Kota Kinabalu Budget Travel Tips

Everyone wants to get value for money when they travel but you have to ask yourself how low you are willing to go. What is budget travel?

To some people, others budget travel may appear pretty upmarket. Personally I’m an in-betweenie, I’ve never been into backpacking and camping or staying in hostel dorms (except if I travel outside Malaysia) but neither have I been prepared to fork out to stay in fancy hotels.

I’m looking for basic, clean, comfortable accommodation with a private bathroom and a variety of interesting activities with pleasant pit stops for meals and refreshments.

If you follow my tips you can have a great stay on a modest budget of around RM100-RM150 two travelers per day to include accommodation, meals, transport and entertainment.

1. Travel outside peak season. In Malaysia, do not travel during long school holiday (early June or end of the year-December) because everything is expensive. Most parents will bring their kids for domestic vacation.

2. Book in advance to get cheapest hotels and air tickets. I know this means that your itinerary is inflexible but it saves you serious amounts of cash. Airasia offers a lot of promotions. Budget hotels? You can find easily through the Internet. Just google it.

3. Don't go to Western restaurants because they are charging more. Try our local food with rice. Lunch will never more than RM10, but make sure don't order fresh juices. Iced water is free but some restaurants are charging 30 to 50 cents per glass. Cheap and healthy.

4 Entry to public museums is cheap in Malaysia and most cities have several museums and galleries where you can happily spend hours.

Here is my sample budget for RM100++ per day for two including accommodation, food and entertainment. I have based my example on staying in Kota Kinabalu (in the State of Sabah, Malaysia) as there are three islands near the city center, museum, gallery, shopping outlets, Sunday street market and an inter-city bus service costing 50 cents per trip. Kota Kinabalu is my hometown :)

RM18 per person- Stay In Lodge (Fan Dorm Room)

RM5- Buy white bread from the nearest 7 Eleven and canned tuna, while tea and coffee making facilities provided in room for breakfast

RM8- Chicken Rice or Bihun Soup with Iced Water

RM10- Two tickets to State Museum

RM4- Return bus fare to State Museum

RM14- Nice dinner at any Chinese (Serve No Pork) restaurants along Gaya Street

*Boat fare to the nearest island is around RM30

Double Six Monument,  State Mosque, State Museum, Signal Hill, Puh Toh Shi Temple, Tun Mustapha Tower, City Mosque and also heritage walk along Padang Bandaran to Atkinson Clock Tower. (Ask hostel receptions how to go around by bus. City Bus charge 50 cents per trip).

Sabahan beauties with traditional costume

Extra tips: If you love cultural activities, I suggest you to come to Sabah around May. Our Harvest Festival starts at May 1st with Sabah Fest in Sutera Harbour Resort (entrance fees RM50) and ends at May 31st every year where you can witness Unduk Ngadau, a beauty pageant- looking for the prettiest women of Kadazan, Dusun and Murut tribe as a symbolic of unity.

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chegu carol said...

Like this entry!
Very informative, not just traveling around KK but to other states in Msia as well.

LM the Traveler said...

will write more la after this. kalau salah tolong tunjukkan aaa chegu :)

Merry Jane Emnace said...

Hello, do you have entry about kota Kinabalu to Brunei budget travel?

LM the Traveler said...

So sorry, Merry. I don't have KK-Brunei entry yet. Hopefully next year.

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