How Much Does It Cost to Live In Malaysia?

Malaysia is a huge country, so it’s a bit tricky to state the definite cost of living there, because it varies greatly depending on the part of Malaysia you want to stay in, plus it depends whether you’re single or with a family.

You can get by and have a reasonably comfortable life here for 600$ a month.

However, with this amount of money you will not live in a fancy apartment or eating in Western chain restaurants three times a week.

However you can live in a decent place with air-conditioning, satellite TV and not worry at all about money.

Cost of Living Index:


You can spend around 30$ per person for a meal with wine at a nice, fancy restaurant, but if you want to save some money – Malaysia is very budget friendly. You can get a meal at a local food stall for less than a dollar and there are plenty of US originated restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, etc. with low prices. Dining in a hotel’s restaurant always costs more.



A trip to the local grocery store can cost anywhere from 12$ to 70$ a week. Depends on who you live with and how you want to feed yourself. The good news is you can always shop for fresh fruits and vegetables at street markets (and we mean the exotic, enticing fruit) that are sold for very low prices.



Having your own car might be your best option price-wise in Malaysia. Public transport, its functioning and cost, depends on the area. Going anywhere by taxi is very expensive. Even though in most of Malaysia transportation is pretty badly organized, it’s still cheap. You can buy a monthly pass for public transport for only 25$.



Monthly utilities in Malaysia are very cheap. Depending on the size of the apartment you want to rent and the place you’ll be located, utilities can move anywhere from 20$ to 50$. For an apartment that has 85m2 all basic utilities, like electricity, gas, garbage services and cooling will cost less than 50$.

Sports and leisure


Like everything else, prices in Malaysia for sports and pastime activities are low too. If you want a gym or a fitness club membership, the price you’ll pay is only about 30$. If you want to go cinema, the prices of tickets aren’t high either – that is, if you don’t live and earn your salary in Malaysia – they only cost about 4$.

Clothing and shoes


Compared to other prices in Malaysia, shopping isn’t really cheap, so if you get enticed by any of Malaysia’s great malls, think twice because the same clothes can be cheaper in your home town. For example, quality jeans will cost you around 60$, while a pair of Nike running shoes can cost as much as 70$.

Rent per month


The most expensive thing about living in Malaysia is the rent. Of course the price of rent depends on what you want from a home: a room, an apartment, a house, furnished, un-furnished, the number of rooms… It also highly depends on your location. If you want a one-bedroom apartment in the center of one of the major cities, that will cost you around 370$.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Malaysia

Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $2.43
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $3.65
Water (0.33 Liter) $0.31
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter) $1.65
Loaf Bread (500g) $0.78
Eggs (12) $1.26
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket $0.73
Monthly Pass $24.30
Gasoline $0.54
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling) $43.94
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local $0.06
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $36.87
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $33.91
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $5.76
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release $3.65
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable) $55.43
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...) $27.19
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range) $67.98
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center $372.19
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center $231.91
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center $647.74

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Malaysia?

A vast percentage of an average Malaysian person’s salary gets spent on food – like in most countries.

Another quite big expense for the people of Malaysia is the rent, since the prices are pretty high for the average salary in Malaysia.

Transportation is third on the list: even though it’s not too expensive it is an everyday necessity and it basically sends money down the drain each day.

Restaurants are also quite an expense, and the least of all expenses in Malaysia is clothing.


Malaysia: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

Considering their monthly salaries, people of Malaysia might find it hard to make ends meet sometimes, though the situation is not dire.

Their minimum monthly wage is, shockingly, around 300$, which is definitely a small amount of money.

With their average monthly net salaries, however, people can cover most of their expenses, even if they’re renting, though rent is a huge financial burden.

If you want to travel to Malaysia, the optimal amount of money for you is around 1000$ – and that’s if you want to live like a king.

Average Salary$851.72
Minimum Wage$294.4
Mortgage Interest Rate4.53%

Cost of Living by City in Malaysia

City Cost of Living Index
Johor Bahru 42.59
Kota Kinabalu 42.15
Kuala Lumpur 42.44
Kuching 42.15
Penang 43.98
Petaling Jaya 44.31
Selangor 44.53

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