The Age of Sail and the height of Malacca as a trading port is over, but the city remains a hotspot for tourists traveling through Malaysia. The bus is one of the easiest—and cheapest—ways to travel to Malacca (spelled Melaka in the local Malay language), and all bus routes here lead to the Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal.
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 at all times of day and night.
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 10 minutes by car.
Buying Tickets to and From Melaka Sentral
Melaka Sentral's air-conditioned departure atrium contains 24 ticket counters, one counter for each of the travel providers servicing Malacca. Tickets can be purchased for buses heading to Singapore; Hatyai, 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.
Taxis From Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal
Melaka Sentral is about a 10-minute drive outside of the city center, and the simplest way to get there is by taxi. A coupon taxi stand can be found at the main entrance of Melaka Sentral; simply tell the attendant where you want to go and they'll give you a ticket with the fare to give to the driver.
From midnight to about 6 a.m., the stand is closed and travelers must negotiate with the taxi drivers on their own before getting in the car, as cabs in Malacca do not use meters. As a general rule of thumb, travel between Melaka Sentral and the main historical district should cost about 15–20 Malaysian ringgits, roughly $3 to $5. If you're dealing with the taxi drivers on your own, you may need to haggle.
Local Buses From Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal
Taxis are cheap and easy to use, but if you want a more local experience, you can also use the local buses. 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 1 ringgit 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
Kuala Lumpur Bus Services to Malacca
The bus from Kuala Lumpur is perhaps the easiest way to get to Malacca. It's a short ride of only two hours and very affordable, as tickets cost just a couple of dollars.
Travelers flying in from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) don't even have to go to Kuala Lumpur itself to make the connection. The company Transnasional offers express buses for Malacca that leave constantly from KLIA and return without ever having to enter Kuala Lumpur's 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.
Singapore and Thailand Express Bus Services to Malacca
Malacca is also a hot destination for travelers who are visiting nearby countries, especially Singapore. Several operators service this common travel route, and the journey only takes about four hours. All buses from Singapore arrive at Melaka Sentral, but travelers heading from Malacca to Singapore can typically choose from a variety of terminus points, including Golden Mile Complex, Queen Street Bus Terminal, and City Plaza.
It's also possible to take a bus from southern Thailand, and at least one bus line drives from the popular city Hatyai near the Malaysian border. However, it's at least a seven-hour journey and the bus has to drive through Kuala Lumpur to get to Malacca. If you're traveling from Thailand to Malaysia by bus, break up the journey by stopping in Kuala Lumpur—a city you shouldn't miss anyway.
Other Malaysia Connections to Malacca
Malaysia's well-developed expressway system makes short work of any bus trip between cities. Malacca is a major transportation hub in the country, and from there it's easy to reach many of the country's most popular destinations.
- Genting Highlands (three hours)
- Johor Bahru (three hours)
- Ipoh (four hours)
- Mersing (five hours)
- Penang (six hours)
- Kota Bahru (10 hours)
Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal Amenities
The high-roofed, single-story 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.