Travelogue | Enjoy a Short Holiday in Malacca below $300


1. Join the tours organized by RC (Residents' Committees) 

PROS

Why do I say so? Because the price is made affordable for the residents at their zone, though it usually attracts more senior citizens. The tours organized by them are usually a day or 2-3 days tour to Malaysia. My dad was the one who came across this 2 days 1 night tour to Malacca that was pasted on the noticeboard at the lift lobby and thought I would be interested to go (rather than always JB) and yes of course I do. Luckily the RC accepts participation from others living outside their zone. 

CONS

Don't expect the tours to go further than Malaysia. I'm not sure whether they have organized trips to Batam or Bintan (I seriously can't remember) but is either in Singapore (factories tour esp during Chinese New Year) or Malaysia which is what I come across usually. But better than nothing right? At least you get your passport stamped rather than leaving it blank till expiry.

This tour costs $178 which includes tour guide, coach, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, travel insurance, hotel stay with breakfast and visits to shopping and touristy spots.



2. Change money with your leftover foreign currencies

PROS

Admit it. You usually just leave your leftover currencies in the drawer. Unless you collect foreign notes as a hobby, if not, it is useless to you especially when you don't travel frequent. What I will do is gathered the big notes to change another currency. The smaller notes and coins will be kept at one side, till the next trip out to that particular country. That reduces some expenses for the trip.

CONS

Okay I know that it is not worth doing so because you won't get very good rates because money changers will first convert to SGD and then from SGD change to the currency you want. It changes twice instead of one time direct.

I used 5000 baht (Thailand currency) to change Malaysia Ringgit and got about RM560. This is SGD 190 worth of money to be spent between my husband and I (so about SGD95 per person for expenses). Never change anymore on top of that as I don't expect any shopping spree there but more of photo shooting. 



3. Let others spend at designated shopping spots instead

PROS

It is very common to be brought to shopping spots, especially when you go on a group tour. If not, how the tour guides earn commission? And not all the shopping spots interest you. So when it doesn't, what I usually do is just follow the group into the place, walk around and exit myself to the waiting area outside. Some sales reps are very persuasive and pushy which I really don't like. So avoid eye contact with them, save them from their explanation to save your pocket from burning a hole. Let others in the group to step into their 'trap'. Hahaha... I know. Not all are stupid to fall for the 'trap'.

CONS

Since you are not interested and money is saved on your side, be prepared to wait for the rest in the coach till time to go or even beyond the stipulated time given by the tour guide. I seriously don't have the patience to wait but have to swallow it because it is not just me. To note that there are senior citizens too. They needed more time.

I did not buy at some shopping spots except for a bottle of honey at the bee farm and a bottle of chicken rice paste at a local product store. Others like my Panadol, herbal teas and my Starbuck mug were bought at shopping mall just next to our hotel and that is like a casual walk-through on our own.



4. Cheaper to travel by coach than air

PROS

Though this is included in the price but definitely cheaper than you travel by air. Everybody knows that. Anyway, no flights to Malacca too. Enjoy the scenery on our way in the bus rather than just deep blue sky and fluffy cotton cloud onboard your flight. Yes I know there is in-flight entertainment but how many of the shows interest you? Convenience too because the pick up point will be just at your door step and you can save the money on cabbing to the airport. That is the advantage of participating in RC organized tours.

CONS

Cheaper right? So be prepared for the traffic and human jam at custom, especially over the weekends and public or school holidays. You can wait up to 1 to 2 hours or beyond. Imagine you need to go toilet but stuck in the jam, it is really a terrible experience one would ever want. But if you are richer, go by air to other parts of Malaysia like Kuala Lumpur, where it has the option to travel by air (45 mins to an hour) or by coach (for 4 hours and more).

It took the coach like 45 mins to an hour to get to Singapore custom at Tuas 2nd Link (Malaysia custom was much smoother and faster) and another half hour or so to pass through the automated passport scanning machine. And because everyone in the group gets to the coach at different time (depending on their queue), more time are wasted in waiting (probably another half hour).



So in total, 

I spend about SGD 273 per pax (SGD 178 for tour package & SGD 95 for spending) for 2 days 1 night. It may not be the cheapest but at least, I get to eat well and sleep well in a nice hotel. Read more here. The itinerary is there too, for your reference. I'm not quite a shopping person though I do shop when I come across something I like. And I don't go for those stuff which others think is mandatory to buy or try when you travel to that particular country. Don't follow suit. Follow your heart instead.

This post is more for holidays in Malaysia because we are just border across. I guess I would adopt this way of travelling to Malaysia for holidays because you get to enjoy the same, though you have to have great patience with the elderly ones in the group as some have walking difficulty and takes a while for them to get up and down the coach. But you have to admire them because despite that, they still want to see the world and not trapped at home. Some like my mum don't like to walk too much because their legs or knees will hurt. Rheumatism. But if things are planned properly, it shouldn't be a problem for them to travel. And is cheap and affordable for them.

Cheers.

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