January budget roundup


Well, I’ve finally mustered up the gumption to put together the budget posts! You’d think I’d have all the time in the world, but alas no. It’s amazing how much time I spend online, searching for hotels, reading reviews, tracking flight prices and other travel research. It’s almost a full time job. So when the travel planning is all done, I’m not too keen to stare at the computer, much less create beautiful spreadsheets. Having our computers stolen in Vietnam didn’t help, it kind of took the wind out of my already faltering blogging sails. Plus I’m having to relearn Libreoffice as I didn’t think to bring my MS Office product key with me. Thankfully all the spreadsheets and photos were saved to our backup.

So here I am, writing about January in May.

Total spending: CAD $3530



We are now spending way less on the road than we do on daily life in Canada. Did you catch that? It’s cheaper to travel the world than to live in our fair city. Seriously. And we don’t follow a restrictively tight budget. We enjoy good food and won’t forgo drinks in the evening to save a few bucks. All of the accommodations we stay in are of a pretty high standard, clean and usually air-conditioned. Not 5 star, but decent and filled with opportunities to meet interesting people from around the world. You don’t get that in a fancy hotel. Or at least we don’t (maybe it’s the hippy pants). We don’t buy souvenirs or trinkets. We’ve only purchased clothes when necessary. Since our costs are basically covered in Canada while we are away, we are actually saving money by doing this. Saving money! Aside from my lack of paycheque, of course…


Accommodations: $1551

We had an incredibly wide range of accommodations this time around. Everything from a very basic fan bungalow at the Seaflower for $18/night to an “old school backpacker” beach bungalow at luxury villa prices on Koh Lipe ($86/night). We also had three glorious nights at the Legoland Malaysia hotel, courtesy of Darren’s mum as a Christmas present to Swanson. Since we didn’t pay for it, I did not include the cost of this hotel in our calculations. It was $170/night after taxes. I was most thankful as this was the hotel toilet my body decided to barf in. It was brand new and so clean! Swanson was thankful too as he caught the bug too right at the tail end of our Legoland stay. Barfing is much better in a beautiful new toilet.

Food: $744

Being sick has its benefits. The most expensive food was at the Legoland Malaysia hotel and area. I didn’t have much of an appetite and neither did Swanson, so we mostly only paid for Darren’s overpriced food. We still spent about $45-50/day on food at Legoland. However, Malaysian food in general is inexpensive especially the street food we enjoyed in Penang and Langkawi.


Darren and I enjoying street food in Georgetown on Penang.

Skewered meats of every kind. Except pork. Even Swanson enjoyed the lolly chicken.


Street stalls on Langkawi

Swanson and the lolly chicken on Langkawi.

Swanson and the lolly chicken on Langkawi.

Ko Lipe was the most expensive for food, especially after we found the sweet little Canadian burger shop with real hand cut fries.

Booze: $344

We drank far less in Malaysia as the beer prices were so high! Darren had a small Carlsberg at Legoland that cost $8CAD. For a Carlsberg! On average the beer prices in Malaysia were pretty close to what you’d pay in Canada, maybe a tad less. Our biggest drinking expenses were at the Seaflower, largely because daily happy hour at sunset is irresistible.

Attractions: $60

Again this total does not include Legoland (thanks Nanny!). The only attraction was a snorkeling trip on Ko Lipe. Ko Lipe has the most amazing crystal blue water with perfect visibility. I wish I’d completed my dive certification as it has some of the best dive sites on the planet. Here are a few shots of us on the snorkelling trip:

Lunch on the rocks.

Lunch on the rocks.

Our lunch break, on one of the most beautiful islands in the archipelago.

Moments later a small group of tourists insisted on taking our photos while we jumped.

After the seasickness subsided

After the seasickness subsided

OK, I'll jump for you!

OK, I’ll jump for you!

The most enjoyable pastimes are all free:

Kittens on Ko Lipe.

Kittens on Ko Lipe.

Transportation: $676

Three flights:

1) Surat Thani to Kuala Lumpur $361 (expensive because of the Xmas/New year season)

2) and 3) Round trip from KL to Johor Bahru $200

The rest of the transportation costs were ferries, airport shuttles and taxis.

Miscellaneous: $146

We purchased a new suitcase to replace Darren’s aging backpack. It has wheels, but it’s terrible and a really ugly purple. It was only $60. Fingers crossed that it lasts the rest of the trip. Other random costs include a trip to the movies in KL ($12), some clothing, laundry and renting beach chairs on Langkawi.

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