Month 4: Budget and Expenses – Malaysia / Cambodia / Thailand

It seems like so much time has passed since I wrote about our month three budget and expenses.

We have travelled a lot in the last month and it has been quite widespread. In total we:

  • Visited three countries (Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand)
  • Explored 4 Cities (KL, Penang, Siem Reap, Chiang Mai)
  • Took 5 flights
  • Endured 1 long distance bus journey

And now we are worn out! This difference between month 4 and our relaxing month 3 in Khanom is startling but a month of travel was long overdue.

We needed to kick up the tempo a little and start seeing some other countries after spending three straight months in Thailand and we certainly did that.

Our route took us to Kuala Lumpur at the start of April before we headed up to Penang by bus for a two week stay and then over to Cambodia where we were forced to cut our planned two week trip down to 4 days before finally ending up back in Thailand.


The budget this month has been a hot mess.

I had expected to go over budget after splurging on a really nice hotel in Penang but somehow we managed to get to Cambodia with only 9 days of the month left well under budget.

Our budget luck was not to last though and after staying in Cambodia for 4 days without power or water right on top of an important work deadline, we ended up taking expensive flights out of the country back to our home from home, Chiang Mai, which saw the budget obliterated in the time it takes to click “confirm flight purchase”.

Overall I’m pleased by how affordable it was to travel so much during the month, especially with the hotel splurge.


This month saw a change in accommodation style for us. Normally we only stay in apartments seeing as we like to have space and privacy but with the amount of moving around we’ve been doing this month, hotels were a much better fit.

Hotel Miramar – Kuala Lumpur
Hotel Sentral Seaview – Penang
Schein Guesthouse -Siem Reap

We are however settled back in an apartment in Chiang Mai and are loving the extra space. We’ve also unpacked our backpacks for the first time in a month too wahoo!

pool penang

The awesome pool Hotel Sentral, Penang


Aside from hotel breakfasts we have eaten every single meal out.

Without having a kitchen (or even a fridge) to help subsidise our meal costs we have had to rely on street food to keep the budget in check. This was harder than we expected in Kuala Lumpur and we did splurge on pricey Western meals way too much, but we made up for it in Penang and Cambodia where the street food was phenomenal (though unfortunately so was the beer, oops!).

The best food of course can be found in Thailand and we are so loving eating at all of our favourite places. So much pad thai!!


Delicious ginger chicken from Pub Street, Cambodia


One thing I’ve learned on the road is that most of the time, the best things are free.

Yeah, you could pay to go inside the Petronas Towers and take a photograph of the view, but man the view of the Petronas Towers from outside is so much better.

Likewise the Batu Caves in KL, the street art in Penang and the temples in Chiang Mai are all highlights and all cost nothing.

Our biggest entertainment expense this far (and our most well spent money) was the $40 entrance fee for Angkor in Cambodia. It was so amazing that I wouldn’t mind paying $100.

Angkor cambodia

Stunning ruins at Angkor


We have spent way more than normal on transportation this month due to the sheer number of flights we’ve taken.

Air Asia help to keep our flight costs down but we’re starting to realise that actually moving around is a huge budget killer. Slow travel where very few flights / buses are involved is the way forward to keep transportation costs low but it’s not always possible – there’s a lot of world to see! We already have 4 flights booked for May…

tuk tuk siem reap

Travelling in style in Siem Reap


Cleaner 0

This equates to £21.04 per person, per day.

(Note that I’ve opted to start declaring everything in GBP as all these currencies are driving me nuts!)

The other category is always pretty dull and is made up of visa fees for Cambodia and new clothing that we purchased in Penang. We are finding that we need to buy new clothing regularly as ours gets worn out pretty quickly.

Other things that aren’t included in our budget seeing as they’re not actually travel costs are the £11 life insurance that we buy and the £4.99 Netflix subscription that I would be lost without. We do of course travel with full comprehensive travel insurance but this isn’t a monthly cost, we paid for the policy in full back in December.

What next?

We’ll be in Chiang Mai for the first three weeks of May revisiting our favourite places and working hard. Our business is doing really well at the moment and we could really use this time to get everything in order after a month on the move.

Towards the end of the month we are taking our first visit to Bangkok where we’ll spend a few days exploring before heading on to country number 20, Myanmar! We are so excited to explore such an unknown country and we’re both dying to see the pagodas of Bagan after loving the temples in Angkor so much.

Then…. who knows? We have a loose plan in place but honestly, things change so much on the road that we’re learning not to look too far ahead.

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Comments 6

  1. Tash 9th May 2015
    • Claire Michael 9th May 2015
  2. Ryan Biddulph 12th May 2015
    • Claire Michael 19th May 2015
  3. Jorge Bastos 31st May 2017
    • Claire 3rd June 2017

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