Malaysia | That’s a wrap

By S

I’m going to get this out of the way quickly – I AM SO GLAD WE WENT TO MALAYSIA. Remember when we first announced our trip and we mentioned we were *thinking* about going to Malaysia but weren’t really sure? Yeah, me too. (If you actually didn’t remember and just pretended to so you didn’t make me feel bad, that’s OK. I forgive you. Don’t let it happen again, though.).

Now here I am already planning our next visit.


Key metrics:

  • Total days in country: 26
  • Number of snake encounters: 2
  • Number of times having laundry done: 5
  • Number of runs: 8
  • Number of beds slept in: 11

The Malaysia List (a list of things we associate with Malaysia):

  • Tea Tarik – “Pulled” tea. Sweet, milky black tea. It is called pulled tea because it is made with a pulling motion.
  • ABC Special – We’ve discussed this enough.
  • Roti Canai – Delicious fried bread and chutney I ate as much as possible.
  • 5 Foot Way – Distinctive feature of colonial buildings throughout the country.
  • Jalan Sehala – “One way” street signs. For the first few days in the country, we thought they were signs pointing to a tourist site. “I thought it said ‘Jalan Sehala’ was that way a few blocks ago. Hmmmm…maybe I’m seeing things.”
  • Air Asia – Low cost airline based in Malaysia.
  • Hotlink – Cell phone provider.
  • Borneo – Yeah, Brunei and Indonesia can also lay claim to Borneo, but it will always mean Malaysia to us.

Favorite experiences:

  • Clearwater Connection cave tour in Mulu National Park.
  • Samosas in Penang.
  • Cameron Valley tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands.
  • Black Bean Coffee in Kuching.
  • Motorbike Tour in Sabah.
  • Surfing at the Tip of Borneo (Sam).
  • All of the ABC Specials and Mango Ices we consumed.

Least favorite experiences:

  • The ‘Great Ringgit Crisis’ in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Penang shutting down for Chinese New Year.
  • Trail 10 in the Cameron Highlands.
  • Asam Laksa in Penang.
  • Sandflies at the Tip of Borneo (Danielle).

Budget update:

  • Remember back when we said our budget for this entire trip was $50 (USD)/day? Yeah, that goal is long gone. We were around $60/day for Thailand. Similar for Malaysia – $59.03 to be exact. Breakdown as follows:

Malaysia Budget Compare

  •  Thoughts:
    • We spent just about $2.00 more per day on food when compared with Thailand. I’m going to blame this on tea tarik and coffee.
    • We also spent around $2.00 more per day on lodging compared with Thailand. I think this one is a bit misleading. Our Thailand ‘Sleep’ costs are a little wonky since we had a night-train and night-ferry that fell into the ‘Getting There’ bucket which artificially lowered the ‘Sleep’ bucket. In other words, these are probably a wash.
    • Surprisingly, despite flying to Kuching, Mulu, and Kota Kinabalu we spent less on transit in Malaysia than in Thailand. Just goes to show how expensive the ferries in Thailand can be.
    • Do is the area we ‘saved’ money in Malaysia. If you remember, we spent a bunch on the Khao Sok tour package in Thailand, but we spent quite a bit on the caving adventures in Mulu too. Some of the difference could be due to changes in our travel style as we have progressed – we were more likely to do everything in Thailand whereas once we arrived in Malaysia we started slowing down a little.
    • Laundry was $0.04 cheaper per day in Malaysia. Was it actually cheaper or did we wear our clothes longer? We shall never tell.

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