Living in Malaysia on a Budget: Week 17 (Ipoh)

Ipoh, Malaysia is a great place to see how Malaysians live outside the craziness of Kuala Lumpur and away from the tourist centers of Malacca, Penang, or Langkawi. Ipoh is great for budget travelers, with cool murals and great, affordable food. The famous Ipoh white coffee is fabulous, as is the cafĂ© culture. Add a diverse population, cheap yoga, and ample sidewalks, and you have a perfect place to relax and enjoy life.

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Our goal: $50 per day total, including transportation, accommodation, visas, and bills back home. For two people.

In every budget update I will add a prorated estimate of our bills back home (loans, phone plan, etc. which may vary slightly by month), to include in our $50/day travel budget. I am not including travel insurance -- this would add about $5.75 per day to our total.

  • Days: 7
  • Location(s): Ipoh, Malaysia
  • Splurges: haircut and shoe insoles
  • Avg. spending per day: $39.82
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $49.94
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $46.43
Ipoh white coffee every damn day
So what are our living expenses in Ipoh this week?
  • Conversion rate: 1 Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) = US$0.25 (4 MYR to $0.98 US)
  • Accommodation: $160.99 
    • Our place in Ipoh, Malaysia, the Vintage Cafe Guesthouse is about $23 per night. Check out my video tour below in case you missed it.
Video tour. That preview image is not my favorite
  • Transportation: $0
    • Explored on foot only! There's so much to see!

...despite what this bridge tells you. Zoom right in there and read it!
The river is just such a nice place for a walk.

This bridge is crazy. You walk on top of it,

This huge painting on the river path was hard to capture.
Warren for scale.

The north end of the river path ends at the Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniyar Temple, next to the beautiful limestone cliffs.
  • Food and drinks: $85.57
    • I waxed poetic about Ipoh food last week. We still love ginger fish, char siu everything, and enough white coffee that it's embarrassing.
  • Entertainment and misc.: $32.12 Malaysia, plus $48.46 back home
    • First off, Merry Christmas:
    • Warren got new insoles for his walking shoes, for 32myr ($7.85) and I got a haircut for 80myr ($19.62) at RAO Hairguru. A bit of a splurge, but it was my first haircut since January.
    • We saw the new Star Was movie because of course we did. It was only 19myr ($4.66) for both of us! The local cinema has cheap tickets on Wednesdays.
    • I kept going to yoga this week but it's all paid for. We also did LOTS of walking! 
      Nice view of the city from the cinema/mall
      Of course we had to capture the street art.
      Concubine lane at night is nice for a quiet stroll.
      Maybe our most clever picture. Spot the adult!
      Just a shark head with another shark head in its mouth.
      The Perak state flag is everywhere and I know it's Perak but I can't help but think it's a WHO DAT NATION Saints flag.
    • Don't forget that we signed up for Netflix again for a month. So many shows to watch.
    • We didn't do Christmas gifts this year (but did make a list if you need ideas). However, we sent flowers to Warren's grandmother because there are some things that you just gotta do, budgets be damned, yknow?

Travel budget saving tips:

  • Get your shoes and clothes fixed before replacing them. Repairs are cheap and you get to keep the stuff you love!

Curious about Malaysia? Find out more below:

Ipoh, Malaysia is a quiet and welcoming food and coffee haven less 2.5 hours by train from Kuala Lumpur. It's inexpensive and lovely and we highly recommend a visit!


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