A Weekend in Malacca
What to Do and See in Malacca in Two Days
Planning a weekend in Malacca can be a daunting task for first-time visitors, so we’ve put together a helpful guide of the city’s best attractions, dining, shopping, and nightlife hotspots. As Malaysia’s unofficial historical state, downtown Malacca houses an array of heritage buildings, ancient landmarks, and colonial structures dating back to the early 18th century, making it a popular holiday destination for history and culture lovers.
Ideal for travelling families and visitors who want to explore nature's beautiful sights and sounds, recreational forests, animal parks, and family retreats can be found right outside the main town. Of course, no trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is complete without enjoying authentic Peranakan cuisine, which is a unique fusion of Chinese and Malay recipes. Read on to discover what to do and see in Malacca in 48 hours.
Daytime - Visit Colonial Structures
On the first day, visit Malacca’s numerous colonial structures and ancient landmarks, all of which are conveniently set within Malacca City (Melaka Raya). One of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia is A’Famosa Fort, which was built by Portuguese general Alfonso de Albuquerque in 1511. Today, the remains of the fort is now a whitewashed gatehouse and is located downhill from St. Paul's Church.
There are also several Dutch colonial architectural gems just minutes away from Malacca’s Chinatown centre, including The Stadthuys and Christ Church. Once the focal point of foreign governments, The Stadthuys now houses the Museum of Literature and the Museum of History & Ethnography, where you can learn more about Malaccan customs and traditions as well as the city’s rich history.
Melaka Sultanate Palace is a breathtaking replica of Sultan Mansur Shah’s 15th-century palace. Set at the base of St Paul’s Hill, it houses 1,350 artefacts, prints, photographs and drawings detailing the Malaccan Malay Sultanate’s history and cultural heritage. Lastly, head over to the Menara Taming Sari gyro tower to enjoy panoramic views of Malacca town and beyond.
Evening - Sample Peranakan Food
Sampling Peranakan food after a long day of exploring the city is a must for any first-time visitor to Malacca. Also known as Nyonya cuisine, it fuses traditional Chinese and Malay style of cooking with lots of local spices and coconut milk, resulting in a distinctive sweet and spicy flavour. Nancy Kitchen serves arguably the best Nyonya delicacies in town, with standouts include sek bak (braised pork), Peranakan curry chicken, and sambal sotong petai (sambal squid with bitter beans).
Another Malaccan speciality is satay celup, a fondue-like dish comprising of skewered pieces of raw meat, seafood, and vegetables which you dip into a communal pot filled with thick, rich but spicy peanut sauce. Set along Lorong Bukit Cina, Capitol Satay Celup has been operating since the 1950s, boasting over 80 types of skewers priced from RM1 onwards. On Saturday evenings, Portuguese Square (situated along Jalan d'Albuquerque) hosts plenty of restaurants, food stalls and pubs as well as a myriad of traditional dances and live music performed by the local Portuguese community.
Daytime - Explore Ayer Keroh’s Nature Parks
Start the second day of your weekend in Malacca by exploring Ayer Keroh’s nature parks, recreational forests, and wildlife sanctuaries. A 30-minute drive from downtown Malacca, the Melaka Botanical Gardens is great for enjoying outdoor activities such as jungle trekking, hiking, running, camping, and boating.
Meanwhile, Malacca Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary, Zoo Melaka and Melaka Bird Park are ideal destinations for travelling families, where they can observe a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians including capybaras, mousedeer, Malayan gaurs, tapirs, and Malayan tigers.
Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park showcases the country’s 13 states with traditional village homes, complete with life-sized wax dummies dressed in respective costumes as well as local handicrafts, furnishings, fixtures and paintings. Visitors can also watch cultural dance shows, play traditional Malay games, and hone their skills on an Iban blowpipe.
Evening - Nightlife in Jonker Street
In the evening, make your way back to Jonker Street for a plethora of dining options, reasonably-priced drinks, and live music performances. The iconic Hard Rock Café Malacca is situated right outside its main entrance, where you can enjoy delicious American-style hamburgers, steaks, cocktails, and imported beers. Alternatively, Geographer Café is an award-winning nightlife spot that offers a good mix of Asian and Western pub grub, potent alcoholic drinks, diverse music policy, and friendly service.
Where to Stay?
From modest hostels for backpackers to luxurious colonial-style hotels for the affluent, we’ve also included an extensive inventory of hotels with great rates to help you decide on where to stay during your weekend trip in Malacca. Catering to just about any traveller, Malacca hotels provide not only quality accommodations with excellent services and facilities, but also easy access to ample sightseeing, dining, and shopping opportunities.