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His Take: How Much You Can Expect To Spend In Malaysia

  • Daily Average
$29.12

Malaysia’s a first world country with third world prices. Out of all of the places in Southeast Asia that we’ve been to thus far, Malaysia offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to food, accommodation, and transportation. We didn’t manage to visit Langkawi or the Perentian Islands, but if you’re planning on hitting up Georgetown, Kuala Lumpur, and Melaka, here’s how much you can expect to spend in Malaysia.

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NOTE: All costs are listed in Canadian Dollars and are per person. As of March 4, 2014: $1 Canadian = 3 Malaysian Ringit

TOTAL DAYS IN MALAYSIA: 10 days

Tourist Visa:

A tourist visa is NOT required for many nationalities when visiting Malaysia, including Canadians.

Accommodation:

Total = $91.87

Average per night = $10.21

Food/Drink:

Food Total = $108.54

Food Average = $5.17

Average cost for small can of beer = $4

Transportation:

Bus (Georgetown to Penang Hill, + return) = $1.32

Bus (Georgetown to Kuala Lumpur) = $13.33

Kuala Lumpur Sky Train (per trip, approximately) = $0.53

Bus (Kuala Lumpur to Melaka) = $4.60

Taxi (Melaka Bus Station to Melaka Old Town) = $4.17

Bus (Melaka to Singapore) = $10.33

Tours/Attractions/Activities:

Pinang Mansion Entrance (Georgetown) = $3.33

Penang Hill Viewpoint (Cable Car Ticket) = $3.33

Kuala Lumpur Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour = $15

COST SAVING TIPS

Honestly, Malaysia is not a haven for scam artists and you really don’t have to worry about getting ripped off as much as some of the other countries in Southeast Asia. Things are generally pretty cheap (especially the food), so its not hard to stick to a tight budget when travelling throughout this country. However, there are a few tips that should be able to help you keep your costs down.

1. BOOKING BUS TICKETS AT THE BUS STATION

Malaysians along the west coast of peninsula are well versed in English, and thus booking bus/train tickets directly at the station is just as easy as back home. Booking your tickets at the bus/train station will also save you some cash, as most tour agencies that we saw charged a massive markup. We booked our ticket to KL from Georgetown through a tour agent, and our ticket for KL to Melaka at the bus station. The distance was about the same, but our ticket from KL to Melaka cost us about $10 less than the bus we took from Georgetown to KL.

2. EAT THE INDIAN FOOD 

Malaysia offers up some of the best food this side of Italy, whether it’s Chinese cuisine, Malaysian, or Western. However, it’s the Indian food that really shines in cities like Penang and Georgetown, and it also just so happens to be the cheapest.

3. STICK TO A COUPLE BEERS PER DAY

In stark contrast to its northern neighbour, Thailand, Malaysia is NOT a party destination. The country is proud of its multicultural heritage, but Islam is the most followed religion among Malaysians and as a result alcohol is not nearly as cheap as in other countries throughout the region. Beers are about $4 for a single small can, and that’s from the grocery store. If you’re on a tight budget, you’d be best to stick to one or two beers per day.

4. AVOID THE HOP ON/HOP OFF TOUR IN KUALA LUMPUR

I’ve taken a few hop on/hop off tours in Europe (such as in Dublin, Florence, etc.) and they were a great way to get around for the day. Your ticket from the tour could also get you a discount at most tourist attractions, which was handy. The tour in Kuala Lumpur didn’t prove to be quite as good. Some of the buses only had a small space at the back to sit outside, and you could only hear the tour guide if you were sitting inside… what’s the point of that? We did manage to find one of the buses that had a decent amount of outdoor seating on the roof, with some speakers set up outside so that if you chose the outdoor seating you could still hear the tour guide. However, this only made us realize that the bus was taking us on a tour of shopping centres, conference centres, and high end hotels. Obviously without the tour guide we could see that we were driving by these places, but until we heard the voice over the speakers, we had no idea that they were actually part of the tour. Not exactly the most exciting way to spend an afternoon. On top of that, it was about $15 each. You’d need to ride the skytrain about 25-30 times in a day to spend that much. If there are any tourist attractions around KL that you want to see, take the train.

5. AVOID WESTERN FOOD

Malaysia does offer up some really good western food, but like most other spots in this part of the world, its always the most expensive option on the menu. Get out of your comfort zone and eat some Chinese or Indian cuisine. You’ll love it and save some cash in the process.

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