Malaysia Costs and Review
See our general tip page here. Note the costs here do not include international flights, vaccines and insurance etc – this will be detailed at the end of the trip.
|Food (not beer)
|Entertainment (inc beer)
|Nights in paid accom
|Total per night
Malaysia only appeared on our trip as a convenient way to get from southern Thailand to Hanoi. Because we have been on islands & beaches in Thailand, and expect to in Vietnam, we didn’t want to see Malay beaches and islands, and also Borneo just didn’t fit in to our main plan. As such, our views are just based on Kuala Lumpur and Melaka.
Sadly, what we saw didn’t meet expectations. The places were okay but nothing of a “wow factor” stood out. Pleasant enough, but not special. KL especially was filthy, rubbish and food waste everywhere (bar main tourist drags), so rats everywhere. Street food stalls we so loved in Thailand didn’t appeal – they looked dirtier, dimly lit, and just weren’t exciting. The ones we did try were okay but not outstanding.
The lack of photos we took were due to not being able to find much that impressed… So KL as a couple of day stop over is okay, but don’t expect too much. Of course, if you are after islands and Borneo – then you will see much more than we did and may well have a different view.
I guess we just weren’t very excited by anything in Malysia, felt more of a holiday destination than an adventure trip.
We didn’t spend too much as there wasn’t much to buy. Accommodation was cheap and food reasonable, beer very expensive. Hardly any trips or interesting things to spend money on – even the tourist info didn’t have any leaflets on typical excursions. Museums and cinema/bowling dirt cheap.
Shopping for “stuff” is UK standard and prices and thus we didn’t buy anything.
Our spend is probably the lower end of what is doable in Malaysia. If you go out and about more or see islands then expect to pay a lot more
Never once did we hear any dodgy stories about Malaysia, nor did we feel unsafe at any time. We always got the correct change back. So in our view, very safe indeed.
- ATMS: Everywhere for VISA and Mastercard. Easy to get cash at airport. Only Malaysian Ringgits are dispensed
- Currency: Everything is priced and paid for in Ringgits (RM).
- Landary: Not that common but doable, 6RM/kg
- 7/11: Some places, but so are local shops – convenient for water but 2.5RM a bottle of water – and most is non-mineral.
- Transport: Easy to use and busses/trains very cheap. Not great links though. Didn’t see any tourist mini busses so public transport only.
- Chemists: Everywhere
- Food: Street food stalls not great, try food courts in big malls for interesting and cheap local choices
- Language: English everywhre.
- Power: UK plug and 240v -no issue.
- Internet: Wifi available in every guesthouse we used and in many bars/cafes. Internet cafes and PCs to borrow also available free/cheap.
- Toilets: Western style in all guest houses and in most “good” public places, there may only be one in a row so look. Worth carrying toilet paper though seldom needed.
Stuff we took and didn’t use
(see our packing list here)
- Towels – they were provided by every guesthouse, even special beach towels
- Mozzie net – not needed.
- Loads of clothes – you only need 4-5 sets of undies – laundry is so trivial to do you do not need to carry as much as us.
- Spare batteries for stuff – power so available we kept things charged
- Main padlock – all guest houses had normal locks
Things we’d change
Less time in KL and Melaka. Our timing was fixed due to getting Vietnam Visa and flights sorted. Didn’t see anything else near that seemed worth visiting. Using Malaysia as a stop off is fine but not great, but of couse if you are doing islands/beaches or Borneo then its a different kettle of fish.