Malacca
Apart from its affordability and accessibility, Malaysia provides Singaporean drivers with an expansive road network perfect for a weekend road trip. There are so many different interesting destinations all throughout Malaysia with their own unique character. In this series, we are featuring six of the hottest destinations in Peninsular Malaysia you can drive to if you’d like to escape the hustle and bustle of SG. For the second part of our series, we are focusing on one of Malaysia’s most well-known destinations, Malacca (Melaka).
Famous for its historical landmarks and mouth-watering cuisine, Malacca is a must visit for Singaporeans who want to get more out of their short trips. Generally, driving to Malacca only takes around three hours, which makes it ideal for that quick weekend road trip. Before any road trip, make sure you are equipped with car and travel insurance to protect yourself should anything happen to during your trip.
Malacca is located on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The fastest and shortest route to get to Malacca from Singapore is via the AH2 or the North-South Expressway (NSE). As mentioned above, this route only takes three hours from either the Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoint. The NSE is well-maintained, which provides drivers with smooth driving all the way to Malacca.
If you don’t want to spend three hours straight in your car, there are a couple of Rest and Service Areas (RSA) along the North-South Expressway going to Malacca. With comfort rooms, restaurants, and petrol stations, you can easily recharge in the RSAs. There are four RSAs on the way to Malacca – Gelang Patah, Machap, Pagoh, and Ayer Keroh.
Known as “The Historic State”, Malacca is certainly one of the most fascinating and unique destinations in Malaysia. Malacca City is, after all, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Malacca City is also really easy to navigate so you won’t have trouble finding the many tourist attractions in the city. With Malacca’s numerous narrow passageways, the best and most convenient way to explore the city is by walking. Good news is that most hotels in Malacca provide guests with free parking.
A famous tourist attraction in Malacca is Christ Church. It’s an 18th century Protestant Church which is one of the city’s defining sites. It’s located in the Dutch Square (also known as, Red Square). Here are a few more popular sites you shouldn’t miss in Malacca:
Stadthuys (Jalan Laksamana, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia)
Stadthuys used to be the administrative capital of Malacca during the Dutch colonial period. Once the office of the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor, Stadthuys now houses the Museum of History & Ethnography. Operating hours are from 9am to 5pm on Monday-Thursday and 9am to 8:30pm on Friday-Sunday.
A’Famosa Fort (Jalan Parameswara, Bandar Hilir 78000 Melaka, Malaysia)
The A’Famosa is the remains of a Portuguese military fortress built in the 16th century. Also known as the Porta de Santiago, it’s one of the oldest European structures in Asia. It is another popular landmark in Malacca that will surely be an interesting stop for history buffs.
Paul’s Hill & Church (Jalan Kota, Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia)
Uphill from A’Famosa is St. Paul’s Hill. It is a very popular destination in Malacca. This landmark is only accessible on foot and tourists have to climb up to reach the top of the hill. Admission to the landmark is free.
Chinatown – Melaka (Chinatown, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia)
Malacca’s Chinatown is one of the well-kept areas in the old city. Apart from the beautifully preserved shophouses, it is also a popular destination for shoppers, antique collectors, and foodies alike because of the famous night markets and restaurants. There are plenty of attractions within Chinatown that you should definitely check out such as Jonker Street, Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, and Cheng Ho Cultural Museum.
Unless you have the energy to drive all the way back to Singapore after exploring the city, spending the night in Malacca is highly recommended. Malacca is a first class destination which means there are a lot of hotels to choose from. Here are some of the most highly rated hotels in the area:
- Casa del Rio Melaka (Jalan Kota Laksamana, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia)
Voted as the best hotel in Malacca for 2016, Casa del Rio Melaka is a luxury boutique hotel that overlooks the straits of Malacca. Located conveniently within walking distance to Chinatown, the first class accommodations are perfect for couples celebrating special occasions.
- Holiday Inn Melaka (Jalan Syed Abdul Aziz, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia)
The Holiday Inn Melaka is another great hotel in Malacca City. With spacious rooms and complete amenities, this hotel is perfect for large families. Similar to Casa del Rio Melaka, the hotel also overlooks the Malacca Straits.
- The Settlement Hotel (No. 63 Jalan Ujong Pasir, 75050 Melaka, Malaysia)
The Settlement Hotel is another highly rated hotel in Malacca. It’s a stylish boutique hotel near the city centre. Along with standard hotel rooms, the Settlement Hotel also has luxury villas if you want more exclusive accommodations.
Being influenced by different distinct cultures, Malacca offers tourists such a diverse dining experience. From traditional Nyonya cuisine to hipster cafes, Malacca City has got a lot to offer. Highly recommended restaurants you should definitely check out are The Daily Fix, The Baboon House, Nancy’s Kitchen Restaurant, Lung Ann Refreshment Kopitam, and the Calanthe Art Cafe. Another popular foodie destination is in Jonker Walk Night Market. With plenty of hawkers offering traditional and modern Malaccan street food, it’s an affordable dining alternative. These are just some of the fantastic places you can dine in during your trip to Malacca.
When going on a road trip to Malacca, make sure you park your car in a safe and guarded location. Since it’s outside of Singapore, you have to ensure that your car insurance coverage is still applicable in Malaysia. Keep emergency numbers and your travel insurance handy should you get into any trouble during your trip. Malacca is definitely a great holiday getaway for Singaporeans. Every corner is interesting.
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