While travelling, I have been keeping note of absolutely all my outgoings. I am pretty darn terrible at managing money, so this practice has been extremely worthwhile and as a result I am much more financially savvy than I was 8 months ago. This instalment of my Budget Diaries takes you through one month of backpacking in Malaysia – a place that has a reputation of being more expensive than other countries in southeast Asia such as Thailand and Laos.

I’ve broken down my expenditure into the following categories: accommodation, transport, food and drink (including alcohol in restaurants), bars and clubs, other entertainment (museums, massages, temples etc…), essentials (haircuts, shampoo, laundry etc…) and miscellaneous (things like mobile phone top-up and computer repairs).

Week 1: Melaka, Kuala Lumpur

Accommodation: 141RM; £27.83; $42.30

Transport: 1161.0RM; £22.91; $34.83

Food and Drink: 195.60RM; £38.61; $58.68

Bars and Clubs: 45RM; £8.88; $13.50

Other Entertainment: 42RM; £8.29; $12.60

Essentials: 35.40RM; £6.99 $10.62

Miscellaneous: 104.70RM; £20.66; $31.41

Total: 679.80 RM; £134.17; $203.94

Week 2: Cameron Highlands, Penang

Accommodation: 160RM; £31.58; $48

Transport: 39RM; £7.70; $11.70

Food and Drink: 140.10RM; £27.65; $42.03

Bars and Clubs: 0RM; £0; $0

Other Entertainment: 36RM; £7.11; $10.80

Essentials: 37.40RM; £7.38; $11.22

Miscellaneous: 0RM; $0; £0

Total: 412.50RM; £81.41; $123.75

Week 3: Penang

Accommodation: 230RM; £45.39; $69

Transport: 21RM; £4.14; $6.30

Food and Drink: 143.3RM; £28.28; $42.99

Bars and Clubs: 0RM; £0; $0

Other Entertainment: 0RM; £0; $0

Essentials: 0RM; £0; $0

Miscellaneous: 9RM; £1.79; $2.70

Total: 403.30RM; £79.60; $120.99

Week 4: Penang, Melaka

Accommodation: 221.40RM; £43.70; $66.42

Transport: 45RM; £8.88; $13.50

Food and Drink: 181.80RM; £35.88; $54.54

Bars and Clubs: 0RM; £0; $0

Other Entertainment: 15RM; £2.96; $4.50

Essentials: 5RM; £0.99; $1.50

Miscellaneous: 0RM; £0; $0

Total: 468.20RM; £92.41; $140.46

My complete 4 week total is: 1963.80RM; £387.59; $589.14

Boom! The country in southeast Asia with a reputation for being a more expensive place to visit turned out to be my cheapest. I should say that I actually barely skimmed the surface of this country – I only visited four places during one month and I didn’t go to other popular destinations such as Langkawi, the Perhentian Islands, the Tioman Islands, or Sarawak. But if you enjoy travelling slowly like me, you will see that backpacking in Malaysia can be extremely cheap. The Malaysians love their street food, so getting your mitts on cheap and tasty grub is never a problem, and in smaller places like Melaka, accommodation is extremely cheap.

So here’s some of the stuff that I managed to do for less than £400 in Malaysia:

I had a gay old time in a Kuala Lumpur Sauna

adults only

And I took in the breathtaking views of the Cameron Highlands

boh tea cafe

And I visited local hole-in-the-wall eateries in Penang

toh soon cafe

And I was mesmerised by Melaka’s street art

melaka street art 9

And much more besides. Make sure you check out the other instalments of my Budget Diaries to see how the cost of travelling in Malaysia compares with other destinations.

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