Honestly, there’s a lot of stuff going on during the event, so here’s a few worth mentioning. First, you can enjoy multicultural performances from various countries around the world. And you can enter into a lucky draw contest where you stand a chance to win free flight tickets and tours to amazing destinations around the world.
So, what can you expect from Matta Fair?
They also have various booths for foods as well where you can enjoy delicacies from countries around the world. And if you’re some kind of a big shot influencer, they also set up beautiful sets/backdrops so you can get that extra likes and grow your following (Wow, so thoughtful).
But the highlight of the day is the fact that you can get cheap deals and packages to amazing destinations locally and around the world. Be it in Europe, Asia, America, Middle East, or if you’re looking to find cheap deals to perform your Umrah and Haji - they got it all.
Of course lah, the tour agents don’t want to lose money what. So whenever you buy a tour or package with any of the agents during Matta Fair, remember these 5 points.
With so many cheap deals thrown around, surely there are some catches to them, right?
1. Your accommodations might be compromised
Your accommodation or hotel might be downgraded from 5 stars to 3 stars, for example. Or you might not have a breakfast package at all. Just take a look at the Cambodia tour package from one of the travel agents. You can clearly see that they assign hotels with a lower star rating as the package gets cheaper.
Nevertheless, from what we’ve discovered, you still get accommodation even if you choose the cheapest package, although it might not be as comfortable as you’d have wanted. Like you might get just a room with a fan, or no fan at all.
At the end of the day, you always get what you pay for. Having said that, you can save yourself from the nightmare of a bad hotel stay by doing a quick online search on the hotel that you’re staying. Make sure to check the reviews because they often paint the most accurate picture of that particular hotel.
2. You might not be able to visit certain attractions/places
This one is pretty obvious lah kan, because the only reason why agents can give you cheap prices is that they excluded some places from your tours and packages. So, you won’t be able to visit every tourist hotspot that you desired.
Let’s take for example a trip to Cambodia. You can see that there are various packages offered for the Cambodia trip with different price points.
I mean, it’s common sense lah kan that the more time you spend in Cambodia, the more you get to see, right? And if you nak jugak compare the package, we’ve done the hard work for you.
Just a quick look also you can brain this thing. Obviously, you’ll get more activities done and more places covered if you choose the 5D4N package as compared to the 3D2N one.
3. Hidden fees might be lurking in fine prints
Sometimes the agents are very cunning and only display the base price in big banners and posters. For example, you might see a tour to London displayed at RM2000, but by the time read through the fine print of their brochure, suddenly you realise that they are going to charge you credit card surcharge fees plus other fees which add up significantly to your final bill. Just take a look at point #7 of the terms and condition for the Cambodia trip.
So many charges and beyond their control lagi. Make sure you keep a watchful eye on this and run through the numbers with the agents before purchasing.
So far the Matta Fair organizers are defending the fee surcharges on the reason that they are operating on a thin margin already.
As for Airlines who participated in Matta Fair, people used to complain about these hidden fees which were never made transparent. However, due to the increasing public pressure, Malaysian Aviation Commission has recently amended the aviation law which forces Airlines to publish the final price of the airfare in advertising and promotion materials and also at points of sales. And it has been effective since the 1st of June 2019. Great job, people!
4. You can only travel on certain dates
Just see Point #8 on the previous terms and conditions.
It is stated there that blackout dates may apply depending on your date of travel. So if you’re unlucky, you might not be able to travel on the specific dates that you want. FYI, blackout dates usually fall towards the end of the year when everyone is having their school holiday. And it’s probably going to cost you more since it’s the peak season. So you might want to consider travelling on other dates to the travel destinations that you dreamed of.
5. Price subject to change
Almost every brochure and flier will carry this term and conditions, like the Cambodia trip just now.
We don’t know for certain what may cause those prices changes but you have the accept the risk that additional charges may incur somewhere along the line of your travel journey. So be prepared for surprises.
Actually, how much money can you save?
According to some people who have been to the previous Matta Fair event, they say that almost 90% of the deals can be bought online, and some say it’s even cheaper.
Eh, if like that then no point going lah?
Not necessarily. Despite their reviews, Matta Fair do offer some good deals that could save you anywhere from RM200 all the way to RM5000+, depending on the packages.
But of course, we try not to trust everything on face value as people can claim anything online right? So we did some detective work on this to make sure they’re not lying.
So in this case, we’ve drilled down one of the 4D3N Melbourne Tour offered by Holidayidea.com.my, where they claim to save us RM290. It’s the cheapest Melbourne tour that we find so far, and at RM728, it’s a no brainer right?
But of course, when we take a look at what’s included in the tour, they only provide
- Airport transfer
- Hotel with breakfast
- Hardcopy photobook of your travel (who needs this anyway lol)
Flights, travel insurance and tour are not covered. That means you have to pandai-pandai plan your own tour once you got there.
(Just a disclaimer, we do not endorse Holidayidea.com.my nor do we get any commission for writing about their tour package here)
So let’s start with the accommodation first.
As per the tour description, you will be staying at Ibis Style Kingsgate Hotel, which is the cheapest hotel option there is. And so did a little math test on this, and when we try to book the same hotel on 1st to 4th September 2019, the cheapest rate that we got is RM803 - with breakfast of course, excluding all taxes and surcharges.
And since we don’t have airport transfer services, we definitely have to book a cab or uber.
So we did some digging and found out the cheapest rate is from Didi - at a base rate of AUD1.98 and 30sen per minute. We looked up on google map that a trip from Melbourne Airport to Ibis Hotel is going to cost 28 minutes in total. So one trip will cost you around AUD10.38 (1.98 + 30cent x 28 min) and a roundtrip will cost you AUD20.76 which is roughly RM58.88 (1AUD =2.8362 at time of conversion)
By now, if you choose the Do-It-Yourself method, you would already incur a total cost of RM861.88. If you opt for the tour package, you would’ve saved RM133.88 so far. But we got one final stuff to compare with, which is the hardcover photo. I mean it’s totally unnecessary but since it’s included, we might as well compare it!
So how much will a photobook cost you?
We did a quick search on Google and found this online Australian company that list their cheapest hardcover photo book for AUD32.95 which is around RM93.45 (1AUD =2.8362)
So in total, by doing everything yourself, you will spend a total of RM955.33, which is RM227.33 more than the one offered by the tour, even though they claimed that it will save you RM290.
Still not bad what? You still get to save money, and you still get a free hardcover photobook of your travel so you can later tell your cucu-cicit about your grand travel story.
So, is it worth it buying tours and packages from Matta Fair?
It’s pretty obvious, right? Considering tax and other fees aside, you still get to save money and still have the option to travel freely or within a tour when you buy any of the deals during Matta Fair.
But if you really die die want to save money, then we suggest that you choose your stay at any backpacker hotel. Or opt for couchsurfing, which is totally free. You can stay with any local host for free, as long as you plan in advance. But make sure you vet through the host’s profile and their reviews because we often heard cases of the host making sexual advancement on their guests. Scary but true.
To conclude, and based on the facts alone, we feel that buying deals from Matta Fair is pretty good deal actually. And you really get what you pay for.
Still, with all things said, it’s important that you get yourself covered for your trip. We can’t always predict and be aware of what’s happening around us during our trip, but we can always protect ourselves in case of unfortunate events just like this Malaysian who suffered a spinal injury during his trip to Sri Lanka. And by getting travel insurance, you can protect yourself from various other mishaps such as loss of belongings, flight delays, lost luggage, and even get all your medical fees covered in case of accident or injury. So be sure to get those travel insurance okay!