In 2014, Ankur and I gifted each other a trip to Kuala Lumpur for our anniversary. We figured out that our trip to KL would probably cost less that a piece of fancy jewellery, and we would make memories for life…something and both of us prefer to a glittering piece of metal. So, off we went…to spend a weekend in KL.
While I have written a lot of posts on our itinerary, hotel reviews and shopping, I have missed writing one on costs and budgets for a long weekend in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. Now that peak tourist season for Malaysia is about to begin and with Malindo Air offering cheap and direct connectivity from India to Malaysia, I receive many mails on how much should a long weekend in KL cost? Shopping aside, here is what three days in KL and Melaka cost us…
Malindo Air is Malaysia’s low cost airline. The airline offers really cheap tickets to get to Kuala Lumpur from India. However, it is key to note that it is a low cost airline, and hence, your expectations need to be aligned to the same. Even though the airline has been operating flights from India to South East Asia since the past two years, I haven’t met many people who have used its services. Well, we did fly Malindo Air, primarily on account of the low cost tickets. Click here to read our review of the airline.
Total international flight cost: ~EUR 600
The KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and city are connected by the KLIA express, which is very convenient and much more economical than hailing a taxi. It costs about USD 50 for two tickets from KLIA to the heart of the city using the KLIA express. Our bus tickets (for Ankur and me, both) to Melaka from KL city and back to KLIA cost us a total of USD 15. The public transport in Kuala Lumpur is great – the monorail and LRT (Light Rail Transport) connect almost all parts of the city – definitely those parts that interest tourists. During peak hours, KL’s traffic becomes notorious and the time and distance equation isn’t linear. Hence, we preferred using the LRT during the day, even though taxis were very much affordable. However, after dinner, late at night, we did use the taxi on a couple of occasions. We spent ~ USD 75 (for both of us) on internal transport on the monorail, LRT and taxis in two days in KL.
Total internal transport cost (including city cards): ~ USD 140
All we wanted to do in the three days was to have fun…do a little bit of what Ankur likes and a little bit of what I like. We went to the KL bird park, which cost us ~USD 20 per person.
We had fun trying out our first escape game ever, an experience which cost USD 35. We took a boat cruise on the Melaka river and pottered around the malls and street markets. KL is such a vibrant city – the public buildings, like the KL Old Stations and the Batu Caves are such a delight to see that you won’t feel pressed to spend on too many paid attractions.
Total activity cost: ~USD 120
We typically use a local online travel search site to get us the best deal at a hotel and used this method to find ourselves a good place to stay. We spent two nights in the Furama, Bukit Bintang (KL). While we had booked a double rooms, we got lucky and were upgraded to a suite! The hotel was centrally located and we could walk to many restaurants and malls, thus saving on the transport cost. We paid ~ USD 75 per night, including breakfast.
We also spent one at Casa del Rio in Melaka, a luxurious property by the river. This night gave us all the rest that we needed and recharged our batteries to get back to work after a long weekend. One night at this property, with breakfast, costs ~ USD 175, but we believe that it is worth the money. The property has an excellent location, walking distance from the Jonker Street Night Market, the food is great and the service standards are high.
Total accommodation cost: ~USD 425
On our anniversary, we splurged on food. We booked ourself a table at Marini’s on 57, a fine dining restaurant in the Petronas Tower. We spent ~ USD 250 on one meal, with a glass of champagne each. It has been one of our most expensive meals ever, but the experience and food is something that we will never forget. My pasta had an edible gold leaf that was used as garnish. All other meals during the weekend, averaged USD 10 per person, without alcoholic drinks. I am taking the average of a few meals in the food court of the mall, street food (KL and Melaka) and a meal in the restaurant of a four star hotel, which cost just a little more.
In the total below, I am not adding our dinner bill at the Marini as its an exceptional blip and should not be considered when you are accounting for our travel budget, unless you choose to have an elaborate meal there.
Total food and drinks bill: ~USD 140
Visa for an Indian traveller costs ~ USD 50 per person and takes about two working days to process. Then there are tips, bottles of water, an occasional coffee that does not get accounted for in the budget when we travel, which would possibly add up to USD 50 in the three days that we spent in KL and Melaka.
Total miscellaneous cost: ~USD 150
Total Trip Cost for a couple…
Add it all up….~ USD 1,575
I haven’t added any shopping costs to the above. KL is a shopper’s paradise, with numerous malls that will tempt you to swipe your credit card ever so often. For those who like street shopping, the Jonker Street Night Market in Melaka is an experience that should not be missed. Your final costs will depend on the activities that you do and the amount that you shop!