Thursday, 15 January 2009

Domestic vs Overseas Traveling

In order to cheer myself up from my bouts of boredom, I been doing some homework on my next getaway - Taman Negara. Not sure why I'm pursuing this destination with fervor. I guess its time for me to go there, this is the year where I will have to go to Taman Negara. Or so I thought, before I did my internet research on it. The fullboard packages not inclusive meals are about RM300 or more, if include activities like nite trekking, canopy walk, shooting rapids, add a few hundred ringgits more. Plus other compulsory expenses like boat transfer from Kuala Tembeling to Kuala Tahan will cost you RM50, each way. If you are taking a bus, then it will cost you about RM140 for return fare. If you are driving, then the toll and petrol costs would be more. So for one person to go to Taman Negara taking a fullboard package with activities, and inclusive of traveling (boat, bus cost) will easily set you back at RM700. Oh man....

Domestic traveling is not cheap! And my definition of cheap for domestic traveling is anything below RM300 to spend on a person for traveling expenses - accommodation, food and ground handling, not inclusive of shopping which will be another cost. Anyway, I do realise with such meager amount allocated for my getaway/holiday/vacation or whatever you may call it, I can't do five star treatment in this time of economic uncertainties. Economy may be down for now, but hotel prices and food costs are still up. There may be some price reduction in the tourism services but I doubt it will be significant in terms of traveling. So, with that budget it'll be lodging in budget motels (RM50 per night) and gerai food for 3D/2N.

The cost of traveling domestic is the same or at time more expansive than overseas traveling, and we are talking about short haul destinations like Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, etc. Case in point: my trip to Bali in Jan 2008 costs about RM750 - which was RM300 for flight and RM450 for fullboard package per pax - inclusive 3 star accommodation, meals, tours with guide and van. It would have been cheaper if we managed to book the Air Asia zero fares flight which will cost about RM150 only to Bali. But then we have booked the flight early (July 2007), so to pay the tour package is not so taxing on us. Another case : Kamilia told me that she paid about RM500 to travel to Bangkok, which included flight, hotel, meals and tours which she went in 2004. With that much and you can travel overseas!

Some comparison for domestic vs overseas traveling:

Domestic Travel
1. Not necessarily cheaper - the popular destinations are quite pricey expecially if you intend to stay in 4-5 star hotels. My costing would have to be double if I bring my other half.
2. Know your product! Get the chance to go up close with tourism products around Malaysia, and get yourself educated with our unique selling points - ecotourism (eg Taman Negara), homestays (eg Banghuris), heritage, etc.
3. Accessiblility - can travel by car, air or sea, anytime (except monsoon season for Pantai Timur area).
4. Culture and language - share same language and understand culture of the
Overseas/International Travel
1. Cost is a factor, and airline ticket is the bulk of traveling expense. So careful planning must be needed to organize your money and travel itinerary. Apart from the obvious expenses like flight, accommodation, food and ground handling (transportation), be sure to spare some for unforseen circumstances like ticket to enter into certain tourist destination (sometimes not included in package), tipping for driver/tour guide, porterage in hotel/airport or airport tax (eg IDR100,000 to exit Indonesia).
2. Take advantage of MAS/Air Asia's promotion camapaigns. Book flight ticket first, then lookout for MATTA Travel Fairs (normally held in March and September) for discounted packages.
3. Do some homework on the destination that you are going to - in order to enjoy fully the destination and whatever info passed by the tour guide. Maximum exposure!
4. Culture & language may be a barrier, especially in non english speaking country.
Even if you want to travel domestic must have some planning and much disposable income. Now I'm thinking twice about Taman Negara unless I get a really good promo during MATTA Fair...


K said...

Jangan marah! kalau org pilih Siam, Jakarta, Bandung, Bali --- mahal sikit pun tak kisah , at least dapat naik belon! Naik Mas atau Air Asia pun bagi sumbangan pada negara jugak.

nurulhuda abu bakar said...

taman negara nowdays is damn expensive!

Beautiful Life said...

Still looking for the cheapest package to Taman Negara. Or I'll just wait for MATTA Fair deals in March! Meanwhile main kutu untuk simpan duit heheheh