The days of sail are long over, but Malacca remains a hot travel destination for visitors to Malaysia. Today, visitors prefer to get to Malacca by land instead, and most of them arrive via Melaka Sentral, the sprawling bus terminal at Jalan Tun Razak.
Constructed in 2004, Melaka Sentral services all of Malacca's domestic and international land transport options. At Melaka Sentral, travelers come in (and leave for) Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and other major Malaysian cities like Johor and Ipoh, at all times of the day or night.
Structure of Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal
Located on a 46.6-acre lot in the Peringgit district of Malacca, the Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal is just far enough from the main historical district to decongest the latter, and close enough to reach in less than ten minutes' drive.
The high-roofed, single-storey complex takes its design cues from traditional Malay architecture, but its interiors are as modern as they come. In the daytime, visitors can wait at one of the many restaurants, fast food outlets and shops that line the interior, just before going to the departure atrium to buy a ticket or to board the bus for their next destination.
Most traveler needs are just as well-met in Melaka Sentral as in Asia's more modern airports. The terminal contains ATM machines, a food court, convenience stores, money changers, a supermarket, and a left luggage counter.
- How Central is Sentral: Location of Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal on Google Maps.
Buying Tickets to and from Melaka Sentral
Melaka Sentral's air-conditioned departure atrium contains 24 ticket counters, a separate counter for each of the travel providers servicing Malacca. Tickets can be purchased for buses heading to Singapore; Hatyai in Thailand; and most major cities in peninsular Malaysia.
Tickets can also be purchased online, through one of several bus ticket aggregators that accept internet ticket bookings via credit card. The main online booking sites covering the Malay peninsula are Easybook, CatchThatBus and BusOnlineTicket.
Kuala Lumpur Bus Services to Melaka Sentral
The bus from Kuala Lumpur is perhaps the easiest way to get to Malacca - it's short (only two hours) and inexpensive.
Travelers flying in from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) don't even have to go to Kuala Lumpur itself to make the connection - Transnasional express buses for Melaka leave constantly from KLIA and return without ever having to enter Kuala Lumpur city limits.
If you're spending a few days in Kuala Lumpur, then you'll need to go to the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan to make your Malacca connection. This terminal services all southbound express bus services departing from Kuala Lumpur.
- KL Jaunt: For more information on getting around Malaysia's capital, check out this overview of transportation in Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore and Thailand Express Bus Services to Melaka Sentral
Several operators work the four-hour route between Malacca and Singapore. While all buses ex-Singapore touch down at one place in Malacca (Melaka Sentral, of course), the same can't be said of buses heading back to Singapore. Depending on the operator, the bus ride will terminate at one of the following three places:
- Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road
- Queen Street Bus Terminal
- City Plaza, Geylang Road
The route between Hatyai in Thailand and Malacca is not as popular, but at least one bus line manages the seven-hour trip between the two.
Other Malaysia Connections to Melaka Sentral
Malaysia's well-developed expressway system makes short work of any bus trip between cities. What follows is a list of Malaysian cities and the estimated travel time to/from each with Melaka Sentral as the other endpoint.
- Genting Highlands - three hours
- Johor Bahru - three hours
- Ipoh - four hours
- Mersing - five hours
- Penang - six hours
- Kota Bahru - 10 hours
Taxis from Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal
A coupon taxi stand can be found at the main entrance of Melaka Sentral. From midnight to about 6am, the stand is closed and travelers must negotiate with the taxi drivers on their own. Malacca taxi drivers do not use taxi meters; instead, there are generally-agreed-upon prices for given distances.
Here's a rule of thumb: travel between Melaka Sentral and the main historical district should cost about MYR 15, and no more than MYR 20. To get to the first figure requires that you haggle.
Riding Malacca Buses from Melaka Sentral
Melaka's city buses - mostly secondhand units donated by Kuala Lumpur - all use Melaka Sentral as a central depot. The numbered buses all take a preset route, with destinations clearly marked on the front, and charge about MYR 1 for a full trip.
- Bus 15 - Melaka Sentral to Anjung Batu Jetty (jumpoff point for Pulau Besar)
- Bus 17 - Melaka Sentral to the historic district, Mahkota Parade Shopping Centre, and the Portuguese Settlement
- Bus 18 - Melaka Sentral to Tengkera and Pokok Mangga
- Bus 19 - Melaka Sentral to Ayer Keroh and Melaka Zoo
- Bus 26 - Melaka Sentral to Pulau Sebang/Tampin railway station
- Bus 50 - Melaka Sentral to Mahkota Parade Shopping Centre