Budget Overview: Malaysia and Wrap-Up

We spent $935 AUD over 9 days while visiting Malaysia.  That works out to $103 AUD a day or $17.31 per person per day.  When looking at what we spent in Malaysia I was happy to see that it had been our cheapest country so far.  There are several factors for this but in general it is a cheap country to visit and we were happy to come in way under budget.

We visited two places in Malaysia.  First we visited Johor Bahru for 3 days to go to Legoland and Legoland Waterpark and then we travelled up by bus to Kuala Lumpur. We stayed in KL for 6 days and loved the big city.  Here is how we spent our time while visiting.


In Johor Bahru we decided to stay close to Legoland so it was a short taxi ride away.  Taxi’s are cheap in Malaysia but the only problem we sometimes encountered was that some cabbies were not happy having our whole family in one car.  There were some station wagon taxi’s but they were few and far between.  The average price we were paying between Legoland and the hotel was $3-4.

Our bus journey up from Johor Bahru near the Singapore border to Kuala Lumpur was a 6 hour bus ride in an air-conditioned bus with seat-belts.  Even though it was not luxurious it was fine and there were interesting things to look at out the window.  We paid $64 AUD for 6 tickets on this journey.

In KL our accommodation was in the heart of the city so we did a lot of walking.  If we were venturing out on day trips and to see the sights we would use the LRT (Light Rail Transport) or the Skytrains.  Public transport is cheap is Malaysia and the network is vast.  The average price for the LRT was around $.60-70 cents per trip.

This is how close we were to the centre of KL.  This is the KL Tower in the heart of the city.

This is how close we were to the centre of KL. This is the KL Tower in the heart of the city.


In Johor Bahru we stayed a hostel called Warm Blanket.  The location was perfect as it was only a 5 minute drive from Legoland and the Legoland Waterpark.  The rooms consisted of double bunk beds and not much else though we didn’t mind as we would hardly be in the rooms. We got two rooms and were glad of the space. There were shared bathrooms however as we were only staying a couple of days thought we could cope with that.  It was here at Warm Blanket that we encountered our first squat toilet. (They also had a normal toilet as well thank goodness.)

We paid around $33 AUD for two rooms at the Warm Blanket Hostel.

In KL we had our first Airbnb experience. (Privately rented apartment) We paid $54 AUD per night for a two bedroom converted shophouse with kitchen, washing machine, fridge, 2 queen beds, satellite television and fast internet and the location was very central.

We loved our accommodation in Kuala Lumpur and enjoyed having our own space and having a washing machine!  It made us feel at home even though we weren’t and we will look at more Airbnb accommodations as we travel.


Food is where we saved loads of money in Kuala Lumpur. As we had our own apartment we were able to make breakfast most mornings.  When we arrived in the apartment our kind host had stocked our fridge with essentials like eggs, butter and jam, water and loads of fruit.  We bought bread and had toast, eggs and fruit for breakfast most mornings.

The malls in Kuala Lumpur are fantastic. Each mall has a dedicated food court that has many different shops selling all kinds of different foods.  We would visit one everyday and each family member could order what they felt like eating.  The average price for a meal including a drink was around $2.80-3.50 AUD.  We were spending around $18.00 to feed our whole family which is such a bargain!

We ate like kings in Kuala Lumpur and it was so good being able to find food that everybody enjoyed and even reminded us of home.  We found healthy tasty vegetarian salads and mains, fruit-shakes, Chicken Noodle Hot-pots, Subway Sandwiches, Spaghetti Carbonara and lasagna, Roast Chicken and vegetables, Fish and Chips and many more different types of food.

There was also local hawker stalls located just next to our house and we would often order Roti Canai for around $.80 AUD and Pad Thai for $1.80 that we could enjoy at home.


We had lots of fun in Malaysia.  Legoland and Legoland Waterpark were fantastic days out.  If visiting you can purchase a combo ticket for both parks, or make sure you do book your tickets online in advance (at least 7 days before visiting) and you will receive a 20 % discount on tickets.

We were very lucky as we were sponsored to visit Legoland and Legoland Waterpark so we did not have to pay for this.

While in Johor Bahru we also visited the TVG cinemas near our hostel.  We were very happy to find that the movies were very cheap and we were dying to see the last Hobbit instalment that had come out on boxing day. We paid $4 AUD each.  We also discovered that this theatre has Beanie movie theatres!  Beanie theatres are movie theatres that have big bean bag chairs.

The large bean bags seat two people and the tickets are sold in pairs.  We couldn’t leave Johor Bahru without trying them out so on our last day we went to the beanie theatre.  As a testament to the awesomeness of the bean bag chairs Mo fell asleep and J had a nap. (Super comfortable)


TVG cinemas also has specials on tickets prices before 12pm Monday to Friday.  The prices for tickets are only $2.50 so we also visited when we were in Kuala Lumpur.  We also discovered that Malaysia has the best movie popcorn in the whole world.  The caramel popcorn was very sweet and so light and crunchy.  You can purchase a combo of one large popcorn, one medium popcorn and 4 drinks for $7 AUD.

Other activities we did while in Kuala Lumpur was visit the Batu Caves.  The Batu Caves are located around 30 minutes from KL Sentral and they are free to visit.  There are several hundred stairs to the top where there is a cave.  There are also monkey’s on the grounds and the kids loved watching the cheeky monkeys steal food from unsuspecting tourists.  We paid around $18 AUD for a return train trip to visit the Batu Caves.  This was a great 1/2 day trip with the kids and we got some great photos that day.

We also visited the Berajaya Times Square Mall.  This mall is special as it has a whole amusement park inside including a full size Rollercoaster.

We enjoyed Malaysia much more than we thought we would (Well the kids and I did, J is not really a city person) and we are looking forward to our return visit at the end of April before we head to Europe.









Comments 5

  1. I’m glad I discovered this blog. I’ve always wondered about traveling on a real budget without going all feral – which I’m assuming won’t happen because you have four kids to look after. Will definitely read more when I’ve got some time – but for now this is making me think a lot.

    1. Post

      we try to keep it real as possible, and cheap, that doesn’t stop us from going to the movies, or grabbing some chocolate and having a ‘hold out’ on the kids, or buying them treats. It does mean we sit uncomfortably in buses sometimes, or we squash up together in single rooms, or we walk instead of catching a local taxi, sometimes it means we make sandwiches for the kids because they don’t want pad thai noodles. I personally thought we were going to be like Mcgyver a bit more, but it doesn’t need to be that way. The kids have limited energy and don’t care how cool a place is when they are hungry, travelling with a family forces you to slow down, and enjoy the ride a wee bit more. If you have limited funds South-East Asia is an awesome place where you can live sensibly and cheap.

  2. How many days do you think is a decent amount of time to see all of Legoland? How many days did you send there? I’m traveling with 3 kids 10, 4 and 3?

    1. Post

      Hi Marea, I think one full day for Legoland as it is pretty big and there are so many things to do there and either another full day or half day for Legoland Waterpark. We got sponsored so we did both parks in one day, they sell combo deals for both parks in one day. We got there as soon as it opened and left when they shut the gates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *