Malacca Water cruise, Malaysia

A Complete Guide To River Cruise In Malacca

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The Malacca River passes through the historic city of Malacca. A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage city is incomplete until you have a scenic 40-minute cruise down the Malacca River. The Malacca river cruise is a popular tourist attraction in Malacca. This guide explains the historical importance of the Malacca River, the river cruise, and the water taxis that operate on the Malacca River.

River Cruise in Malacca, Malaysia

The Port of Malacca And Malacca River

The port of Malacca was the busiest in the world during the Malay Sultanate. This was mainly due to two factors. First, the Malay rulers of Malacca took great pains to maintain the security of the Malacca Straits, and this promise of safety attracted high volumes of global trade.

Second, the Malacca Maritime Law ensured fair trade regulation. Every transaction needed the final approval of an impartial harbormaster. Traders from Europe and other parts of Asia conducted business in Malacca with a degree of confidence that other Southeast Asian ports lacked. The Malacca River was a busy waterway from the age of the Malay Sultanate and under Portuguese and Dutch rule.

Malacca river cruise passing through wall art and cafes

Ships from the Malay peninsula and other parts of the Malay archipelago, India, China, the Middle East, and Europe were anchored at the mouth of the Malacca River, and trade was conducted there. By the end of the 18th century, the estuary of the Malacca River narrowed and silted, making it less able to handle large trans-continental cargo ships. Small boats were used instead to transport goods between the larger ships and the port.

While the Malay Sultanate practiced free trade, the Portuguese and the Dutch adopted a system of monopoly trade, levying astronomical taxes that drove traders away. When the British took over, they were keen to develop Penang and Singapore at the expense of Malacca. The port of Malacca eventually fell into neglect.

River Cruise In Malacca

Water cruising Jetty, Malacca

The river cruise in Malacca operates from two main jetties, Taman Rempah and Dataran Sungai Malacca. The tourists can board from either of the two jetties. Run by a motor, it is a 40-minute round trip without any stops in between.

You will see waving locals, scenic cafes, riverfront hotels, bridges, picturesque wall art, Malay houses, museums, and numerous jetties on either side. At night, the river banks become vibrant with colorful lights. Photography is available at an additional cost, payable at the ticket counters.

Timings

Open daily from 9:30 AM to 11 PM

Cost

  • For Non-MyKad Holders, RM 30 for adults above 12 years of age and RM 25 for kids between 2 and 12 years old. Free for infants below 2 years.
  • For MyKad holders, the fee is RM 25 for adults above 12 years of age and RM 15 for kids between 2 and 12 years old.
    • RM 15 for disabled adults and RM 10 for disabled children
    • RM 20 for senior citizens above 60 years of age and RM 10 for senior citizens above 70 years old.
    • RM 20 for Malaysian IPTA/ IPTS students with an ID card 
    • Free for infants below 2 years.

How to Buy Tickets?

Tickets for river cruising in Malacca can be purchased either online or at the ticket counters at the jetties of Taman Rempah and Dataran Sungai Malacca (Quayside).

Also, note that only cash and QR Payments are accepted while buying tickets at the ticket counters. Card payments are not accepted.

Water taxi

Malacca Water taxi

Unlike the water cruise that takes a round trip, the water taxis hop between the jetties along the river. There are several small jetties at prime spots like hotels, malls, tourist attractions, places of worship, cafes, etc. Water taxis are handy if you plan to stay in Malacca long.

These water taxis are mostly preferred by locals and are empty most of the time. There are no fixed timings for the water taxi. You must wait at the jetty and wave a hand when it passes. The boatman will slow down and stop for the passengers to board.

After boarding, you must purchase a membership card that costs RM 20 for both MyKad cardholders and foreign citizens. Additionally, you must pay for the ride to the destination jetty. Only cash is accepted. Water taxi tickets cannot be purchased at the ticket counters or online.

Happy Cruising!

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