Penang – Malaysia – GRANDPAcking Costs

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MARCH 2015:


My costs start at Kuala Lumpur airport and include:

  • Travel from KL to Melaka
  • 8 nights in Melaka
  • Flight from Melaka to Penang
  • 12 nights in Penang

My costs end at Penang airport (where I catch my flight to Bangkok).


For more information, read my post on Penang.

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Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.


Penang GRANDPAcking Costs


Accommodation: I was unable to find suitable accommodation in Melaka and Penang for my target price of MYR75 / night (or less). As a result, I did not do western Malaysia as a GRANDPAcker… my costs are FLASHPACKER costs (as  they are based on cheaper accommodation that is unsuitable for GRANDPAckers). In Melaka I had a simple Double Room with fan and shared (cold shower) bathroom. In George Town I had a Single Room with aircon and shared bathroom. In Batu Ferringhi I had a Single Room with fan and shared (cold shower) bathroom.

Transport: You cannot rent Scooters in Melaka so I had to walk everywhere (which was very restricting). I got a good deal on a Scooter in Penang for 10 days at MYR20 / day (for a Scooter less than 1 year old).

Communications: I already had a SIMcard from my previous visit to Malaysia (Langkawi) so all I had to do was ‘top it up’.

Food: Typical food for the day would be about MYR30.

  • Breakfast: Roti Chania with Fried Egg and Black Coffee (MYR2.60)
  • Lunch: Something from a Local Cafe lunchtime buffet including White Rice, 1 piece of Chicken, and vegetables (MYR8) with a drink (MYR2-3) = average MYR10.50
  • Dinner: Something from a Hawker Centre for about MYR8-16 with juice (MYR5) = MYR17 average

My ‘Cost of Existing / Day’ was NZ$29 / US$22 / €20 / £15. This put a ‘cheap and cheerful’ roof over my head, gave me necessary transport & other basic necessities, fed me 3 times each day in a ‘local cafe’ or ‘hawker centre’, and paid for my refreshments.

My available ‘LIVING Funds’ each day were NZ$51 / US$38 / €36 / £25.

I spent very little of those LIVING funds. Some of the funds were spent on transport between KL, Melaka, and Penang. The majority was spent on Beer and Rum.

Please Note: Alcohol was so expensive (from a GRANDPAcking point of view) that I did not live my normal lifestyle in western Malaysia. I didn’t spend any time in bars. I saved money by buying bottles of rum from the supermarket (I would buy a couple of cans of, say, coke and drink rum and coke with my dinner). I bought the ‘rare’ bottle of beer in the evenings.

My actual GRANDPAcking costs came in at NZ$43 / US$32 / €30 / £22 per day. On that budget I found myself getting a bit bored though and should, probably, have ‘splashed out’ a bit more… but there wasn’t really anything to ‘splash out’ on.


Accommodation: GRANDPAckers would need to make an exception and spend more than normal for accommodation. A GRANDPAcker Double is about MYR90 / night.

Transport: GRANDPAckers would get by quite happily using public transport in Penang.

Communications & Fees: GRANDPAckers would get by on a cheaper SIMcard package with less Data.

Food: There were no significant savings to be made.

After making such adjustments, the ‘Costs Of Existence’ of 2 GRANDPAckers is about MYR156 / NZ$60 / US$45 / €42 / £30 per day.

This is MYR52 per day to LIVE on (i.e. 25% of your GRANDPAcking budget is available for LIVING).

With that money you could:

  • Upgrade your Dinner for 2 and eat in one of the best Restaurants
  • Drink 3 large beers
  • Rent a scooter for a day (inclusive of petrol) and spend the day touring Penang
  • Have 10Kgs of your clothes laundered
  • Buy an average of 5 personal ‘luxuries’ in the local store

Having such funds available day after day means that every day is a good day.


I was ‘too sensible’ with my expenditure and ended up being ‘too frugal’. In hindsight, I could have spent the MYR90 on better accommodation but, to be honest, I wouldn’t have benefited much from it… it wouldn’t have given me a better location and it wouldn’t have contributed to me having a better time.

I wanted for nothing and did everything that I wanted to do.

If I had spent all of my resultant ‘LIVING funds’, I would have been living very very comfortably (as long as I kept off of the alcohol).

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