Summary: Malacca (also Melaka) is about 4-5 hours by bus from Singapore - even longer with traffic - and I woke up super early to catch an 8am bus.  It did not pick up from my hotel in Singapore but dropped me off at Hotel Equatorial in Malacca, where I was staying.  After dropping my stuff off it was past noon, and I proceeded to see the UNESCO World Heritage historical sites, explore the downtown area, and take a Melaka River Cruise at night.

Singapore, Singapore and Malacca, Malaysia
Total Length of Stay: 
5 days, 6 nights (first 3 days in Singapore, then 2 days in Malaysia)
Getting There: International flight to and from Singapore, local bus to Malaysia from Singapore

This Blog Post:
 Day 1 out of 2 in Malacca; Day 4 out of 5 for entire trip
Accommodation: Hotel Equatorial Malacca
Tour Operator: Grassland Express & Tours booked round-trip bus and accommodation, but tour completely self-guided
Time Spent Traveling: 13 hours including 4 hour bus ride in morning
Activity Level: 4 hour bus ride in morning, then large amount of walking through 80-90F heat, some uphill climbs

ITINERARY (times are very approximate and meant to only roughly illustrate the pace)
1.) Bus Ride from Singapore (7:30-12:15pm)
Okay this isn’t really part of the tour, but it’s a pretty good way to get from Singapore to Malacca.  The bus I took departed from the Golden Mile Complexat 8am (check-in 7:30am) and was operated by Grassland Express & Tours.  It was a comfortable ride on an air-conditioned luxury coach with large seats that reclined quite a bit; just be sure to bring a jacket because the AC is on.  The Singapore-Malaysia border is a big river: On one side you go through Singaporean customs and get a passport stamp for leaving Singapore; on the other side you take our luggage through security screening and get a passport stamp for entering Malaysia.  In Malaysia we stopped somewhere for a toilet break – BRING YOUR OWN TOILET PAPER!

2.) Historical Center (12:30-2:30pm)
These are the sites that gave Malacca it’s World Heritage title, as they showcase Malaysia’s history from the days of sultanate rule, to Portuguese and Dutch colonization, and to Malaysian Independence.  They were about a 10 minute walk from my hotel.  I started at the Declaration of Independence Memorial Hall, which is a museum that covers Malaysia’s road to independence.  Not being a huge history fan, I took only a brief look inside.  Next I saw A’Famosa, a Portuguese Fort built in 1511, and then climbed uphill to see St. Paul’s Church, a Portuguese Catholic church built in 1521.  Coming back down the hill, I briefly walked by the Dutch Graveyard.
(Top from left to right: Declaration of Independence Memorial Hall, A’Famosa, Dutch Graveyard; Bottom: St. Paul’s Church)
Next I visited the Malacca Sultanate Palace, which is a museum built as a replica of the palace of sultans.  The inside was beautiful and the botanical gardens in front of the palace had some crazy-looking plants.  There was a tree that seemed to be made of several intertwined branches, and a red bamboo I had never seen anywhere else.
Next I walked toward the river to Dutch Square, the location of Christ Church Melaka, which is the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia.  This seemed to be the busiest section of town, with a street market in front of Christ Church and several heavily-flowered rickshaws.  Tourists can expect to get asked if they want a ride by the drivers of these rickshaws; I politely refused as I preferred to walk around myself.  Across the street was a fort with a few cannons, overlooking the river.  A short walk down a street with bright red buildings was St. Francis Xavier Church, named after a prominent missionary who spread Catholicism to many parts of Asia.
2.) Downtown Malacca (2:30-4:30pm)
When I got done with the historical center, I crossed Melaka River and entered the downtown area.  The first street on the other side is Jonker Street, branded as a tourist attraction for its dining and shopping options.  I got confused reading my map for a while – Jonker Street is a nickname and the real name is Jalan Hang Jebat.  I hadn’t wandered far from the river when I saw some “ice cream eggs” in a fridge outside a small food mart.  I didn’t note the name of place but it shouldn’t be hard to find – they’re in a pretty main downtown area (Jonker Street) not far from the river.  I tried a light pink one.
I wandered into a chocolate shop selling Beryl’s chocolate, a Malaysian brand based in Kuala Lumpur.  I bought some Malaysian fruit-filled chocolates with durian, banana, and mango fillings – you can try some samples before you buy.  Unfortunately I can’t for the life of me remember the name of this place, but I recall it being in a small side street off Jonker Street, near Geographer Cafe where I ate lunch afterwards.  It was a little after 3pm so perhaps it wasn't lunch, but the meal was pretty good - Jonker fried rice with chicken satay and sour plum juice.  The food was tasty but my favorite part was the sour plum juice - highly recommended.  
After eating I was ready to continue exploring, and wandered off Jonker Street into other areas of downtown.  I saw the Buddhist Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, and soon after passed by the Muslim Kampung Kling Mosque and the Hindi Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple,  Because these places of worship exist in close proximity of each other, and represent three different major religions, the area is nicknamed “Harmony Street.”  I explored the inside of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple but not the other two (no real reason, just a tourist without a plan).
(Top from left to right: Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Kampung Kling Mosque, Sri Poyatha Moorthy Temple)
After the religious sites, I wandered around a bit more before deciding to take a break from the heat.  I walked back across the river and to my hotel, and came back downtown later that evening to take the Melaka River Cruise.  Before I write about that, here are some pictures of downtown Malacca and the river:
3.) Melaka River Cruise (6:15-8:30pm)
I wanted to take this cruise at night when the banks of the river colorfully light up.  It gets dark around 7:30pm (end of June), so I had a bit of time to hang out downtown.  I took a taxi from my hotel to Hang Jebat’s Mausoleum, located in the downtown area near Jonker Street.
After taking some pictures I headed back to Jonker Street to explore light food options, as I wasn’t hungry due to a post-3pm lunch.  I went to Famosa Chicken Rice Ball and got two rice balls, one chicken flavor and one yam flavor – absolutely DELICIOUS!  I also went to Ochado and got some honey aloe vera tea, which is honey flavored tea with aloe vera bits, refreshing and lighter than milk teas.
When the sun started to set I bought a river cruise ticket and got into the boat a bit after 7:30pm.  One thing to keep in mind – Have change to buy a ticket.  A single ticket costs 15 ringgit and I couldn’t pay with a 50 ringgit bill.  I tried a few bigger-looking cafes to get change and was finally successful when I went back to Ochado, the place I had gotten tea from earlier.  Quite annoying but when that was sorted, the cruise was relaxing and the night views of the river amazing!  After the cruise, I caught a taxi around Dutch Square (busiest and safest-looking area) and called it a night.

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