After being spoiled rotten by media junkets where the publicists are your slaves and all you had to do was shove your lazy bum to the airport, I was ready to go on my first budget trip. Budget, meaning I had to ride a budget airline and stay in a budget hotel. Forget about travelling in style, I was after the journey and the destination. When my friend (and hibernating blogger) Jairam booked us a trip to Kuala Lumpur a few months before, I thought it was unbelievable at something like $80. This is certainly less expensive than vacationing in either Bohol or Boracay.Not that am less nationalistic now, but I must admit I was excited to go on another cultural immersion and embark on something that’s straight out of Lonely Planet.
And straight out of Lonely Planet it was! ’twas exciting going on this trip because we didn’t have any idea on the place we were going and no accommodations were reserved even. All I had was the address of this hostel we planned to stay in which we hoped the taxi driver would find for us once we arrived in KL.
That’s my travel buddy Jane (a.k.a Jairam) on the way to our Air Asia plane which we boarded in Clark’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, about two hours from Manila.
Unless you’re a finicky business traveller, there’s really nothing to be complained about Air Asia since the plane was new and even had leather seats. The only thing was that you had to arrive and depart in a Low Cost Carrier-Terminal in KL which doesn’t offer much in terms of restos and duty-free shops.
Something can also be said about the Air Asia stewardesses. Their make-up was really garish. One had thick bright green eyeshadow over her blazing red uniform while the other one had purple. This FA named Norah was also rude on the peeps who requested her for some things and brought her attitude even when she was out of the airport already. Talk about PMS-ing! I guess that’s what you get when you fly b-u-d-g-et. You really can’t expect quality eh?
However, the nasi lemak offered in Air Asia was really divine and gave me an initial idea of how great Malaysian food is. It was described in the menu as “tender chicken rendang with fragrant coconut milk and pandan rice served with accompaniments and special sambal sauce.” Yes, there were no free meals onboard but we didn’t mind shelling 6 ringgit (about 80 pesos) for this yummy airline filler.
The weather in Malaysia is just like the Philippines and it was raining intermittently while we were there. Finding the place where we would stay for the next few days was a challenge and gladly we found ourselves on the street where all the guesthouses were beside each other. This was in Teng Kat Tong Shin in the busy district of Bukit Bintang. We settled at Anjung KL because the others I read about in the Internet were fully-booked. The house had a cozy common living room and kitchen. At first, the spoiled hotel traveller in me approached our small airconditioned room and communal bathroom with trepidation, although everything was maintained in clean condition. Jane was looking for some towel and toilet amenities and of course, there was none. I couldn’t imagine how we were able to survive without a towel for the next few days. I only had a hand towel with me, lol.
Looking back now, I didn’t regret staying in that guesthouse. Not only was it easy on our budget, the place had “character” and it was within walking distance of all the malls and happening places in KL. No use splurging for a hotel room when we were out most of the day anyway.
So this was how our cheapie trip initially looked like:
Return fare plus travel tax & terminal fee: P6,100.00
Accommodations (room rate divided by 2 x 3 days): 1,330.87
Not too bad eh? As a side note, Jane did all the shopping and windowshopping while I went ga-ga over the eating part.
Next: Malaysia as a foodie’s paradise.