Ready to explore Melaka from a completely different perspective? Try taking a ride on Melaka River Cruise!
The Melaka River Cruise offers visitors a great way to enjoy riverside views of the historical city of Melaka at a leisurely pace, as well as insights into the culture and lifestyle of the locals.
Melaka River Cruise
When I arrived at the waiting area for the Melaka River Cruise, I was delighted to find that there wasn’t a queue, and I could board the next available boat. As I settled into my seat at the waiting area, I noticed that as the departure time drew nearer, more people started to arrive, and the waiting area quickly filled up with eager tourists. Before long, there was a long queue of people waiting to board the boat, and I felt lucky to have arrived early enough to avoid the crowd.
The prices of the Melaka River Cruise tickets differs if you’re a local or a foreigner. The prices for foreigners are as follows:
|For Foreigners (Non-MyKad Holder)
|Foreigner Adult (12 years old and above)
|Foreigner Child (2 to 12 years old)
The prices for locals are as follows:
|For Locals (MyKad Holder)
|Local Adult (12 years old and above)
|Local Child (2 to 12 years old)
|Malaysian Disabled (Adult)
|Malaysian Disabled (Child)
|Malaysian Senior Citizen (60 – 69 years old)
|Malaysian Senior Citizen (70 years old and above)
|IPTA / IPTS Student (in Malaysia only / with Student ID)
|Charted Boat (40 seater)
|Infant (Below 2 years old)
The boat ride
As the boat glided down the river, I was awestruck by the beautiful murals painted over the buildings by the river. The buildings along the riverbanks were a mix of old and new architecture, each with its unique charm. I saw old shophouses with bright-coloured walls, towering hotels, and restaurants with al fresco dining areas.
I expected the water to be smelly, but was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. The water was calm, and the sky was clear, creating the perfect atmosphere for a boat ride. The only problem was the sun was shining a tad too bright, making the ride uncomfortable each time the boat turned and the sun’s hot rays landed on me. The humidity made it worse.
If you’re taking the Melaka River Cruise in the afternoon like I did, it’s recommended to wear comfortable clothing that is suitable for warm weather and bring along a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect against the scorching sun. You are going to get plenty of it.
They have a pre-recorded commentary of the various landmarks as the boat glided down the river. It pointed out various landmarks, including Kampung Morten, a Malay village that has retained its traditional architecture and way of life.
You’ll pass by a couple of bridges too, each with its unique design and history. The oldest bridge that you’ll pass is the Pasar Bridge. It was built either during the heydays of Portuguese rule in the 1500’s or 1600’s, linking Kampung Hulu to the Old Central Market. The Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511, ending the rule of the Malacca Sultanate of more than 100 years. If you’re taking the cruise at night, you’ll be treated to bridge lights that is said to create a magical atmosphere, perfect for taking photos.
Malacca City – a vibrant cultural melting pot that blends rich history and stunning architecture
The Melaka River Cruise provided me with a glimpse into the city’s past, present, and future. Malacca was started by Parameswara circa 1400. From its humble beginnings, it grew into an entrepot, where East Asian merchants (read that as the Chinese) met the South Asians (read that as Indians) to trade. Malacca was where they could get the spices from the Moluccan islands too. Those spices were prized by the Europeans. So from Malacca they traveled to India, where they will then find their way to Europe.
So you can imagine what a bustling city Malacca must have been. At the height of the Malacca Sultanate, almost 100 languages could be found in this Sultanate. So, as you cruise down the river, if you close your eyes and let your mind travel back in time, you might even be able to imagine the bustling city port of Malacca a few hundred years ago.
Trade plied the river route. The river must have been a busy water highway. All kinds of ships would have been seen on the river then. Hence, settlements and villages would have dotted the riverbank, and what you’ll see as you cruise along the river would be the modern version of those settlements that have evolved with time.
It would also have been a place where many battles were fought for control of the city. The Portuguese conquered it in 1511. The Malaccans never stood a chance against the ‘modern’ weapons of the Portuguese. After slightly over a hundred years later, the Dutch came and conquered the city. In between, the Achehnese laid siege on the city too. The river was a place of great transfer of wealth, and violence.
You will also see the track of the Melaka monorail running parallel to the river. The Melaka monorail opened to much fanfare in 2010 but hardly saw any action. It has become a white elephant, a reminder of millions spent which came to nothing.
I took the cruise right after lunch time. It was hot and humid. I sat in the first row of the cruise boat. The sunlight was constantly shining on me. An occasional splash of river water would also find its way onto me, not a pleasant experience.
Many cafes dot the banks of the Malacca river. I should think that a night cruise would be a nicer experience as these cafes would be colourfully lighted up. The weather would also be cooler, and you’ll probably see more people out and about.
At the end of the 45-minute ride, I was looking forward to get back on land. Overall, I think the ride is better taken at night or on a cloudy day.
Interested other things to do in Melaka? Explore activities to do in Melaka on Klook!
Check out also:
- Gula Melaka treats at The Daily Fix @ Jalan Hang Jebat, Melaka
- Satay Celup @ Ban Lee Siang, Melaka
- Short Getaway at Luxury Boutique Hotel – Liu Men @ Malacca
Open daily from 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM