You’ve spent time in Melaka (also known as Malacca), gorging yourself on bowls of cendol, checking out the imposing red facade of Christ Church and admiring the colonial remnants of this world heritage town. It’s now time to head to Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, to see this glittering metropolis in all its glass and steel glory. But, how do you get there and what’s the route like?
We recently boarded the bus from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur, and have the insider’s view on this easy, efficient bus ride.
Cheap as jackfruit chips
We knew that the bus journey was a speedy one – about 2 hours and 15 minutes to be exact – as you wind your way from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur. However, we weren’t prepared for the rock-bottom prices when we opened up the online booking page. Just a few dollars for the trip on a comfy coach liner? Yes please!
With two bus options on offer – Mayang Sari and Delima Express – at a handful of dollars each, and trips running between the two cities up to 15 times a day, we were spoiled for choice. Our final pick? Mayang Sari, a bus company we had frequently seen on the roads of Malaysia during our travels, at a rather respectable 11:30 am.
Sliding into Melaka Sentral
With a late morning departure, we had more than enough time to sip on our last Gula Melaka latte and inhale some deliciously decadent salted egg croissants before lugging our bags over to the Melaka Sentral bus station.
It was a quick journey in a Grab taxi from the Old Town to the station, which it turns out is a surprisingly modern and efficient transit hub.
While we had stuffed ourselves with the many marvels of a Melaka breakfast spread, the station actually offered a number of good options for food. A smattering of small convenience stores, some local restaurants and we even spied those glorious golden arches, with a large McDonalds open for business.
After checking with the helpful people at the information counter, we headed over to find the ticket counter. A short line and a quick change of booking code to physical tickets later, we wandered off to find our gate via a bright green Departure Lobby. We scanned our tickets through the turnstiles and spotted two seats near our gate (Gate E), to dump our oversized bags.
We had made it to the station with about 40 minutes to spare (we’re a bit anxious like that – we always like to get there earlier than the allotted 30 minutes!), so it was time to chill out with our Kindles and catch up on some reading before the bus. And chill we did, as the Melaka Sentral seems to have one of the most aggressive air-conditioning systems in Asia! Pack a warm fleece and get a coffee, since it’s freezing in there…
All aboard Mayang Sari
With about 15 minutes to spare, our big red bus pulled up to its bay and with another flick of our tickets through an automated turnstile, we were ushered onto the Mayang Sari bus after stowing our bags in the holding area under the vehicle.
Contrary to the Siberian climate of the station, the bus wasn’t as icy as expected and was actually a comfortable temperature. Speaking of comfort, the seats – although a terribly garish design – were particularly pleasant. Large enough to accommodate even a tall traveller with lots of legroom, relatively wide and spaced so that you could easily recline it to about 45 degrees without incurring the wrath of the passenger behind you.
The bus ride itself? Fast, friendly, uneventful. We departed at exactly 11:30 am (our driver must be a stickler for punctuality) and took the highways to Kuala Lumpur at a fast but safe speed.
With the seats entirely geared towards a good snooze, we spent most of the 2 hour journey dozing off as the Malaysia countryside zoomed on past. Before we knew it, we had arrived! Late by 2 minutes which, by Southeast Asia travel standards, is surely early…?
Pro tip: Because the bus ride is so short, there isn’t a bathroom break or stop planned for the journey so best to use the facilities at the Melaka Sentral station before heading off.
Traipsing around TBS
Now if you’ve travelled around Malaysia you’ve inevitably been in TBS, and this trip was no different. The Terminal Bersepadu Selatan is one of the major bus stations and transit hubs in Malaysia and is the gateway to the Klang Valley and further afield.
This bus station is located a little out of the way, about 15 kilometres from the city centre but is well-connected if you’re heading into downtown. You can hop onto the RapidKL public transport system at Bandar Tasik Selatan station or, like us, just book a Grab taxi for a few dollars to take you to your next stop.
We took the chance to get a few supplies at the resident 7 Eleven store while ignoring the urge to stock up at Dunkin’ Donuts or KFC, before hopping into our taxi and heading out in search of nasi kandar and some sugary kuih.
The final verdict
Taking the bus between Melaka and Kuala Lumpur is one of the most painless journeys we took in Malaysia. It’s quick, it’s safe and eminently comfortable.
While there are other options including minivans as well as private cars, we think the bus is a brilliant choice if you’re on a budget and we’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to travel between these two vibrant cities as part of their Malaysia tour.