Malaysia itinerary for 6 days including Malacca and Kuala Lumpur. Here’s how to spend 6 days in Malaysia on a budget – as featured in Yahoo Finance.
Malaysia is a multicultural, multilingual, and multifaith country of over 31 million people living together in harmony. The largest three ethnic groups are made up of the Malays (50%), Malaysian Chinese (25%), and Malaysian Indians (10%). This richly diverse country is a great addition to any Southeast Asia backpacking itinerary or a holiday destination in its own right.
It is also an affordable destination, especially if you are planning on backpacking Malaysia. My boyfriend, Max, and I traveled for 6 days in Malaysia spending an average of USD $13.62 per person, per day. This included budget accommodation with private rooms, transport from Malacca to Kuala Lumpur, and meals at local restaurants.
This article will help you plan your backpacking Malaysia itinerary with information including:
- How to find cheap flights to Malaysia
- How to get the bus from Singapore to Malacca
- Itinerary for 6 days in Malaysia
- Where to eat in Malacca and Kuala Lumpur
- Where to stay in Malacca and Kuala Lumpur
- My travel budget for Malaysia.
How to find cheap flights to Malaysia
The major airport in Malaysia is in its capital, Kuala Lumpur. The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is also a hub for Southeast Asia. For those flying internationally, this will most likely be the airport that you will fly to.
There are five other international airports including:
- Senai in the south of the mainland and just outside of the city of Johor (north of Singapore)
- Langkawi and Penang in the north of the mainland
- Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in Sarawak (close to Brunei and Borneo, Indonesia)
If KL is not the first stop on your Malaysia itinerary, it may be more cost-effective to fly to KLIA first and then take another flight on a cheap Asian airline to your desired destination.
How to get the bus from Singapore to Malacca
If you are traveling from Singapore to Malaysia, then going by bus could save you money. We took a luxurious bus from Singapore to Malacca City in the south of Malaysia for $25 SGD each. We booked our seats through BusOnlineTicket.com with a pickup point at the Concorde Hotel & Shopping Mall in Singapore at 7:30 am. If you are not a morning person, there is a later bus available.
The bus travels for approximately one hour before reaching the border where you will need to disembark to pass Singapore Immigration then again to enter Malaysia. After reading reviews online, I was expecting a long day of travel with the immigration points, however, it is actually a very quick process and we arrived in Malacca in just a few hours.
When booking online, we had chosen the Swiss Garden Residence Hotel for the dropoff point as it was close to our accommodation at Victor’s Guesthouse but the bus ended up dropping us even closer. When booking online, you can check to see which dropoff point is closest to your accommodation.
For those going all the way to KL, you could choose the dropoff at Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal and take a public bus to Terminal Bersepadu Selatan for only 20 MYR (approximately $5 USD).
Itinerary for 6 days in Malaysia
Your Malaysia itinerary will depend on your arrival point and the amount of time that you have available. Typically backpackers travel north to south (or vice versa) or fly into KL travel by bus from there. We were traveling north from Singapore and needed to fly out of Kuala Lumpur (KL), so our Malaysia holiday was for 6 days with stops in Malacca and KL.
Day 1-3: Malacca (Melaka)
Where to stay in Malacca: Victor’s Guesthouse (40 MYR per night).
Where to eat in Malacca: Vazhai Elai Restaurant
Malacca City, also known as Melaka, is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed as an example of a multi-cultural trading town, with unique architecture and multi-cultural heritage including Asian and colonial European influences. The port city had had a bumpy history with periods of colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch, and English. There are still many colonial buildings still within Malacca mixed in modern cafes, colorful street art, and a small but vibrant Chinatown.
Things to do in Malacca include taking a ride in one of the cartoon-looking tuk-tuks, cruising in a boat on the river, and visiting the infamous Jonker Walk markets. Jonker Street is the heart of Melaka and with restaurants and cafes to keep you busy for days. Then on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights (from about 6 PM to midnight), the street is overflowing with market stalls selling clothing, crafts, and delicious food. Go hungry or you’ll regret it!
We were lucky enough to arrive on a Sunday and catch the Jonker Walk. The food was varied, plentiful, and cheap. It’s really nice to experience and worth planning your trip to make sure you are in Melaka for the weekend. This is also the time when most of the riverboats are running, we decided not to take one on Sunday night but then found they weren’t running during the weekdays while we were there.
Other things to do in Malacca, include trying out restaurants and cafes. There really is a good scene here with some Instagram-worthy cafes. I had a latte at The Stolen Cup and breakfast at The Daily Fix. For The Daily Fix, you might want to avoid the normal lunchtime hours as it can get busy and people are happy to wait because it’s that popular. Max and I shared a big breakfast and it was a large serving even for two people.
In terms of local and budget options, I loved the Banana Leaf Rice and Chicken at Vazhai Elai Restaurant (10 MYR) and Malaysian Chinese noodle soup with dumplings for just 5.5 MYR. We found a random street food vendor while walking around and fell in love with this noodle dish!
Day 4: Bus from Malacca to Kuala Lumpur
From our accommodation at Victor’s Guesthouse, it was a short walk to the bus stop where we would take the bus to Melaka Sentral Bus Station for 2 MYR. We are told the bus arrives every 20-40 minutes but luckily didn’t need to wait that long. At Melaka Sentral there are many bus operators with coaches going to Kuala Lumpur, so you can choose your time and compare prices. We paid 20 MYR each for a comfortable coach.
We arrived at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, which south of the center of KL, and took a public bus to our accommodation in Chinatown, Pudu Hotel 88. Our hotel was okay in terms of price and location but there might be other better options available. I would recommend looking at other accommodation options in Kuala Lumpur, reading reviews, and comparing prices.
Day 5-6: Kuala Lumpur
Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur: Swad Restaurant
When it comes to planning an amazing trip to KL, the location of your accommodation can make a huge difference. The first time that I visited KL back in 2015, I was Couchsurfing and my host’s apartment was pretty far out of the center. The group of us still had an awesome time but I didn’t really see many attractions in the center. This time Max and I stayed just outside of Chinatown and we were able to walk to all the points of interest we want to see (except KLCC which was a short train ride away).
Our hotel was also close to street food vendors where we went both nights and ate dishes like Tom Yam and Beef Fried Rice for around 6 MYR each. In addition to the street food, we also splurged on an incredible Indian meal at Swad Restaurant for 36.05 MYR (including 6% service). When dining in at restaurants and cafes in Malaysia, be aware that taxes and services charges may be added to the final bill.
During the day we walked from our hotel visiting Guan Di Temple, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Central Market, and Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Samad only spending money on food along the way. On our last night, we went to see the Petronas Towers in KLCC Park and were rewarded with musical light shows in the fountain.
To see the towers, take the train to KLCC. The KLCC Lake Symphony Light and Sound Water Fountain Show are daily at 8 pm, 9 pm, and 9.45 pm. The KLCC park (the area past the fountain) is closed from 10 pm to 7 am so make sure you arrive before then if you want to try and get a faraway shot of the towers.
Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur on a budget
In 2019, a year after this blog post was published, Max and I returned to Kuala Lumpur for 24-hours. We didn’t see any attractions, however, we did enjoy our stay at a space-themed hotel with a slide! You can book from just $9 USD per person, per night (see current prices for Space Hotel @ Chinatown Kuala Lumpur).
Here’s a look inside the Space Hotel!
My travel budget for Malaysia
All costs are quoted for two people and in the local currency (Malaysian Ringgit). See below for the average daily spend per person including currency conversion to USD and AUD. I always try to find and negotiate the best prices to share with my readers. If you know a better deal, tell me about it in the comments below.
Accommodation: My boyfriend and I searched for the best deals for Malaysia accommodation with a private room and free wifi.
- Malacca: Private room in a guesthouse for two people (40 MYR per night). We stayed at Victor’s Guesthouse – see current prices or look at other accommodation options in Malacca.
- Kuala Lumpur: Private room in a budget hotel for two people (53 MYR per night) including basic breakfast. We stayed at Pudu Hotel 88 – see current prices or look at other accommodation options in Kuala Lumpur.
Food: Both places we stayed had free water refills, free coffee, and hot water to make instant noodles. In Kuala Lumpur, we had complimentary breakfast. For other meals, Max and I mostly ate street food and at local restaurants but also splurged on the occasional mid-range cost meal. (28.21 MYR average per day on food and drink).
Transport: Bus to Melaka Sentral (2 MYR), bus to Kuala Lumpur (20 MYR), bus to the hostel in Kuala Lumpur (4 MYR), return train ticket from the hostel to KLCC (7.60 MYR).
Average daily spend: 56 MYR each* ($17.44 AUD / $13.62 USD as of 9 March 2018).
*This daily amount could be reduced by only eating street food or at local restaurants.
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