Malaysia, Travel Budget

Travel Budget: Kota Kinabalu

One of the reasons why I was having second thoughts about going to Sabah was money. I had some unexpected expenses last January and I have several trips lined up in the coming weeks, so I figured it’d be better to cut my losses at Php 1,289 (my airfare) instead of spending so much more on the trip. However, in the end I threw caution to the wind and went to have an awesome trip.

Kota Kinabalu is pretty cheap compared to other Malaysian cities. Sure, the taxi drivers are averse to using the meter, but KK is so small you can just walk anywhere (except to the Mount Kinabalu Park and other attractions because it’s FAR). I’ve had a couple of expensive meals over the weekend, and I was surprised that my end total is just Php 1,337. Shopping in Kota Kinabalu is not too exciting, except if there are sales I suppose. Some of the items sold in Peninsular Malaysia is also available in Sabah, but there are also a number of brands and products that are locally produced like teas and cigarettes.

There are a number of souvenir shops in the shopping centers, but if you’re looking to buy Sabah tea, it’s best to check the supermarket, as the prices are much cheaper. There’s also the handicraft market, or the former Pasar Filipino (Filipino market), where local souvenirs are sold (batik, wood carvings, anything and everything made with sea shells).

A final note on Sabah: if you’re bringing US dollars, make sure that they are series 2006 or more recent. Money changers do not accept dollars from earlier years, which is a real pain. There are plenty of ATMs that accept VISA and Mastercards, so you can make a cash advance if needed (some hostels, like the Lavender Lodge does not accept credit card payments).
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Malaysia, Wandering thoughts

Recharging my batteries in Sabah

I’m writing this from the dining area of the Lavender Lodge in downtown Kota Kinabalu. I’ve been here since Saturday, and if it weren’t the start of the week, I probably wouldn’t be blogging this early.

I meant to write a day to day update, as I did for previous trips, but I figured I owe it to myself to have a break from blogging and to travel just for the love of it, and not because it’s a great material for my blog. The daily recaps of my travels take a lot of discipline and energy and somehow made it seem as if everyday should be interesting just so I would have something to write about. I’ve done a lot of interesting things this weekend, though I wouldn’t write about it until the coming days or weeks.
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Malaysia, Singapore, Travel Budget

Travel Budget: Singapore and Malacca Birthday Trip

I honestly wasn’t looking forward to tallying up my expenses for my last trip, yet at the same time, I was eager to see just how much damage I did. And if I really spent enough to buy the 50mm f1.4 lens I wanted. I didn’t, but a couple more thousands and I could’ve bought the 35mm f1.8. I’m just consoling myself that at least I’ve finished my Christmas shopping in one go and bought some things I really wanted for myself.

Also, I realized how relatively cheap Malacca is for a daytrip from Singapore. The drive from the island to the heritage town is more than double the time it takes to drive down from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca, but it’s a better alternative to Johor Bahru, where most Filipinos go for a visa run. For about Php 2,000, you can do this day trip from Singapore. That already include the bus (public bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru, domestic bus from Larkin Terminal to Malacca), admission fees, meals and transport within Malacca. Melaka is compact enough that you can just walk to see the main attractions. I’m definitely heading back there when I go to Singapore.

Oh, I’ve omitted my personal shopping expenses from this travel budget. It’s certainly not for public consumption.
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One birthday, two countries

Like most blog posts, I started writing my birthday entry in my head. However, I was in such a state earlier that everything came out sounding like a eulogy.

Rui at the Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum

I suppose it is something like a parting — me parting with my much loved youth and heading towards a new phase in life. Eeew.
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Updates from Malacca

I’m writing this from my room at the Twenty Guesthouse in Malacca. Marvin highly recommends this place, so when I was making my reservations for this trip, I didn’t bother checking other places. It costs much more than other guesthouses I’ve stayed in, but it’s right smack in the middle of Jonker Walk, and the place is gorgeous. Its nondescript facade gives no clue to the homey guesthouse inside. They even have a resident cat.
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Want a free trip to Malaysia?

The Manila office of Tourism Malaysia is holding a contest for Filipino members of the Tara Na Sa Malaysia Facebook Group. The contest is very easy, actually. Just post a picture of you with the Petronas Towers in the background, and set it as your profile photo on Facebook. Don’t have a photo? You can just photoshop yourself using the group’s profile photo of the twin towers. WOW, I do not know how to read *facepalm* Martin clarifies that if you do not have a photo, you can just use the profile photo of the group featuring the twin towers.

Kuala Lumpur 08
Dolls don’t qualify. Booo.

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Malaysia, Thailand, Travel Budget

Travel Budget: Bangkok and Penang

You know I’m out of topics to blog about when I start posting my travel budget. This one is from my one-week trip to Thailand and Malaysia at the beginning of the month. The main purpose of the trip was for the tennis, but we ended up dollie shopping in Bangkok instead. I extended my trip to include a week in Penang, just because.

This trip is expensive, compared to my month-long trip back in June spanning five countries. However, it still came out cheaper than the budget I drew up when I was still planning for the trip. And this is the moment when I admit that I really cannot be a hardcore backpacker (that sounds sooo wrong). Haggling will never be my forte, and I will splurge whenever I can. And I will never stop buying doll clothes and books.

Shopping aside, the biggest expense in this trip was my 4-day stay at the Sunway Hotel in Georgetown. I needed to work during those four days, so I splurged on a hotel to ensure that I have a stable Internet connection. Ironically, the Internet at the guesthouse where I transfered to was much better. Hmp.
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