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Monday, August 13, 2018

TRAVEL: Budget Trip to Kuala Lumpur + Siem Reap

We just did an 8-day multi-city trip last June and it was wonderful. And the best part about the trip was that we saved a lot because wewaited for promo airfare.

This is my first time to book an airfare several months prior to the travel date because of  that thrill of being able to book that much awaited seat sale promo. Actually, the chosen dates was a shot in the dark because when I booked the flight, I didn't know yet when will my daughter's class end and her graduation (Grade 10) schedule is. Luckily, every thing fell into its rightful place and we're able to fly to our selected destinations with the best travel deals- promo airfares, and even got the perfect hotel location.

Last November 12, 2017 when the seat sale wars was raging, I was able to snag a Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap airfare via AirAsia for 0 (zero) points, if I'm not mistaken. I used my points as an AirAsia Big Member and paid 96.20 MYR (that's about P1,273.20) for  2 pax.

Then on November 29, 2017, I was able to book another cheap airfare (this time with Cebu Pacific airlines) and paid for a total amount of $68.00 (that's about P3,572.18) for 2 pax.

Here's the airfare breakdown: *** please note that we don't have MNL-KL airfare yet but KL-Siem Reap and Siem Reap-MNL was already booked.

1. MNL - KL  P ???
2. KL - Siem Reap (AirAsia) P1,273.20
3. Siem Reap - MNL (Cebpac) P3,572.18 

By mid-January, I was already on the lookout for airfare promos and searching for possible hotels. Btw, I have a $15.00 reward coupon from so I'm sharing it here --->
$15 Booking(dot)com reward

I've started booking hotels via since late last year and I find the website/app more user-friendly than the other hotel apps. The rates are also very good.

Hotel: Via (use my code: $15 Booking(dot)com reward)

1. Kuala Lumpur - 33 Star Hotel
2. Siem Reap - Bayon Shadow Villa (Bayon Boutique Hotel)

We stayed at 33 Star Hotel in Kuala Lumpur which is located right in the heart of Bukit Bintang, a mere 5 minutes walk to Pavilion Mall and other malls. It is also 15 minutes away from KLCC via the Bukit Bintang Pedestrian Walkway. We paid 454 MYR + 40 Tourist Tax + 50 refundable deposit. That's for 2 triple sharing rooms since a group of friends joined our trip. *** My friends did their own airline booking but got our flight details so that we can all fly together. 

In Siem Reap, I chose Bayon Shadow Villa (Bayon Boutique Hotel) because it is about 5 minutes walk from the busy Pub Street in Siem Reap. It is located in one of the quiet streets but there are also a lot of restos and other hotels nearby as well as street food sellers. We also got two triple sharing rooms at Bayon Shadow Villa and it cost us $150 for 6 nights. 

Both hotels that I booked preferred- "Pay at the property," although I gave them my credit card number as a requirement. This is where GCash MasterCard comes in handy. 

By March 14, 2018, I booked our airfare from Manila to Kuala Lumpur via AirAsia. Tickets for two costs P5,380.00. It was also around this date that some friends decided they want to join our trip. 

Here's the updated airfare:

1. MNL - KL (AirAsia) P5,380.00
2. KL - Siem Reap (AirAsia) P1,273.20
3. Siem Reap - MNL (Cebpac) P3,572.18

Total airfare for 2 pax = P10,225.38 or P5,112.69/pax

*** This doesn't include the NAIA Travel Tax of P1,620 which you pay at the airport or pay in advance when you pay for your ticket. In our case, we opted to pay at the airport.

Since there's six of us traveling together in Kuala Lumpur, I just booked a Grab 6-seater because if we take the bus or train, it costs the same. Besides, we get to go down near our hotel. Paid 105 MYR for Grab + 10 MYR for toll gate fees.

Going back to the airport, we also took Grab but got two cars instead since someone is joining us in Siem Reap. Grab sedan costs 65 MYR + 10 for toll fees. I gave 80 MYR to the driver.

We also didn't have any checked-in luggage from MNL to KL but since it's hard to resist the shopping areas of Bukit Bintang and there's a special Ramadan sale going on, our bags suddenly expanded and became heavier. I got 20kg a few hours before our flight to Siem Reap. I did the payment via the AirAsia app on my mobile phone and used my GCash MasterCard again. Really convenient.

Food in Kuala Lumpur is cheap. You can have a full meal that include drinks for 10 MYR (or less) if you eat from the street food sellers. But if you dine in the mall or restaurants it will cost you about 18 MYR.

Meanwhile, in Siem Reap, I secured a tour van for a 3-day tour hopping and this include a free airport pick-up. Our Siem Reap guide is Heng, you can get in-touch with him via --- Heng Happy TukTuk.

From the airport, Heng drove us to our hotel- Shadow Bayon Villa (Bayon Boutique). Our total room rate for 6-nights (2 triple sharing room) is $150. You can opt to pay by cash or credit card at the hotel.

Food and transpo around Siem Reap is really cheap ($1-3) but of course, there are expensive ones that costs over $12. Also, since our hotel is about 3-5 minutes walk from Pub Street, we got to save on transpo and there restaurants and convenience stores and street food vendors are almost every where. 

Our biggest expense in Siem Reap though are the Angkor pass which you buy at official ticket center. *** Do take note though that you can only purchase the Angkor pass (ticket) at the official ticket center. We all got the 3-day pass. 

1-day pass $37
3-day pass $62
7-day pass $72 

For the van rental which include visit to several temples, it costs $35 and paid additional $5 for sunrise viewing. For tuk-tuk rental, it costs $15 but can only fit a maximum of 4 pax. There's also free bottled water from our van rental so we didn't worry about buying water. 

Overall, it was a really cool trip since we enjoyed both the comforts of modernity and got to explore ancient ruins during our trip. Of course, the best part is the great savings that I got from purchasing our airfare tickets early. I mean, I only paid P5,112.69 for three airplane rides and that's really a lot of savings because when I first went to Siem Reap, my roundtrip airfare via Cebu Pacific costs almost P7k and that still doesn't include travel tax and hotel, and other incidentals.

On that note, I find it practical to book a low-cost airline for short trips especially if you will just travel around Asia. Also, you'd be surprise at how good the pilots are during take-offs and landings. No kidding. Another notable experience is when you happen to ride the new planes. Yey!

Read about our trip here --- A Glimpse of Kuala Lumpur and Revisiting Siem Reap


  1. When my son was in toddler years ang hilig ko din magbook ng seat sale kasi wala problem sa sked. Nakakamiss ang murang airfare, now lagi na lang kami last minute magbook. We also stayed at Bukit Bintang area when we went to Kuala Lumpur.

    1. Bukit Bintang is love. You get to experience both high-end and bargain shopping. Not to mention the street food at Jalan Alor. :)

  2. Wow! That really was a great deal that you got. You sure saved a lot of money. That's especially helpful for big families like ours. Traveling with four kids can be so expensive.

    1. From what my friends (with 3 kids or more) tell me, its cheaper to travel with young ones, you also get to skip long lines. And the kids are not much into shopping but prefer parks and amusement centers. :)

  3. Seat sales are really great! But I agree with you, talagang with fingers crossed ang pagbobook pag may student. I hope makagala din kami next time via seat sale.

    1. Sked mo na next trip nyo. Go to LegoLand in Malaysia :)

  4. Siem Reap Cambodia is in my bucket list, kaya lang nakapila medyo malayo 😀. Daming gustong puntahan. I dont have the knack for getting discounted plane fares. Kulang ako sa tiyaga... good for you, for getting really nice rates.

    1. I love Siem Reap, that's my second time already. Planning to go back in 2-3 years time. :)

  5. Ang saya naman! Worth the seat sale wars hehe. KL is definitely a good place to travel to with the fam. I agree with Janice, travelling for my family is expensive since we are 5. But we do hope we can go out of the country soon.

    1. Usually if HK laging ok ang seat sale promo ;)

  6. I'm not really sure if I will be able to copy how fantastic you are at this. Planning a travel with my little family to SG to visit Google and Facebook HO for our little guy.

    1. If SG I suggest wait for Scoot (Flyscoot) promo. Mejo mabilis kasi maubos ang promo fare ng CebPac to SG and if via AirAsia naman, minsan mura nga but long layover in KL.

  7. Never been to KL and Cambodia, but we're planning to go overseas next year! Will wait for seat sales (kaso ang hirap minsan agawan haha) especially that we want to bring the kids next time. :) Post more photos of your adventures, please!


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