Travelling South: Melaka with kids
Only two hours south of Kuala Lumpur is the old portuguese & dutch colony of Melaka or Malacca. It’s very easy to get to by local bus.
The town itself is a strange but easy going place. It’s steeped in history from the old Dutch & Portuguese colonies. But as it’s only 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur it also lends itself to lots of coach tours. If you want to see the best of the town get out early morning and explore further out from the city centre.
How to get to Melaka
As I mentioned there are lots of day tours but things are quiet in the early morning so I’d recommend at least one overnight stop.
We took one of the hundreds of local buses going to this area from Kuala Lumpur. The bus station is huge and similar to a railway station. You can just turn up and book a bus, but we decided to book online with https://12go.asia/en and chose the delima bus.
I didn’t get the impression that any bus company stands out as ‘the best’. Cost of the journey was MYR 57 for a family of 4 (about £12).
The coach was comfortable with air conditioning, both departing and arriving on time!
Where to stay in Melaka with kids
We found a nice 2 bedroom apartment on air BnB. Now that we’ve used air BnB for the first time in Kuala Lumpur we thought we’d check here too and it was a good price!
The apartment was away from the hectic main town, yet only 15 minutes walking. It had 2 lovely pools, laundry facilitates, mini golf and was close by to 3 large shopping malls.
The apartment was spacious, comfortable, clean and well equipped for a few nights. The boys enjoyed having their space. It’s part of an aparthotel so lots of people around, but no WiFi!
Places to eat in Melaka
We tended to eat in the apartment as we had a few 7 elevens nearby. There are lots of eateries in and around Jonker Street, but we found them to be a little expensive. Instead we looked for local roti houses nearby, which were cheaper:
Restoran Nisa Din – it describes itself as an Indian Muslim restaurant and Ethan was made up that they did masala dosa’s. The food was really good and at a super low price. It was close by to the Novotel hotel! It’s the usual plastic chairs and outdoor dining place, but perfect if you’re on a budget.
Asam Pedas Lauk Kampung – we were heading into town over night so went in search of another Roti house. This was similar and had a tandoori oven so made Indian dishes as well. It wasn’t as good as Nisa din but still offered filling and cheap food! It’s definitely cheaper than eating in the town centre!
The stolen cup – we stopped for a coffee and breakfast for the boys one day. The prices were more than we were used to playing but they did serve exceedingly good coffee! The boys enjoyed a muffin and egg caramel croissant – very sweet but very nice! But of a treat.
Reggae on the river – one night when we ventured into Jonker Street we found the place closed down. It was a Thursday and I think it was their night off! But as we had already eaten we were only looking for a drink. So as we walked along the Riverside we can’t across Reggae on the river. It was playing lively music and was one of the cheaper places to buy beer. So we stopped and watched the world go by.
Oriental cottage cafe – a close friend visited Melaka not long before we did and recommended this place for food and drinks. Unfortunately they were closed on the day we arrived. But she highly recommended it and I’d definitely take her word for it!
Things to do in Melaka
It was a very easy going place, everything’s within walking distance or you could get the weird and a little crazy trishaws that are dotted around the place!
Melaka Town Square
This was the hub of the city and had a real dutch colonial feel with a windmill alongside the river. There were quite a plaques which would keep any Instagrammer busy for a few minutes!
The square was very quaint and surrounded by striking red buildings.
Nearby is The Stadthuys which is another museum about the history of Malaysia. I’m not sure how many museums a small town needs, but they sure do have their fair share!
But who can forget those loud and brightly lit trishaws. I have no idea why, but they were certainly a hit with the tourists!!!
We really enjoyed walking alongside the melacca River. There were lots of great architecture and colour and mural’s. We even spotted a couple of monitor lizards near the wooden boardwalks.
It was a great way to spend the morning strolling along the city.
Start at Jonker Street, near hard rock cafe and walk down the steps to the river side, then follow the pathway along the river, crossing bridges and passing houses & churches. Then you will reach an abandoned play park (it may well be operational, but it looked a bit old and rusty!)
Then head towards a wooden boardwalk next to the shore shopping mall. On the opposite side of the river you’ll see a traditional Malaysian village. If you walk further round you can cross a bridge to get closer to the village with its red roofs. We were getting a bit hot, so decided to head back, walking past St peters church and through little India.
Great little loop! And a cheaper alternative to the boat cruises that you see zipping up and down the river.
Visit Jonker Street
It’s been described as a hustling street with lots of shops and eateries and great to visit during the daytime. However, we were there mid week and didn’t really get a sense of this. I felt there was more going on by the river walk.
However, it could be a different picture if you manage to be there at a weekend when there’s a Friday and Saturday night market.
St Paul’s Church & surrounding sites
Up on a hillock are the ruins of a church. It gives nice views across the city and is good to stroll around.
Around the base is an old fortress (A famosa) and there are quite a few museums. But the one I’d read most about was the Proclamation Of Independence Memorial, which gave some interesting history facts about Malaysia. We weren’t interested in going but it’s an option if you are in the area.
Situated just over 30 minutes walk away from our apartment is the best sunset point in Melaka, the floating mosque. Most people tend to cycle or take a taxi. But we decided to walk. It was well lit and was easy to get to. The walk wasn’t very interesting in itself but was good to stretch the legs.
The mosque is on a man made island, called Melaka island – connected by a single bridge. As we wandered over the bridge we arrived at a huge building site and the most ornate and colourful buildings I’d seen. It looks like the area is in development. As we turned the corner there was an open square area with a few shops & cafes open, but we were short on time so didn’t stop.
We then walked through a ghost town of empty apartments and shop fronts – it was weird!!
We continued on to the mosque. It’s situated on a small beach and juts out into the sea, making it appear that it’s floating. It was a very peaceful and beautiful sunset spot and wasn’t overly crowded with people.
A nice little town that breaks up the journey towards Singapore. It’s not a typical Malaysian town, but it’s nice to see some of the history of this country.
Even if you’re not heading to Singapore it’s only 2 hours away and a nice trip if you want to escape the madness of the city!