Things to Do in Melaka
The Malacca River (Sungai Melaka) cuts across the city of the same name, now most commonly spelled Melaka, and is also known as the Melaka River. In recent years, the river has been revitalized into a top destination, with both Malaysians and international visitors coming to soak in its history and marvel at the diverse architecture from the city’s Portuguese, Dutch, and British heritage.
A family-friendly destination that’s popular with locals when the mercury rises, Melaka’s A’ Famosa Water Theme Park is among the largest water parks in Malaysia. Highlights include the family raft adventure, wave pool, sandy beach, and several long, fast, and high waterslides for thrill seekers.
Malaysia’s oldest Chinese temple, first built in 1673, remains an active place of worship for the Chinese Buddhist community in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Melaka. Everything from the ornate roof to the painted murals within this temple dedicated to Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) have been restored using traditional techniques.
Jonker Street (Jalan Hang Jebat)runs through the heart of Chinatown in Melaka’s city center and was once known primarily for its antique dealers. Those on the hunt for Malaysian artifacts and relics—authentic and otherwise—will still find these rare items, but the area has evolved to include clothing boutiques, craft shops, and restaurants as well.
Peranakan men and women are known as baba and nyonya respectively, and the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum transports the traveler back to their 19th-century heyday. Immerse yourself in the costumes and rituals of this Chinese-Malay fusion culture as you explore this lovingly restored townhouse in the heart of historic Melaka.
The Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park offers replicas of Malaysian homes from across the country’s 13 states (as well as other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region). Art and architecture enthusiasts will especially enjoy this park, and it provides a fun, educational outing for families.
This 16th-century landmark in Melaka (Malacca)—believed to be the oldest Dutch building in Asia—was modeled after the Hoorn city hall in the Netherlands. It once served as the Melaka town hall and residence of the Dutch governor, and today houses several small museums, including the Museum of History and Ethnography.
Create (and document) the illusion that you’re walking on the ceiling, levitating in the bathroom, or doing a handstand on the refrigerator at Upside Down House Melaka. Everything in this everyday home is turned upside down and stuck to the ceiling, enabling you to create hilarious selfies and memorable wefies with the help of staff.
A rotating viewing platform, the Taming Sari Tower (Menara Taming Sari) rises from ground level to around 262 feet (80 meters), delivering sweeping views across historic Melaka as it turns. Besides the revolving star attraction, the site offers bumper cars and a Mini Rider 3D movie-viewing system.
Sometimes referred to as "Mini Lisbon," Melaka's Portuguese Square is a hub of Portuguese culture and community in the city—a symbol of Portuguese–Malay heritage. Bars, a few small museums, and restaurants serving up Portuguese fare line the courtyard and surrounding Eurasian village (kampung).
More Things to Do in Melaka
As the name would suggest, Melaka Bird Park is a gigantic aviary, home to a wealth of free-flying tropical birds representing more than 20 species, including peacocks and parrots. It’s possible to buy tubs of seed to feed the birds and to observe them from a canopy skywalk, and the park also has dining options and a souvenir shop.
Home to over 150 different species, Zoo Melaka and Night Safari is the city’s longest-established wildlife attraction and one of Malaysia’s largest zoos. It offers animal shows, food outlets, educational talks by keepers, and the chance to feed animals, as well as a night safari on weekend evenings.
A long-running Melaka attraction, Malacca Crocodile Park (Taman Buaya & Rekreasi Melaka) offers more than just reptile encounters. Besides having more than 100 crocodiles spread across several enclosures, there are mammals, reptiles, an aviary, herb garden, water playground, miniature Malaysia, and shows and rides on weekends.
The tallest building in Melaka, the Shore Sky Tower has a 43rd-floor observation deck that offers sweeping views that span up to 30 miles (50 kilometers) on a clear day. Whether you visit during the day or night, use the provided telescopes to take in the 360-degree vista of Melaka, the Straits of Melaka, and the Malay Peninsula.
A focal point of Melaka’s modern development called the Shore, the Shore Oceanarium is located on the second floor of a mall. Educational exhibits span the gamut from an interactive touch pool to a shell museum and a 3D movie theater, with an emphasis on fun topics such as sharks, sea turtles, and living fossils. You can buy food to feed the turtles.
The Melaka (Malacca) outpost of the Kuala Lumpur original, Illusion 3D Art Museum Melaka features around 40 hand-painted 3D artworks, tailor-made for hilarious optical illusion selfies. You can also insert yourself into your choice of six “augmented reality” 3D movies by filming against a green screen.
The A’ Famosa Safari Wonderland is a fun, family-friendly destination that combines aspects of a zoo and a safari park. Ride around the park on a safari truck to get a glimpse of the camels, elephants, zebras, and even tigers that roam freely in large habitats, and watch shows featuring monkeys, birds, dogs, and other animals.
At the 228-acre (92-hectare) Melaka Botanical Garden, just outside Melaka, visitors can spend time hiking and cycling, or simply picnicking and relaxing. Highlights of this popular park include a suspension bridge, observation towers for looking out across the forest, and a playground for kids, as well as a jogging trail and cycle paths.
Create hilarious selfies at Melaka’s Magic Art Museum. Spanning more than 7,000 square feet (650 square meters), with more than 70 artworks covering eight different themes, it’s one of Malaysia’s largest 3D trick art galleries. Insert yourself into scenes from underwater, old Malacca, ancient Egypt, or even a muay Thai kickboxing match.