Even though Melaka is a coastal province, its beaches and islands are nothing to write home about. If you're after a Malaysian beach holiday, you're better off travelling to the east coast or Langkawi.
Tanjung Kling & Pantai Puteri
If you're looking for a beach, Tanjung Kling is the nearest at about 12 kilometres from downtown Melaka. Rather than for swimming, most people come here to feast at one of the open-air seafood restaurants. Try Bert's Garden or The Seafarer for a meal of grilled fish and crab while watching the sun set over the Straits of Melaka. The Seafarer also offers water sports and can arrange dinner cruises.
The cleanest stretch of sand is known as Pantai Puteri (Princess Beach) and is a popular place for locals to relax on weekends. Malaysians generally swim dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, and wearing a bikini here would not be appreciated.
There are a couple places to stay at Tanjung Kling, but we wouldn't recommend them. There's Shah's Beach Resort -- simple chalets and no beach -- or the overpriced Pantai Puteri Hotel.
Shah's Beach Resort
9km Tanjung Kling
T: (06) 315 3121
Double chalet with private b'room: 180-250 ringgit
Pantai Puteri Hotel
Lot 2166 & 2167 Pantai Puteri, Tanjung Kling
T: (06) 353 5555
Double room with private b'room: 200-350 ringgit
2078-C, Jalan Kampung Pinang, Tanjung Kling
T: (06) 315 2213
1516 Batang Tiga, Tanjung Kling
T: (06) 315 2693
This human-made island just off the coast from Melaka city is home to some posh apartments and the majestic Malacca Straits Mosque. Visitors are welcome to go inside to appreciate the architecture (or the sea view) -- robes and headscarves are available for female visitors.
Meaning "The Great Island", Pulau Besar is both beautiful and mysterious. The island is the subject of legends involving dead Indian princesses and Muslim holy men and, depending on their religion, locals consider the island to be either sacred or haunted. Perhaps that's why the recreational facilities built on the island -- a resort, golf course, swimming pools -- have been strangely abandoned.
The effect is eerie and kind of surreal, but means you'll definitely have the white-sand beach all to yourself. You're more likely to see a giant monitor lizard than another tourist. While many guesthouses advertise Pulau Besar to tourists as a place for sunbathing and swimming, most of the people on the ferry to the island are on a pilgrimage to its tombs and shrines. That said, visitors are asked to dress modestly (even when swimming) and not bring alcohol to the island.
To offer some insight into the island's history, the Pulau Besar Museum has opened near the jetty (admission five ringgit adults / three ringgit children). The posted opening hours are 09:00-17:00 daily, but this is rarely the case.
It is possible to spend the night on Pulau Besar either in a tent or in a wooden chalet at the D'Puteri Kurnia Resort (formerly the Chandek Kura Resort).
Most long-staying visitors bring their own supplies, but there are wells for drinking water (you're advised to boil it first) and Halal foodstalls to keep you fuelled.
D'Puteri Kurnia Resort
T: (06) 295 5899 / (06) 293 8753
Now under new management (formerly the Chandek Kura Resort), the only place to stay on Pulau Besar looks decent from the outside with a renovated swimming pool and 66 wooden chalets spread across a hill. They do have air-con and attached bathrooms, but considering most guests are religious pilgrims don't expect a whole lot of luxury. The staff are young and friendly with lots of suggestions where to explore -- they'll even rent you a motorbike. The on-site restaurant only opens if there's a demand, otherwise you can eat at the nearby foodstalls. Vans waiting at the jetty will drive you directly here for two ringgit.
Double air-con chalet with private b'room: 140-200 ringgit (higher on weekends)
Text and/or map last updated on 8th October, 2012.
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