Southeast Asia Travel Budget and 6 Month Budget Review JetSetting Fools

Southeast Asia travel budget (and six month budget review)

Sticking to our budget is key for traveling long term, so we’ve limited ourselves to an average of $100 per day for accommodation, food, drinks, public transportation and any miscellaneous costs that pop up (and they always do). The only thing that takes precedence over the budget is whether or not we’re enjoying the journey. After compiling  our Southeast Asia travel budget report, we can report that we are excelling in both categories.

After our lengthy stay in New Zealand and Australia, we pushed our daily average above our target, but two months in Southeast Asia put it right back on track. In 62 days, we visited Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and came out on the budget just slightly higher than we anticipated (clearly a trend), but not even close to our $100 per day allowance.

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Impressions of Singapore after a 3-day Visit JetSetting Fools

Impressions of Singapore after a 3 day visit

Our visit to Singapore – our first stop in Southeast Asia – was short, but it definitely made an impression. It eased us into the world we will be immersed in for the next two months. It was such a wonderful combination of foreignness and familiarity. I previously wrote about the historic downtown sights, Marina Bay and Chinatown, but I didn’t delve into my impressions of Singapore and what it was actually like. My uncharacteristic lack of prior research and Western pre-conceived notions had me prepared for a militant, cold-shouldered and no-room-to-move experience. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Singapore Chinatown Self-Guided Walking Tour JetSettingFools.com

Singapore Chinatown self-guided walking tour

Singapore Chinatown self-guided walking tour – Part 3 in a series

We had three days to explore Singapore. Setting out on foot each day, we completed three different walking tours: Singapore Downtown sights, Marina Bay and Chinatown. An ambitious person could link the three tours together for one long day of Singapore exploration! Continued from Singapore Marina Bay self-guided walking tour.

 

Singapore Chinatown self-guided walking tour: Chinatown

A tour of Singapore isn’t complete without a trip to Chinatown and we just happened to be visiting during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival is celebrated with feasts, mooncakes and lanterns. All of Chinatown was decorated with hanging lanterns of every size, shape and color, making the already colorful area even brighter and the energized crowds even more amped up.

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A walk in Johor Bahru, Malaysia JetSetting Fools

A walk in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

When we first decided to stay across the border north of Singapore in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, we thought it would just be a place to sleep and we would make the commute into the city each day. Johor Bahru, JB for short, is a little gritty, like Jersey to New York City. As the second most populated city in Malaysia and the border town to Singapore, it seems to be a city in transition, but a very slow transition. We took a walk in Johor Bahru, Malaysia to discover the old, the new and the food.

The newly constructed CIQ (Border Control) building and the new, massive, seven-story mall almost seem out of place with the surrounding area a little rough on the edges. Just one street away from all the ‘new’ the scene changes: sidewalks, if they are there at all, are cracked and broken; storefronts are missing signs and crumbling; heavy, unpleasant scents waft through the air. The area is well-developed, just not well-maintained.

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Singapore Marina Bay self-guided walking tour

Singapore Marina Bay self-guided walking tour – Part 2 in a series

We had three days to explore Singapore. Setting out on foot each day, we completed three different walking tours: Singapore Downtown sights, Marina Bay and Chinatown, Temples and Clark Quay. An ambitious person could link the three tours together for one long day of Singapore exploration! Continued from Singapore Downtown self-guided walking tour (Part 1)

 

Singapore Marina Bay self-guided walking tour

 

Marina Bay

Recharged after lunch, we retraced our steps back to the Fullerton Hotel and took the air-conditioned underpass beneath the street to get to the marina. We marveled at the Marina Bay Sands Hotels across the water, looking as if the towers emerged from the depths of the sea, sweeping a boat right out of the water and hoisting it up in the air. The shiny, lotus-looking ArtScience Museum looks dwarfed in comparison, but together they look futuristic and it is simply impossible not to stop and gawk at it.

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Singapore Downtown Self-Guided Walking Tour

Singapore Downtown self-guided walking tour

Singapore Downtown self-guided walking tour – Part 1 in a series

We had three days to explore Singapore. Setting out on foot each day, we completed three different walking tours: Singapore Downtown sights, Marina Bay to Boat Quay and Chinatown, Temples and Clark Quay. An ambitious person could link the three tours together for one long day of Singapore exploration!

 

Singapore Downtown self-guided walking tour

 

Raffles Hotel

Like good tourists, we started our Singapore Downtown self-guided walking tour at the iconic Raffles Hotel. Originally built by the sea in 1887, the hotel is named for the city’s founder, Stamford Raffles. The colonial-style hotel has undergone a move, numerous additions and remodels and is now part of a massive complex, yet it remains a historic landmark. The guest list ranges from the famous, to soldiers and even prisoners of war during World War II. Anyone can slide into The Long Bar and order up the original Singapore Sling.

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