Melaka is known for its architecture, heritage sites and cuisine. The city sits approximately 145 kilometres (90 miles) south of Kuala Lumpur, making a popular day trip or weekend getaway from the capital. Attractions include Portuguese A Famosa Fort, Dutch Square and St Paul’s Cathedral. History from Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial days ooze from the streets in Melaka. Contrast this to the chaos and bustle of Kuala Lumpur.
Compared to Kuala Lumpur, UNESCO-listed Melaka will probably feel crowded. The small and compact centre gets thousands of domestic and international tourists each month. While this shouldn’t cause any problems, it might be better to plan your trip on a weekday. Temperatures and rainfall are almost identical. It’s advisable to carry an umbrella during Melaka’s rainy season as most visitors spend more time outdoors.
Tourists have four ways to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka. The bus is the fastest, cheapest and most convenient option. Small groups of travellers and families might consider taking a taxi. But this probably won’t be much faster than the bus because of Kuala Lumpur’s congestion. Renting a car is possible and gives you the chance to visit nearby attractions along the way. Adventurous visitors might want to use a combination of the Komuter train and bus, but it won’t be any cheaper or faster than taking the bus directly from Kuala Lumpur.
The bus is the best way to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka. First get to Bandar Tasik Selatan in the city centre using either the LRT, KTM Komuter or Monorail. The modern bus terminal, also known as Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, connects Kuala Lumpur to destinations in the southern part of the country. Regular buses depart every 30 minutes or one hour from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, arriving at Melaka Sentral some five kilometres (3.1 miles) north of the city. The bus takes approximately two-and-a-half hours costing between RM10 and RM20 ($2.50 and $5 USD). It’s possible to travel directly from KLIA or KLIA2 to Melaka, but bus schedules are irregular. Sometimes it’s faster to first go to Kuala Lumpur and connect to Bandar Tasik Selatan.
If you don’t have much luggage and want more of an adventure, consider taking the train. First, take the Komuter to Tampin before catching a public bus to Melaka Sentral. Tickets on the Komuter cost approximately RM14 ($3.50) and the one hour bus to Melaka will be just a few ringgits. Depending on the time and congestion, this option will take anywhere between two to three hours. Solo female travellers might want to consider travelling in the women-only carriage on the train.
The most convenient option for small groups or families with young children is to take a cab. We suggest asking your hotel to find a driver as the ones flagged in the street might charge significantly higher fares. A one-way trip shouldn’t cost more than RM200 ($50 USD). Pro tip: If you want to visit Melaka on a day trip, try to negotiate a return price. Kuala Lumpur’s notorious congestion may not make this option faster than the bus.
Renting a car offers several advantages over using public transport. It gives flexibility, increases the likelihood of serendipitous experiences and is a more convenient way to travel. Be aware that Malaysian’s drive on the left in the same way as the British. Fuel prices are relatively low, but the highways have several tolls. If you rent a car, we recommend starting early and visiting both Putra Jaya and Port Dickson on the way to Melaka.