Experiencing Singapore and Kuala Lumpur on the cheap

Asia, Backpacking, City Breaks, Fun Stuff, Malaysia, Travel Diaries

Tuesday 21st – Thursday 23rd April 

It always amazes me how a simple conversation can pay off (by pay I mean help). Do we all remember the Oz family we met at the start of our Sri Lanka trip? We bumped into them again, Matt, Jenny and Elisha, they were on our flight to Singapore but were heading home to Melbourne. This time we were able to chat for longer and it turns out they may be able to help us out with accomodation as well as a car dealer which is really great. We look forward to catching up with them after Asia.

Singapore – £1 = $2.15 SGD

Singapore was clean, advanced, techy, structured…everything we’d been missing the last two weeks! However it was still cheap! Whoever said it is more expensive than London must have been throwing money away. Of course if you go down to the harbour, eat at 5 star restaurants and drink champagne then it probably will be. That said, even transport was cheaper… I’ve never bought an underground ticket for less than £4/5 and here we made multiple journeys for just $1.50 each way. We stayed in Little India in a comfortable hostel – £7.50 each including peanut butter and jelly on toast for breakfast, ate two amazing meals at hawker markets costing less than £10 altogether and explored the cities sites before taking a £3 bus across the border.

Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur – £1 = 5.50 RM 

I (Rach) directed us the wrong way trying to locate a laundrette we were recommended by our hostel owner, Max, so things got off to a rocky start ? – serves me right for trying to use 21st century technology and not trusting the locals dodgy hand drawn map… But, once in the city we checked out the sites and think it was safe to say we fell in love a little. The ‘vibe’ seemed slightly more relaxed than Singapore and made you instantly feel good. The Patronas Towers were impressive and inside was an equally impressive shopping mall including a ‘Steve Madden’ store so James posed appropriately for a picture (watch Wolf Of Wall Street if you have no idea what I’m on about!). We decided against paying to go up and spent a good 20 minutes trying to get the perfect picture along with 50 other tourists…some of which spotted James’ England training camp shirt and immediately wanted a photo with the superstar …who he resembles I’m not sure??

We got drawn towards Healy Macs, an Irish bar selling Guinness of course and made the mistake of keenly ordering before looking at a menu – 2.5 pints at 90RM (£16) later! The staff took a liking to us though and came out with a basket of chips and what we think was a bread and butter pudding on the house! So the overpriced Guinness was a little more worth it! At night we knew we would head for Jallon Allor, a street of over 200 food stalls so knew we’d be able to feast there and after enjoying buy 1 get 2 free beers and free gin and tonic for Rachel at the ‘why not’ bar we did, ordering Vietnamese soups, noddles, chicken wings and then for desert some weird jelly and fruit that ended up in the bin after we were tempted towards the coconut ice cream! We also went up the KL Tower but the rain had left the view a little hazy, or was that the drink?

Leaving KL to Cameron Highlands was an experience in itself. We found the bus station in good time for our proposed 12:30pm departure. However, we weren’t prepared for the ‘stock market’ style they adopt in Malaysia. Under one roof, all the bus companies (there is about 40 different stalls) seem to work together in order to make sure each bus is full. This involves a lot of shouting and running between stands to see if anyone has space. We weren’t in luck, the next available coach would be the 15:30pm – Looks like we are waiting. With no real urgency we both take it on the chin, grab some food, juice in a bag and get our reading glasses out. The coach for our 4.5hrs trip into the hills seemed like a challenge, but our luck had changed! The coach was like a sofa on wheels. The seats were massive and we had plenty of leg room … Result! 

James x


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