7 Non-Touristy Activities To Do In Melaka, Malaysia

There is more to Melaka than meets the eye, and these non-touristy activities will show you just that. (Photo by Aleksandra Khoroshykh)
The Malaysian government has allowed for domestic travel to begin again starting 10 June 2020. We urge you to maintain social distancing, upkeep your personal hygiene, and adhere to all SOPs imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you’re still not sure about travelling during this time, we hope you keep Zafigo as a source of inspiration for your future travels.

During the 16th century, Melaka was arguably the most important trading port in Southeast Asia. Fast forward to the 21st century, the historically-rich Malaysian state is now a popular tourist destination. From the iconic A’Famosa fort to vibrant Jonker Street, Melaka is packed with tourists all year round.

However, there is more to Melaka than meets the eye. Beyond the colonial architecture is a charming little town where life is sleepy, yet engaging. Believe it or not, one does not have to indulge the usual touristy activities to enjoy Melaka.

Now that most borders are opened for travel, there is no better place to stretch one’s legs than Melaka. A bonus point is that it’s less than two hours from Kuala Lumpur!

1. Watch the sunset from Bukit Beruang 

Photo by KC Choy

Hiking Bukit Beruang is a great way to burn calories. It is also a ticket to a free and stunning view of the sunset. If your intentions are the latter, hike up Jalan TM Bukit Beruang, a short tarmacked trail, to the telecommunications tower. There is a spot along the way that is excellent for watching the sunset. From SJK (C) Bukit Beruang at the foot of the hill, it takes less than 30 minutes to reach this viewing point. Bring snacks!

Location: Start from Jalan Teratai 3, Taman Bunga Raya, 75450 Melaka
Opening hours: 24/7. However, to catch the sunset, plan accordingly with Air Almanac, or Time And Date.
Price: Free

2. Plane spotting at Melaka International Airport

Photo by Daniel Eledut

Located in Batu Berendam, this airport is not only an entry point into Malaysia, but also the home of the Malaysian Flying Academy (MFA), the country’s oldest flying school. From a safe distance outside the fence, one may watch aircrafts of all sorts taking off and landing. Other than the flying school’s piston-engine aircraft, Malindo Air currently operates the ATR 72 turboprop aircraft into the airfield. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a military aircraft or two.

Location: Anywhere along the fence surrounding the airfield. Alternatively, there is a bus stop at Taman Mas Merah, Jalan Batu Berendam, from which you can view the runway
Opening hours: MFA’s piston-engine aircraft take off and land throughout the day when the weather is satisfactory. For the Malindo Air’s arrival and departure times, you may refer to www.flightradar24.com or www.malindoair.com
Price: Free

3. Have chicken rice balls

Huang Chang Chicken Rice Restaurant Batu Berendam Melaka, Chicken Rice Balls
Image by @janicekoh_.

Away from the larger-than-life restaurants that cater to tourists, one can find those popular chicken rice balls that are cheaper and even tastier than their puffed-up cousins. These shops dot the town’s residential areas, and are easily located with a bit of homework. A local favourite is Huang Chang Chicken Rice Restaurant in Batu Berendam. Head here to sink your teeth into rice cooked with chicken essence that is then rolled into bite-sized orbs and served with steamed chicken. 

Location: BB-376, Taman Melaka Baru, Batu Berendam, 75350, Melaka
Opening hours: 8am to 3pm
Price: Below RM10 per pax

4. Enjoy a coconut shake

Photo by pxhere

Imagine this: the distinct flavour of blended toasted coconut mixed with milk. Then toss in a scoop of ice cream before having it sweetened to taste. Although the coconut shake in Klebang shot to stardom, there are many other places to enjoy this delicious treat, including Batu Berendam Coconut Shake, a roadside stall in Batu Berendam. The best time to savour this bit of heaven is around noon to allay the effects of the scorching sun.

Location: Kampung Sungai Putat (Jalan Batu Berendam), 75350, Melaka
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 10.30pm
Price: RM2.50 (approximately USD0.60) onwards

5. Have some tipple at a 100-year-old bar

Sin Hiap Hin, tipple at a 100-year-old bar, Melaka
Left: Image by @mrs.n.ramsey. Right: Image by @themajesticmalacca.

Sin Hiap Hin is a 100-year-old bar currently run by Ms Doris, the 4th generation bartender. Try flavoured rice wines, herbal tonic wines, beer, and some non-alcoholic beverages. Doris is a chatty and sweet lady who will tell you stories about the bar’s history. Some favourite drinks are lychee rice wine and rose flavoured liquor.

Location: 5, Jalan Jawa (Java Lane), Kampung Jawa, 75200 Melaka.
Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm
Price: About RM15 for a bottle of lychee rice wine

6. Go for a walk at the Melaka Botanical Garden

Speaking of the scorching sun, the Melaka Botanical Garden in Ayer Keroh features a canopy of trees, conducive for a relaxed walk. It’s a welcome change from the people-infested town centre, especially now when social distancing is important. After being cooped up for several months, a breath of fresh air is, well, a breath of fresh air!

Location: Hang Tuah Jaya, Ayer Keroh 75450, Melaka
Opening hours: 24/7
Price: Free

7. Tour Melaka on a bike

Melaka on Bike Tour
Left and right image by Melaka on Bike.

With over 20 years of experience, Melaka on Bike brings you on a leisurely bike tour through the less touristy parts of Melaka. You will bike through paddy fields, rubber plantations, and see Malaccan kampung life.

Different types of bike tours are offered, with various activities that can tailor to your groups’ needs. All tours and activities are led by experienced guides, with bikes, helmets and safety equipment provided free of charge. This is the ultimate guided, non-touristy adventure you’re looking for if you ask us!

Location: 117, Jalan Tiang Dua, 75460 Tiang Dua, Melaka, Malaysia. Pick up from hotel and drop off after is available.
Contact: +6019 652 5029
Price: Starts from RM120 per pax

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And voila! Going back into the real world is exciting and there’s no better time than now to oblige that travel bug with some domestic travel. Kick-off with a fun and relaxing trip to Melaka.

*Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 25th June 2020 and has been updated to include more activities.

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Chow Ping’s happiness can be quantified by the stamps in her passport, the wear of her suitcase zip, her worn shoe sole, and the wanderlust in her heart. Airline pilot by day and wannabe poet by night, she lives near an airport in a house perpetually overran with books.
(they/them) River is a pawrent to 2 cats and an introvert. Part of the UBI (Useless Bits of Information) brain club, inspiration usually strikes when they're in the shower, on the toilet bowl or during commutes.