The Melaka River Cruise is a popular thing to do in Melaka. The boats meander up and down the river all day and into the night and have become a part of the city’s soul. The 30-minute cruise costs 30 MYR, and is a relaxing way to spend some time in the evening. In this guide, I will answer all the questions you have about the Melaka River Cruise, including where to get tickets when is the best time to go, what you will see, what to expect, and more. (Tickets cost 30 MYR for adults and 25 MYR for children. The cruise operates daily from 9 am to 11 pm).
What is the Melaka River Cruise
The Melaka River Cruise is a 30-minute boat ride that takes you past some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the A Famosa Fort, the Stadthuys, and the Christ Church. The cruise also includes an audio commentary that tells you about the history and culture of Melaka.
Official Website: https://www.melakarivercruise.my/
Where Does The Melaka River Cruise Start
Boats for the Melaka River Cruise leave from the Spice Garden Jetty. Here is the Google Maps location.
How Much are Melaka River Cruise Tickets
Tickets for the Melaka River Cruise Cost 30 MYR per person. This is the rate for tourists and Malaysian citizens pay a lower rate. Credit and Debit card payments are accepted, they also accept contactless payments with wise.
Where to buy tickets for the Melaka River Cruise
You can buy a ticket for the Melaka River Cruise online or in person. The price and conditions are the same for both options. The ticket is valid for one ride and can be used at any time. You can either buy a ticket online and show up at any time for the boat tour, or you can buy a ticket from the kiosk when you arrive.
There are two ways to book tickets for the Melaka River Cruise: online or at a ticket kiosk. You can book tickets online at: https://backpackbob.com/buy-tickets-melaka-river-cruise(5% discount), or at https://www.melakarivercruise.my/. There is also a ticket kiosk on the bridge between Jonkers Street and the Dutch Red Square, and there is another at the start point for the cruise, at the Spice Garden Jetty. Once you have brought a ticket, it can be used at any time.
What Time are Melaka River Cruise Boats Running
The Melaka River Cruise company’s website lists their opening hours as 9:00 am to 11:00 pm. However, in reality, the hours can be more sporadic. We didn’t see any boats running until around midday, and we often saw boats cruising after 11:00 pm.
There is no set departure time for the boats, you can arrive at any time and boats depart once they are full. This doesn’t take long, especially in the evenings.
When is The Best Time to Do The Melaka River Cruise
Nicknamed the ‘River of Light night cruise‘. The best time to do the Melaka River Cruise is in the evening, when the town is illuminated. The lights along the river banks, and under the bridges create a magical atmosphere, and you can see all of the city’s landmarks in their full glory.
If you’re not able to make it in the evening, the cruise is still worth doing during the day. You’ll get to see a different side of the city, and you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of the river itself.
What Time Does The Last Melaka River Cruise Boat Leave
The last boat leaving on the Melaka River Cruise is officially at 11:00 pm. However, the operating hours seem to be flexible, and we often saw boat cruises after this time. If you want to guarantee a boat ride, it is best to arrive at the jetty by 10:00 pm.
How Long Does The Melaka River Cruise Take
The Melaka River Cruise is shorter than you might think. The posters suggest that it is a 45-minute trip, but the actual time is closer to 30 minutes. You spend 15 minutes cruising inland on the river before turning around and heading back to the starting point.
There is an audio commentary track that plays over the loudspeakers on the boats. The commentary is available in English, Malay, and Chinese, but it can often be difficult to hear over the noise of the boat.
Can You Take a Private Melaka River Cruise
Yes, you can take a private boat for the Melaka River Cruise. Private cruises start at 750 MYR for a 30-minute cruise and go up to 2000 MYR for a two-hour cruise. All private packages include a meal on the boat and an entertainer.
Where Will You Go on The Melaka River Cruise
You will see many murals and street paintings from the river, in addition to the most notable points of interest which include the folwing:
|The Shore Shopping Gallery
|Kampung Hulu Mosque
|Eye on Melaka
|Church of St. Francis Xavier
|Rhythmic Water Fountain (night time only)
There are many brightly coloured and uniquely designed bridges that you will pass under on the Melaka River Cruise. Seeing the bridges, especially at night, is a highlight of the tour. Here are some of the most notable bridges to look out for.
- Tan Kim Seng Bridge: This bridge was built in 1862 as a tribute to a wealthy Melakan trader of the same name. It was destroyed in 1942 by the British but was rebuilt to its current state in 1955.
- Chan Koon Cheng Bridge: This bridge was built in 1908 to replace a drawbridge that allowed ships to pass through the Melaka River.
- Kg. Jawa Bridge: This pedestrian bridge was built in 1714. It is known as the “Ghost Bridge” because severed heads were hung from its pillars during the Japanese occupation.
- Pasar Bridge: This wooden bridge was built during the heydays of Portuguese rule. It links Kampung Hulu to the Old Central Market.
- Old Bus Station Bridge: This bridge was once barren of steel, but it now features quaint arches. It was connected to the now-relocated bus station.
- Hang Jebat Bridge: This bridge was rebuilt in 2008 using unique styrofoam technology to support its foundation.
Is The Melaka River Cruise Worth Doing
Overall, the Melaka River Cruise was a bit of a mixed bag. If I’m being completely honest, I thought the Melaka River Cruise was a bit s**t, to begin with. I remember saying so out loud when we were getting off the boat.
It was over as quickly as it started, we couldn’t hear the audio commentary, and I forgot to change my camera setting to account for the boat’s movement, meaning all my pictures were blurred. (Not that the river cruise can be held accountable for the last point.)
On the other hand, I got to see some of the city’s most famous landmarks from a different perspective, and I learned a few new things about the history of Melaka. It was also a nice thing to do in the evening and was much more enjoyable than I had expected it to be. It’s not worth the price, but it is a novel tourist attraction and a ‘must-do’ in Melaka. So overall, yes, I think the Melaka River Cruise is worth doing. If you need more convincing. here are ten more reasons why you should take the boat cruise.
A Cheaper Alternative: Walking the Route Instead
If you are on a tight budget, a 30-minute boat cruise on the Melaka River can be expensive. The ticket costs 30 MYR, which could buy you a meal, a few beers, or even a hostel bed for the night. To save money, many travellers recommend walking along the river instead. You can get a similar experience and even download an MP3 of the audio commentary to listen to as you walk. (Ironically, the MP3 costs more than the boat ticket.)
Keeping Melaka Clean
I could make this post without commending the efforts of the Melaka River Cruise Company, helping to keep the town clean. Every morning, the crews of the river cruise boats can be seen cleaning the river of trash, leaves, and debris. They use nets to scoop up the trash and collect it in garbage cans on the boat. There are not many companies in Asia that invest their profits back into the areas they work. Melaka was the cleanest place we visited in Malaysia, and I believe that this attitude is a big part of why.
Melaka River Cruise. TL;DR.
Yes, it’s worth doing the Melaka River Cruise- Just don’t set your expectations too high. The Melaka River Cruise is a short, 30-minute boat ride that takes you along the river. It is best to take the cruise in the evening, when the town is illuminated, but boats run all day long. Tickets cost 30 MYR and can be purchased on the boat. If you want to save money, you can take a stroll along the riverbank instead.