I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of staycations in Singapore. I’ve been dying to get out of my mundane routine, and there are only so many places you can visit in Singapore. Not nearly enough trails to hike, malls to roam, cafes to visit…
…Which is why I was so excited to go on a “virtual day trip” to our favourite neighbouring city Johor Bahru (JB), in our last post. This time, let us journey slightly further into Malaysia…to Melaka! The beautiful architecture, brilliant food, and bustling culture will make you fall in love with this quaint city without a doubt.
Here’s a fun fact: You may have known this charming city as “Malacca”, but did you know that the state government decided to embrace its original spelling, “Melaka”, back in 2017? This is to standardise the way it’s spelt, as well as to prevent further confusion.
You can get to Melaka by booking a ride with various coaches, but my preference is Luxury Coach which picks you up at Concorde Hotel on Orchard Road. The journey is 4 hours on average, but I’ve heard it can stretch up to 7 hours if there’s heavy traffic. It costs about S$25 per pax for a one-way trip, so it’ll cost around S$50-60 for a round-trip. Pretty affordable for an escape out of mundanity, if you ask me.
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I’ve stayed at Hatten Hotel, which is sleek and clean, but I thought I’d change things up if I ever went to Melaka again. If you’re up for some Peranakan vibes, give the Aava Malacca Hotel a try, or the Courtyard @ Heeren Boutique Hotel. I just love their old-timey feel, without having to give up my modern comforts.
Either of these hotels are within walking distance to the numerous attractions, so let’s get going!
Arguably the most popular café in Melaka, The Daily Fix Café on Jonker Street is my go-to for a good refuel after the long coach ride. Just look at their gorgeous, vintage design!
If you’re lucky, you can get your hands on their famous pandan pancakes with gula melaka, which are usually sold-out early. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, they even have savoury pancake options such as pancakes with smoked duck and salted egg yolk.
After indulging in super affordable yet satisfying café fare, it’s time to go sightseeing!
My first stop is usually Dutch Square, where the Stadthuys stands. It means “city hall” in Dutch, and now houses some museums with historic galleries. The buildings here were painted this iconic red by the British when they took over Dutch rule, unexpectedly making it a hit photo spot. If you don’t take a picture here, folks back home will wonder: did you really go to Melaka?
There are many street hawkers selling souvenirs and cold drinks, which will come in handy in the sweltering heat Melaka shares with Singapore.
Next you can head to Mamee Jonker House just a few minutes away on foot. Yes, it’s Mamee, our beloved childhood instant noodle snack! I can never get enough of that salty seasoning.
If you’re feeling peckish, one of my favourite things to get here is the Mamee Chef Curry Laksa, made with—you guessed it—Mamee instant noodle. Their Ice Cendol is also surprisingly good, especially after walking in the hot sun
You can also check out the mini-museum here, called the World of Good Taste Gallery, which tells you about the history of Mamee noodles, with quirky photo stations that will appeal to the child in you! Then, go on to DIY your own cup noodles, or learn how to make the Mamee Monster noodle snack from scratch—it’s a scaled-down version of how their actual production works!
And last but not least, my favourite part: shopping for merchandise! (Sorry, I’m a shopaholic.) They have all the snacks! Not to mention cute plushies, mugs, tote bags…you name it.
Once you’ve had your fill of Mamee goods, head to Jonker Walk (sometimes called Jonker Street) for the night market! Note that the night market is only available on weekends. But on weekdays the street is still bursting with life, with Nyonya restaurants that you simply have to try, and of course, street food. There’s cendol, durian ice cream, BBQ corn, nyonya assam laksa, nyonya zhang (rice dumpling), among much more. They also sell lots of handicrafts, jewellery, vintage art, and countless other treasures.
Speaking of art, Melaka is filled with murals and mind-blowing graffiti all over the city for you to explore. Now that we can only “virtually” experience Melaka, it’s a shame we can’t actually shop for the little trinkets at the street market…but thankfully, we are still able to buy certain things online!
For example, the Thiam Siew Inn Artist Gallery features amazing artwork that you can actually buy with a mouse click! vPost is great for shipping non-perishable items from Malaysia to Singapore, at completely affordable prices, because it’s purely based on weight—an art print wouldn’t cost much.
Besides thought-provoking abstract art, you can also get some Malaysian crafts in the form of tea towels, cute pouches like this cendol one, and even cotton Peranakan tile coasters!
All in all, Melaka is definitely a holiday destination you don’t want to miss. From its heritage and culture to its vibrant art scene and lively atmosphere, this is a place you’ll want to experience, whether in person or simply virtually.
For now, we’ll have to make do with this “virtual day trip” and console ourselves by shopping for some Melaka-inspired crafts online. As long as you’re buying from a merchant in Malaysia and it’s not perishable goods, virtually anything’s possible with vPost. (After all, I don’t think it’ll be wise to consume anything “fresh” that’s been traveling the long journey from Melaka to Singapore.)
I can’t wait to go back to Melaka!
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