How much does it cost to travel in Malaysia? Our budget and tips

Malaysia is quite a cheap country. For our 69 euros a day for the two of us (34,5 euro p.p) we spent a beautiful 15 days in Malaysia treating ourselves with very nice accommodations and even quite some visits to local cafes. We could have stayed in Malaysia on a significantly lower budget but for those few extra euros we got quite a lot more.


Where did we travel?

We didn’t travel very extensively. Malaysia was really like a long stopover for us and we mainly focused on recharging in there. We stayed in Georgetown, Kuala Lumpur and Cameron Highlands.

How did we travel?

We mostly used public transport so buses and in KL the metro. A bus from Georgetown to Cameron Highlands cost us 80 MYR for both of us (around 17 euro).

Sometimes we spent few riggits on uber. Usually it was never more than 9 MYR (2 euro) but in Cameron Highlands where there was no other way to travel around than taxi or a tour we had to pay even 25 ringgit (around 5 euro) for quite a short ride. Generally there the taxi drivers charge per hour and in high season when you don’t want to rent them for several hours or a whole day, they won’t take you at all. Fortunately we were there in a bit of a dead season so the driver gave us the honor.

In total we spent 46 euros on transportation.

Where did we stay?

In all of the three locations we stayed in very nice places. First in Georgetown we stayed in a very nice, huge room in one of those stunning, Peranakan houses. We rented it for 36 euros per night on Airbnb and although we knew we could get a more or less decent room for half of it… we never regretted it.

In Kuala Lumpur we stayed in an Airbnb studio with access to a spectacular view on the city with an infinity pool. More about that here.

Only in Cameron Highlands we couldn’t find anything interesting on Airbnb so we decided to stay in a little, charming guesthouse. There we paid 158 MYR per night (31 euro). More about this one and tea region in general here.

Overal we spent 489 euros on accommodation.

What did we eat?

Only in Kuala Lumpur we had our own kitchen so we cooked a bit there. In other places we were forced to eat out. At first we thought it would be rewarding but very soon we realized that the Malaysian cuisine we knew from Holland had nothing to do with the one in the country. It was fatty, bloody and we were far from being impressed. So to be honest few times we chose for a meal from a supermarket rather than for a restaurant.

In total we spent 162 euros on eating out and that includes 110 MYR (around 23 euros) we paid for high tea for the two of us in Cameron Highlands and various lunches in quite nice cafes. In a normal, local restaurant we would pay around 20-30 ringgit (4-6 euros) for a meal for both of us. That without even choosing the cheapest of the cheapest.

In 206 euros under “food” we included our supermarket groceries, ice creams we bought in convenient stores and many, many, fresh, cold coconuts bravely opened by teenage boys all over Malaysia.

How expensive are museums, tours etc?

In 39 euros under “tourism” we only included our whole day tour with a jeep in Cameron Highlands. For the rest, what we saw was free.

Where did the rest of our money go?

Postcards, laundry, small souvenirs and my dream rattan bag turned out to be 88 euros.  

Money- saving tips and tricks

Malaysia is a pretty cheap country. Transportation, food and even handcrafts are very affordable but…

    1. Bargain! It’s one of those countries where people get those few extra euros off you if you don’t know how much something should cost. Ask for a price up front, bargain or just search for places where the prices are already written.
    2. Choose your accommodation wisely. Decide if you want to go for the cheapest of the cheapest or a bit more luxurious. If the first one it’s best to walk around once you get here and ask around for the best deal. We met people who were literally staying for 2 euros per night, per bed in hostels that were not even mentioned online. If you want to go somewhere clean and really nice, we would recommend Airbnb. It’s definitely cheaper than hotels and often the service and conditions you get are way better.
    3. Eat locally! Food at local food courts and restaurants is really affordable, not to mention the coffee. You get a bag (yep a plastic bag) that would wake up a cow for 50 euro cents. It's surprisingly good, just make sure you take a very basic one without any sugar, butter or the typical Malaysian one that tastes like it was poured from nescafe powder.
    4. Try to volunteer! Always a great idea to save money on food and accommodation and get to know local culture and customs.
    5. Enjoy the free attractions. Street art, nature, animals. You can see all that for free.

     Exchange rate used: 1 Euro = 4.98 MYR

How to get a million dollar view for very little? Our Airbnb in Kuala Lumpur

I’ve always dreamt of sunrises by the pool with views on some vibrant city below. Something that would literally wake me up in the middle of the night with all the energy necessary to get out of bed when the sun is nowhere to be seen yet.

I never thought that this item of my bucket list could be scratched off so fast. Researching options to sleep in Kuala Lumpur I realized how many there were with an infinity pool on the top floor. From the majority you could see the Petronas Towers and the whole capital.

Surprisingly the prices were very affordable and after a short discussion with Jandirk, we decided to splurge for little above 40 dollars (including Airbnb fee and cleaning).

There was no doubt we had to choose an Airbnb simply because hotels with an infinity pool had too many zeros in their prices and so they were above our budget 🙂

The reality behind the fairytale

We rented a small apartment in Regalia Residence with access to jaw-dropping views. We were surprised to discover that our location wasn’t that bad after all. We were not really far from the center and just next door there was a commercial center with a very good supermarket.

The apartment was definitely bigger and better than what we hoped for. We even had a fully equipped kitchen and Netflix.

The building itself was either not finished yet or already run down. The money that was loaded in it was melting the higher we went. When we left our apartment to go to the top floor where the observation deck was, we saw bare concrete, unfinished elevators and balconies that would never be finished.

That said, as long as we didn’t look behind the view in front of us was stunning. Huge swimming pool, marvelous lights of one of the most vivid cities in Asia. Every day we were the first ones out there to enjoy the waking up city views. We stayed peacefully alone for a while before other tourists even woke up.

When the infinity pool was getting hectic and scorching hot we would relocate ourselves to a very peaceful pool in the middle of the building. Thankfully it wasn’t attractive enough to attract crowds… who would want a view of concrete flats, right? We found a certain charm in it and spend lots of time enjoying it and chasing each other around. We loved every bit of this crazy experience of luxury Malaysian style:)

How much does it cost to travel in Singapore? Our budget and tips

Our budget from Singapore is, by far, the most we spent in a country per day. For low budget lovers: it might be tricky to enjoy your time on budget especially if staying in an Airbnb, hostel or hotel. On the other side if you manage to volunteer or stay at someone’s house Singapore will turn out to be actually pretty cheap.

Over 7 days we spent 821 euro for the both of us. That gives us around 59 euros per person per day. I have to mention that it’s a budget packed with tickets, everyday exploring, not much cooking and a bit of a splurge when it comes to accommodation. Let’s go into details.


Where did we travel?

We mostly stayed in the center of Singapore, we made sure our Airbnb was close enough to walk to most of the interesting spots. Except for that we went a bit outside of the center to visit the Chinese Gardens and the Joo Chiat Peranakan Houses.

How did we travel?

We mostly walked. Thankfully that was possible since our apartment was pretty centrally located. Honestly the highlights in Singapore are not far from each other.

The 32 euros mentioned in transportation include two uber rides to the spots that were further and not so easily accessible. The rest we spent on metro.

Where did we stay?

Accommodation was the biggest part of our budget especially since we decided to splurge a bit. We didn’t want to stay somewhere far away and travel to the center for a long time. We decided that since we were coming only for a week we would treat ourselves. We stayed in a nice room in an Airbnb apartment in a very nice art-deco neighborhood. The room itself was really stylish, cosy and with so needed airco. The apartment less so… It was a world apart: hot, dirty, not really well maintained. It's immediately obvious why we only saw the pictures of the room on Airbnb. Anyway we were satisfied. That luxury cost us 462 euros for 7 nights.

TIP! If you want to stay somewhere nice but reasonably priced the only option is an airbnb or  hotel rooms without windows… I saw plenty of those on and honestly it took me a while to notice that they didn’t have a window. The pictures almost fooled me…

When looking for an airbnb make sure you check the location as many cheaper spots will be over the border already in Malaysia or really far from the center.

What did we eat?

We mostly ate local food in omnipresent food markets and food courts. Nothing extravagant but pretty good and for a reasonable price. We chose between thai curries, hainese chicken and any other goodies that they had to offer. Few times we even scored really cheap coffee or tea to accompany our meals. On average we spent 13-20 SGD (around 8-13 euro) per time for both of us. In total we paid 94 euros on eating out.

Everything we spent on ingredients for our lunches and breakfasts, which we prepared at our Airbnb, we included in the food section. Whole 97 euros. This one also contains many liters of water that we had to buy during the running around Singapore. I mention it because water was surprisingly expensive especially considering that in such a climate we drunk insane amounts of it. We always tried to look for a food court where water was cheaper than at any convenience store.

How expensive are museums, tours etc?

Good news is that there is plenty to see for free. There is no entrance fee to see the Gardens by the Bay, stunning shophouses’ facades or the Botanical Gardens.

That said there are quite few unmissable spots that cost a lot. National Gallery entrance depends on the exhibition and if you want to see just one or all of them. We paid 60 SGD for us both (around 38 euros). On the bright side you can explore the building itself and its amazing terrace for free which we didn’t know.

For both conservatories in Gardens by the Bay (since we couldn’t buy just one) we painfully said goodbye to 56 SGD (around 35 euros).

All in all we spent 107 euros on entrance fees.

Where did the rest of our money go?

In the 29 euros in miscellaneous and equipment we included printing boarding passes and contact lenses that we bought for JD.

Money- saving tips and tricks

  1. Pay attention where your hotel/ hostel/ Airbnb is. You really don’t want to stay in Malaysia instead of Singapore! Try to stay centrally to limit the transportation costs.
  2. Check out your credit card deals! For paying with Mastercard we got a free ticket to the OCBC Skywalk.
  3. Eat locally! Food at local food courts and food markets is really affordable, not to mention the coffee. It’s a huge difference compared to even a mediocre restaurant.
  4. Take as much water as possible from your accommodation. If you really need to buy more, try local food courts rather than convenience stores.
  5. Try to volunteer! Accommodation is pretty pricey so try to volunteer to limit the costs. Not to mention the benefits of submerging in the local culture.
  6. Enjoy the free attractions. Many spots in Singapore are free of charge. You can see the whole building of the National Gallery including the terrace for free (except for the exhibitions obviously), same with Gardens by the Bay, light show on Supertrees or Marina Bay Sands Mall. Even the Botanical Garden is free. So if you’re staying for a short period of time and you are on a tight budget than maybe think about exploring the free options first.

Exchange rate used: 1 Euro = 1.6 SGD

How to visit the world of Avatar without leaving this planet? Gardens by the Bay

Travelling around the world is a one of a kind experience. That said it doesn’t mean we always see unique sites. Another garden, medieval palace, another Incan ruin. Especially after spending a long time in one country we start to see trends and similarities. But there are rare cases when we see something special. Something absolutely unique. Something we know we won’t see anywhere else, anytime soon. That’s what Gardens by the Bay was for us. A journey to another world, journey to the future. We literally couldn’t help but go back there over and over again. To be honest no words or pictures can quite explain how remarkable the place is… but well we will try 🙂

What are Gardens by the Bay?

Gardens by the Bay are the lungs of this vibrant metropolis. It’s all about nature and humans creating something special around it, not instead of it. The most prominent part of the Gardens are the Supertrees. Those are actually human-made trees serving as vertical gardens, producing energy. It’s a growing concept in Singapore in order to make us live more sustainably and in direct contact with nature. 12 of those giants (25 to 50 m) can be found in the Supertree Grove while the remaining 2 groups of 3 are in the Golden and Silver Gardens.

Except for those there are sculptures, greenhouses, cafes, restaurants and lots of areas to picnic. Although it sounds like a lot, it’s all close together, certainly within walking distance and it’s possible to see the most important sights in a day.

What to see?

Supertree Grove is by far the most breathtaking spot and a must see in Singapore. It’s also an absolute must to come in the evening for the best light show I have ever seen (and I’m a light show freak). It’s free of charge and there are two shows daily at 7.45 and 8.45 pm.

OCBC Skywalk is a 128- meter-long aerial walkway between the Supertrees. It gives a completely different perspective on the trees and Gardens in general. It’s especially spectacular to walk on there during sunset or the light show. It costs 8 SGD (around 5 euro).

Cloud Forest is a greenhouse garden that will take you straight to the Cloud Forests of Peru. The path takes you through the forest and leads you higher and higher to finally end up on a skywalk above the garden. Cloud Forest wouldn’t be complete without a bit of mist and so at certain times of the day (10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm, 8 pm) you can see it mysteriously surrounded by it. The only negative is that as a foreigner you have to buy a joined ticket to both greenhouses. It’s 28 SGD (around 18 euro) and considering that except for the spectacular Cloud Forest you are forced to see the mediocre Flower Dome, it’s a bit of a ridiculous price. For me the Flower Dome was like any other greenhouse garden, except bigger.

Dragonfly and Kingfisher lakes are small lakes that are just perfect for a stroll away from the bustling city. Not to mention there are some great spots to just chill out with your market-bought coffee. A bargain considering how expensive cafes are in this city. After a bit of a rest we also appreciated the photographic perspective that the boardwalk along Dragonfly Lake gives.

Bay East Garden is the most calm, chilled out spot, perfect for a picnic with a view.

Except for the spots mentioned above there are few other gardens and sculptures but I wasn’t overly impressed with those so I also won’t recommend them.

How much does it cost?

Gardens by the Bay are free of charge. You can walk around freely in there and also visit the Supertree without paying anything.

OCBC Skywalk is 8 SGD.

Cloud Forest and Flower Dome cost 28 SGD (joined ticket without possibility to buy only one of the two).

Shuttle service costs 3 SGD for a day. In my opinion it’s not necessary.

Best views on the Supertrees and the Gardens

For me the most impressive view on the Gardens stretches from the platform on the bridge coming from Marina Bay Sands’ mall. I got an impression not many people go that way because you really have to know it exists and I never saw it anywhere online. Walking on the bridge I saw the crown of the supertrees emerging above the greenness of the park. It made me feel like if I was seeing a distant land of Avatar that I’m about to visit.

Marina Bay Skypark Observation deck provides stunning views from far above. You can see the Gardens by the Bay in full glory. To get the best out of the 23 SGD (around 14 euro) ticket we went there before sunset to enjoy the beautiful colors of the sun setting above Singapore as well as the light shows both at the Marina Bay Sands’ mall and the Supertree Grove. If you’re not travelling on a shoestring, there is also an infinity pool above the observation deck reserved for guests of the hotel. Judging by the amount of people in robes there, it’s a rather popular spot.

OCBC skywalk gives a unique opportunity to walk in between the crowns of the Supertrees. It’s tough to put a price on an experience like that. One of the best and most original views on the trees and Marina Bay Sands for sure.

Walking around the trees is also a great way to see them in full glory and fully understand how massive they are.

How to save money during traveling?

These days traveling is almost for everyone. There is something for every budget. Although the smaller the budget the more effort and research it costs. After more than 2 years on the road I got pretty good in finding ways to save and I would love to share it with you guys.


That’s the biggest part of any budget and the most essential part of any journey. Everyone has to sleep somewhere, right?


Airbnb offers the most original and interesting accommodations possible. Sleeping in a castle, trailer, hammock or a tree house. All there, it’s just a matter of money. It’s not a cheap option but many times it’s worth the price and there are possibilities to lower the costs. Here is how:

  • Booking your first trip you get a discount on your first reservation. You can also use a discount send by a friend or partner. Inviting a next person into the Airbnb world get you a discount when that person books her/his first stay.
  • Weekly/monthly discounts. Many places offer a special price for longer stays. Some for a week, some for a month. It can be 10% or even 50%. It all depends on the owner. Some places do not even except stays shorter than a certain amount of days. We saw a place in Kyoto that didn’t accept any reservation under 22 days. We managed to get an apartment on Taiwan with a discount of 45% above 28 days stay. If you want to stay longer it’s worth searching for offers like that.
  • Special offer. The host can send you a special offer. We had few situations when we asked about a room and the host just send us a discount to push us to book. Or when he committed a mistake with our booking and had to switch rooms for us. Other times we saw that some spots had discounts for low season. When we started using airbnb we didn't know that the price can be negotiable, now we know that in some situations we can just ask. We got 10 % off in Malaysia just like that., hostelworld and knocking at the door

Many of you ask if it’s better to book or just show up. There is no simple answer to that. What we usually do is checking few spots we like and compare the prices on booking, hostel world or any other of those pages. Then we check if the hostel has its own web page with better deals. Since hostels need to pay to booking they sometimes offer better prices at their own web page for people to book directly with them. If not it's worth sending an email and asking for a nice deal especially if you want to stay for a couple of nights. Usually staying longer than 3 nights is good enough to bargain. If it’s dead season, you’re aiming for, you can just pop by at the spot and ask. That’s the best option to get the best offer since if you’re not taking the room, there is a big chance no one else will…

If you're really on a tight budget some hostels allow camping or hanging your own hammock (especially popular in Colombia).

Couch surfing

Although we don’t really like that method, you can also consider staying for free with a local via Couch surfing. Make sure you choose your host carefully. Some stories about CS are quite epic and include harassment or stealing. We saw pretty many listings where guys were only offering a place to sleep for ladies and only in their own bed. Often CS offers not much flexibility, you can stay when the host is there but when she/he goes to work you have to go out as well. You are also expected to be rather social so if you don’t click it’s a bit of a miss to begin with. That I’m not gonna mention that both sides can cancel the agreement any time which can leave you on the street…

 House sitting

The idea behind house sitting is taking care of someone else's house while they are away on vacation. It usually involves taking care of animals as well as just being present at the house. We never tried that option during our journey simply because the countries we traveled to didn't have enough options to make sure that we at least got our fee and hassle back (some web pages require recommendation letters and other paper work). But if you're going to Europe, Australia, Canada or the US it's definitely worth trying. I have done it once in Amsterdam for a friend of a friend and I really liked it. You live like a local and stay in a local neighborhood and you also get a companion, dog or a cat or various 🙂 Some of the most popular web pages that other travelers recommended to us are: Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House



Another big part of any budget is transport. Often it can be the most expensive part of the trip. Flying to Colombia can cost way more than staying there for 2 weeks, especially on a low budget.

Flying is the most expensive mean of transportation and whenever we have to book a flight we make sure we book the best possible option. I always stay alert on deals from Secret flying, fly4free and many polish sites like Mleczne Podroze. From fly4free we got, for example, our flight Paris- Buenos Aires for 380 euros each.

Because I'm still a bit of a planning freak I also check skyscanner, kayak and momondo frequently. We also signed up for many airlines newsletters.

For others transportation we ask locals around about deals for buses or in some countries we bargain. In most Latin American countries that’s what you absolutely need to do. Leave your shame behind and do your best, otherwise you’re gonna get a true “gringo” price (gringo- white foreigner, in some countries the word is used for the white visitors from the US).


The best way to save money on food is to cook as often as possible. To do that we always tried to get a place with a kitchen. We also always tried to use local ingredients rather than the ones we knew and loved from back home. Humble mozarella can be cheap in Europe but in Colombia the price can leave you speechless. So forget what you know and sail away in the supermarket. Reading some food blogs beforehand is not a bad idea. Otherwise you really don't know what you buy and how to prepare it.

Second best is eating locally, in the most crowded places. Giant queues give you a better chance for good food and a reasonable price.


Great way of saving money as well as getting to know the country from the inside is volunteering. You can do that via web pages like workaway (for hostels, farm work, English teacher and pretty much anything), WWOOFing (farm work) or just ask around once there. More about volunteering read our post here.

If you have certain skills you can also exchange them for accommodation, food or excursion. Let’s say you speak Spanish and English, you can translate on a hike and go for free or even get paid. That's what I did on the Ciudad Perdida hike. Same with skills like photography, web design or cooking. Imagination is the limit! The most crucial part is to ask. Those who don’t ask always miss opportunities.

Open post

How to save money for the big dream?

We often get asked how it’s possible that we can travel for so long. Most people just want to hear that we are rich because then they can settle down and explain to themselves that they just can’t do it. That long-term traveling is just for those fortunate few.

It really is just for the fortunate few, but not the rich ones, but those who have the courage to leave everything behind and those who have the persistence to save up OR do whatever it takes.

To those few who have what it takes, a few tips.

So, how to figure out how much you have to save?

That’s the big question. When you search online for travel budgets they really go everywhere from 10 k to 100 k USD per year per person, depending on the style of travel. That’s a massive spread so how could you figure out how much you need?

It’s all about a mindset. Any amount of money is good enough to travel. Really any. But first you need to ask yourself some important questions…

What is your priority? Do you want to explore, visit, and see things?

Or do you need to travel in style, eat in fancy restaurants and sip champagne? If the answer is yes there is no way around it… the costs will be massive. Simple saving won’t cut it so you’d better marry well before you go.

But if you are willing to travel on a budget there will be many possibilities to cut the costs.

But you have to ask yourself: how much are you willing to sacrifice?

Can you sleep in dorms?

Can you volunteer?

Do you have any specific skills that you can trade? Maybe you can take pictures or you can teach English? Or translate?

Are you open to cook or do you want to eat out?

Be honest with yourself. We met a few hardcore people who only ate rice and whatever other people left and volunteered the whole time. Like this you can travel for a very, very long time. But is it fun? Is it what you really want to do?

We approached our journey thinking we wanted to be on a budget but also enjoy. We wanted to eat out every now and then but mostly cook. We didn’t mind sleeping in dorms but we wanted to stay in nice hostels, not in shabby, forgotten places (although that also occurred), we wanted to have adventure but also some peace. Sometimes we even did a bit of luxury, other times we volunteered or traded our skills. Our budget has been very moderate. During the 368 days we stayed in South America we spent 24 938 euro for both of us. You can visit the budget section for the exact costs of each country.

Could it be cheaper? Yes, of course. It could also be more expensive.

But it gives you an idea of how much you need and a mindset you need. If you don’t have that kind of money, you can volunteer more, splurge less, sleep in dorms more often and maybe even camp.

How to save it?

Now that you have an idea of the budget you need and you’re sure you really want to do it. How can you save all that money?

It really is all about the small things. First of all set up a spreadsheet of ALL your spendings during the week. That’s what we did. Track every single penny you spend. At the end of the week, analyze it.

Do you buy lunch at work? It’s cheaper to make sandwiches at home

Do you pay for plastic bags at the supermarket? It saves money to bring your own.

Did you pass by a local café to buy some coffee on the way to work? You can drink one at home before you go.

Did you go out for drinks? You can buy a bottle of wine and invite friends home

Is your rent super expensive because you live in the center? Maybe you can move to the suburbs?

There really isn’t any remedy that will make this money magically appear. It takes those tiny sacrifices to achieve it.

Second thing is to go through your things. Do you really wear that pair of jeans? Do you use that DVD player that you have in the closet? Think about it. Leaving on a big adventure, you won’t take all of that with you. Storage place costs money and it’s useless to store stuff you don’t even use. We sold what we didn’t want anyway and some other things we didn’t want to store. And you know what… Now that we think about it, we wish we sold even more of our stuff.

About us

So many people search for excuses not to try hard enough for their own dreams. So many think that we won a lottery or we were just rich to begin with. Well nope. We also didn’t have absolutely amazing jobs that paid thousands. We just had a mindset of people that don’t spend that much. We worked in Amsterdam but decided to live in Volendam because we were not willing to spend double the price to live in the center of it all. We always repaired our clothes rather than bought new ones.

Don’t get me wrong. We went out with friends, had a few drink, went for weekends away and vacation. We love enjoying life but all in moderation. Especially when we decided to leave everything and travel.

Being Polish I know that it all depends on the country where you live. It’s not the same saving up Polish zloty or euros. But it’s still doable if you really want it. And having a EU passport means you can chose where you want to live. Which we often forget.

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