Jonker Street in Melaka

Melaka Jonker Street
Jonker Street in Melaka is one of the most visited places in the state, and there is no doubt that this is the busiest area especially over the weekends or school holidays.

Throngs of visitors from all over visit this lively street famous for its rich traditional Peranakan culture and heritage.

The best possible way to enjoy visiting Jonker Street would be to walk around this historical area which is in the core zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Alternatively, traditional trishaws (becas) can be hired to take you on a nostalgic journey through this historical site.

Jonker Street in Melaka

Traditional Lantern from Melaka
Traditional Chinese Lantern outside a home

Jonker Street has always held a special charm in terms of the diverse European-Asian culture and heritage at this city once known to the world as Malacca.

The renown shop houses in this area are some of the countries oldest heritage buildings dating back to the 17th century.

Architecturally influenced by the Portuguese and Dutch, you will see an beautiful eclectic mix of cultures and deigns through this entire area of Jonker Street.

Malacca Antique Shops
Antique shops in Melaka
While the area caters mostly to tourist, art aficionados are also seen here as some of the best antique curios and furniture are traded here.

On the main street which is called Jonker Walk, quite a number of antique galleries, art houses and souvenir shops are found well spread throughout the area.

Walk-in customers would know that the prices are well inflated to the unknown buyers while bargaining or haggling is a common practice here.

So do not be afraid to try your bargaining skills but do be realistic about it as we are all human after all. Some outlets practice a fixed price, so there is no bargaining. 

Melaka Peranakan Museum
Peranakan Museum of Melaka

While most of the action is found along the main Jonker Street, you can also walk one street behind to find Heeran Street, which is also known as the Millionaires Row.

It is here that you will find the world famous Baba Peranakan Museum of Melaka. A fee applies to visit this unique museum while the architecture is absolutely astounding from the main facade.

This would be the best place for you to explore if you want to find out more about the amazing Baba-Nyonya Culture and Heritage of Melaka.

Shop Designs Jonker Street
Classic old designs made from ceramic and wood
If you love the classic eclectic architecture, do inspect some of the buildings along Heeran Street as well. While the roads are very narrow, please be extra careful when walking along these streets.

Old buildings don mix architecture from the Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese era while they are clearly shown throughout the buildings here.

Looking closely, you can see the fine detailed work in these designs. Colours stand out on the engravings and carvings of these pre-war buildings.

Architectural works from the Utilitarian era all the way to Artdeco are found along this majestic street. 

Architecture Jonker Street
Beautiful architecture along Jonker Street

As most of the shop houses are intermediate, you can step into some of the five foot ways of the premises encountering some really amazing architecture workmanship.

I took the picture above at one of the streets here in Melaka where neighboring units were divided with a circular hole in the walls. 

Shops at Jonker Street

As Melaka (Malacca) was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site status since 2008, the government has been paying a lot of attention to the core zone here.

Many of the centuries old buildings have been given a beautiful makeover, especially on the facade and main structures.

While most of the original businesses have faded away, new ones are seen popping up monthly, which are often taken over and renovated.

Lots of guesthouses and boutique hotels have also taken over some of the beautiful shop lots while cafes and souvenir shops seem to be the popular choices around here.

Jonker Street Royal Press
Royal Press Jonker Street
But when you take your time and walk around Jonker, you will notice that some of the original businesses are still operating here.

Most of them are well maintained as you can see from some of the pictures, and the best time to witness them in action are on weekdays during office hours.

Most of these traders close on weekends so you would be missing out if you go during that time. 

Melaka Mahjong Shop
A traditional Mahjong shop at Jonker Street
As most of the old buildings are public owned, some of them have chosen not to do anything thus you see the original structures, paintwork and signage which in turn gives the place lots of character.

Sometimes I keep an extra eye out for these type of buildings during my walkabouts here as you never know what you will come across. 

Melaka Famosa Chicken Rice Ball
Famosa Chicken Rice Ball

While Jonker Street is famous for its architecture and heritage, food is also one of the popular choices here, especially with loads of tourist coming here.

A good variety of local food can be found along Jonker Street while most tend to source for the famous Peranakan or Nyonya food around here.

One of the most famous dishes is a local delicacy called the Chicken Rice Balls. This dish is prepared in a unique way where cooked rice is rolled into balls and served with portions of boiled or roasted chicken.

There are about four shops that sell this unique dish that can be only found in Melaka, so choose wisely on which shop you patronise. The bigger the shop, the less authentic it is and more for the tourist. 

Jonker Street Dessert Cafe
Jonker Dessert Cafe

Another unique must-try food place is the famous Jonker Dessert Cafe cum museum located along Jonker Walk.

This experience is something every traveler should try here. Famous for the Baba-Nyonya desserts and food, you will not be disappointed here.

I make it a point to stop here every time I visit Melaka for my fix of Shaved Ice (Ice Kachang), and provided it is on a weekday as it gets really crowded on weekends. 

Melaka Nancy's Kitchen
Nancy's Kitchen, a popular Peranakan Restaurant, only for the tourist
Walking around you are bound to come across various restaurants, bars and cafes claiming originality so there is nothing bad or wrong about them, just that each has their own specialty here.

Personally, I have tried most of them around Jonker and have no complaints. So let loose and enjoy your visit here.

For the record, Singaporeans love to make a weekend getaway trip to Melaka while those from Kuala Lumpur love to do day trips here, especially for the food.

Melaka Geographer Cafe
Geographer Cafe

After hours, one of the most popular places along Jonker Street is called the Geographer Cafe which is hard to miss.

They are open throughout the day serving local and international cuisine. At night, beers and cocktails are served with a lively atmosphere while there may be a live band performing.

There are some other bars located around here which are more laid back, so by walking around, you are sure to come across them. 

On a personal note, I would recommend anyone heading here to spend at least one or two nights here to fully experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site of Melaka.

Going on the weekend can turn out to be a nightmare as the entire street will be closed for the regular Night Market so expect throngs of visitors. 

I on the other hand, prefer to visit on a Thursday till Saturday catching the best of both worlds. The common day and the weekend crowd.

If you are planning to stay over, I would also recommend trying out the Puri Hotel in Melaka is it is indeed one of the most beautiful boutique hotels with a very affordable price too.

Other options would be to book the popular Heeran House or Baba Hotel there. All these hotels are strategically located around Jonker Street in Melaka.

Map to Jonker Street in Melaka


Again, if you are here on the weekend, look out for the Popiah Seller at Jonker Street which is a vendor that moves around on this cart selling the popular spring roll.

Be prepared to wait a while if there is a crowd around the hawker. Update: Not sure if the uncle is still doing this.

As the main area is situated in the core zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is advised to park outside and walk in on weekends due to the heavy traffic here.

Trust me, it can get really congested especially on Saturdays and Sundays. As for me, nowadays, I make it a point to visit Jonker Street in Melaka on weekdays.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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