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I like traveling to places that not everyone else visits. When I decided to spend some time exploring Southeast Asia while I was working and traveling, I thought Malaysia might be a nice place to start. The little city of Melaka (also spelled Malacca) soon popped to my attention. Exotic, good food, easy to get around. Perfect. I’ll travel to Melaka, Malaysia.
MEET MELAKA, MALAYSIA
I’ve written Meet Melaka, Malaysia so you’ll be able to get your own ideas about how to get to this vibrant little city, where to stay and what to see.
Exactly Where is Melaka?
Melaka, Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia just north of the Equator and south of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia on the South China Sea.
Travel to Melaka, Malaysia
I booked a direct flight to Kuala Lumpur from Doha, Qatar and then took a taxi to the bus station, where I boarded a bus decorated with colorful fake flowers (common in Malaysia, I soon realized) and arrived in Melaka in just about two hours.
Malaysia is not an expensive country, and taxis and private transport don’t cost too much, so if you travel to Melaka yourself, you might want to take a taxi or a private car from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka.
My Melaka, Malaysia Accommodation
The Old Town Guesthouse in Melaka where I stayed had an amazingly soft bed, windows with wooden shutters to drown out the roar of the ubiquitous southeast Asia motorbikes and a comfortable common area in which to work. Old Town Guesthouse was an excellent place to stay and I recommend it.
The population of Melaka is over 600,000 people but it felt a lot smaller, and the ambiance was quite charming. Melaka is colorful, full of a lot of seriously great food, and some really interesting sights.
Jonker Street is perhaps Malacca’s main draw, with cute little shops and restaurants. On a roundabout nearby, there are loads of colorful floral tuk-tuks, called trishaws, each cutely and uniquely designed, which await passengers. The trishaw drivers ride on a bicycle attached to the side of the passenger section. I think it must take a while to learn how to pilot one of these successfully.
I found a very good gym immediately off of Jonker Street, which cost 5 Malaysian ringgits for a workout of any length. That converts to approximately 1.60 USD, making it by far the cheapest gym I have found on earth.
Right after my first workout, I ate my first Malaysian dish. A spicy bowl of seafood baba laksa cost me only 4.50 ringitts (1.10 USD). I managed to eat the entirety of the amazingly delicious noodles, hard boiled eggs, shrimp and unidentified fish with chopsticks. Malaysian food turned out to be just absolutely magnificent and one of the very best parts of Melaka.
During the first few days of my almost two weeks in Melaka, I went to the supermarket and bought food to eat at my guesthouse in order to save money. But then I noticed eating at any of the many small, casual restaurants nearby didn’t cost any more than groceries. So then I started eating out for every meal. It was pretty wonderful as well as super inexpensive.
Melaka’s got a lot of extremely busy city streets congested with cars, the occasional truck and multitudes of motorbikes. There are not a whole lot of sidewalks, but there are a lot of open drainage systems several inches wide and a couple of feet deep along the streets. Dodging vehicles while walking in the street trying not to fall into drainage pits is a bit of a challenge, but I made it through unscathed.
About the motorbikes. So many motorbikes careen through Southeast Asia everywhere all the time, it seems. And they are quite loud. While Melaka is full of motorbikes, that’s okay because there are plenty of quieter places to escape to that happen to be beautiful and interesting too.
The owner of my guesthouse clued me in to the perfect jogging path nearby. It’s in a cemetery called Bukit China Cemetery, full of trees and grass and away from the noise of the traffic. An extra nice touch is its views of rolling green hills on one side and the Strait of Malacca on the other.
The Malacca River is another body of water in this city. It’s quite pretty, and you can take boat trips from one end to the other. Nearby are little bridges that connect this quaint area with the other side of town where I stayed.
The weather in Melaka was super interesting. I traveled to Melaka in January, and for five days the skies were completely blackened with thick, threatening clouds. At home in the U.S., and anywhere else I’ve traveled or lived, actually, clouds like that would produce rain imminently. In Melaka, it did rain a tiny bit for a short while some days, but the dark clouds hung in the sky for five days before it really rained hard. Strange.
When it did rain, it left the open drains along the streets with a slightly higher water level and transformed this sight in the courtyard of the police station somehow more attractive.
Melaka, Malaysia – it’s welcoming, energetic, interesting, and definitely worth a visit whether you’re working and traveling your way around the world long term or just want to visit somewhere exotic.