Did you know that the town of Luang Prabang is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centres? If you didn’t, the prices there will remind you, because damn do they jack it up for the foreign tourists. And it was mostly foreign tourists – I didn’t see many local tourists.
I’m not bitter or anything – it’s great that the tourism industry provides such good income for the locals – but yep you definitely need some play money to make the best of your time there. It’s just that I’ve heard how ‘Laos is practically under-developed Thailand’, and expected lower prices, but many places in Luang Prabang charge higher than downtown KL, and even Singapore!
I’ve also heard how Luang Prabang is a ‘sleepy town’. Thought 4 days is enough to explore all of it (heck, I had enough of Hong Kong after 3 days), but in hindsight I should’ve stayed longer. There were more things to do than you’d think!
I want to start this article by saying that I don’t like Hong Kong as a travel destination. You don’t feel relaxed as a tourist – it’s a city where only money and status will get you that premium. I got ignored when asking a supermarket staff for help, got yelled at by a random uncle on the streets, got shoved by people everywhere, got my queue cut and just generally received horrible service. Rude people make me rude in return, so I hated myself there.
But… I’m glad I still travelled there. It contextualises the news I get from that part of the world. Now I understand better about the housing crisis, and what people do to cope with the high cost of living. From conversations, locals confirmed that it’s common for retirees to move to other countries, like China, Australia and Canada. Their retirement money stretches further there, plus they get a better quality of life. This is not surprising – Hong Kong was described as a concrete jungle, and that is so true. I imagine the lush outdoors and privacy are things that retired Hongkees crave for, after a lifetime in the city.
This is slightly mean, but one of the deciding factors for the Maldives trip is the fact that Maldives will be affected by climate change in the future. In my head, it was ‘oh, better go now in case I can’t later’. That’s how I justified the price tag of this trip, despite costing even higher than my Osaka + Kyoto trip.
I’ve never attended a music festival, and never been to Kuching, Sarawak. So when I saw Rainforest World Music Festival happening on 14-16 July 2017 on my Facebook dash, it was an easy decision. Something different as a weekend activity – fly in on Saturday morning, fly back on Monday early early morning.
It was… amazing. Easily one of my top 10 experiences of the year. This guide is best read together with the Rainforest World Music Festival official website (RWMF for short) – I’m just covering this from the budgeting/personal experience angle, so you know what to expect when you plan to go there yourself next year. For complete show and event itineraries and other information, check the official website.
Ho Chi Minh City (young people in Vietnam prefer to call it by its original name, Saigon) is a good place to head to for an under-RM1000 weekend trip. Why not longer? It’s a great city, but personally I can only handle the traffic noise in small doses. This was my third trip to Vietnam, but first to Saigon.
My 3 days 2 nights Saigon trip was cheap- just RM958. Even cheaper than my 3 days 2 nights Langkawi trip! Saigon is good for ballin’ on a budget 🙂 There are eight savings tips in this post.
The currency is Vietnamese Dong. RM1 is roughly 5,000VND. Can’t lie, holding a million Dongs in one hand made me chuckle.
I feel like travelling overseas, but am not keen on the horrible exchange rates right now. One day, while happily browsing Google Flights and dreaming of Europe (use it! You get to save money on flights), I found cheap tickets to Langkawi. RM102 for return tickets, including fees. Even though I didn’t exactly have a burning desire to go to Langkawi, I couldn’t resist the price and booked it on the spot.
And that’s how I went on a 4 days 3 nights Langkawi weekend trip. This guide is suitable for those of you going solo/duo travelling and wants to be somewhat comfortable but on a budget. Because of the weather (it rained 80% of the time I was there), this guide is also more general and flexible in nature.
Ipoh. Pretty Ipoh. Foodie Ipoh. One of the top 10 Places to Visit in Asia, according to Lonely Planet. Just 2, 3 hours from KL. It would be a shame to skip this city. Plus, 2017 is Visit Perak year 🙂
As a Klang Valley girl, I’m surprised by how much I like Ipoh. I lived here for a year, and here are 13 places, activities and food places that I can genuinely recommend for you to try out. These places are cheap to experience, if you don’t go overboard with the shopping and eating.
I assume you guys have Google Map in your phones. Under each recommendation, I added Google Map Search keywords that you can type in to find these places.
Fun fact: I was an exchange student to Nagoya, Japan. 1 year in 2005/06. Went to high school and stayed with a host family. Japan is like my second home. It feels welcoming, familiar. I was happy to go back there recently, even if it was just for 4 days.
This was my fourth trip to Japan, and first through Kansai Airport. 4 days was way too short, but I took what I could. This is my budgeting for the trip, costing ~RM2500, covering Osaka and Kyoto. Read on for savings tips and travel recommendations 🙂
This year for my birthday I gave myself the gift of travel. I went to Krabi, Thailand for 3 days 3 nights. Here’s how I spent my time there, and how much I spent for everything. Hope you’ll find the savings tips useful, for your own Krabi budget travel!