Budget Malaysia - Is Malaysia an expensive country?



“Is Malaysia an expensive country?” is a question we get frequently. And the answer is simple: like other countries in this region of Asia, Malaysia is a budget destination. Perhaps just a bit more expensive than its neighbor Thailand or, for example, Cambodia and Vietnam, but very cheap compared to Europe. Discover below our budget for a 3-week roundtrip in Malaysia.

What does transportation in Malaysia cost?

Grab and Taxi

We ourselves have always used the application GRAB and this usually cost us €3 to €5 per ride to get to all the tourist spots. For the long day trips we booked a Grab of 4 hours this cost us about €20 in total. Since almost all cabs run with Grab, the prices for a cab are about the same. You may therefore roughly calculate that you pay about €5 per hour.

Public transport

Trains in particular are an ideal way to get yourself around Malaysia. Using a train will keep your budget a little lower in Malaysia. For example, you pay €7 for a ride from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh. With a rented car or cab, the price for this route is higher, moreover, you will be on the road longer. The price for a bus is very dependent on the region but usually you won’t pay more than €1 for a short ride. Taking a ferry, in turn, will be around €20 per person.

Domestic flights

Sometimes a domestic flight is the fastest and also the cheapest solution. For example, we flew from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur for barely 30 euros per person. The cost of a ticket depends on the season and distance.

Budget Maleisië 2
Is Malaysia an expensive country?

What does an Accommodation cost in Malaysia?

You can make Malaysia as expensive or as cheap as you want. So you can already find a decent hotel room from 40 euros per night but also a villa with private pool from 800 euros per night. Usually, each hotel also has individual rooms rented out by people who have bought a room here. You can find these rooms on both Airbnb and The price for these rooms start from 30 euros per night. On some islands like Penang and Langkawi you can often charge double the price.

What does food cost in Malaysia?

What we like about Malaysia and by extension Asia is undoubtedly the cost of food. Because food in Malaysia is spot on. For example, we ate a main course in several food markets for less than €3 per person. Of course, Malaysia also has more expensive tourist restaurants but those who pay a little attention can usually get by on a budget of 15 euros per person per day.

What do trips in Malaysia cost?

To our great surprise, most excursions in Malaysia are free. For example, for the famous Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, like any other temple, you pay absolutely nothing. And that is quite remarkable for such a tourist attraction. You can book a lot of tours for these temples online but booking a cheap Grab is a much better option. Other excursions where you have to pay entrance fees average around 25 euros per person.

Budget Maleisië
Is Malaysia an expensive country?


A souvenir in Malaysia, like everything else, is not very expensive. Only at the tea plantations are the prices for tea on the higher side. For example, we bought tea at 40 euros. Those wishing to buy souvenirs in Malaysia are best advised to do so on the islands of Langkawi, Labuan or Tioman. This is because these islands are ‘Duty Free’ which means you don’t have to pay VAT.

Tipping in Malaysia is not mandatory nor is it expected. Indeed, waiters and employees in hotels have relatively acceptable wages. Restaurants routinely charge as much as 10 percent service charge and 5 percent tax. At food markets, this is not done.

Budget for three weeks Malaya

Below we are happy to give an overview of our budget for three weeks in Malaysia. This budget is calculated per person for a trip of two people. When you travel alone, the price for accommodation per person will be higher.

  • Accommodation = €575
  • Food and Drink = €360
  • Transportation = €160
  • Excursions = €100
  • Extras = €70
  • Total per person: €1265

Paying in Malaysia

Although you can pay by credit card or visa in many places, it is still recommended to withdraw cash and carry it in your pocket. In fact, in many food markets you can only pay cash. In addition, the payment terminal does not always work in every store.

Is Malaysia an expensive country? Our opinion

Malaysia is definitely a cheap country. Compared to Vietnam and Thailand, it is a slightly more expensive country though. But certainly still much cheaper than Western countries. In addition, the quality of the hotels and restaurants is particularly high compared to other countries in the region. Malaysia is therefore, in our opinion, the ideal country to get acquainted with Asia.

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