Jonker Street runs through the heart of Chinatown in Melaka’s city center and was once known primarily for its antique dealers. Those on the hunt for Malaysian artifacts and relics—authentic and otherwise—will still find these rare items, but the area has evolved to include clothing boutiques, craft shops, and restaurants as well.
For foodies, bargain hunters, and people watchers, Chinatown’s Jonker Street—aka Jonker Walk—deserves a prominent place on the itinerary. This UNESCO World Heritage–listed city (sometimes spelled Malacca) is a popular day trip destination from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and most sightseeing tours include a visit to Jonker Street. Evening tours on the weekends include a visit to the street when it’s in full night-market mode and often feature an evening cruise along the Melaka River as well.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Jonker Street is a must-see for foodies, shoppers, and people watchers.
- Don’t forget to bring cash, especially for purchasing food at the night market.
- Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to spend some time on your feet.
- Jonker Walk is accessible to wheelchair users though some small shops and narrow aisles are tricky to get into, especially when crowded.
How to Get There
Most travelers coming to Melaka arrive at Melaka Sentral Station. From there, bus 17 departs regularly from the domestic bus terminal to Jonker Street. The trip takes anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, depending on traffic.
When to Get There
Lively throughout the week, Jonker Street truly comes alive on Friday and Saturday nights during the must-see night market. Complete with street performers and hawker stalls, you can easily piece together a satisfying meal and fun night out on the cheap.
What to Eat on Jonker Street
Many a visitor comes to Jonker Street to fill up on delicious, inexpensive street food. While many dishes are inspired by cuisines from around Asia, they almost always have a Melaka twist. Chicken rice balls put a spin on a traditional Malaysian dish, while the Nyonya-style laksa is a fiery version of the national favorite. For a lighter snack, grab a skewer of grilled corn flavored with curry, black pepper, or wasabi. On a hot night, cool down with some cendol, an Indonesian-style shaved ice made with coconut milk and local sugar.