While Malacca is best known for its historic sites, buildings, and parks, Malacca beaches off the southwestern coast of Malaysia are not as bad. Malacca has three beautiful and popular beaches, namely Tanjung Bidara, Pantai Kudur, and Tanjung Keling. They have white sandy beach coastlines with a picturesque line of tall palm trees. These beaches offer a relaxing retreat for travelers who have just enjoyed the many historic sites in the city proper.
Malacca (or Melaka) is named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its important historic structures such as the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia (Cheng Hoon Teng Temple), oldest Protestant Church in Malaysia (Christ Church), and old buildings reflecting colonial European architecture.
Thirty-five kilometers from these historic landmarks is Tanjung Bidara, a beautiful Melaka beach. It is known to be a perfect venue for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and water-skiing. There are motels and picnic areas for the convenience of travelers. Pantai Kundur, on the other hand, is a beach and fishing village with a pristine white-sand beach. Swimming is good here but visitors should be careful of the jellyfish. Two kilometers away is Tanjung Keling, a beach with an attractive coconut palm grove. Only 10 km away from the city, Tanjung Keling is also famous for its coconut palms, sea shells and grilled fish stalls selling delicious fresh sea foods by the beach. Exciting water activities here are swimming, canoeing and picnicking. To the north side of the beach is the Tanjung Keling Mosque, which is well known for its octagonal minaret and tiled steps.
Farther away from the beaches in Melaka are tiny islands that are important to the ecology of Malacca Strait. The tiny island, Pulau Upeh, is a turtle sanctuary. From March to June, tourists can visit the Pulau Upeh to watch Hawksbill turtles lay their eggs. The Hawksbill is a medium-sized marine turtle that earned its name because of its hawk-like beak.
Pulau Upeh is between Tanjung Keling and the island of Pulau Besar. To get to Pulau Upeh, one may book a ferry ride from Shahbandar at Jalan Kota or take a speedboat ride to Pulau Besar and then to Pulau Upeh.
Another important island is Pulau Besar, about 13 km away from the mainland. It is revered by the locals for its many legends and myths, so much so that some consider it sacred. It is a place of pilgrimage for Indian Muslims, primarily to visit the supposed mausoleum and remains of Wali Sultan Ariffin Syeikh Ismail Waliallah and other important graves. There are two interesting spots in the island, which are a boulder that is strangely split down in the middle, and a cave, which allegedly has a fossilized foot print of the Wali.
The historic and cultural sites in the city proper may overshadow these marine destinations, but Malacca beaches serve their purpose in the marine ecology of the area. The beaches may not rival those in nearby Phuket and Langkawi, yet they offer the relaxation and retreat that a Malaccan visitor longs for.