This time round, we spent just over two weeks in Malaysia. We needed to kill some time before heading up to Chiang Mai for a month. As you can only get a 30 day visa for Thailand (we can’t be bothered with the hassle and expense of a visa run), and as we want to arrive in Sydney just before Christmas, we needed to get our arrival and departure times right.
Singapore is just too expensive for us, so we hot-footed it to Melaka in Malaysia. Only a few hours away by coach. An interesting city, for a variety of reasons, which I’ll write about later.
We found accommodation here more expensive than we’d hoped, and it rises in price on the weekends. This seemed to be the case elsewhere in Malaysia.
Accommodation: In Melaka we stayed in a very small double room with a/c, but with a shared bathroom at Singgah de Jonker. On the plus side it was in an historical shop house in a great location on the river, and included a tasty local breakfast of Nasi Lemak. It cost £22 p.n. which seems the going rate for ‘budget’ accommodation in Melaka – I think there is a surcharge (tax?) payable for staying in the historical area.
Whilst staying there, we looked around for other accommodation and found rooms a touch cheaper, but they were internal rooms with no windows and still with shared bathrooms. Which I think is the norm in a lot of the historical shop houses as there are restrictions as to how they can me modified.
We paid the same price to stay in Orchid Lodge (which I highly recommend) in the Cameron Highlands, but it was in a concrete block a few stories above a restaurant – occasionally the smell of fired food wafted up, nice. This room was big enough to live in (i.e. manoeuvre ourselves around the bed and our luggage), we had an en suite, plus a balcony. Although it was too small for more than one person to sit on, it came in very handy for drying laundry!
All in all, we spent about 3 nights in KL, and those nights were about £26 p.n., excl breakfast. We’d stayed at this hotel when overlanding and knew the breakfast was pretty dire so didn’t pay extra to include it. We stayed at the Citin Seacare which is in a great location opposite Pudu bus station, you can get buses to the airport, Melaka, Singapore, Cameron Highlands etc. It’s bit rough around the station, so be careful, but it seems ok.
Plus, it’s only 20 min walk to Pavillion Mall (good food court, great shops, SEPHORA), and a short hop on the tube to Petronas towers. Make the effort to walk to Masjid Jamek station if you’re going, it’s quicker than trying to change. Plaza Rakyat station is more or less opposite the hotel.
Food: We had a couple of blow out meals in Melaka, (£10 and £12.50…*burp*) but other times we ate in food courts in Malls (but not at any of these establishments) or street food, and spent around £3-£5 for the two of us. The Malls were great, with excellent food and a wide variety of choice. I don’t think we drank alcohol the whole time we were in Malaysia. It was fairly pricey, especially wine.
Transport: Our biggest expense was our flight to Chiang Mai, and I’m not surprised. The plane was full so they’ve got their pricing right, and we made the mistake of flying on a Monday, but it was all part of trying to get the timing right for future travel.
Treats: We went to the cinema in Melaka and in KL. The Drop, and Interstellar, seeing as you asked.
Summary: Whilst we (almost) reined it in on the food front, the flights and accommodation consistently in the £20+ mark tipped us over the edge.
Average spend per day: £24.50 each
Result: Budget FAIL. Again we were over, this time by £4.50 per day each. Accommodation in Malaysia is fairly pricey, we’ll try harder this month in Chiang Mai.