Backpacking Malaysia: Easy Asia Travel

Backpacking Malaysia is great for easy Asia travel.  Easier than South America, easier than Thailand.  We traveled the length of the Malaysian peninsula from Malacca to Penang, Kuala Lumpur (KL) to the Perhentian Islands through the Cameron Highlands.  The people are friendly, welcoming, and excited to have you in their country.  The buses are clean with organized stations and the roads are smooth with minimal traffic, especially in the countryside.  The highlight of backpacking Malaysia was the food.  From Malay to Chinese to Indian, the cuisine is an amazing fusion of different cultures, living together in relative harmony.  Low food costs are easy for every budget traveler and in Malaysia you can get a full meal starting at $1.50 for a vegetarian banana leaf lunch.  Even though the government just added a tourist tax to all hotel rooms, Malaysia still has good deals for travelers on a budget.  We stayed in some of the nicest and most fun hostels of our lives, and our 15 days in the peninsula didn’t scratch the surface of what the country has to offer.

Pick a Route:backpacking malaysia easy asia travel

Picking a backpacking route though Malaysia is easy.  For a two week trip we would recommend starting in Singapore and working your way north from Malacca to KL, Cameron Highlands, Perhentian Islands, then back across to Georgetown, Penang.  If you have three weeks we would suggest adding Taman Negara National Park and Langkawi Island.  These are both trips along the standard backpacker trail, great for your first time in Malaysia.  Since Malaysia has much fewer tourists than Thailand, you will run into the same friendly faces as you go.  There was one lady on our trip that we ran into in at three different places on our adventure.  Of course there are many other parts of Malaysia worth exploring, mainly the jungles of Borneo where things are more wild.  On a four week trip we would suggest spending a week there getting off the tourist path.

Enjoy the Food:

backpacking malaysia easy asia travel

The food in Malaysia is easy and good for any backpacker’s budget. The most we “cooked” for ourselves in Malaysia was to peel a banana, maybe once.  The local markets are great places to pig out economically.  Check out the laksa, poh piah, mee koring, and nasi kandar.  Western style restaurants are there, but they are the most expensive and generally not as exciting as the local flavors.  Every city has a Chinese neighborhood and an Indian neighborhood.  Little India was always our favorite spot to eat, great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike!  For one meal I had seven different curries and spent a total of less than $3. For these reasons, Malaysia was my all time favorite country to eat in!

Stay in a Hostel:

Frame Guesthouse backpacking malaysia easy asia travel
The Frame lobby — a minimalist hostel in an old framemaker’s shop. Frame is a very zen/minimalist place with cedar ceilings and antique stairways. We really liked our private room here and stayed for three nights enjoying the AC and waterfall showers.

Backpackers will love Malaysia for the hostels which are cheap and easy to book online.  Sometimes they do fill up, especially in the busy season, so we suggest booking in advance.  They range in price and quality and there is a new 10 Ringgit tourist tax for every room.  Our favorites were the Lemongrass on Long Beach in the Perhentians, and Frame Guesthouse in Georgetown, Penang.  Prices range from $10 per night for a dorm bed, $15 for a beach bungalow, or $18 for private room with A/C.

Speak With the Locals:

Backpacking Malaysia is easier than other parts of Asia because most people can speak or at least understand English.  A majority of the signs are also in English and Malay, so you will never have a hard time finding your way around.  Malay also using the English characters so it’s easy to pick up a little bit along the way which always makes the locals appreciate you more.   Knowing few words like terima kasih (thank you) can get you a lot of respect points and make you look a little better than the average traveler.

 

When looking for easier Asia travel, backpacking Malaysia should be at the top of your list.  With top notch people, food, nature and adventure, and hostels, never ending aventuras await you in this tropical paradise!

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Like this post about backpacking Malaysia for easy Asia travel?  Check out our archives for never ending travel advice, reviews, and many stories of adventure in Malaysia!

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Why Your Hostel Needs A Marketing Consultant

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We are hostel marketing consultants and in our years of traveling we have stayed at a LOT of hostels.  The difference between a good hostel and a GREAT hostel is often so small that it’s hard to notice from an inside perspective.  We have worked with almost 50 different hostels and hotels on five different continents.  Our hostel marketing, consulting, writing, photos, and videos have helped many places jump the gap from failure to success.

Here are the 5 biggest reasons why you should hire a hostel marketing consultant:

1) A Different Perspective:  

When you are at your hostel day after day, you become blind to the real problems.  You also get attached to things that are maybe not the best ideas.  A hostel consultant can help you fix problems and think outside the box.

2) Knowing What Foreigners Want:

You know what the locals want; we know what the tourists want.  Travelers want clean, easy, safe, and fun!  Places and activities that might seem unexciting to locals might be exactly what travelers want!

3) English Promotions On Different Media Types:

Eye-catching social media posts are crucial to your success.  Nowadays, many travelers only use Instagram and Facebook to plan their trips.  Having a follower base and daily exciting posts are crucial to building your business.

Here are some examples of Instagram accounts from hostels we have worked with:

4) Keeping Up With The Times:

The hostel world is always changing.  When you are managing a hostel there is little time for exploring other countries, scoping out your competition, or keeping up with events and attractions around your area.  We love travel and the first thing we do when consulting with hostels is to get to know their area like a local, but seeing it though the eyes of a tourist.

5) Professional Photos, Highlights Videos, and Blogging

We specialize in making your hostel shine!  iPhones can take pictures, but having professionally edited photos from real cameras sets you above the competition.   Highlight videos let people feel like they are actually there from the comfort of their own home.  They show how fun, clean, and comfortable your hostel really is.  We want your hostel to be a tourist attraction in itself.  A website blog highlights attractions in your area which increases the traffic to your website and your hostel!

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The website blog for Yim Yam Hostel & Garden in Bangkok

How we can help:

Contact us at globaltravelernetworks@gmail.com to discuss hostel marketing and consulting help for your business!

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Click HERE for more ways to work with us!

Baja, México Financial Summary

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Exchange Rate: $1=approximately 12 Mexican pesos

Total Money Spent: $1387

Total Days: 9

Per Person Per Day: $77

Wow!  Obviously, that’s quite a lot compared to our previous travel budgets!  However, this was our honeymoon, so we spent a lot more willingly then we did when we were penniless backpackers without jobs!

Transportation is almost all gas, since we were driving.  Gas costs about $3.80 per gallon in Baja right now.  The roads are so curvy and hilly that you don’t get very good gas mileage though.

We also had only one free place to stay on this trip.  If we had had more time to plan, I would’ve tried harder to book hostel reviews or find Couchsurfing hosts, but we just didn’t have the time, what with planning a wedding and all!  Our Cabo hotel we found on Living Social, and it was a great deal.  Other places we managed to find campsites or hotel rooms for $15-30.

You can definitely do Baja cheaper, if you take buses and camp and don’t go out as much.  We had a great honeymoon and feel pretty content with the bang we got for our buck.

The Cost of Our Cross-Country Move

Toledo, Ohio to San Diego, California

6 Days

2461 miles

Gas: $398.11

Tolls: $25.80

Food/Beverages: $245.85

Accommodations: Free!

Grand Total: $669.76

We didn’t exactly live like paupers during this road trip.  We Couchsurfed everywhere of course, but we also splurged on quite a few meals out and quite a few brewery stops in Colorado.  It was a mini vacation!  Still, I think the fact that we spent so little proves something…

Do it.

Write for La Aventura Project/Stay in hostels for free

A big announcement today, everyone!  Since we are back in the US now, working real jobs again (boo) and editing the documentary, we don’t have as much to post here!  Thus, we are looking for current travelers in South or Central America to write hostel reviews for us and keep our directory growing!  If you are a good writer (in English), good photographer, and would like to stay in hostels and hotels for FREE, please contact us about an opportunity to write for our website.  We will also gladly feature a link to your own personal blog or website on all of your hostel reviews.  Again, we are only looking for travelers currently in South or Central America to review hostels in those regions.  Leave a comment or email us at laaventuraproject AT gmail DOT com if you are interested in more information about this awesome project!

El Salvador Financial Summary

Total money spent: $354.31

Total days: 17

So, we spent $20.84 per day, or $10.42 per person per day.  Basically, we were WAY under our $15 per person per day goal!  Woot!  El Salvador was our cheapest country yet!

The fact that food was half our budget proves how cheap everything else is, because food is still really cheap!  Especially if you eat pupusas.

Buses are also amazingly cheap, although dumpy chicken buses, in El Salvador.

We only paid for one night of lodging the whole time!

El Salvador would also be a great, easy place to travel if you had a car or a motorcycle.  Flights through Spirit Airlines are also really cheap, so you should go!

Nicaragua Financial Summary

Total Money Spent: $504.66

Total Days Spent: 12

That comes to $42.16 per day or $21.13 per person per day.  So we were again over our $15 per person per day budget, but this is because we splurged on a lot more activities than normal when Steve was here, and we bought one super-expensive bus ticket.

Transportation was our biggest expense, but this includes the $70 we spent for a cross-border bus from Nicaragua, through Honduras, and into El Salvador at the end of our time.  Take that away and the number would be lower.  Local “chicken buses” are really cheap in Nicaragua, around $2 per hour of travel.

Activities were the second-most-expensive category, which is rare for us.  But we had a friend traveling with us and wanted to show him lots of adventures.  So this included volcano boarding, surfing, and ziplining!  All really fun and really worth it!

Lodging was next to nothing again.  We only paid for a hostel one night with all the review-writing opportunities we were offered!

Nicaragua’s currency is the Cordoba.  $1=23 Cordobas.