Malacca doesn’t seem to be much of a backpacker town, most of the tourists we see are local and/or considerably richer than us, which isn’t hard. Maybe all the backpackers are in other districts rather than the Old Town.
Finding cheap family accommodation in Malacca has been tricky. We feel that hotels and guest houses in Malaysia on the whole are quite expensive for South East Asia and you don’t get much for your money ( remember in Thailand and Laos we were often paying $12/night outside the big cities and beaches). So far we have only stayed in Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Maybe the less touristy parts are cheaper, we’ll find out eventually.
Weekends are the busiest time in Malacca, everywhere fills up as local tourists head to the old town. Vacancies were scarce, I don’t often say this, but book ahead. Some places have tried to charge us a 50% weekend supplement.
Much of the accommodation is in the lovely old shop house buildings that line the narrow streets. See the pictures in Malacca. First Impressions to give you an idea. I’ve stayed in two now, both had loads of charm but were noisy, wooden floors and stud walls that hardly touch the ceilings do little to deaden sounds from your neighbours or the street. It’s fine for us, but light sleepers may want to stay elsewhere.
We found very little accommodation that included a bathroom at a reasonable price, shared bathroom facilities were pretty common as we searched.
Many places do not take children, I guess this is down to safety in the old buildings and noise concerns.
Note: I always point out a few negatives. Obviously, if they’d been a big deal to us we wouldn’t have stayed, I just find a few for the benefit of others who may be sensitive to noise or shared showers or whatever. They’re not my negatives, we’re easy to please.
Where we Found Budget Family Accommodation in Malacca
Both of these places were in the Old Town, the first, Kawan Kawan was right in the heart of it, on a narrow street opposite a Chinese Temple. The second, Casa Blanca, is 2 minute walk to Jonker St. or the waterfront, but in a more modern building in a less pretty area. It’s right behind the big Casa Del Rio Hotel.
1. Kawan Kawan Guest House
Cost per night: 90MYR ($29.50/night AU)
Number of beds: 4 single beds
What we got for our money: Air-con, fan, shared bathroom facilities and common areas in a lovely old shop house building with a great Old Town location. Free Wifi.
Kawan Kawan was simple but absolutely fine. The beds were comfortable and the bedding clean. It is a well known guest house and is listed on Agoda Check Prices and Availability for Kawan Kawan here. We booked online as we were arriving after dark.
The bathrooms were shared but spotlessly clean, the showers were great. The wifi was excellent. The room was tiny, we had a small amount of floor space and no furniture, no big deal. Individual reading lights and power sockets at each bed was a nice touch. We had no top sheet, just a small, clean, cotton blanket, that seems standard in our experience in Malaysia. I was cold, mostly because my kids love to sleep with the air-con set to arctic.
You can hear the call to prayer in the mornings from the mosque up the road ( before 6am) and the gongs of the Chinese Temple opposite. That doesn’t bother me, it’s atmospheric. What did stop me sleeping was the noisy group in the next room ( just bad luck) and the musical bicycle rickshaws on the road outside. The road is one way only and very quiet other than the odd rickshaw, it could be much worse if you’re on a main road.
We stayed 2 nights at Kawan Kawan, we had to move on because they were fully booked over the weekend, we would happily have stayed longer and would go back.
2. Casa Blanca Guesthouse
Cost per night: 90MYR ($29.50/night AU)
Number of beds: 1 double bed and a single mattress on the floor.
What we got for our money: A room big enough to play cricket in. Our own shower room. Air-con, 2 fans, a desk, chair and clothes rack, endless power points. Two thin blankets, clean other than 2 cigarette burns. Guests can use the washing machine, drying racks and kitchen for free and treat the whole house as their own. It’s a huge place with a TV room and garden. Wifi was OK in the communal areas. The whole place is pretty clean, but there is terrible damp in places, green mould on the walls, that didn’t bother us, it goes with old buildings. They had a really pretty cat and a garden pond with turtles, the boys loved that.
This place is really different, we found it by searching on foot, THE best way to find cheap family accommodation in Malacca or anywhere else in Asia, we think. I believe it is listed on some of the online booking sites. At first it was weird being in somebody else’s house as a customer, but now we’ve settled in and met some other guests, it’s OK. It’s not too far to walk to a decent sized supermarket under the Mega Mall if you want to self cater. There are cheap ( local, not tourist) restaurants just around the corner, away from Jonker St.
The Negatives: It’s a nice place, but there were a few little issues.The wifi didn’t work in our room and it cut out regularly in the communal areas. Parts of the guest house smelled of cigarette smoke, we had piles of cigarette ash in our bathroom. We saw one customer bring in a prostitute, that was a bit odd. My T shirt was stolen from the washing line in the garden, yes, I’m sure.
Unfortunately, the last two days we stayed weren’t great, they were digging up the concrete floor with drills to fix the drains, all day. With kids we’re not out all day, we come and go, they get tired of exploring. We would really have appreciated somebody telling us that work was about to begin, we could have left.
The kids loved having loads of space, a garden to roam around and a TV, they have Fox kids movies, in English, that was a bonus.
We think Casa Blanca offers good value. I’m sure they don’t dig up the floors every week, again, we were unlucky. That always seems to happen to us in Malaysia, we’re jinxed.
The use of the washing machine saved us a lot of money and made my life much easier, but watch out for your stuff, it just depends who’s staying I suppose. Free potable water in the kitchen could save you a bit, too.
This post is part of our Cheap Family Accommodation series. We tell you where we stayed and what we thought of it. If any money has changed hands in the form of discounts, I will tell you! So far, it hasn’t.
We want to let you compare what travel in various countries will cost you and show you roughly what you’ll get for your money, new travellers won’t have a clue what to expect and getting a glimpse may help them.
We have already published Cheap Family Accommodation in Laos.
More posts are still to come.