March Holidays is here again! If you find SG Family Staycations costly, there are always lots of choices of nice but affordable hotels in JB for your Across the Border JB Staycation as cheap as $90 per room per night. However if you like a big family like mine (ie. 6 pax and above), I feel you if you feel that it is not going to be that cheap compare to those who can squeeze 3-4 pax into just one room.
It happened to us a lot, hence we usually do Couple Hotel Staycations in JB. But for Family Staycation, these days we opt for Airbnb in either Condos or Cluster Housing (aka Landed with amenities). We usually opt for an entire house which have at least 2 bedrooms and enough beds and mattresses for 6 pax. It costs less than $200 per night stay.
Photos on the JB Airbnb
The one we had at JB in April 2017, was a Cluster Housing at Leisure Farm in the JB Iskandar Puteri district. It is nearer to the TUAS checkpoint and is about 15-20 min drive from Legoland, Puteri Harbour (Where Hello Kittyland and Little Big Club is) and AEON Bukit Indah. But if you want to go to KSL Mall, it is about 30-35 min drive away. Alternatively, you can get an Airbnb nearer to KSL Mall. We spent two nights there. First day we spent at Legoland and the second day we swam in the morning and shopped at KSL Mall in the afternoon.
This Airbnb is 2 storey high, with 3 bedrooms (consists of 1 queen bed and 4 single beds), 1 living room, 1 kitchen and 2 toilets. There was a pool just in front of us too and a park 5 min walk away.
There was a private parking lot at the car porch enough to park 2 cars. As we stay in a HDB flat so the children were really excited over the size and space in the house. I love the homely and cosy feeling, and happy to be able to have quiet breakfasts together with my family at the dining table every morning, instead of the usual crowded buffet breakfasts setting in hotels. I think the kids love the bathtub too!
Quiet Neighbourhood – We hardly see any cars drove past nor residents walking around. We could have our morning strolls.
I think the best part of the Airbnbs for the kids is always the Pool!
Infinity Pool! The water contains no Chlorine and is clean!
Photos on the KL Airbnb
The Airbnb we had in KL in Sep 2017, was a newly TOP Condo about 3 minute drive away from Sunway Lagoon. The size was not very big, maybe a standard 2-bedroom condo size with living room space, dining area and 2 bedrooms. It came with two queen size beds and 2 mattresses. We spent two nights there too. First day, we spent at Sunway Lagoon and second day we swam in the morning and shopped at Sunway Pyramid in the afternoon.
This house was considerably smaller than our HDB flat but the kids loved the indoor trampoline play area and the Pool! It was very near to Sunway Lagoon and Sunway Pyramid too. It was not easy finding a bigger condo or landed house Airbnb at a good price near Sunway, since it is a busy and expensive residential and commercial district.
You may ask me, Msia Airbnb safe meh? After hearing all the scary news, you may wonder “What if there is a break-in?”. Are we able to can sleep soundly at night, knowing we will wake up tomorrow morning safe?
Touch Wood so far so good and yes, the choice of Airbnb is very good too. So far, we tried JB Airbnb (Apr 2017) and KL Airbnb (Sep 2017) . My friend tried Melaka and Penang Airbnb just last Dec 2017 too and gave good reviews! We definitely will try the Airbnbs in other states of Msia in months to come!
Choosing the Right Airbnb is very important, which we also learnt during our Aussie Couple Trip in June 2017. Of coz we cannot expect Msia Airbnb standard to be the same as other countries’. After all, Msia and Sg are pretty new in the Airbnb industry. Hence there aren’t as many choices, maybe due to owner’s uncertainty, and building management restrictions. It can also be because the owners had not seen enough foreign Airbnb to know how to setup a better Airbnb, i.e. not understanding the general Airbnb customers’ needs and wants). And usually owners buy big houses for stay and long term rent, seldom for short term stays like airbnb.
Hiccups when Booking Airbnb
So far, the two Airbnb experiences in Msia were considerably good. But of coz there is no perfect scenario when comes to first few experiences.
There were some minor hiccups too for these two Airbnbs:
1. Our First JB Host played us out
We initially booked a KSL Apartment for our first JB Staycation but last minute, she asked us to cancel our booking because she wants to use the apartment on that weekends. I felt very unhappy over it coz we are not the one at fault but we had to still pay 50% of the costs and get a bad review from Airbnb. We decided to lodge a complaint on this owner and Airbnb management requested to Host to be the one to cancel the booking, hence bearing the compensation.
We two are kind to people in general but it does not mean we are door mats. Why should we suffer when we aren’t at fault?
2. The distance to nearby amenities is relative and not exact
I had to admit it was our ignorance and “carelessness” not to google the JB Airbnb address to plot out its exact location. We simply accept the Host description that the Airbnb is “near” to Legoland and KSL and assumed the Airbnb was in 5 min away from Legoland and in the middle of KSL Mall and Legoland.
We learnt our lessons to realize that the Airbnb was further than I thought it is from Legoland and KSL Mall. Similarly, we read some of the reviews which sounds like the KL Condo was walking distance from Sunway Lagoon, but realized if we do walk it will be 10-15 min via a link-bridge. But since we can drive to wherever we want, I think it was small thing. For non-drivers, you really got to google and map the exact location prior your booking.
3. Most Airbnbs only provide local brand Toiletries and Bath Towel
We had always been fussy and kiasu people when comes to toiletries, so be it Hotel or Airbnb, we will pack our own essential toiletries eg shampoo, shower gel and hair conditioner. We sometimes prefer to bring our own toothbrushes too. Since it was our first experience in Airbnb, I even asked everyone to bring a bath towel each.
But to our surprise, both Msia Airbnbs we stayed in, did provide the basic shampoo and shower gel from their local brands. When I say local brands, it means you may have never seen this brand before in Singapore and all the words on the bottle is in a language you cannot read. But since we brought our own, we did not use theirs. If you are not particular about brands, you can use theirs too. But I heard not all Airbnbs provide toiletries. What you can do, is to check with the Host prior the trip.
Both Airbnbs we stayed in also provided Bath Towels but we did not dare to use them. Maybe we are just too particular about hygiene, so we bought our own Bath Towels.
4. Airbnb may not provide Wifi
The Jb Airbnb provided Wifi but it was like 1-2GB max and it was not enough for the kids to do YouTube streaming at night. Lucky we brought data plan for them.
Since the KL Airbnb was newly furnished, the Host apologised to us that Wifi had not been installed yet. Lucky we brought data plan too. I think the prepaid data plan in Msia quite affordable and you can buy the data plan at the stalls at one of the stopovers, so this is a small matter too.
5. There are NO eateries and 7-11 within premises if we need to grab breakfasts or suppers
Unlike Hotels which have 24 hours room service and buffet breakfasts, we need to pre-purchase food for breakfasts and suppers.
We brought bread and jam from Singapore to JB for breakfasts. And bought cupnoodles from Sunway Pyramid for breakfasts. Apart from these “main courses”, we also packed packet milo & milk and biscuits for suppers too. I guess it is no big matter too unless you are those who need to have staple warm food for breakfasts and suppers.
6. Not all Airbnbs come with Kettle and Cutleries
Unlike Hotels that come with Kettles and simple cutleries, not all Airbnbs come with basic appliances eg Kettles.
The JB Airbnb provides all the appliances, utensils, plates, bowls and cutleries. But coz the KL Airbnb is newly furnished hence they do not have a stove and kettles, nor cutleries and bowls. We had to make milk for James and need hot water for cupnoodles and coffee, so we ended up buying an electrical kettle from Sunway Pyramid.
The two experiences we had were good in general. So I will still highly recommend big families to book Airbnb for family Msia Staycation.
How to Choose a Suitable Airbnb
1. Shop Around and Check the Reviews
It is important to read at least 50% of the reviews before confirming the booking. It is also important to shop around for different options that may suit your family needs. Do not rush into settling with one when you may have better options as you browsed on
Example, if you drive then distance to amenities may not be so crucial. However, if you don’t drive then you have to find a Airbnb near amenities such as Malls or Public Transport. Otherwise will be hard for you to move around.
Look out for reviews from Asians and Singaporeans. Their culture and expectations may be more similar to ours.
2. Private Parking Lot
Do not assume all Condo Airbnbs come with parking. If your Host has a few Airbnb units in the same Condo, he may run out of seasoned parking lots if you did not inform him that you need a parking lot for your period of stay. My KL Host is one good example, who told us he has 3-4 Airbnb Units in the same Condo, so he is entitled to 4 parking lots. If we didn’t tell them we need a lot and the other guests came in two cars then we may not have a seasoned lot to park our car. Hence we will need to pay for our parking to the building management.
3. Entrance and Internal Security
I cannot say I do not have worries about my family safety. Hence, we only chose Airbnbs which have Entrance Security and Internal Security. Meaning there is a guardhouse, and the internal security do their regular checks.
Leisure Farm development is made up of many different smaller developments. So it has an entrance security. And each smaller development has their entrance security too. They also do their rounds around the vicinity regularly.
The KL Condo has a very strict security, hence the Host had to pick us up personally outside the security then bring us in. The security guards also do their rounds regularly.
Bearing the above in mind, you should be able to find a suitable and “safe” Msia Airbnbs.