Initially thinking that I’d spend more than I could on this trip (based on my experience in Kuala Lumpur), I was very determined to save money. While I must’ve underestimated the places I could go to here and I don’t think I used up all of my time as wisely as I could’ve I don’t really mind. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the first laid-back travel I’ve ever had abroad. It was a refreshing experience compared to my last backpacking trip. I took this trip on August 10 – 15, 2012. We left Clark at 4pm on August 10 and I left Kota Kinabalu at 1.40pm on August 15. That’s about 5 days and 5 nights, all in all.

Bus Station in Wawasan Plaza

Here’s a complete list of my expenses in Kota Kinabalu, until I arrived in Clark Airport. Notice that even before I left the country I’d already spent around P2500? Yes, that’s how expensive our airports are.

Itinerary For 1 pax Total

Clark Expenses

Megamall – Clark Philtranco 400
Clark – Megamall Philtranco 400
DMIA Travel Tax 1620
Terminal Fee 500
Security Fee 100


Hotdogs 80
Water 35 P3135

Kota Kinabalu


Bus from Tanjung Aru – Wawasan Plaza RM 1.50
Wawasan Plaza – Gaya Center/Wisma Merdeka RM 0.50
WP – UMS RM 1.50
UMS – City Mosque RM 1
City Mosque – WP RM 1
Taxi (last day) RM 30 RM 35.5


Island Hopping (3 islands) RM 43
Conservation Fee RM 10
Snorkels RM 10
Life Jacket RM 5 RM 68


Borneo Backpackers Beach House RM 25
Sensi Backpackers Hostel RM 90 * RM 115


D1 Black Pepper Chicken RM 8
Milk Tea RM 2
Milk Tea (again) RM 2
B2 Continental RM 6
L2 Nasi Lemak Special RM 8.5
Milk Tea RM 2.5
D2 Carbonara RM 19
B3 Free at Hostel
L3 Shrimp Nasi Lemak RM 7
Milk Tea RM 2
D3 Fong Ip Dumplings RM 4
B4 Free at Hostel
L4 Chicken Curry RM 7 *
Milk Tea RM 2
Bread RM 3.5
Water RM 3
D4 Bak Kut Teh RM 2
Extra rice RM 1
Beer RM 22
B5 Free
L5 Airport KFC RM 9
Extra Rice RM 2
Water RM 2 * RM 114.5


Chocolate: Beryls RM 44 RM 44
Expenses from August 10 – 15, 2012 P8259
Air Fare RT from Air Asia P3010
TOTAL P11,269



Sensi Backpackers Hostel – I stayed there for 3 nights, one night costs RM 30. This includes air condition, free breakfast, television and a very homey atmosphere.

L4 Chicken Curry – We ate at the Pulau Manukan restaurant.

Water – I didn’t even get to drink this! It was confiscated before I got to open it (at the airport)


Tanjung Aru in the morning


City Mosque, State Mosque, Tanjung Aru Beach, University of Malaysia Sabah, Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Sapi, Waterfront, city center.


Our first currency exchange was at the airport.

Exchange was at 1 = 7.3. I exchanged P2000 and got RM 146 out of it.

The second exchange was at Beach Street at a rate of 1 = 7.6. Exchange of P2000 was RM 150.

So yes, it’s definitely more expensive to get your money changed at the airport. If you happen to need money on a Sunday, the currency exchange at Beach Street is open until around 2pm.

Overall, I think I did well on my budget this time around. Considering that P3000+ of that budget was spent here in the country, I only spent around P1000/day that I was in Kota Kinabalu. I really enjoyed my stay in Kota Kinabalu. I’d probably go back there for another chill trip. Maybe when I’ve finished the other 20 countries I still have on my list.

Wondering how we did this? Check out my post on how to survive Kota Kinabalu on a cheap budget.

Brenna is the sole owner of The Philippine Travelogue, an online journal of her travel adventures and experiences. Brenna is a freelance writer, online marketing and social media specialist and a blogger with a constant itch for adventure and thrill. For inquiries, suggestions and invitations please send a message.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Flickr YouTube  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...