Getting to Melaka from KL used to be quite easy! You just head to Puduraya Bus Station (Hentian Puduraya), along Jalan Pudu, northeast and a leisurely 20-minute walk from Bukit Bintang. You didn’t even need to make advance bookings. A bus leaves KL every 30 minutes during rush hour; every hour on most times, and 1 ½ hours during the dead hours! But since the on-going renovations of Puduraya Terminal that started April 2010 – and one that would supposedly take 4 months, it has been a different story.
Puduraya services most interstate buses, from KL to most places in Peninsular Malaysia (except for 2 destinations – Jerantut and Kuala Lipis). Even buses bound for Singapore and Thailand leave from Puduraya! The few ones that travel to Cameron Highlands will wait for passengers right across the station (since most buses that head to the Hills seem to leave from a Bus Terminal at Titiwangsa).
PUDURAYA BUS TERMINAL
Puduraya was opened in 1976 by a former Prime Minister, and after 30 years, it underwent renovations in 2006. It is thus puzzling why another major renovation was scheduled just 4 years after its last refurbishments. Puduraya has bus platforms at the ground level, while the 2nd floor is home to bus ticket stalls, a hotel (Hotel Puduraya), a post office (which I never saw), 2 left luggage centers (that meticulously checks what’s inside your bags), restaurants, news and fruit shops. Since it was temporarily decommissioned, all bus services have been transferred to a makeshift bus terminal in Bukit Jalil If you’re not familiar with KL trains, it can be quite an exciting little adventure in itself.
TAKING THE WRONG TRAIN
In one of my rides to Bukit Jalil (which is an area known for their gold courses), I took the wrong train as it was heading to the right direction. However, I forgot to consider the fact that there are 2 stops headed in the same direction. I took the Ampung Line, instead of the Sri Petaling Line! I had to get off at Miharja, back track to a common station and took the correct Sri Petaling line to Bukit Jalil! If you’re not in a hurry, it’s fun finding your way around.
Anyway, I will have a separate post on taking the train to Bukit Jalil for emphasis – and nice photos!
BUKIT JALIL STATION TO BUS TERMINAL
Once you get yourself to Bukit Jalil, you will see the gargantuan National Stadium, which was an impressive sight! Head to the nearby road, and cross the street, then walk to your right. You shall pass through a small bridge. Once you see the equally impressive Hockey Stadium, just across it, you find the Bukit Jalil Bus Terminal. Walk towards the tented atrium, and find the stalls that book buses for Melaka. There are probably 3 which should include Delima Bus, Metro Bus and if it’s still operational for Melaka trips, the Transnasional (Malaysia’s biggest and most reliable consortium of buses) which was my bus the first time I visited Melaka!
I got a ticket from the Delima Bus at 12.50 ringgit (It used to be 8 ringgit 3 years ago). The trip will take 2 hours and terminates at Melaka Sentral. Like most interstate buses, Delima Bus is new, smells new, with comfortable seats and an AC! My bus pulled out from the station at 9:30 AM. Then I somehow went off into a restful nap! By 11:30 AM, I was in Melaka!
Melaka Sentral is a well planned bus terminal where shopping could be had. Pashminas are cheaper here than in KL, and there are even DVDs on sale – titles that aren’t found in the capital, probably because it is relatively closer to the Singapore border! The terminal is divided into 2 areas: the interstate bus terminal (for the long distance buses) and the intercity/local bus terminal for buses that ply around the state of Melaka. Direction? Just ask the locals!
This is the Melaka Sentral's Interstate Bus Terminal wing, a circular atrium where you can wait for your bus.
GETTING TO THE CITY CENTER
Once at the local terminal, which is really just a walk to the other side of the covered building. I spotted Bus no. 17 (green bus, non-AC) conveniently marked “Town Bus Service”. For just 1.50 ringgit (prepare exact change because they won’t give your change back ), I slipped my bus fare at the collection box located just beside the driver. I took the seat in front, while munching on my 1 ringgit fruits. Though the dragon fruit is my current favorite, I specifically enjoyed the huge slices of the juicy and sweet “Star Fruit” (which locals call “belimbing”). Manila folks are used to the smaller and very sour variety of “balimbing”.
P.S. If you’re headed to the shopping complexes like Mahkota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan Megamall, then take Town Bus no. 50!
Melaka Sentral is 4.5 kilometers from the city’s historical center, the Stadthuy area!
Star Fruit, the big, juicy and sweet variety. They are also called Carambola or balimbing (in Manila), and belimbing in Malaysia.
GOING AWAY FROM MELAKA
Later that day, I waited for the same commuter bus along Dataran Pahlawan Megamall. This took me quite awhile, I was almost tempted to take a taxi instead. Fortunately, even a taxi was nowhere in sight. I belatedly found out that the “Town Bus Service” is conveniently parked just right across Mahkota Parade (a complex of shopping malls opposite Dataran Pahlawan Megamall). It was headed straight to Melaka Sentral. For just 1.50 ringgit again, I paid for myticket! Barely 3 years ago, this same bus took 1 hour as it roamed the different areas of Melaka before terminating at the terminal. It was a very cheap tour around town, but it took forever. This time though, it only took 15 minutes!
Once at Melaka Sentral, I looked for Transnasional’s ticket counter but it was closed. They really must have decommissioned their Melakan trips – I am not sure! I settled with a “Metro Bus Express” which didn’t look as new as the Delima. I just missed Delima by a couple of minutes, and I refused to wait for the next hour. Since Metro Bus Express was boarding, I snatched my 12.50-ringgit ticket, and settled comfortably. While the gentlest rains washed the lands, my bus was breezing through Malaysia and I fell in deep slumber!
I shall awake once KL beckons.
This is the Eye in the Sky!
Buses from KL to Melaka fare – 12.50 ringgit per adult
Local bus fare from Melaka Sentral to City Center – 1.50 ringgit
Panorama Melaka fare – 5 ringgit and 2 ringgit per person per day
Metro Bus Express Schedule of Melaka-to-KL: 8:30 AM, 9 AM, 10, 11:30, 12 PM, 1 PM, 2:30, 3, 4, 5:30, 6 PM, 7 PM (last bus to KL) at 12.50 ringgit per person
Duration of travel from KL to Melaka: 2 hours
Melaka has opened a hop-on, hop-off bus service called “Panorama Melaka” which takes tourists to most of the attractions in town. The red bus charges a flat rate of 5 ringgit a day, while the blue bus charges 2 ringgit a day! They run at 10-minute intervals. However, this service is only made available from a ridiculously short 7 AM to 12 Noon. By the time most day tourists get to Melaka, the service would have already “retired”.
Puduraya Bus Station (Hentian Puduraya), underwent renovations since April 12, 2010. This photo only courtesy of wikipedia's two hundred percent.