Whenever I suddenly crave chicken rice, I dream of chicken rice balls in Malacca. Sorry Singapore, this Malaysian city just 3.5 hours away is the real foodie’s paradise.
If you’re not one of those Singaporeans with relatives in Malacca, the thought of the city probably does not conjure up painful memories of boring family gatherings. Which means it’s fair game for a quick 3D2N getaway. Here’s how to do so it on the cheap.
Sorry, frequent flyers, but the most sensible way to get to Malacca is by coach, seeing as there are no direct flights.
Don’t just march down to Golden Mile Complex and book tickets from the first company you see. For some reason, ticket prices for Malacca can vary wildly, so you definitely want to do your research online on sites like Busonlineticket before booking.
The cheapest company tends to be 707 Inc, and you can get tickets for as little as 12 SGD or 13 SGD each way. Try not to pay more than 36 SGD for a return ticket. The ride should take three to four hours, maybe a little more if you go during public holidays and the causeway is jammed.
Cost: 26 SGD
Malacca is a backpacker’s paradise, and even if you’re on a very tight budget you should be able to find stylish hostels, guesthouses and boutique hotels to stay at in the historic centre near Jonker Walk. Tourist infrastructure is very good and much better value for money than, say, KL.
For 15 SGD, you should be able to stay in a very basic guesthouse room to be shared with a friend. For 18 SGD and above, you can get a budget hotel room with private bathrooms and aircon.
There are very good deals on Agoda. For instance, a room at Hangout @ Jonker, the sister hotel of Hangout @ Mt Emily in Singapore, costs 36 SGD a night on Agoda right now, down from their walk-in price of 93 SGD.
Travel with a friend and you can stay in comfortable lodgings in the heritage area for 10 SGD to 20 SGD per person per night.
Cost: 10 SGD per night / 20 SGD for two nights
You can easily navigate most of the main tourist sites in the historic centre on foot, which are enough to keep you occupied on a weekend getaway. Many people spend their entire trip in the area in and around Jonker Walk. You can easily walk all the way out to the river from Jonker Walk.
If you have to take a taxi, don’t forget to get the driver to use the meter. Prices are about half of what you pay in Singapore without as many crazy surcharges.
To get from Melaka Sentral, where most buses from Singapore will drop you off, take a 15 minute bus ride for 1.50 MYR (0.50 SGD). Look for the domestic bus terminal and go to Gate 17. If you see other tourists around chances are they’re waiting for that bus too. Look out for Christ Church, the distinctive brick red building, which will be across the road from where you should alight.
If you insist on taking a cab, expect to be charged at least 10 MYR (3.32 SGD) to 15 MYR (4.98 SGD) for a 10 minute ride, and that’s if you manage to get the driver to use the meter or are very good at bargaining.
Cost: 5 MYR (1.66 SGD)
While the main attraction for most Singaporean visitors to Malacca is the food, the town itself is quite charming, and the historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most of the historic sites are free to visit.
- Jonker Walk Night Market – Free
- Cheng Hoon Teng Temple – Free
- Christ Church and Dutch Square – Free
- Porta de Santiago – Free
- Melaka River – Free
No matter how low your budget is, you’ll eat well in Malacca. Meals at local stalls and family restaurants can cost as little as 4 MYR (1.33 SGD) to 8 MYR (2.65 SGD), although you might have to pay a premium if the stall is a “famous” one. If you have a big appetite or want to order more expensive items on the menu, you’ll pay up to 20 MYR (6.63 SGD) per person.
Beware of the fact that some of the more touristy restaurants will set you back significantly more, although you should still be able to keep your meal to below 30 MYR (9.95 SGD) per person. Just for the record, the famous durian chendol at Jonker 88 is 5 MYR (1.66 SGD).
For many Singaporeans, the temptation to hang out at some of the new hipster cafes in the historic centre will be too strong to resist. Be prepared to spend about 10 MYR (3.22 SGD) to 15 MYR (4.97 SGD) each time, assuming you order a drink and a dessert.
Cost: 30 MYR per day / 90 MYR (29.84 SGD) for a week
Total cost of a 3D2N trip to Malacca: 77.50 SGD
We’ve provided a pretty basic food budget for those who just eat a simple breakfast, lunch and dinner at food stalls. But if you have any cash to spare at all, go ahead and knock yourself out.
Have you been to Malacca? Share your experiences in the comments!
Image Credit: Phalinn Ooi
Keep updated with all the news!
Get the latest personal finance tips and tricks delivered to your inbox!
We promise never to spam you!