The Cost of a Perfect Day in Langkawi, Malaysia

Today Joe and I had the day off work from the hostel on Langawki Island, Malaysia, where we clean and do reception duties in exchange for room and board. We only work about three hours a day but the hours do fall right in the middle of the day, after one round of guests check out and before the next group checks in, so it can be a bit difficult to fit in a whole day’s worth of activities either before or after work. We had today all to ourselves so we wanted to have an adventure. There are many outdoor and watersport activities to do on Langkawi Island, but the tours and equipment rentals can be expensive and definitley add up. We are on a budget, hence working for our stay, so we wanted to explore Langkawi without spending a ton of money. Here’s what we did today and how much it cost us:

Breakfast at the hostel: Free (or no more than RM4/$1)

Our Workaway hosts were kind enough to buy us loaves of bread and 3 dozen eggs for us to make breakfast before we work, so today our egg sandwiches were free. But for the purpose of seeing how much it would cost to recreate this day, you can buy a loaf of bread for RM2.50 (about 60 cents USD). I honestly don’t know how much 3 dozen eggs cost or where you could procure that amount of eggs, but our host is local so I’m sure he got a good deal. I do know that an entire bag of oatmeal costs about 4 ringgit, which is roughly $1. You could also go get roti canai (fried bread with curries/sauces) at a street stall, for 2 ringgit, about 50 cents. So, basically, breakfast should cost you about $1 total max.

Renting a scooter: RM20/$5 per day

We rented a 2-person scooter for the day from T-Shoppe for 20 ringgit, which is about $5. That would allow us to have the scooter from 9am-9pm. Most people rent scooters for 24 hours, which T-Shoppe quoted us 32 ringgit, or $8 USD. The guy who lives next door to the hostel rents them for 25 rinngit for 24 hours, but he was sold out. We didn’t need the full 24 hours because we didn’t plan to drive anywhere ater 9pm and let’s be honest, I’m not getting up before 9am to go scootering anyway. So for us, $5 a day was fine.

Tanjung Rhu Beach: Free

We drove 16 miles up through the middle of Langkawi to Tanjung Rhu Beach on the north side of the island. It was not nearly as crowded as Pantai Cenang, the beach near our hostel. The water was a turquoise and the sand was powdery and white. In the distance out in the ocean you can see karsts jutting out of the water. We swam for a while and then hung out in the shade of one of the many trees by the beach so we wouldn’t get sunburnt.

Scarborough Fish & Chips: RM52/$13 for 2 people

After a few hours at Tanjung Rhu we got hungry for lunch. We decided to go to Scarborough Fish & Chip Restaurant because we had heard good things and we haven’t had fish and chips since we left Australia. We both got the fried dory, which was RM26 each, for a total of RM52 for the meal. It was very busy at the restaurant and the food was pretty good. It was definitely not as good as the fish and chips we have had in Australia, mostly because the breading was too thick, but the fish itself was good and the portions were big. We each got two dory fillets, salad, and fries for about $6.50 USD. Normally we wouldn’t spend this much on a meal in Malaysia, and it’s definitely possible to get local noodles or fried rice at one of the many open air restaurants near Tanjung Rhu for RM 4-8 ($1-2), but since our hosts provide us with breakfast and lunch every day we can spend a bit more on the one meal per day we pay for. The fish and chips were pretty good but we decided next time we came to the beach we would pack a lunch.

Pantai Pasir Hitam (Black Sand Beach): Free

From Scarborough, we headed to another beach, Pantai Pasir Hitam, a black sand beach also in the north of the island near Tanjung Rhu. On our drive through the jungle we saw about ten monkeys on the side of the road. We also had a great view of the mangroves and mountains in this part of Langkawi. The black sand beach was more gray than black but it was soft and this beach also had shady trees. We hung out here for another hour or so before heading back.

Fuel at Petronas: RM5/$1.25

Before dropping off the scooter, we needed to replace the fuel we had used during our drive. We picked up our scooter with half a tank and were just below a quarter tank after driving 30ish miles. We got in line for a pump behind 2 other scooters. When we pulled up to the pump we saw that both of those scooters had purchased RM5 in petrol. We had no idea how much fuel we should buy since we only needed to fill the tank halfway. But we figured if both those scooters got RM5 then we should too. It’s only about a dollar and we can always buy more if it’s not enough. As it turns out, you can fill an entire scooter tank for $1.25. So, you’re welcome T-Shoppe Scooter Rental/ the next person to drive the scooter.

Celebratory beer at the hostel: RM2/$.50

After spending the day scootering around a gorgeous tropical island, swimming in the ocean, eating good food, and enjoying the sunshine and the scenery with my beloved, it just seemed right to chill in a hammock with a celebratory ice cold beer. Langkawi is a duty free island, making alcohol so cheap, so you can easily get beer for 2 rinngit, or 50 cents a can. If hard liquor is more your thing, you can get a liter of Smirnoff for RM30, or about $7. Pour a bottle of vodka into one of the fresh coconuts you can buy from street stalls (RM7/$1.75) and you have yourself a party for less than $10.

Dinner at the hostel: RM 7/$1.75 for 2 people

Since we got crazy and spent 12 whole US dollars on lunch today, we will cook our own pasta dinner. A package of macaroni costs RM4 ($1) and we will use half for a meal, and a can of spaghetti sauce (Prego brand! It’s so funny the brands that make it to the farthest corners of the Earth) is RM4.90 ($1.20). We will dress up our pasta with some of the fresh herbs growing in the garden and some chilli powder and other spices and have a whole meal for RM6.90, or less than $2. You could balance out the spending a bit more and go for a cheaper lunch meal and spend more money on dinner than we did, or you could ball out and spend $25 USD a day for two meals for two people. We really love Malaysia because it’s possible to eat well at every price point.

Total: RM92/$22 USD for meals, activities, and drinks for 2 people.

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