The beautiful, charming city of Malacca was, without question, one of my favourite spots throughout my 3 week trip in Malaysia. Chilled, café-laden and oozing a rich colonial history, Malacca ticked a lot of boxes for me and I can’t recommend getting this spot on your itinerary enough too.
If you’re tired of big bustling cities in Southeast Asia, then UNESCO-listed Malacca makes for a lovely, relaxing break and even though it can be a little more expensive than other destinations in the country, it’s a price worth paying for a such a clean, welcoming and safe stay. If you weren’t in the know, Malaysia has a rich history of layered colonial empires, migrated people and diverse traditions, which all blend to together to make for a fascinating country today.
And perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the city of Malacca, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its beautifully preserved buildings and tapestry of cultures. As such, no trip to this city would be complete without soaking in a bit of its unique flavour, meaning one of the best things to do in Malacca is definitely discover how the past shines through to the present.
From the ruined port city walls near the Dutch colonial Quarter to the crumbling former city gates of O Famosa, this is a perfect activity for budget travellers because it’s totally free too. Just wander the city centre streets and from Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial buildings to Indian, Chinese and Malay businesses, you’ll quickly get a flavour for just how much of an important global trading post, Malacca once was and how the influences of those days create the present city today.
And if you’ve had too much coffee and can’t sleep, not that this comes from the voice of experience or anything, but I’ve got the perfection suggestion for some evening fun in Malacca on a budget! Yup, the pimped-up tuk tuks that appear to be something of a Malacca special are definitely worth getting involved with!
Upping their kitsch glory at night – when they go to town (literally) on the music and the lights – taking a ride on one seems all part of the course when you’re in this city. Take your pick from Hello Kitty, Superman and Pokemon themed tuk tuks, among others, and get fully into the spirit, remembering you are on holiday and nobody know you here so it’s ok! Ok, so perhaps it’s time to balance the books now a little and inject a bit of culture into the proceedings, which, I’m delighted to say, is entirely possible on a budget in arty Malacca. From loads of gorgeous galleries selling local artists’ work to plentiful street art, you can definitely get your fix in this city. I’m a big fan of street art and, after Georgetown in Penang, I can definitely say Malacca is probably the next best place to check out the offering in Malaysia, with the best location being the area between the streets of Jalan Tukang Besi and Lorong Hang Jebat in the historical centre.