January 19-22, 2017
Charming city south of KL.
Our travel to Melaka included a train and 2 buses. Sounds a bit much, but it was easy and the cheapest option! The first train was to get to the main bus station. This cost us about 2 Ringgit (MYR) or 0.47 USD. Then we took a bus to Melaka for 13 MYR (3 USD). This brought us to Melaka but not the main area. We had to take one more bus for 2 MYR (0.47 USD) to get to the city center. The journey took between 3-4 hours. If you time it right, you can arrive faster! We did the same trip back to Kuala Lumpur except this time the bus ticket was 10 MYR instead of 13 MYR.
What to do
Many people will visit Melaka for one day. It is a great day trip if you are pressed for time, but if you stay for only one day you risk on missing the night market which is fantastic! The city is 100% walkable and easy to navigate. There are many forts, historical building, and temples to see throughout the city. The city runs along a river and has many affordable hostels, shops and bars to visit.
Where we stayed
When we were there we stayed in Jalan Jalan Guesthouse. We thought this was a funny name because Jalan translates to Street in the Malay language. That would mean the guesthouse was called “Street Street”. Matt and I shared a private double bed room for a shared total of 38 MYR (9 USD). It has the typical fan, bug net, wifi, and free tea and coffee. I liked that it had a small outdoor garden area where we met some people from the guesthouse to hang out with for the next few days. After the second night we decided to check out a few other hostels around the area. None of them were as clean, populated, or had free tea and coffee like Jalan Jalan. We would definitely recommend this guesthouse.
Night Market Food and Vegan Eats
The night market, or Jonker Street Market, like any market has typical street food from Malaysia. This can vary from fried meat and fish to juices and coconut ice cream. As a vegan I had no problem finding delicious food in the Market. Many stands would sell fresh fruit, especially pineapples, and coconut stands selling coconut water and coconut ice cream straight from the coconut shell! You will also find a few vegan and vegetarian stands selling mostly fried food. I bought a plate full of deep-fried potatoes, vegetables, with some fried rice for 1 USD. My favorite snack I found that was vegan is a small circular doughnut like food that is stuffed with sugared green beans or red beans. The beans are rolled in a sugar dough then are sprinkled with sesame seeds. I would always ask the person who was selling them to tell me the ingredients to be 100% sure they did not have egg or milk, every time they were vegan! I got 3 small doughnuts for 1 MYR (0.20 USD). Any vegan food from the street will never be more than 2 USD per person.
Besides food at the night market, Melaka has many vegetarian and vegan restaurants to choose from. If I had to pick a favorite I would choose either Seeds Garden or Geographer Cafe. Seeds Garden is strictly plant-based with European and Asian options. Geographer Cafe sells meat and veggie options, but has a clear menu on what is vegan and not. We went both of these places twice to try different things. The most interesting food I tried was the Bean Curd. I was very concerned at first that they messed something up and gave me chicken. It smelled, tasted, and LOOKED like chicken. I checked with the staff twice I was so confused. I did not like it because it freaked me out how similar it was to chicken. Matt and another vegan friend we met along the way both enjoyed it!
Overall, we spend 3 days and 3 nights in Melaka. We were happy with spending 2 days to see everything and explore some new foods. However, we met some friends and decided to stay an extra day to hang out with them some more. FLEXIBLE TRAVELING! In general we loved Melaka and if we ever went back to Malaysia would visit again!