Penang is the most affordable Malaysian island destination and also home to the most economical hotel room for two.
This result showed up in second annual TripIndex Island Sun report, which compares the cost of a day out and an overnight stay for two in sixteen popular island destinations across South-East Asia.
Penang ranked nine on the list despite having the cheapest rooms. Average costs were taken for the combined costs for two people to enjoy a one night stay in a four-star hotel, a two-course meal, drinks, a massage as well as rental of bicycles and kayaks.
The island state's ranking was pulled down mainly by the more exorbitant costs for a massage (RM413.66 or S$160), bicycle rental (RM111) and for a meal which includes coconut juice (RM174).
Sure the prices of food has gone up especially in Penang but you might question how it comes to RM174 for a two-course meal? What TripAdvisor has done is average the cost for a dinner for two of a traditional or common two-course meal at three mid-range restaurants.
Gili Trawangan in Indonesia, offers the best value for Malaysian travellers this year when it comes to an island getaway, according to the report.
It gets the first place from a total TripIndex cost of RM726.37. At the other end of the spectrum, a trip to Sentosa in Singapore will cost three times more at RM2,577.28.
"This year's results show that despite their popularity, Indonesia and Thailand are still home to some of the most affordable island getaways in Southeast Asia," commented Jean Ow-Yeong, TripAdvisor spokesperson.
This year's results show that travellers heading to islands in Indonesia can expect to save the most, as besides Gili Trawangan , Bali (#2) and Lombok (#4) rank amongst the top five most affordable islands at combined TripIndex costs of RM837.40 and RM898.98 respectively.
Gili Trawangan and Bali were also recognised amongst the top ten islands in Asia, ranking fifth and second in the 2014 Travellers' Choice Islands Awards respectively.
After Penang island, with a TripIndex cost of RM1,183.96, Pulau Redang (#11), Pulau Tioman (#12) and Langkawi (#13) were the other Malaysian islands included in this study, with total costs of RM1,425.00, RM1,504.56 and RM1,587.72 respectively.
Palawan, has the most expensive stay in a 4-star hotel room, more than three times the price in Penang. However, it is also home to the most affordable meals, drinks and massage for two, with a meal for two costing RM60.34, drinks for two RM7.30 and massage for two at a spa in a four-star hotel RM121.69.
With the highest total TripIndex cost, Sentosa also recorded the biggest costs for meals, drinks, bicycle rental and massage for two.
However, the island is home to wide selection of themed attractions suitable for the whole family, including Singapore's first integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa, which operates South-East Asia's first Universal Studios theme park, S.E.A. Aquarium, Maritime Experiential Museum and the Adventure Cove Waterpark.
Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A. Aquarium were also awarded the 2014 Travellers' Choice Attractions Awards, placing first and seventh in Asia in the Amusement Parks and Aquariums categories respectively. Sentosa also provides free transportation within the island with the Sentosa Bus, Sentosa Express, and Beach Trams.