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Malaysia Travel Budget: How Much Does A Trip To Malaysia Cost

Malaysia is a beautiful country in Southeast Asia that consists of Peninsular Malaysia and part of Borneo.

Known for its multicultural population (Malay, Chinese, Indian, and many other nationalities) as well as for its beautiful beaches, interesting cities, and delicious food, Malaysia is a great destination for all types of travelers.

Malaysia is also a great place for budget travelers, from cheap accommodation to €0.20 nasi lemak, your money can go a long way in Malaysia!

Curious about our Malaysia travel budget? Keep reading for all the nitty-gritty details…

Malaysia travel budget

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur twilight

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Malaysia daily budget infographic

In the infographic below you can find a detailed budget breakdown of our Malaysia trip to give you a quick overview of how much (or actually how little) you can spend during your trip in Malaysia.

Of course, the amount you'll spend depends on your style of travel, the length of your trip, and the type of accommodation you choose.

However, compared to countries such as Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe, Malaysia is a very affordable destination.

Generally speaking, you can travel around Malaysia on a budget of $30-$60 per day (per person). As you can see in the infographic, we spent $67 per day as a couple.

This Malaysia travel cost post includes all the expenses during our 12-day trip to Malaysia, as well as a breakdown per category (accommodation, transport, food, and activities).

Malaysia on a budget: essential facts and figures

  • I traveled to Malaysia with my husband, all expenses are for the two of us together.
  • We spent 12 days in Malaysia and I recorded our Malaysia expenses meticulously. We entered the country via Johor Bahru in the South and exited via the Thai-Malaysian border just above Changlung.
  • In this Malaysia budget post, I quote prices in Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) as well as Euros (€) and US Dollars ($). When we were traveling in Malaysia, €1 was approximately 4MYR and $1 around 3,5MYR. Check the current exchange rate here.
  • In total, we spent 2796MYR (€696/$804) in the 12 days we were in Malaysia. This comes down to an average of 233MYR (€58/$67) a day and includes all expenses in Malaysia plus transportation costs to the Thai Border.

Important note: the only costs I did not include in our Malaysia trip budget are the costs for diving at Tioman.

Why are these costs not included?

Diving is expensive and including these costs would inflate our Malaysia daily expenses and not give an accurate representation of how much money in Malaysia you need on an average day.

Most people won't go diving and therefore won't incur these expenses, which is why I left them out of our budget for Malaysia.

Tea plantations Malaysia

How to save money when planning a trip to Malaysia

The good news is: traveling to Malaysia on a tight budget is definitely possible!

That being said, it's important to plan carefully, look for discounts, and be flexible with your itinerary to make the most of your travel budget for Malaysia.

Avoid peak season (travel during the low season instead)

Start by researching the best time of year to visit Malaysia as flight costs and hotel prices can vary throughout the year. Malaysia actually has two high seasons:

  • December until February
  • June until August

During these months accommodation prices are at their highest. So if you have the option to be flexible with your travel dates and able to travel during shoulder season (from March to June), this is a great way to save money on your Malaysia trip.

Save money on flights

You can look for cheap flights to Malaysia on websites like Try different travel dates and see how this affects the price of your flight.

Generally, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Airlines often offer discounted fares on these days, so it's worth checking the booking sites and comparing prices on different days of the week.

You’ll get a better deal by booking your flight in advance. For domestic flights 1-3 months before your trip is ideal.

Although we got lucky and landed a great deal on last-minute tickets from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi. Reputable low-cost airlines in Malaysia are JetStar, Malindo Air, and Air Asia.

For international flights, it’s best to book 2-8 months in advance. Tickets to Kuala Lumpur are pretty much always the cheapest option.

That being said, you can also choose to fly into Singapore and spend a couple of days exploring the city before traveling to Malaysia overland.

Lastly, you may be able to find cheaper flights if you're willing to be flexible with your departure and arrival times.

Sure, it’s not ideal to arrive in the middle of the night, but if it saves you hundreds of dollars it’s worth losing one night of good sleep.

✈️ Click here to find the best ticket deals

Book your accommodation in advance

Once you've got your flights booked, it’s time to research budget accommodation. I always use Agoda and Booking to find the best value-for-money accommodation for our trips.

I recommend checking both platforms before you book to make sure you get the best deals on hotel rooms.

Please note that Agoda includes taxes in their price whereas Booking doesn't always include this. Make sure to check this before finalizing your booking.

Also, if you're in a country with hefty ATM fees or a limit on how much cash you can withdraw per transaction it can be better to book with Agoda as you can often pay online with your credit card (thereby reducing your need for cash).

Plan your Southeast Asia trip like a pro with these tools:
✈️ Find the best flight deals on
? Book your transport tickets (train, bus, ferry, minivan, and more) via 12Go.Asia
?️ Find your dream accommodation on or Agoda.
? Book the best tours with Klook and Get Your Guide.
? Plan your journey with the Lonely Planet.
?️ Travel safely and get reliable travel insurance from Safety Wing.

Cost of travel in Malaysia

Now that you know some great ways to save money in the planning phase of your Malaysia trip, it's time for a deep dive into our Malaysia travel expenses. Our daily expenses can be divided into four categories:

  1. Accommodation costs: 39% of our daily travel costs
  2. Transportation costs: 22% of our daily travel costs
  3. Cost of food and drinks: 33% of our daily travel costs
  4. Activity costs: 6% of our daily travel costs

Malaysia budget travel

1. Cost of accommodation in Malaysia

We stayed at six different hotels during our 12-day trip, spending 91MYR / €23 / $26 on an average day. This adds up to a total of 1092MYR (€276/$312) spent on accommodation.

We stayed in a private room or bungalow with ensuite bathrooms. In the table below you can find the budget accommodations in Malaysia where we stayed during our trip (only the ones I recommend and could find online).

WhereHotelPrice paid per nightBook
Kuala LumpurLantern Hotel€25/$28Click here
LangkawiNR Langkawi Motel€25/$28Click here
TiomanBamboo Hill€25/$28Click here

Note: Prices for these hotels depend on the time of year and how far in advance you book. Therefore, the prices mentioned above are a rough indication of the price per night to help you compare the different options. Use ‘click here' to see the latest prices on Agoda and Booking and book ahead to get the best deal.

Budget hotels we stayed at in Malaysia

  • Bamboo Hill (Tioman Island): these beautiful wooden bungalows are built against a rock and surrounded by trees. It's a very popular accommodation and often fully booked. Book here.
  • The Lantern Hotel (Kuala Lumpur): rooms are small, but comfortable and clean. WiFi is good and great coffee is served in the communal area on the first floor. Book here.
  • NR Langkawi Motel (Langkawi): a lovely family-run hotel just outside of Pantai Cenang. The room is large, clean, and comfortable, and has a little porch where you can relax. Book here.

2. Cost of transport in Malaysia

Let’s take a closer look at public transportation in Malaysia. There are many ways to travel around the country, such as trains, local buses, taxis, and minivans.

A budget-friendly way to travel in Malaysia is by catching a bus. Bus services are available in all of the major cities and most of the smaller towns as well.

The easiest way to get from A to B in Malaysia is by booking your transportation ticket via 12Go Asia. This is an online platform where you can book tickets for trains, buses, ferries, minivans, and private transfers all around Southeast Asia.

I've used 12Go Asia several times and had great experiences with both the ease of booking on the platform itself as well as their fast and friendly customer service when I needed to amend our booking.

For example, you can use 12Go Asia to book tickets from:

How much did we spend on transportation in Malaysia?

Traveling in Malaysia was easy and cheap. Our transportation costs were 51MYR / €12,50 / $14,50 on an average day, bringing the total costs for transport in 12 days to 612MYR (€150/$174).

3. Cost of food and drinks in Malaysia

Malaysia is a food lover's paradise! A visit to Malaysia would not be complete without trying some of the country's famous dishes. Some of the must-try dishes include:

  • Nasi Lemak
  • Char Kway Teow
  • Nasi Kandar
  • Mee Goreng
  • Roti Canai
  • Laksa

All of these dishes are packed with flavor and are sure to have your taste buds dancing. And there's more good news: the food in Malaysia is not only really tasty, but it’s also very cheap!

That is if you eat local food at local restaurants. Eating Western Food always triples the price of dinner when traveling around Southeast Asia.

Also, while food in Malaysia is very affordable, alcohol is pretty expensive. Because over 60% of the population is Muslim, alcohol isn’t served in most restaurants.

So when it comes to food and drinks, skip that beer (or glass of wine), explore the local markets to find inexpensive meals, and try delicious street food whenever you have the chance.

How much did we spend on food and drinks in Malaysia?

On an average day, we spent 78RYM / €19,50 / $22,50) on food and drinks. Total costs for food and drinks: 936MYR (€234/$270).

The great food is definitely one of the reasons I would love to go back to Malaysia. Because of its history and diverse population, the cuisine is really varied too.

You can have Indian paratha for breakfast, Malaysian laksa for lunch, and Chinese chicken rice for dinner. There are many options for vegetarians and vegans as well, especially in KL.

4. Activities in Malaysia

When you’re in Malaysia, make sure to take advantage of all the free activities the country has to offer, like exploring temples, historic cities, night markets, National Parks, and beautiful beaches.

Tanjung Rhu Beach on Langkawi

Doing so will help you make the most of your vacation while still sticking to your budget.

When planning your Malaysia trip, it's also worth looking into tour companies that offer (discounted) activities that can help you save money while still getting the best experience.

Klook is the largest tour operator in Southeast Asia, but Get Your Guide has been working really hard on growing their SEA offers as well so be sure to check out those websites as well when you're planning your Malaysia activities.

Some of the most worthwhile tours in Malaysia are:

Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Batu Caves

How much did we spend on activities in Malaysia?

We did a lot of sightseeing in Malaysia, both paid activities (such as renting a scooter on Langkawi) as well as free ones (exploring Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur).

The average costs per day were 13MYR / €3 / $4 bringing the total costs for activities to a mere 156MYR (€36/$48).

5. How much does it cost to go scuba diving in Malaysia?

As mentioned, I excluded the costs for diving into the budget breakdown. For those interested in diving at Tioman: we paid 100MYR per dive per person with B&J divers.

Considering the excellent dive school and dive instructors and the amazing underwater world this was excellent value for money.

Sea turtle eating coral near Tioman

6. Travel insurance costs

I didn't include the cost of travel insurance in our Malaysia budget breakdown because we use our travel insurance for all our trips, not just for our Malaysia itinerary.

However, that doesn't take away the fact that making sure you have proper travel insurance is super important.

It helps protect you and your belongings in the event of a mishap during your travels. Furthermore, it provides coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost or stolen items, and more.

Also, having good travel insurance will provide you peace of mind, knowing that if something goes wrong, you have a safety net in place.

With so much to consider when planning a trip, having the right travel insurance can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey without stressing out about things that can go wrong.

How much does it cost to travel to Malaysia: in conclusion

These are the most important costs to take into account when you are traveling in Malaysia. As you can see it's pretty easy to make a Malaysia budget trip!

Below you can download the budget infographic. If you have any questions about this post, leave a comment below or send me a message.

Looking for more Malaysia travel inspiration? Also read my Perhentian Islands travel guide.

This post was updated in December 2022.


Wednesday 12th of December 2018

Beautifully described about my favorite place: Malaysia. Very informative blog about the cost, food and everything. Thanks for the blog!


Wednesday 12th of December 2018

Thank you Mia!

Sing dong

Thursday 9th of August 2018

Cost may vary person to person but you gave a wonderful idea about the travel guide and destination.


Thursday 9th of August 2018

Thank you Sing Dong:-)

Minhaj vm

Saturday 24th of March 2018

Thanks for your precious information and easy representation, it made me more eager to travel. Thank you very much!


Wednesday 28th of March 2018

I'm happy to hear that! Have a great trip:-)


Saturday 11th of February 2017

Hi! I'm off to Malaysia this month! We will be mainly staying in Kuala Lumpur. I love the breakdown you have here. I would love to hear about any of the must eat places you found in Kuala Lumpur if you don't mind? Thank you so much!


Saturday 11th of February 2017

Hi Daphnee, thanks for your kind comment! I'm happy to hear you find the breakdown useful:-). About places to eat in KL, we ate mostly street food (falafel wraps, nasi lemak, nasi pattaya and usually paratha for lunch). Breakfast was included in our KL hotel (the Lantern Hotel, you can find it in my 'Hotels in Malaysia' post) but there are plenty of options for that too. So not really must-eat places, but must-eat dishes;-). I hope this helps a little. Have a wonderful trip to Malaysia!

Ankit Suhane

Monday 5th of December 2016

Very good infographics and nice way to categories it. Most probably i am travelling to Malaysia then Singapore from there. This article is really going to help me. Can you please tell me the best way to go to Singapore from Malaysia? How we should plan it? Thanks in advance!


Monday 5th of December 2016

Hi Ankit, thank you, I'm happy to hear you find the infographic useful for planning your trip. If you check my Malaysia itinerary post ( you can find a detailed step-by-step information how to get from Singapore to Malaysia. Let me know if you have any further questions. Enjoy your trip!