Cost of Living in Malaysia – Typical Samples (Kuala Lumpur and nearby)
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It may vary from place to place; Kuala Lumpur to Penang or suburb to city center. And also the “way” you are living, economical or luxury :).
Note : All below mentioned amount are in Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
If you are an “average living” guy and you are living – not visiting-, rent for a (2 or 3 bedroom) house/condo unit (flat/apartment) will vary from 1500-2000 in suburban area. And 2000+ if you want to live in “City” heart centric area. You can find cheaper houses/units outside city, but transportation will be an issue and must own some car/vehicle. Got a lot of number and your family is big ? Don’t worry, you can get double storey houses with 4-5 bedrooms. Also there will be studio apartments – with one bedroom, one bathroom and one utility room.
Are you a visitor ?
Normal dorms will start from MYR 50 and single bedrooms (with Bathroom) for 70+ in an average hotel. Budget hotels will be start from 80-90+ depends on the location you want to stay. When you search for cheaper options consider safety and cleanliness in the same way.
For those expats, you have to budget some 300-400 MYR for your utility bills, something like below.
Electricity : 40-70 MYR
Internet : 100-150 MYR + (broadband starts from 149 MYR/Month)
DTH/IP TV channels : 50 +
Water & Gas : 40-60 MYR
Misc expenses : 100 MYR +
For visitors, most of the hotels will be facilitated with wifi+internet and it will be free.
If you are staying around Kuala Lumpur/Petaling Jaya, you can make use of most of the public tranport fascilities like LRT, RapidKL bus services, KLIA Express/Transit (ERL), KTM etc. Also there is Monorail lines but only inside Kuala Lumpur City area. RapidKL bus service is available to most of the destinations and Nadiputra is serving Cyberjaya/Putrajaya area. An average ride in a public bus will cost you MYR 1-2 for a short trip.
Malaysia, especially KL and nearby area is served with plenty of public cab services. You can catch a taxi by calling or by ease of use mobile applications like Grab (former MyTeksi), Easytaxi etc. Read the full articles on Taxi Services in Malaysia. DO NOT take a taxi with pre-defined rate (unless from Pre-paid). Also try to avoid taking taxi from “Taxi Stands” as they may charge you more. Taxi base fare is MYR 3 and vary for different services.
Another option is to buy second hand/pre-owned cars, for which you can seek for bank loans and pay in monthly installments. But only if you have such plans to stay atleast for 1-2 years here. Choose Rent-A-Car services for your short-term requirements like long trip or weekend hangouts.
You are lucky as you have all food choices in Malaysia – from street food to roof-top restaurants, from basic meal to 7 course dinner. Usually as street food will starts from MYR 4+ and will not cost more that 15. Average restaurant food with non-vege items will start from MYR 8 and charge you depends on the items you choose. Western options ? Yes, you have a lot but always costly 🙂
If you are an average foodie -with consideration on your savings either as a visitor or expat – I will say, you can survive by MYR 25+ per day – Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Coffee and a light dinner. Mamak restaurants in Malaysia are famous for tastes and variety.
Ofcourse, we know expats are here for saving money and will choose cooking at home rather than outside food. If you are a person interested in cooking, you just need to budget MYR 400+ for your grocery/vegetable purchase.
Weekend Activities ?
Malaysia is also known for nightlife and other tourist spots. If you are a person who is interested to have some “stress release” on weekends, please make sure you have some 400-500 in your budget for weekends. Average pubs/kitchen bars will cost MYR 60-100 for a visit and western pubs will more expensive. As there are plenty of shopping malls in Malaysia, I know you have to reserve another $$$ for your shopping budget.