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How much does traveling in Malaysia cost? † Everything about budget and costs

Malaysia is a fun and diverse country to travel or backpack in. But how much does traveling in Malaysia actually cost? And what do you pay with? In Malaysia you pay with the Malaysian Ringgit and you can find ATMs everywhere. You can choose to pay with cash, but in many places it is also no problem to pay with your credit or debit card. Even on the market you can often pay contactless these days as you are used to in Europe† During our last four week trip through Malaysia, we kept a record of all expenses. In this article you can read everything about the costs for transport, hotels, excursions and food in Malaysia.

UPDATED 2022: Covid-19 has had a major impact on the travel industry. As a result, flights and accommodations have become considerably more expensive and there will also be severe inflation in 2022. The page has therefore been updated with the most recent prices that we received from travelers who visited the country in 2022.

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How much does a trip through Malaysia cost?

How much does it cost to travel or backpack in Malaysia for a few weeks or months? Halfway through the blog I have listed a number of basic costs for you so that you can easily calculate what it will cost you, depending on your travel style and the length of your trip or stay. For convenience, I have also converted everything to euros so that it is extra clear for you. 

Also read: Top 10 | What are the best backpacking destinations in Asia?

A fun and affordable alternative: traveling around Malaysia by scooter
A fun and affordable alternative: traveling around Malaysia by scooter

Accommodation costs Malaysia

Hostel dorms cost between 30 and 60 MYR (€7-14) per night, with bigger cities like Kuala Lumpur and George Town on the higher end of that spectrum. A private room in a hostel costs about MYR 90 (€20) per night. Free wifi and free breakfast are common, although most hostels don't have kitchens if you want to cook your own food.

Budget hotels with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and free breakfast start at around MYR 90 (€20) per night and are fairly consistent throughout Malaysia. For a 250-star hotel, expect to pay closer to MYR 55 (€XNUMX).

The Marian Hotel, Borneo
The Marian Hotel, Borneo

Airbnb is also available across the country, with shared accommodation spaces starting at around MYR 60 (€14) per night, while a private room starts from MYR 167 (€35). Expect to pay around MYR 250 (€55) per night for an entire house or apartment.

Food and drink costs in Malaysia

Street food (such as stuffed pancakes, skewers and bowls of noodle soup) is the cheapest and tastiest way to eat in Malaysia. Each dish costs just between MYR 5 (€1) and MYR 20 (€4).

Also read: Eat safe street food during your World Trip | 11 Tips

You can expect to pay MYR 10-20 (€2-4) for a meal at a Malaysian restaurant, which includes food such as nasi lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves) and rojak (chopped fruit and dough). Simple dishes such as fried noodles or a bowl of soup are no more than 15 MYR (€3) each. Traditional drinks, such as the tarik (black tea with condensed milk), cost around 4 MYR (€0,80).

A typical Malaysian plate of food
A typical Malaysian plate of food

Fast food (such as McDonald's) costs about MYR 20 (€4) for a combination meal, but other western meals can be twice or three times more expensive. Pizza and burgers can cost up to MYR 60 (€12).

Beer costs about 10 MYR (€2,5) in a restaurant and 5 MYR (€1) in a supermarket. A week of groceries costs between 100-200 MYR (€ 20-40). Stick to local foods, as western specialties like wine and cheese will really destroy your grocery budget. Smart shopping can save a lot of money in Malaysia, especially in the longer term.

Daily budget travel or backpacking in Malaysia

Low budget

With a budget for backpackers you spend about 160 MYR (€35) per day. This budget will cover a bed in a hostel dorm. You mainly eat street food, use public transport and do about one activity a day.

A beach near Kota Kinabalu, Borneo
Chris on the beach near Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

Average budget

For a average budget from about 350 MYR (€75) per day, you get a private room in a hostel or budget hotel, eat in a restaurant once a day, eat a lot of street food, use public transport and do more activities. With this budget you often go out on your own and, where possible, you walk around free of charge.

High budget

With a luxury budget spend a minimum of 900 MYR (€200) per day. You stay in four star hotels, eat whatever you want, drink whatever you want. You'll take pedicabs and taxis everywhere and do lots of guided activities, door-to-door. Everything is possible in Malaysia, including a luxurious, lazy tour where you let yourself be pampered.

You can use the table below to get an idea of ​​how much you should budget on a daily basis, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind that these are daily averages: some days you spend more, other days you spend less. With the table below I want to give you a general idea about the prices and costs of travel in Malaysia, whether you are a budget traveler or more luxurious options. Prices are in EURO.

AccommodationEat DrinkTransportationattractionsPer day
Backpacker 10€ 10€ 5€ 10€ 35€
Mid-range 20€ 15€ 10€ 30€ 75€
Luxury 50€ 25€ 25€ 100€ 200€

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Tips to save money in Malaysia

You can get far in Malaysia with little money, but those who are not careful will quickly pay too much. So pay close attention and make the right choices. Below are some handy and simple tips that can save you a lot of money during your trip through Malaysia.

Tours and activities are quite affordable in Malaysia
Tours and activities are quite affordable in Malaysia

Taxis

Taxis are usually not metered in Malaysia, so make sure you agree on the fare before you go. However, there are now taxi apps available in Malaysia (such as Grave), which makes it a lot easier to estimate costs.

Camping

It is possible to camp in Taman Negara to save on accommodation costs – expect to pay around 10 MYR (€2 EUR) per night.

Eat street food

Street Food stalls are the place to go for delicious food such as various barbecue skewers, fresh fish and baked vegetables. Meals cost just a few euros. In my opinion, this is the best food in the country – and the cheapest!

Street Food in Malaysia
Street Food in Malaysia

Do not drink

Since Malaysia is a Muslim country, drinking alcohol is frowned upon but it happens. However, to limit it, the authorities have made drinking very, very expensive. Save your drink for countries like Thailand, , where the alcohol flows more freely and is a lot more budget-friendly.

Take a free walking tour

A free walking tour with Airotour is a great way to explore Kuala Lumpur. Not only do you get to see the sights, but you also learn about the history and culture. Win win!

Also read: 3 days Kuala Lumpur | Complete city guide with 15 activities

Travel in low season

In the low season, Malaysia costs the least. So traveling during the monsoon season (late November to mid February) is an easy way to save money on both flights and accommodation. With significantly fewer visitors, everything is cheaper. Skip the east coast to avoid the biggest rainfall.

Use Grab

Grave is similar to Uber and is often cheaper than both taxis and tuk-tuks, especially if you get a ride from the airport in Kuala Lumpur). Tuk-tuks are known to charge higher rates with tourists, negotiating is often difficult. With Grab you know exactly what you pay in advance.

Escape the city

Many of the popular areas in Kuala Lumpur are designed for tourists and can be expensive. Skip the crowds and go somewhere to Pataling Jaya (location here ), a smaller city near Kuala Lumpur that has all the benefits of KL (such as a metro connection), without the drawbacks (high prices).

Also read: Malaysia considers tougher laws and tougher penalties against LGBT

Things to Do in Malaysia

Are you still orientating and you don't know exactly what there is to see and do in Malaysia† Or are you just looking for Inspiration? Whether you go to Borneo want to go for the beautiful jungle or want to scooter in Kota Kinabalu, we have already seen and written a lot of this beautiful country. All Malaysia articles can be found on our Malaysia page.

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Chris

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