UNESCO World Heritage-listed Melaka is one of Malaysia's prettiest cities. Strolling through town you'll see colourfully decorated, pedal-powered trishaws zipping past its shophouses, fortresses and red-brick churches, influenced by European colonial styles and Straits Chinese culture. It's a popular destination for foodies who flock to try dishes like spicy, fragrant nyonya laksa (a rich, soupy noodle dish with prawns) or sweet cendol (shaved ice with coconut milk, pandan jelly and red beans).
Melaka hostels are clustered in the city centre, so you're never far from things to do. You can stay in sleek, contemporary accommodation with fun design features like hanging chairs, a boutique Melaka hostel with arty murals and free snacks or a heritage Chinatown house with a courtyard garden. Stay in touch with free Wi-Fi and take in views over the city from a rooftop terrace or save space in your bag with free toiletries. Some hostels in Melaka have bicycles and you can even find a place with free city cycling tours.
The centre of Melaka is its historic old city, divided by the Melaka River. On the western side, you'll find European colonial buildings and Little India's shophouses and spices. On the eastern side is Chinatown, where Jonker Street is known for its weekend night market with shopping, music and street food. Outside the centre, head up Bukit Cina to see the city's ancient Chinese cemetery nestled in lush greenery or go back in time at the traditional village of Kampung Morten.
Some of the city's most famous landmarks are in Dutch Square, such as the red-walled Stadthuys, the former town hall and current home of the History and Ethnography Museum. The 18th-century Christ Church was built with bricks shipped from Zeeland in the Netherlands. You can explore Peranakan culture at the Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum or see the unique multi-tiered green roof and European tiles of the Javanese-influenced Kampung Kling Mosque. Head to the man-made Melaka Island for the gold-domed "floating mosque" Masjid Selat.
Melaka's closest airports are Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital, and Singapore. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport, you can take the LRT (local rail) for roughly 40 minutes to Bandar Tasik Selatan station. Head next door to the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan bus station, where buses depart frequently to Melaka Central and take around 2.5 hours. Buses also run direct from central Singapore and take around 4 hours; take the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) into the city from the airport. In Melaka, you can catch a trishaw, walk or use taxis.