Malaysia is one of the most developed countries in Southeast Asia. Home to numerous beautiful beaches, historical buildings and biodiversity, I’d say Malaysia shouldn’t be missed out in your Southeast Asia travel itinerary. Today, let’s talk about how much does it cost to travel in Malaysia to help you plan your Malaysia travel budget focusing on affordable
This is a guest post written by our fellow travel blogger, Yen from Swing Abroad. He will share some really amazing insights on the cost of travel in Malaysia and how much does it really cost to travel in Malaysia on a budget!
The exchange rate that was used in this post – 1USD = 4.09 MYR
How expensive is Malaysia: what to expect? Cost of travel in Malaysia on a budget
First of all, if you want a quick answer, Malaysia is a lot cheaper than you think. The cost of affordable travel in Malaysia is slightly higher than in Vietnam, for example, but overall, Malaysia is not expensive. Reasonably-priced accommodations can be found almost all year round through online booking websites. You’ll travel comfortably if you’re willing to spend $50 (MYR200) per day. For budget travelers, $30 (MYR120) per day is enough to take everything in. Let’s dive into the details now.
How expensive is food in Malaysia?
Depending on which city in Malaysia you’re
In Kuala Lumpur, be prepared to spend around MYR8-10 ($2-3) for a simple lunch or dinner in a local café. In restaurants, you’ll need to budget around MYR20-30 (up to $7-8) for a meal.
In smaller cities like Penang, Ipoh, and Melaka, street foods or foods in local cafes cost around MYR5-8 (up to 2 USD) for a fulfilling meal. In the restaurants, the prices will be almost the same, around MYR15-30 (up to $7) for each meal. Not a big difference compared to Kuala Lumpur.
For Johor Bahru, due to its close location to Singapore, everything tends to be more expensive there, especially when it comes to foods. However, the great thing about Johor Bahru is that the price differences between local cafes and proper restaurants do not differ a lot. That means, the foods in local café cost around MYR6-9 per meal, while the restaurants’ menu can fill your stomach in under MYR15. Not much of a price gap compared to other cities, right?
Alcohol prices in Malaysia
Malaysia is a Muslim country. 70% of Malaysians are Muslim, while 30% are not, so you’ll meet multiple religions in the country. And just so you know, alcohol is prohibited to Muslims in Malaysia. That’s probably why alcohol is taxed extremely heavily in Malaysia, with prices on par with Western countries. One can of 325ml beer in a convenience store cost you around MYR9-12 ($3) In restaurants and bars, be prepared to pay 1.5 times more, or even double!
But still, that depends on where you’re
Transportation costs in Malaysia
Within a city, GrabCar is the most popular and efficient way of transportation. There used to be Uber in Malaysia until GrabCar acquired it in 2018, now, there are no significant competitors for this giant car-sharing app company. How does it work? Well, it works the same way as Uber, other than the fare is fixed. There were cases where drivers take the longer routes and take advantages of the Uber meter system.
In Kuala Lumpur, if you prefer a more economical way, take public transport. There are a dozen of railways, bringing access to all locations in the Klang Valley. Outside of Kuala Lumpur, public transports are not as reliable. In Penang, public transportation might take you a long time because they never arrive at bus stations on time. So I’d go for GrabCar especially if I don’t have much time to explore around.
For flights, AirAsia has the cheapest flight if you’re
Most people prefer
Nope, there are no sleeper buses like those you found in Vietnam and Laos. So if you’re
From Penang to Kuala Lumpur, the buses cost around MYR30-40, while buses to Johor Bahru might cost up to MYR70-100.
Accommodation prices in Malaysia. Budget travel in Malaysia
If you look deeper and compare the Google Reviews of the hostels and hotels in Malaysia with, say, those in Vietnam, you’ll find that Malaysia’s hostels usually have a very low review rating, which might be distracting for
I’ve stayed in lots of hostels up until now, and most of them just don’t seem to be that bad after all. So don’t care too much about the ratings.
To find the best deals, always use online booking from websites like Booking and Agoda. Agoda is particularly huge in Asia, so definitely check it out. You’re very likely to get deals at 50% discount or more.
For example, if you book a room at the counter physically, the double room might be MYR80, but if you’re lucky, you can get the double room for MYR40. I’ve done that, several times, so give it a go!
Backpacker hostels in Malaysia range between MYR20-30 for a dorm bed could be more if you prefer more comfortable beds. A double room would be around MYR50-80 for those who’re traveling on a budget in Malaysia. The range would be too big if I were to talk about more luxury options. Note from Liza: As you know, luxury hotels are expensive everywhere. But in Asia, you can afford luxury for less, for example, we stayed in a really amazing hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia for a very affordable price. In case you’re interested, here’s my post.
But comparatively, accommodation in Malaysia are not the main spending of your Malaysia travel budget, unless you’re a proper luxury
Daily travel budget in Malaysia – how expensive is backpacking and budget traveling in Malaysia?
Let’s say you’re a solo backpacker who is tight on budget and doesn’t care much about being comfortable; it’s possible to get by at MYR50 per day (that’s around $13 – which is wow, pretty cheap). But that would be compromising everything, no drinking, no nightlife, everything would be basic.
Here’s a rundown:
Accommodation – MYR20
Food & Snacks – MYR20
Transport – MYR10
But for me, I would expect to spend at least MYR100-120 per day, (that’s up to $40) and I don’t drink. There are a lot of attractions in Malaysia, and most of them charge entrance fees. Some are really worth visiting, so don’t be too tight on yourself. Did I mention the great foods too?
Summary of the cost to travel in Malaysia on a budget
Malaysia is a wonderland if you’re looking for different cultures and vibes. It’s multiracial, with 3 very different main ethnics: Malays, Chinese and Indians. All with different religion and cultural practices. In Malaysia, you’ll get a taste of them all in one go. Malaysia is not expensive and it’s possible to enjoy Malaysia on a budget. I hope you enjoyed this post about the cost of travel in Malaysia on a
Guest post by Zheng Yen Ang
Travel blogger at Swing Abroad