Retire early and travel cheap with million dollar views

Rental options are abundant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and prices are reasonable for Americans who want to retire early and travel cheap. But it doesn’t feel cheap because the dollar goes so much further in Malaysia than other cities where we stayed in 2018: London, Barcelona, Rome, Lisbon, and others.

As usual, we got a discount for our month-long stay through Airbnb. (Some owners offer monthly discounts; read more about that here.) This was our view from the bedroom and the living room for one month:

We are privileged, lucky people. It’s a view we’ll never forget.

Many high-rise condominium complexes in town boast amenities like skyline views and infinity pools. We only have experience with one high rise — The Robertson — and it was fantastic. We stayed in a north-facing, one-bedroom apartment on the 38th floor to get that view.

We really lucked out with our discount – we paid just $21 a night! But I just ran a quick search, and apartments like the one we rented in The Robertson range from $23 to $35 a night without any discount, depending on the unit’s views and how well it’s furnished. (Search for rentals in this building on Airbnb here.)

Now factor in amenities and other pluses:

  • The Robertson is located on the edge of trendy, tourist area called “Bukit Bintang” and the building is within walking distance to Chinatown, the train, monorail
  • The building is brand new (autumn 2017)
  • The infinity pool on the 6th floor is great for laps and has lots of shade
  • The soaking pool on the roof top has breathtaking views (we often had the “sky pool” to ourselves, especially right before closing time at 10:00 p.m.)
  • The gym is perfect for a basic indoor workout (there also is some outdoor equipment)
  • There’s a giant chess game (too bad the spouse wouldn’t accept my challenge), putting green, game rooms, meeting rooms, library and more
  • There are enough elevators so we never had to wait too long
  • Swings near the 6th floor pool offer a city view in the shade
  • There’s plenty of parking (if you have a car – we didn’t)
  • The security team is courteous and helpful (guards patrolled all areas often, but never felt invasive)
  • There are great cafes, restaurants, and a grocery store on the ground floor in front of the complex (less expensive grocery stores are within walking distance)

Where else are you going to find a comparable view and amenities for roughly $30 a night?

Our apartment was sparkling clean and it had everything we needed – including super-fast internet. We were comfortable for the month, and we really enjoyed the amenity list above. I especially appreciated the lap pool and gym as I continue to get better following a bilateral mastectomy for breast cancer.

Our unit’s owner is one of the nicest Malaysians we have met. He was responsive and helpful, and he taught us a bit about Malaysian culture and cuisine. We enjoyed our meals with him and were delighted to meet his lovely family. This is why we use Airbnb: while we like to be independent travelers, and while we certainly appreciate a wonderful list of amenities, we also want to learn about the cultures in the places we visit from locals, and landlords are a great source of information.

I’ll miss Kuala Lumpur. Bukit Bintang is a lot of fun – especially when it comes to food and culture watching at the malls. And I will miss our million dollar view at The Robertson. The rental had the most amenities we’ve had yet. It felt like resort living. It was a nice treat for us.

However, we Earth Vagabonds get the travel itch just about every month, and so we move on.

🙂


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