SEAP Southeast Asia Pilot-1

Muar to Malacca (Melaka)

Malacca Marina & CIQ ferry terminal, bridge & river entrance
Malacca Marina & CIQ ferry terminal, bridge & river entrance
Malaysian Government Marina Projects

Early in the 2000s, the original Mahitir government decided to support the development of Malaysia as a world-class cruising destination, whilst promoting the joys of recreational yachting to local populations.

A handful of marinas would be constructed at the best locations countrywide, complete with quality onshore facilities. All would be designed, built, managed, maintained and operated by the respective states’ Jabatuan Luat (Maritime Departments). Many hundreds of million ringgit and 20 years later, only four government-run marinas could be said to be properly open, maintained and operating successfully.

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They are mentioned in this chapter and at Pulau Langkawi (Telaga Harbour), Pulau Tioman, Pulau Penang (Batu Uban) and Kuching (seven miles up the Sarawak River).

Finished, but failed, are several river mouth marinas located at Muah, Malacca and Kedah where siltation, floating debris and internal wave refraction have rendered them unusable at the time of writing. Penang’s Tanjung City Marina broke up and silted over within the first three years. The Pulau Indah marina south of Port Klang is empty save the security guards and Pulau Metangor just north of Pangkor Laut outside Lumut is entirely broken up and abandoned.

With the return to power of the wily 93-year-old Prime Minister Tun Mahitir or “Dr. M”, we hope to see the reinvigoration of the dream for Malaysia to become a regional maritime tourism destination of choice, especially for visiting foreign yachts.

Muar to Malacca (Melaka) chart

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  • A


80 miles from Singapore

SUNGAI MUAR – MUAR RIVER 2°3.045N, 102°34.024E

Shoal draft vessels (under 2.5 metres) can easily find shelter up the wide river near the bridge at anchorage ‘A’ in all conditions. Alternative anchorage for deeper keelboats is best 1.3NM miles outside the river mouth, close to the port and starboard lateral marks, at 2°03.335N, 102° 31.086E in 3-4 metres.

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Take your dinghy past the abandoned Government marina (see box) on the south bank of the river to provision or visit this slow-paced kampong town. Dinghies can be safely left at the Police Dock. The ferry terminal on the south bank services ferries daily across the Straits to the Sumatran city of Bengkalis in Indonesia.

This sleepy town is of historic significance because the ‘Battle of Muar’ was the last major battle of the Malayan Campaign in WWII. In January 1942, the 8th Australian Division was charged with stopping the advancing Japanese. Although their initial ambush was successful, the celebrations were short lived when the might of the Japanese army arrived.

History records the defence of Muar and Bakri on the west coast a complete failure resulting in the invasion of the remainder of the peninsula and Singapore. There is a small plaque War Memorial south at Parit Sulong for the 161 Australian war crime victims captured, tortured then massacred en mass while POWs at that exact site.


Click to view Malaysia photo gallery.

  • B


95 miles from Singapore


This small group of islands known as the Water Islands Group lies seven miles south of Malacca River and 3 miles west of Anjung Batu Jetty where regular ferries run. Anchor off the long concrete jetty on the northeast of the main island Pulau Besar on sand in 2-3 metres. Keep east of the shallow reef and west of the drying rocks off the small island.

Deeper drafts can anchor in 4-6 metres on sand further south at 2°06.111N, 102°20.520E. New power lines with an unknown mast clearance are reported between the islands and the mainland.

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The main island Pulau Besar (Big Island) is a strange and interesting anchorage. Indian Muslims (Mamak) consider this ghost-town-like island, a few miles south of the Malacca River entrance, to be of high spiritual worth. As such, non-Muslim visitors are requested to abstain from consuming pork on the eve of their visit and throughout their entire stay. Ashore is a small museum showcasing the island’s culture, history and spiritual significance – in particular its past role as a resting place for sailors between China and Europe.

Follow the paved road from the jetty uphill to the highest point. Here a large boulder split down the middle named ‘Batu Belah’ is the favourite destination for spiritual pilgrims. There is a cave said to have been the favourite meditation place of a famous Mamak Wali named Yusof and his footprint is supposedly imprinted on the boulder.

In 1997 the Malaysian government labelled rogue spiritual practices on Pulau Besar as deviant. They tore down many buildings that were erected around the mausoleum and a luxury hotel and golf course were built. This caused uproar in the Indian Muslim communities.

In 2006, a hall was constructed with private funding from Indian Malaysian Muslim businessmen. The luxury hotel fronting all three beaches was completed, and then mysteriously abandoned. It remains vacant and decaying at the time of writing.

The golf course is well maintained and has security guards but we’ve never seen anyone playing on it.


Click to view Malaysia photo gallery.

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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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