When was the last time you made a lame excuse like, “I can’t go on a short trip because it is too expensive.” Not anymore. With me, as your cheapskate tour guide I am sure you can go on an overnight trip somewhere just across the border with a minimal amount of SGD60.00. This amount includes money for land transport, budget private accommodation, mouthwatering local food and hopefully a souvenir such as the overrated “I LOVE xxxxx” keychain. If you noticed, these are are the basic components of a holiday. How is this even possible? Ahh..Now is the part where I come in for an intervention.
Firstly, what is the definition of holiday? I googled and I got this:
A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.My definition: How expensive or cheap you want it to be, it is really up to you. Seriously.
Where did I go?
Now that I am back in school and heavily relying on my monthly allowance, I told myself I need to go somewhere not too far to relax and eat. I decided on Melaka just 2.5 hours away by land from Singapore because of the food, culture and friendly locals. Melaka it is!
Make your way to Larkin Bus Terminal in Johor Bahru. Passing through Woodlands Checkpoint is really easy. All you need is a passport and some Singapore coins for the public bus to Johor Checkpoint. It is really that easy. If you are a citizen of other countries, do check with the nearest Singapore Consulate if you need a visa-in-advance to cross the border from Singapore to Malaysia. From Johor Checkpoint, take SBS Bus no. 170 or Causeway Bus to Larkin. Both buses cost between SGD1.50-SGD2.00. Journey takes around 10 minutes. Some may complain that it is troublesome to cross over to Johor Bahru from Woodlands Checkpoint. Here’s the reality, you can’t expect anything cheap if you travel from Singapore. Buses to Melaka departing from Singapore cost twice the price.
Once you reach Larkin Bus Terminal, ignore the annoying touts and head straight to level 2 and find Maju Bus company executive lounge to buy the bus ticket to Melaka. Buses depart every hour starting from 7.30am. Journey takes 2.5hrs. Passengers will disembark at Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal. From there, look for the Domestic Bus sign and board bus number 17 headed for the Red House.
There are all sorts of accommodation in Melaka ranging from backpackers’ hostels, homestays to luxury hotels. To keep costs low, I opted for the homestay option. Apa Kaba Homestay which literally translates into “How are you” Homestay offers many room options to suit different budgets. The special thing about this homestay is that it is actually a kampong. I chose the budget private option with shared bathroom with attached fan. Room rate starts from SGD14.00.
Mind you, there are cheaper options when choosing accommodation. Some backpackers hostel charge as low as SGD4.00 a night for a bed in a shared room. So, it can be really cheap if you want it to. (www.hostelbookers.com)
What to do in Melaka?
There are many things to do in Melaka for just little money. Most museums and historical sites are either free or charge minimal fees for foreigners. Melaka can be covered in just a day or two as all the attractions are within close proximity. Food prices may be slightly expensive as compared to other Malaysian states but still considerably cheap for Singaporeans but it’s hard to give it as miss as they are too delicious. From Satay Celup, Nyonya Laksa, Chicken Rice ball to the famous dessert Cendol!
Executive Coach from Larkin Bus Terminal, Johor Bahru to Melaka (2 ways): SGD19.00 (RM48.00)
Public bus No. 17 from Melaka Sentral Terminal to Melaka Town (2 ways): SGD0.80 (RM2.00)
Accommodation for 2 days 1 night (Based on twin sharing per person): SGD7.00 (RM19.00)
Allowance for food and etc.: SGD33.20 (RM83.00)
Total Expenditure: SGD60.00 (RM152.00)