Cheap and full of cheer

Rejoice, oh disorganised work slaves! Bargains still abound for those who don’t book their summer holidays a year ahead.

Everything about Malaysia screams “bargain” and it’s all
done so nicely. Getting to Kuala Lumpur is cheap, thanks to respectable
Malaysian budget airline AirAsia, and the shopping is fabulous, with
Chrissy sales making it even better (psst, and heaps cheaper than
Singapore). You can snap up a city five-star hotel for as little as $100
a night but for a cheap, authentic experience, try a home stay in a
kampong (village) house with a local family, eating home cooking and
experiencing the culture. The government-monitored initiative costs from
$27 a day. In January, the holiday islands of Penang and Langkawi are
starting to dry out from their November deluge but new hotels are
keeping the competition fierce – check out the new Four Points by
Sheraton on Langkawi and Penang’s new Hard Rock Hotel.
airasia.com, go2homestay.com, tourismmalaysia.com.au.

Others on the budget radar include Singapore, Tahiti, Hawai’i, Cambodia, New Zealand and our own Cairns is on sale, too.
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About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

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