Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

Malacca, Malaysia: Halfway Between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore

After a couple of wonderful days in KL, I headed south towards Singapore. My first stopover was in Malacca, a famous historical city currently under transformation.

Malacca is one of the oldest and most important cities in Malaysia’s history. It passed hands many times between local and foreign rules and between competing colonial overlords. It was exchanged between the Portuguese, Dutch and British over its storied history and was ruled by different local leaders as well. One of its most important roles was as a “governing” trading port through the straits, so much of its origins and significance lies as a port and marine authority.

While much of the city appears more modern than colonial, you can still the colonial roots in the old town, especially in the ruins of the St. Paul Church and the remains of the old Portuguese city gates. The center of the city is criss-crossed by canals and river ways that , while not exquisite, add a nice charm when you walk around.

Where to Stay? In Malacca, there are a lot of moderately priced hotels and guesthouses. On the whole, it appears to be both cheaper and better quality than KL, but I’m sure there are plenty of holes in the wall. Just make sure you stay near the old town and I’m sure you’ll be fine.

I stayed at Mio Hotel, which was a bit of a walk from the center, but extremely well-equipped with a great breakfast, tidy room and speedy internet. So basically all that I needed.

Tourist spots? Compared to Kuala Lumpur, Malacca makes for a much nicer experience with history and different ethnic groups in Malaysia. There isn’t a ton of major sites to see, but I found the Chinese Baba community museums to be pleasant and interesting to check out. Otherwise, walks around old town, St. Paul’s hill and the Chinese cemetery were all pleasant enough.

Where to Go Out? There didn’t appear to be much of a nightlife in Malacca, but that might have been my experience or the time of my travel. There were lots of places to eat at and plenty of tasty things to try.

Tips for the Traveling Worker: Malacca was a great stopover place for any moderately paced tech traveler. It’s a mere 2-3 hours from KL and another 2-3 hours to JB (Johor Bahru), across from Singapore. If you aren’t in a rush, it’s definitely worth visiting. If you want to get away from the big cities and get some work down and have plenty of nice things to eat, I’d recommend 2-4 days here.

I was able to relax, eat and explore while also getting plenty of digital nomad work done.

Photo Credits: Photo is my own.

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